Thursday, 6 May 2010

Now wash your hands

I'm so tired. Had a bit of a late one last night, but had to be up at 6 for a driving test. So I ended up staying awake all night. There comes a point where I know there's a risk that I'm not going to hear the alarm. Did get a couple of hours afterwards, but I've done 9 lessons today, with eyes like piss'oles int' snow. And I've been to vote. I got 2 votes today. One for the general election, and one for my local council elections. If my voice is heard, Wallasey will have a lib dem mp, while egremont ward will have a green councillor. Can't see either happening to be honest. But the rise of the liberals has been an unexpected and in many ways pleasant surprise.

As has been pointed out elsewhere, electoral reform is within our grasp. That the lib-dems happen to be the most left wing mainstream party on many issues (like trident for example) is just a happy accident. "most left wing" is a relative term. Like saying the Indian is the smallest of the main oceans.

But there you go. Perhaps my vote will have some effect on things. I really don't know how things will go tonight. You'd think Angela Eagle, with a majority of just over 9000 at the last election would be fairly safe, but who knows?

I think whatever happens tonight, this has been a kick in the face for the tories. As New Labour have lurched and stumbled from fiasco to crisis, you wonder why they aren't set for a landslide.

I'd like to think it's because people have long memories, but I'm inclined to think it's because there's bugger-all to choose between them.

But now here's a thing.

According to Johann Hari,

But it is wrong to say, on this issue, there is no difference at all. The gap is real, and millions of people live in that gap. The Institute of Fiscal Studies just published a long-term study of how Labour's tax changes have affected different classes, compared to the last Tory government. It found that the richest 10 per cent have seen their incomes cut by 9 per cent, to pay for an increase in the incomes of the poorest 10 per cent. A rich man has lost on average £25,000 a year; a poor woman has gained on average £1,700 a year. I have seen these changes among my own family and friends: gaining £1,700 is the difference between struggling to pay the bills, or being able to give your kids a summer holiday. Yes, there should have been much more – but the cigarette paper between the parties is big enough to make a pretty fat roll-up.

But according to George Monbiot,

Let us begin where my colleagues claim the party’s record is strongest: poverty and inequality. During the first seven years of the Labour government there was real progress on poverty. But from 2004 onwards the trend went into reverse. In the three years to 2007/8 the number of people in households living on less than 60% of median income rose by 1.3 million: producing a total better than in 1997 but worse than in 1989(5). This was before the recession hit, so God knows what the next set of figures will show.

The number of people in extreme poverty (living on less than 40% of median income) never substantially fell: it held steady through the first eight years of Labour government, then rose. There are now 700,000 more people in this condition than when Labour took office, and more than at any point since records began(6). The average real incomes of the poorest tenth declined by 2% in the ten years to 2007/8(7). These figures, again, pre-date the recession.

The rich, on the other hand, have seldom done better. Forty per cent of the extra income enjoyed by British households over the Labour years has accrued to the richest 10% (8). The richest one percent, according to Danny Dorling’s new book Injustice, have captured a higher share of national income than they have done since the early 1930s(9). Inequality in the United Kingdom is now higher than at any point since consistent records began, in 1979(10). I feel that needs repeating. After 13 years of Labour government, the UK has higher levels of inequality than after 18 years of Tory government.

Anyway, for better or worse, I've gone from being a fully paid up labour party activist to someone who'd only vote for them to keep something worse out. Yet I've hardly moved.

Something else that caught my eye was the Norfolk Labour candidate who tagged Gordon Brown as the worst prime minister Britain has ever had.

On to a loser from the start with that one I suppose, although his real complaint seemed to be how the labour party have ditched their principles over the last two decades or so. As someone who watched them expell anyone with any principles back in the 80's, I couldn't agree more. Labours reaction? Laughed it off, basically. Said the guy was a sandwich short of a picnic. I so hope he gets elected.

Come on Norfolk! Vote Labour!

tired tired tired. Margie failed her test, despite driving as well as I've ever seen her for an hour or so beforehand. Made a minor error and her arse started flapping, as the saying goes. I really feel for her. Her mum's dying. She needs to go see her. I wish she'd passed today. She failed because she was being scrutinised, not because she can't drive. The Examiner - Let's not name names here - is not one of the ones I'd hoped she'd get.

Another day done. Off to bed soon. Not staying up to watch the results. If I hadn't been up all last night mybe I would have done.

Nighty night.

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