38 Degrees Petition

We have created this 38 Degree petition that will be sent to all prospective MP's in the run up to the G.E. in May.

Quite a read this, but this is a couple of the interactions resulting from the e-mailed petition, sent today to all Fife Cllrs, Scottish MSP's and MP's

From a Cllr:
Tam,
Before I can decide what I think about austerity, I need to know what it is. What is it?

My response:
Perhaps you won’t agree, but here is my thinking is on the whole subject.
Austerity is a manufactured Neo-Liberal ideology that has been implemented to support the Financial and Banking systems that initially were responsible for the collapse of the economy.
Austerity is working very well for Billionaires who have steadily increased their wealth year on year since the crash of 2008. No austerity for them.

It is working great for big business and corporations, with wages reduced, more and more zero hours contracts, lessening of health and safety and a worsening of workers terms and condition and employment rights. It is also driving more and more public services into the hands of private finance.

It has certainly worked for the bankers and the financial sector in the city of London. It has worked to the tune of £375 billion in bailouts and quantative easing.
It is working very well for the very ones that continually tell us that "we're all in it together".
On the other hand:

It is not working for the poor, disabled and the unemployed, who are being forced to use modern day soup kitchens. Who are punished by the Bedroom Tax. Who are punished by benefit sanctions. Who are punished through WCA's.

It is not working for the "hard working" normal working class people whose wages have decreased in real terms over the past 7 years, and who have to bear the brunt of a 2.5% increase in VAT. Increasing rents, increasing energy prices, increasing transport costs, etc, etc.

In actual fact it is the poor and the so called "hard working families" that are paying for austerity.

Austerity is just the next stage of the ongoing Neo-Liberalisation of the UK and the EU. It is there to reduce the working class into nothing but fully flexible, saleable commodities just like coffee and coal. It is there to sell off the remaining public services to the free market economy, including the NHS. It is there to re-balance the gains made by the working class in the 50's and 60's.
I could go on and on, of course.

all the best
Tam

Then this from an MSP:

Dear Mr Kirby
Thanks for your email.
I very much agree with you that it is ordinary people who have suffered because of the banking crisis and recession while the rich have generally got richer. Just yesterday at the Finance Committee we had the Scottish Property Federation and Homes for Scotland arguing for lower LBTT for top end houses.
The SNP is opposing the level of cuts proposed by both Tories and Labour at Westminster.

At the same time the UK is hugely in debt and that debt will have to be repaid. Far too much money was spent in the past when oil revenues should have been saved as Norway did. Therefore, we are going to have to repay these debts and that means restricted public expenditure going forward.
I personally am open to higher taxation for the rich although I do accept there is an argument that we cannot afford for all rich businessmen to leave.
I hope these comments are helpful.

My response:
Thank you for your prompt response. I am glad you agree that the poorest are suffering most, but you appear to be advocating an "austerity light" approach, that will still have a major impact on the poorest.

As a country we were able to bail out the banks and the financial institutions to the sum of £375 billion in bail outs and quantative easing, so let them pay off the debt.

regards
Tam

His response:

Thanks Tam
I fear the reality is we were not able to bail out the banks. It has taken the UK to the verge of bankruptcy and they could not do it again.
The banks would not be able to pay off the debt (RBS announced another loss today). How do you suggest we deal with the debt? It is going to keep increasing until 2019/20 but the SNP would argue for delaying that break-even point. However, I gather both Labour and Tories are refusing to do that.

My response:

The reality is that we did bail out the banks and the city. RBS has posted another loss, due to it's toxic practices and the amount of liabilities it needs to cover, all down to its less than savory dealings in the past. Who is going to pay the price, the ordinary bank worker in the other 99 branches they are closing down, whilst still paying bonuses to the top executives.

Here is the strange thing about RBS:
http://www.theguardian.com/.../rbs-profits-shares-bailout...

July 2014: Royal Bank of Scotland shares up 14% as figures reveal largest profit since taxpayer rescue in 2008

Then today:
UK state-owned bank RBS has reported a loss of £3.5bn for 2014, down from a £9bn loss the previous year.The results were hit by a £4bn writedown on the sale of its US business, Citizens.

But RBS will still pay out bonuses from a pool of £421m.

Ross McEwan, when he's waded through the arguments about why bankers are paid lots of money, is running a bank that in many respects is on the road to recovery. Its core operation is actually making a profit of more than £3bn.

If the £375 billion was used instead to invest in social housing, public transport owned by the state not sold to privateers, renewables, hi-tech industry etc then we would be creating jobs and wealth for the majority not the elite minority.
We can always find the money to wage wars with no problems.

We can also find money to offer to BP and the Oil industry, just because their profits might go down. It matters not that they have reaped billions in profit for decades. Let's give them tax breaks and subsidies.

There is the issue, there is always money to bail out the banks, city spivs and corporations, but there is never enough to ensure that the poorest and the working class can have even a modest life and a secure future.

regards
Tam

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