Sunday, 1 October 2017

The so-called free market has failed we now need a democratically driven alternative

For the vast majority of people in the world, after more than 200 years of capitalism, the so-called 'free' market has delivered little but poverty. The 'free market' economy is meant to deliver investment, innovation, efficiency and a trickle-down prosperity. In reality, it has meant privatisation - where public services are asset stripped and suffer under profit-led management and deregulation - leaving the banks and finance sector free to gamble national economies into debt and exploitation.

In the twenty-first century, we have faced increased prices, cuts to our living standards, lack of housing, long hours and insecurity both in work and in retirement. Here in the UK, unions suffer the most restrictive laws in Western Europe. Prosperity is increasingly seen to be reserved for the unaccountable few, who face none of the pay restraints imposed on workers and none of the regulations and burdens placed on unions. 'Free' market capitalism has been a social, economic and environmental failure.
What the left has to do is nail the lie of the 'free' market - which means deregulation and privatisation that only benefit the rich - as we have seen. What we need is a fair market which workers can benefit from without the fruits of their labour being expropriated by capitalists. The right has expounded simplistic bullshit - like the 'free' market - which doesn't exist and never can - and got away with it because the left hasn't adequately exposed what a fraud it is. That is now beginning to change as the left uses social media and the internet more effectively.

The 'free' market right have also always said that we couldn't afford to re-nationalise utilities, railways etc. Having seen the vast sums invested in propping up the banks after the great recession, we all know that is not true.
 We need to show people that an alternative economy is not only possible but achievable. That alternative needs to be a mix of state ownership and mutualism - to give people a real stake in the economy and their future.

We need to build on explaining the benefits of public ownership as a fair market alternative to free market capitalism. Many people already accept this. Labour has made a very good start on this with their manifesto and more and more people understand they have been ill-served by the cam of privatisation. The events of the past decade, and in particular the last few months since the General Election has given us the opportunity to get that message across in a way that we haven't had for at least a generation.

One consequence of 'free' market neoliberalism is the backlash against the 1% leading to the rise of the far right and, potential break-up of the EU, as well as the beginning of the end of America as a dominant global economic and military force. The very people who wanted this to be the American Century - the neo-conservatives and neoliberals  - have brought their country down. This was very well summed up in an article by John Gray in the Observer. The geopolitical tectonic plates are shifting as I write this, and the American dream has become a nightmare.

Brighton Rocks!

Guest post from my comrade and Green Party member Peter Allen:

The Sunday night Compass meeting at the Labour Party Conference was called Alliance Building For A Progressive Future and was chaired by Francesca Klug. 

Like me, Francesca is a High Peak voter and witnessed the successful creation of a Progressive Alliance in the constituency. She recounted how it had involved not just Labour and the Green Party, who stood down to support the victorious Labour candidate, but also a non-party organisation called High Hopes for High Peak. HH4HP ran an effective campaign calling for an anti-Tory vote and focusing on the incumbent Tory MP’s voting record (he complained bitterly that this was unfair!). 

The result in High Peak demonstrated that anti-Tory alliances can extend beyond political parties to unite the progressive majority that exists in most constituencies. The refusal of the Liberal Democrats to participate in the alliance seriously backfired, their candidate obtaining a derisory vote.

Caroline Lucas told the meeting that election night had been bittersweet. The Conservatives had lost their majority which was “ a cause of much celebration “ and she “was immensely proud” of the contribution Greens had made to achieve this. However, it had been very sad that Labour had not been prepared to open the door even an inch to political cooperation, even where there had been a desire at local level. The Green Party had “paid a huge price for our principled commitment to doing politics differently”. Whilst politics had become hopeful again fair voting was urgently needed she said ,to loud applause from a room of Labour Party activists. 

Labour MPs Clive Lewis and Lisa Nandy both expressed thanks and gratitude to Caroline and the Green Party. Clive said that 21st century socialism had to be plural. Politics needed to be done differently, with time running out and the world facing ecological catastrophe. Lisa stressed the need for creative thinking when talking about climate change, particularly in former mining areas, which should have been guaranteed a just transition to a new green economy. 

All three politicians made the point that no one party has a monopoly of political wisdom. Neal Lawson, Director of Compass, agreed and said that voters could no longer be taken for granted, “Deference is gone and it is a good thing “

Contributions from the audience were largely supportive of the need for Progressive Alliances to continue and for Labour to adopt Proportional Representation. The Labour Candidate on the Isle of Wight and an activist from Richmond Park were given a generally hostile reception when they defended their refusal to stand down for the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats respectively.  

Filled with a spirit of unity I then attended some of the meetings organized by Momentum as part of their The World Transformed Festival. I particularly enjoyed ‘ It was the Kids that Done it ‘ on Tuesday afternoon,  which had a panel of young confident women, including Mamel, a Londoner who lived near Grenfell Tower and was part of the local campaign for justice. The speakers recalled how they had successfully engaged young people during the general election campaign. Many more had voted than in previous elections, when they hadn’t been uninterested in politics but had felt that neither of the large parties had made them a decent offer. This had changed with Labour under Jeremy Corbyn. Cat Smith MP, a member of the Shadow Cabinet with responsibility for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, said that it been her fourth election campaign but the first one when nobody had said on the doorstep ‘You’re all the same’. She also stressed that Climate Change was a major issue for younger voters.

I had to leave the above meeting early in order to join the queue around the building for a meeting addressed by Naomi Klein. In front of me a group of  Labour activists, probably in their early 30’s, were reminiscing about their general election experiences. They e agreed that the Green Party were the unsung heroes of the campaign, having stood aside in several key places. Of course, there should be electoral reform they said, it was a no-brainer. 

Naomi was plugging the message (and her new book) that saying No was not enough. As well as resisting neoliberalism and the climate change deniers we had to say what the alternative was. It would involve a just transition to clean energy, funded by increasing taxation of rich individuals and large corporations. Earlier in the day she had spoken at the Labour Conference itself, arguing that “battling climate change is a once in a century chance to build a fairer, more sustainable economy for the many not the few”.

On Monday evening I had failed to arrive early enough to get into a meeting addressed by Paul Mason. I was able to read his Guardian column on Tuesday however, in which he declared 

“Many Labour people, including myself, want to see a strategic alliance of Labour, the progressive nationalists and the Greens in place, even if Labour were to win an overall majority “

I came away from Brighton more convinced than ever that there is a vital and vibrant role for the Green Party as part of an alliance on the left of British Politics,  trying to ensure that environmental justice is given the same priority as social justice. Talk of moving the Green Party to a position where it is equidistant from Labour and Conservatives is misguided and misplaced. 

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try and appeal to voters of all parties. It does mean that the Green Party is very clear where it stands in the political spectrum and knows very well whose side it is on in the struggle between the many and the few. 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

We can afford a decent pay rise for public sector workers

Politics has recently become all about what we 'can afford' to do as a nation. This is a political agenda pushed by the Tory Party and its neoliberal friends in the media. And what we 'can afford' we are told has to be paid for by taxpayers with tax increases but the reality is that much of government spending pays for itself. Lets have a look at some examples of what we can and can't afford to spend money on:

What we can afford -
  • renewing Trident = £200 billion
  • Hinkley C = £37 billion
  • HS2 = £52 billion
Total = £289 billion

What we can't afford - 
Total = £11.3 billion

The figures for what we can afford are ones the Tory government has already committed to and though the cost will be spread over a number of years they are likely to be underestimates. The real total is likely to be greater than £300 billion. The figures for what we can't afford are annual costs.

It can be argued that the 'affordable' expenditure is for vital defence/energy/transport infrastructure but it can equally be argued that all those three 'projects' are a complete waste of money.

What we 'can't afford' to do is spend much smaller amounts of money on the public sector i.e. the NHS from which will we all benefit; more police from which we all benefit and a much needed pay rise for 5.5 million public sector workers from which we will also all benefit - because it will boost our economy.

The reality is that these are political choices that have nothing to do with whether the items are 'affordable' or not. 'Affordability' is the smokescreen behind which these choices are hidden and a 'reason' to continue austerity which again is a political choice not an economic necessity.

But lets look at the 'unaffordable' expenditure in a bit more detail. The reality is that the public sector pay rise will largely pay for itself. How? Because we pay 39% tax and 39% will return to the government. In fact, most of that £4.5 billion will return to the government in taxes anyway as it is spent and circulates around the economy - its called the fiscal multiplier

For a fuller explanation of the public sector pay rise see Richard J Murphy's account here. The key point that Murphy makes is that we can afford to pay for a decent pay rise for public sector workers without having to raise taxes.

To re-iterate this whole debate is really about political choices and to say that we 'can't afford' to fund the public sector properly is essentially dishonest. The Tories priorities are tax cuts for the rich and corporations, and privatisation - which can be promoted by running down the public sector. Austerity is and was always a means of furthering this agenda based on the lie that Labour, rather than the banks, got us into debt in 2008, and that we need to 'balance the books' and have a budget surplus - which is economic nonsense.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Reflections on the election #GE2017

Wow what an election! It's been unlike any I can remember, with an incredible turnaround from Labour which floored the 'expert' pundits - most of whom still don't understand what happened. Since 2010 we have been told 'there is no money' - with austerity being used as an ideological weapon by the Tories (and their friends the Liberal Democrats) to destroy the welfare state - something the Tories have wanted to do since 1945. From 8 June this position has become untenable which is the good news the UK desperately needed.

At the start the Tories were riding as high as 49% and Labour as low as 27% in the polls that I saw. A Tory majority of anything from 80 to 180 was predicted. Theresa May's ratings were sky-high and Jeremy Corbyn's rock bottom but from the start it was fairly obvious there were major flaws in the Tory campaign. Theresa May's robotic repetition of the 'strong and stable' mantra, her stage managed 'public' appearances and refusal to take part in the leader's debates all damaged the Tory campaign. Lynton Crosby may have been playing it safe but the electorate aren't daft, they expected much more leadership from someone seeking a mandate to be Prime Minister of the UK.
The wisdom of the punditocracy

In contrast to this performance from May, Corbyn played to his strengths, going on a nationwide campaign tour and reaching out to larger and larger crowds as the election progressed. Naturally this was treated with scorn by the pundits who 'knew' that Corbyn was preaching to the converted, and predicted that there would be no impact on the wider electorate.

What were the key points which turned the election in Labour's favour?:
  • The leaking of the Labour manifesto gave Labour several days of uninterrupted headlines. The contents proved popular with a populace weary of austerity, and increased the turnout of younger voters
  • The dementia tax - the Tory manifesto was a drab and uninspiring document - foxhunting anyone? - but people soon picked up on the removal of any kind of cap on social care costs, something which was bound to hit the support of the Tories core pensioner vote. May failed to deal convincingly with this blunder claiming 'nothing has changed' despite the Tory u-turn.
  • The 'debates' - Corbyn 'debated' May indirectly and although many thought these 'debates' a score draw they were good for Corbyn because they gave him exposure. People could see that he wasn't the monster portrayed in the Tory press
  • Tory u-turns - almost too many to count but including the classic that May had denied there would be an election until 2020 several times
Despite the fact that the MSM and pundits stuck to their guns about the result I could sense the tectonic plates of UK politics were shifting online - Twitter and Facebook - and that more people wanted real change. The final result? Good for Labour and the left but ultimately disappointing in that May was able to hang on in a lame duck government with support from the DUP. As in 2015 Scotland let the left down badly by providing the Tories with an extra twelve MPs without which Corbyn might have been able to form a government.  The headline figure though is not the number of seats the two main parties won but the percentage of the vote for Labour, at 40%, getting its highest vote share since 1945!

The key outcome is not that May has been fatally wounded by this but that the Tories and their austerity agenda has been badly damaged. They are clinging on to power trying to negotiate Brexit with no plan and from a position of weakness. How long can this carry on? Its hard to predict because the wheels could come off at almost any moment, or they might cling on for twelve months or more. My money's on them hanging on by the fingernails for as long as possible because of the fear of Corbyn.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Theresa May the sanctimonious dealer in death

Many people, including me, were outraged when Theresa May produced a sanctimonious 'Easter message' this weekend. May claims to be a Christian and is often heard pontificating about how much she cares about 'hardworking families' and those who are struggling. In her message which can be found here May said:
"This Easter I think of those values that we share – values that I learnt in my own childhood, growing up in a vicarage. Values of compassion, community, citizenship. The sense of obligation we have to one another"
But could this be the same Theresa May that has presided over a regime of benefits sanctions and disability assessments that have lead to an estimated 30,000 deaths? Could this be the same May the 'Christian' that was a senior minister in a Tory government that has implemented massive austerity cuts which have created poverty for millions in the UK and a million people, many of whom are working, using foodbanks?

Here is just one example of many of the victims of a Tory government in which Theresa May was a senior minister:
"The tragic death in July 2013 of 59 year old David Clapson, a former soldier who suffered with type-1 diabetes, highlights the brutality of the system of sanctions. Clapson died from diabetic ketoacidosis (caused by an acute lack of insulin). His death followed him being sanctioned a few weeks earlier when all his benefits had been cut. 
His sister, Gill Thompson, found him in a flat where he had almost nothing to eat, six tea bags and an out-of-date tin of sardines. He had no money for electricity to operate his fridge where his insulin was kept."
How does one be a 'Christian' and preside over a benefits regime which is killing people, and creating real poverty and hardship I wonder? 

The only conclusion I can come to is that May is not a Christian but a hypocrite whose primary purpose is to serve the interests of corporations, wealthy tax dodgers and the 1% in general. People must die and be flung into poverty so that her already wealthy friends can have an even bigger slice of the cake. Rather than being a 'Christian' I think a more accurate description of May would be that she is a sociopath.

It would be easy to despair when people like May are ruining our country but the only option is solidarity and resistance. This photo from Hanna Murphy on Twitter sums it up nicely. 
Photo - Hanna Murphy - Twitter.

Monday, 3 April 2017

How our sham democracy works

So you think you live in a democracy? Well, you are right, you do. But it's not quite the democracy you probably think. I just pulled this definition off my Mac: - "control of an organization or group by the majority of its members " . To me, that is a satisfactory definition. You could substitute 'organisation' with 'country' and 'members' with electorate', and you would have a definition which fits the UK. The key word though is 'control'. In a democracy 'control' means that the will of the electorate can make change happen - including fundamental change.

So why is our democracy a sham? It works like this: You can vote, and you can make change happen but there are certain things that can't be changed, really important things like our economic system, which determines the kind of society we have. Why can't 'we' make those fundamental changes? Because the market, or call it big business or capitalism if you prefer, is in control. How does this work and how did it happen? If we look at recent history - in the past 40 years or so our politicians have ceded control to the 'market'. It has happened through the capture of institutions. The European Union is a good example of this. European treaties contain clauses which dictate how our economy works. In effect they create a European constitution which binds us to the market through so called 'liberalisation'. This means that we have to follow a right wing ideological economic programme

This 'free' market programme is neoliberal and its one that is followed by almost all governments in the 'West'. It means that corporations can dodge taxes, trade unions get disempowered, environmental regulations are watered down, people are mired in debt (e.g. student loans), public services are privatised, and countries are run for the benefit of the 1%.

The USA is still the epitome of capitalism but its doesn't say in the constitution that the country has to be capitalist. Those kind of ideological-cum-economic statements have no place in a constitution. What has happened is that politicians have put commercial interests above our democratic rights. On a lower level it works in the UK like this. If a multinational wants to build a superstore in your town centre your local council can't stop it from happening. The citizens of that town can't take a democratic decision that they don't want it. The 'rights' of the multinational have been put above our democratic rights. Of course we can still vote, and we can still decide to do things like introduce gay marriage, because that doesn't threaten the economic status quo, but we can't run our economy in the way we choose.

Our politicians never asked us if we wanted this. If they had they know we would have rejected it. But the point is that many of us are unaware of exactly what happened. Historically, where people have kicked back, such as in the referendums in France and Ireland where European treaties were rejected, the politicians have fixed it so they got the result they wanted in the first place. It's not just the EU but all the major institutions such as the WTO, IMF and World Bank that adhere to this neoliberal ideology masquerading as economic policy. The plan is to ensure that a particularly nasty, laissez faire version of capitalism is completely dominant - social and collective concerns are subsumed to the agenda of big business, and democracy is undermined.

While they may not appreciate all the details of how our democracy has been stitched up in the interests of corporations and the 1% many people understand that our democracy doesn't work for them. That is one of the key reasons that voter turnout has fallen so dramatically in many countries like the UK. And that is how we can get a government elected by only 24% of eligible voters which is what happened in the UK in 2015. Are the powers that be worried about this? Of course not - voter apathy suits those who are on control!

Despite this, our democracy is still worth something. We can put democratic rights back on top. But we can only do this if we first understand what's really happened, and have the will to re-capture our institutions from those who have 'stolen' them. Only by becoming politically active at a local level and resiting at a national level can we we turn the tide against the corporations, tax-dodging rich and their tame politicians who advance their interests at our expense.  

This is an updated version of a post from 2012. Nothing much has changed - for the better!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Some remain 'lefties' are busy doing the Tories work for them

As one who voted remain in the 'Brexit' referendum last June I was riled by the use of the term 'remoaner' by those who 'won' the vote to leave. But now I'm beginning to wonder whether some of my my fellow remainers aren't 'remoaners' after all. The leave vote was a huge blow to all of us and many people, including me, are still pissed off about it. However, its now time to move on. The battle is not about whether we leave, triggering Article 50, but what Brexit will look like. But my own anecdotal 'survey' of social media is telling me that many remainers on the left still don't appear to have got beyond the denial stage. 

They think that the Labour Party are going to come riding to the rescue on a white charger and block the triggering of Article 50. But this isn't going to happen, and it never was whoever was leader. Labour are not in government. They are in opposition with less than 250 MPs. The Tories have a working majority. Its that simple really. Many northern Labour constituencies voted leave. They are between a rock and a hard place. Which is why I'm getting a bit sick of lefties bashing Labour but most of all Corbyn.

Corbyn has been battered continuously since winning the first leadership election. He has been blamed for Brexit - wrongly. He is doing the only thing possible under the circumstances and as he quite rightly said the battle now is to get the best possible deal and protect jobs and workers rights by preventing a 'hard' Brexit.

Labour is the only chance of stopping the Tories winning the next election so my message is: get a grip, stop bashing Corbyn, stop the daft threats to leave Labour, and stop doing the Tories work for them. Get behind Corbyn and Labour and others who are working to prevent the Tories turning us into the new Singapore and help the fight to prevent a Brexit which could be disastrous for jobs, the NHS, and all we really care about. 

Friday, 13 January 2017

All you need to know about Brexit

It's now over 6 months since the referendum on membership of the EU. I voted remain but I made it clear I was a 'reluctant' remainer because of the democratic deficit in the EU, the imposition of neoliberal austerity - particularly in Greece - and the fact that the EU is not an EU for the people but a bosses club. My view was, and still is, that we should remain and reform the EU.

Since that fateful day arguments have continued to rage between Brexiteers and Remainers about the vote itself, what people actually voted for and the likely consequences of Brexit. In addition, we hear about how the vote to leave the EU was a triumph for the likes of Nigel Farage and Daniel Hannan.

You may not be surprised to read that I don't see it like that. The UK leaving the EU wasn't a massive triumph for Ukip  et al it was in fact a massive blunder by the Tory Party. Something which seems to have escaped the mainstream media - quel surprise!

The truth is that Brexit was a massive Tory fuck up! It was Cameron who decided to call a referendum when he had absolutely no need to do so. It was in the 2015 Tory general Election manifesto. Cameron and the Tories called it and then went on to lose it!

And why did they lose it? Becuase of 5 years of massive Tory austerity cuts, benefit sanctions and a housing crisis which left many millions of people feeling insecure and angry if not actually totally shat upon.

So in six short years the Tories have managed to do very real damage to the UK and its inhabitants and there could be much more and worse to come. So as the economy and the social fabric crumbles, as poverty and homelessness increase and as the NHS and local government falls apart remember who is responsible for this grim state of affairs - the TORIES 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Some reflections on Castro's Cuba

Fidel Castro died at 90 years old three days ago. His death has sparked predictable rows about his legacy and the state of human rights in Cuba. He has been described as a dictator and a Stalinist but in my view was more likely a pragmatist. When he lead the revolution which overthrew the dictator Batista, Cuba was a giant casino-cum-brothel run by the US mafia. The overthrow was popular. Initially Castro asked the USA for help and when that was not forthcoming he turned to the Soviets instead. The USA did its best to undermine the revolution, carrying out many assassination attempts against Castro, sponsoring the infamous 'Bay of Pigs' invasion and carrying out an economic blockade that has lasted for over 50 years.

On the positive side the revolution has lead to free universal healthcare and education for Cubans, and Cuban aid in healthcare has been extended to other parts of the world - notably Africa. Cuban literacy is the highest in Latin America (100%) and 48.9 % of national assembly members are women. The Cubans helped in the overthrow of the apartheid regime in South Africa and acted as beacon for liberation in South America and a bulwark against American imperialism. However, there have clearly been limits imposed on freedom of speech and association in Cuba, there has been persecution of LGBT people, though this has now come to an end, and there are differing views on the number of people who may have been executed and tortured by the regime.
Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. Photo: Alberto Korda

Much of the criticism of Castro has focused on the lack of 'democracy' in a one party state. The assumption appears to be that only liberal democracies are democratic and that any truly democratic society must follow the Western model of representative democracy. But democracies in the West have important flaws such as in the UK where there is an unelected second chamber, no written constitution, and a first-past-the-post voting system which denies people the representation they want. In the USA there has recently been much criticism of the electoral college in a Presidential election where the winner Donald Trump got 2.5 million votes less than his opponent Hillary Clinton. So is liberal democracy the only form of 'acceptable' democracy or are there better alternatives? I think there are and I've posted about this previously on this blog.

Cuba also has to be viewed in the context of human rights abuses in liberal democracies such as the USA which has been involved in rendition and torture of many individuals, some of whom are still being held at Guantanamo Bay. In addition US drone strikes have been responsible for the assassination of 'terrorists' and the deaths of many innocent civilians. The USA disproportionately imprisons and kills black people through its judicial and police systems. These atrocities are rarely if ever mentioned in any discussion about Cuba in which the Western media focuses on denouncing Castro and Cuban governance.That is not to excuse any human rights abuses in Cuba. They were and are wrong and should be condemned.

What should a democratic system in a socialist state look like and how can the gains for the people made by a revolution be protected? Is it possible to have a functioning democracy without the kind of pluralism we see in liberal democracies? What is the point in having a revolution if the gains can be swept away by political parties backed by big money and vested interests as in the USA? I don't pretend to know all the answers but I do know that if the revolution in Cuba fails and it once again becomes a capitalist state the gross inequalities, including lack of healthcare and poverty, present in other countries such as the USA, will soon return. In our liberal democracy in the UK we have freedom, the freedom to starve, and sleep on the streets.

Friday, 24 June 2016

The chickens of Thatcherism are coming home to roost... via UKIP

I started writing this post on the day Jo Cox was killed but I struggled to finish it because I was feeling too down at the time. Well now, after the Brexit debacle has run its course I'm posting it because nothing has changed and it's still as relevant now as it was then. It's incomplete but ......

"What a depressing day. I followed the news on Twitter. First I see Nigel Farage unveil a UKIP poster which echoes Nazi propaganda and fills me with disgust, then I see early reports of the Labour MP Jo Cox being shot, and later still I hear of her death. My heart goes out to her family and friends. Although I did not know much about Jo it's clear that she was a fearless and redoubtable fighter for social justice and the world is a poorer place without her. In a moving statement her husband Brendan said:

"She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn't have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous."
We do not yet know for sure the motives of Jo Cox's killer. It is claimed that he shouted "Britain First" as he attacked her. Britain First is a far right anti-immigrant hate group. 

So how did we get to this? How did we get to this referendum which has stirred up so much anger and divisiveness. Why is 'concern' about immigration at the heart of British political debate at the moment? Why is there so much fear and hatred in our country? The answer lies, or at least starts in the 1980s with Thatcherism which promised to make Britain and its people much more prosperous if only we would put our economy into the hands of the 'free' market, and began the process of dismantling the post-war settlement of the NHS, public services and the welfare state.

Thatcherism didn't stop with Thatcher. Through the 1990s John Major and Tony Blair continued what Margaret Thatcher had started putting the country into the hands of the corporations and bankers to be run for private profit. In the process trade unions were beaten down, workers pay and conditions were slashed and public services asset stripped. The bonfire of regulations demanded by the market led to a global crash in 2008 which wiped out millions of jobs and businesses and caused many to lose their homes. But who paid for this crisis? Certainly not the bankers that caused it. It was the 99% that were made to pay and this is what has ignited the anger of so many people, people in the North and Midlands who see immigrants as a threat to their economic wellbeing but their anger is being aimed at the wrong target because they are being exploited by the demagogues of UKIP and the Tory Party - Farage and Johnson."