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The country I walked through deserves better than Brexit | Mike Carter | Opinion | The Guardian
Nearly everyone I spoke to in those towns said they were going to vote for Brexit. There was a lot of talk of “taking back control”, and in the context of the industrial wastelands, that sentiment made a lot of sense. But the EU issue was, for a majority, a proxy for their pain.

There was a brief moment when it appeared the Conservatives grasped this. When Theresa May became prime minister on 13 July 2016, after David Cameron had fled the post-referendum carnage, she addressed the “just about managing” and said the government “will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours … When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you.”

But since then we have had a government paralysed by Brexit, effectively not governing at all. We have ongoing crises in most aspects of public policy: housing, transport, prisons, the benefits system, health, education. Homelessness is rocketing, as is food bank use. In some areas of our inner cities, Dickensian diseases such as rickets and beriberi have re-emerged. At a time when politicians should be reaching out to leave voters with concrete proposals for rebalancing our economy, heavily based as it is on services and centred in the south-east, we get a continuation of turbo-charged austerity. In their call for a second referendum, remainers should ask themselves whether the anger that drove the result in June 2016 has been even remotely addressed.

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Brexit will deliver none of this. As driven by the right, it is the final part of the race to the bottom that started 40 years ago. There are no easy answers, but until our politicians begin to acknowledge that the globalised neoliberal economic model is a disaster for human beings and the planet we inhabit, we will remain angry and scared and vulnerable to dog whistles. And maybe that is the point.
UK  Brexit  economy  inequality  poverty  deindustrialisation  homelessness  anger  housing  rents  gambling  Bet365  austerity  localGovernment  cuts  AlstonPhilip  UN  politics  TheRight  neoliberalism 
10 weeks ago by petej
Poverty exists. Shooting the UN messenger won’t erase that fact | Nesrine Malik | Opinion | The Guardian
Predictably and punctually, the denials of Alston’s findings arrived. He was told by the UK government that the social support system was ticking along nicely, and that there was no extreme poverty in the UK because, among other cherry-picked statistics, household incomes were at a record high. This encapsulates the government’s broken logic – to which it holds doggedly despite all contrary evidence – that because some people are becoming better off, then all of us are. If anything, this excuse reifies allegations of a two-tier society, where one half is getting richer while the other is getting poorer, and high walls are erected against the desperate and eyes averted from their suffering.

The UK is in a spiral where an irreversible, indisputable calamity has to happen – a Windrush or a Grenfell – before any tragically belated reforms are introduced. Shooting the UN messenger may afford this government temporary relief, but it comes at the expense of the country’s future.
UN  AlstonPhilip  UK  austerity  poverty  humanRights  vulnerability  inequality 
november 2018 by petej
Donald Trump threatens to cut aid to countries over UN Jerusalem vote | US news | The Guardian
“Let them vote against us,” he said.

“We’ll save a lot. We don’t care. But this isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. “We’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer.”
USA  TrumpDonald  UN  Israel  Jerusalem  aid  bullying  HaleyNikki  politics 
december 2017 by petej
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