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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.


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 
9 days ago by petej
Brexit proved our economy is broken, but our leaders still have no clue how to fix it | Aditya Chakrabortty | Opinion | The Guardian
It ultimately comes down to this: decades of privatisation, hammering unions and chucking billions at the housing market while stripping the welfare state has effectively ended any semblance of a national, redistributive economy in which a child born in Sunderland can expect to have similar life chances to one born in Surrey. Yet politicians remain fixated on mechanisms that no longer work adequately for those who actually depend on the economy. They obsess over GDP growth when the benefits of that are unequally shared between classes and regions. They boast about job creation when wages are still on the floor.
UK  economy  inequality  Brexit  CoetzeeRyan  OsborneGeorge  HammondPhilip  DuncanSmithIain  deindustrialisation  unemployment  privatisation  cuts  GDP  LegatumInstitute  dctagged  dc:creator=ChakraborttyAditya 
6 weeks ago by petej
Britain fell for a neoliberal con trick – even the IMF says so | Aditya Chakrabortty | Opinion | The Guardian
Let us get it straight. Neoliberalism has ripped you off and robbed you blind. The evidence of that is mounting up – in your bills, in your services and in the finances of your country.
UK  neoliberalism  publicSpending  privatisation  state  cuts  economics  politics  austerity  IMF  finance  dctagged  dc:creator=ChakraborttyAditya 
october 2018 by petej
Economist Paul Johnson: ‘We are nowhere near out of austerity' | Business | The Guardian
Even without Brexit, the challenges facing the UK would be formidable. With Brexit, they look cataclysmic. “The economics are obvious,” he says. “If you make trade with your biggest, nearest and richest trading partner more expensive, you will make yourself worse off. The truth is there is no dispute about that. Of course there is a case for Brexit. It’s just not an economic case. It’s a controlling-immigration case. With everything – and this is what’s frustrating about a lot of political debate – there are trade-offs. Do you want control of your borders or do you want to avoid taking a hit of a couple of per cent of GDP? You can’t have both.
economics  economy  UK  austerity  policy  cuts  publicServices  tax  NHS  welfareState  HammondPhilip  politics  democracy  Brexit  JohnsonPaul  IFS 
march 2018 by petej
Why are my wife and I quitting teaching? Brutal cuts, bad policies and stressed kids | Peter Foggo | Opinion | The Guardian
For us the final straw was the proposed creation of a new generation of grammar schools, and with them the reintroduction of selection in education. We could not accept being a part of a system that condemns as failures the majority of children at the age of 11. A system where children are encouraged to label themselves as failures is a broken system.

In the end there are two visions of the future, and of the future of education, currently vying for control. One is of a constant struggle, where competition is seen as the main driving force. The other is of a world based on cooperation, nurture and encouragement, where collaboration is considered the key to success. I know which I prefer.

The hope of becoming a small part of a system that developed self-confident, questioning and caring individuals was what motivated me to enter and to stay in teaching for the last 26 years. The vision of a world that sees every man for himself, fighting in the gutter over the last crust of bread, is what has driven me out.
teaching  teachers  UK  cuts  competition  stress  grammarSchools  schools  education  policy 
may 2017 by petej
Tom Crewe · The Strange Death of Municipal England: Assault on Local Government · LRB 15 December 2016
The governing political philosophy of the last 35 years has held that the market is best placed to provide for the needs of the people. Local government has been divested of much of its power and independence, leaving the gap between the public and their government to be bridged by private companies, if at all. But it has only ensured that richer Britons are taxed less and poorer ones obliged to spend a much larger proportion of their income on goods they could once have gained for a fraction of the price. In 1981, rent for a council property absorbed less than 7 per cent of an average income; in 2015, for a private tenancy, the figure was 52 per cent (72 per cent in London), far higher than anywhere else in Europe. Soon councils themselves will be floated on the market, cut loose from most of their government funding, with every possibility that they will sink. The institutions that sustained a progressive ‘municipal view of the world’ have been destroyed: the last relics of the expansive, inclusive ‘care-oriented’ state are being shredded. Whatever it does, Theresa May’s top-down, selective ‘protective state’ will not bring them back.
UK  politics  localGovernment  funding  cuts  austerity  policy  welfare  history  publicServices  nationalisation  centralisation  councilTax  control  coercion  accountability  transport  leisure  arts  socialCare  housing  homelessness  OsborneGeorge  PicklesEric  NorthernPowerhouse  mayors  dctagged  dc:creator=CreweTom  councils 
february 2017 by petej
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