Tuesday 28 January 2014

Agenda of a Dope

He writes a good polemic, I’ll give him that. Yesterday, Owen jones wrote this piece under the rallying cry of an "Agenda of Hope". You can read it all if you like, but here are my abridged study notes with commentary. Like all the lefties Owen has comprehensive and infallible answers to the intensely complex problems that generations of politicians and economic ‘experts’ have failed to solve; largely because real solutions involve unpalatable actions. *cough*eugenics*cough* But, hey-ho, let’s look at what the Boy Wonder has to say. He starts off with an emotive little story, loaded with triggers to get the Tory-hating classes’ juices flowing.

“The alarm goes off. It’s dark outside, and Mary wakes to get ready for work at the checkout of a local supermarket. Like most of Britain’s poor, she has a job that leaves her and her children trapped below the poverty line.”

Of course, ‘poverty’ in Britain does not mean what poverty means in the rest of the world. It’s an inflated definition of want posing as need, invented for gesture politics and designed for the very thing Owen perpetually condemns the right for doing – dividing the population. But then, as a socialist OJ is no stranger to hypocrisy.

“She finds herself competing with colleagues for overtime, just to earn a few more pounds to spend on her kids. Even though her employer makes hundreds of millions of pounds of profit a year, it is the taxpayer who has to step in and subsidise those poverty wages to give Mary a chance to pay the bills and feed her children.”

Oh, do give it a rest, Owen. Now you’re painting a dog-eat-dog world where the poor squabble over the scraps and the fat cat toffs sit at high table and throw half eaten swan’s legs to the floor for their dogs. Or is that a scene from Animal Farm? Also, why is a company’s profit always a bad thing? So a 5% margin for a multinational is obscene, whereas a 100% margin for a fag smuggler is simple social justice, the little man driven to crime to buck the system?

“Mary had a rough night’s sleep because it’s nearly time to pay the rent.”

Yep, greedy grasping landlords again, ripping off the poor. Owen loves to busk on the theme of predatory slumlords, terrorising the weak and fearful. Shame that his rhetoric is spoiled by the huge number of landlords who were enticed into buy-to-let mortgages, with rents barely meeting the costs, every void month an outright loss and capital values plunged into negative equity territory. But no, in Owen’s world landlords are overwhelmingly evil and overwhelmingly rich pantomime villains.

“And so Mary leaves for a gruelling shift at the supermarket, working hard to earn her poverty.”

Aw, gruelling? She's on a checkout, not down a tin mine. This, of course from a man whose idea of gruelling is taking on yet another commission to write Dickensian sketches from his garret, portraying rickety children and gin-soaked washer-women on the fringes of society – such extreme hardship as Owen experienced first-hand during his penurious time at Oxford University.

“Mary isn’t a real person, but there are millions of people in this country who share aspects of their lives with someone like her. We all have to pay, literally, as poverty-paying bosses and rip-off landlords milk our welfare state.”

You can bet your sweet bippy Mary isn’t a real person Owen. If she was and you met her she’d soon see through your ridiculous posturing. Practically every single one of your ‘vulnerable’ poor, if elevated to higher wages, would slam the door in the face of the tax collector in any way they could. To suggest otherwise – that high earners are natural greedy, while low earners are naturally honest is divisive posturing of the most obvious kind.

“The Government and much of the media have answers for people like Mary. “Instead of being angry at your situation,” Mary is told, “be angry at unemployed people, immigrants, public sector workers, or disabled claimants instead.” It is an Agenda of Fear [that] makes sure that the real solutions to the problems faced by someone like Mary – and the nation as a whole – are never even discussed.”

But yes they are discussed, me laddo, and they are discussed endlessly by many people far more informed and engaged than you or I. Iain Duncan Smith has spent ten years thinking of little else and has been roundly applauded (from all sides) for his work yet, driven by your class war agenda, you label him as just another 'cruel Tory'. Furthermore, your caricaturing the coalition as Machiavellian puppet masters, engaged in a plot to subjugate the proletariat is exactly the same lazy tactics you have just decried in the above paragraph. Irony much?

But Owen has not only melodramatised the problem he’s got the imaginary solutions as well. Let’s just pray that his nine-point manifesto, his “Agenda for hope” isn’t based solely on magic beans. Honestly, why we ever let him go to market on his own is beyond me. Anyway, here we go:

1) A statutory living wage, with immediate effect, for large businesses and the public sector, and phased  in for small and medium  businesses over a five-year Parliament.

Oh, how disappointing, the magic beans are deployed in his very first item! Obviously, as a history graduate he is an authority on wage fixing. And how soon before the minimum wage is eaten up by inflation? And what IS a living wage? £20k? £40K? Better yet, £100k, then item 3 can kick in all the sooner. Business? Oh, that fled long ago to healthier economic climes.
2) Resolve the housing crisis by regulating private rents [and] reduce taxpayers’ subsidies to landlords.

Ah, more magic beanery. There’s a theme here – increase wages, lower rents, magic up some dosh to build council houses. But wait, you already lost the businesses and hence the real tax revenue with point 1.

3) A 50 per cent tax on all earnings above £100,000

Genius! So, the sooner the minimum wage rises to £100k, the better. Bring on the Weimar rates of inflation please, so we can reach this Nirvanic ideal in a matter of months.  

4) An all-out campaign to recoup the £25bn worth of tax avoided by the wealthiest each year.

No need, pal. They’ll have all fucked off already (see above)

5) Publicly run, accountable local banks.

Sounds good. But will it work? Given that there will be little in the way of private enterprise left, the big money jobs will only exist in state-owned institutions. Give it five years and the state banks will be rife with corruption with devious practices imported from the very worst of both banking and the public sector.

6) An industrial strategy to create the “green jobs” and renewable energy industries of the future.

Again, magic money… If the green machine can’t compete without subsidy you are effectively doing to the regions what the ruinous propping up of the coal industry eventually did to those same areas. Sooner or later, you WILL run out of other people’s money and put your precious working class back on the scrap heap.

7) Publicly owned rail and energy [and NHS] democratically run by consumers and workers.

Hail the glorious Bolshevik revolution! And have another turnip, comrade! Haven’t we been here before? Unlike Owen I was actually alive during the period when ‘means of production in the hands of the workers’ had us tagged as ‘The sick man of Europe’. No thanks.

8) A new charter of workers’ rights fit for the 21st century.

In other words, extend state control not only to wages and rents but to how businesses are actually managed. Sorry, did I say businesses? Silly me, there won’t be any, will there?

9) A universal childcare system that would pay for itself... 

Oh, behave! A system that pays for itself? And did you read that sentence through before you hit ‘Save’? You really believe that, don’t you? And for that handful of beans you sold the whole fucking cow? You stupid, stupid boy.

But let’s look on the bright side. All we need now is for Labour to adopt your Dope’s Agenda, extending the dead hand of state to stifle every individual initiative and control every natural urge and we will have the perfect communist state. A telescreen in every room and Victory Gin for all! Huzzah! What’s that you say, children? They’d never do it? We’d never fall for it? Look out – he’s be-hind you!


  1. Excellent blog. It terrifies me that Owen the fuckwit has a national soap box and people like you (who actually have an ounce of common sense) don't. This country really is fucked.

    1. Sadly that old adage applies - As Plato is said to have put it: “Those who SEEK power are invariably the least fit to hold and wield it.”

      As true today as it ever was and despite the all-seeing eye of the internet as invisible to the gullible herd as ever.

  2. I really, truly, fail to see how this is an excellent blog, and I'm glad that the blogger doesn't have a bigger platform to share his views, as most of the points here as, although passionate, not well argued or reasoned at all.

    The criticism of point 1, about all businesses fleeing, isn't substantiated by any evidence, and then most of the points which follow build on the assumption that businesses will all disappear.

    And by the end, there aren't really any counter-arguments, just rants and insults. Could the blogger please explain why he believes privatisation of, for example, the railways, would be so bad?

    I wonder if a reasoned discussion is possible...

    1. Sorry, I obviously meant 'nationalisation', not 'privatisation'! That'll teach me to type in a hurry...

    2. Don't be daft. You obviously haven't grasped how the Internet works, have you? Bless you for trying though, eh? ;-)