Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Tories

Ben Gummer, Ipswich MP, to ‘abolish’ National Insurance.

with 5 comments

Ben Gummer’s Political Programme.

Ipswich Tory MP Ben Gummer is famous for a number of  things.

  • He has ” suggested shaking up local government so that councillors solely representing local businesses could be elected to town halls.Mr Gummer acknowledged the idea “had no hope of getting into a manifesto” but pointed to the City of London, as a model for how his idea works in practice.The City is governed by the Corporation of London, which is the oldest local authority in England having been founded in medieval times.Elections there give votes to both firms and residents. (BBC 2012)
  • For his book, The Scourging Angel: The Black Death in the British Isles. Gummer suggested that the Catholic Church played a noble role in comforting the sick and helping stem the worst effects of the plague. This may or may not be taken as seriously. We note that his Catholicism has not helped him take a stand against the misery that “welfare reform” has brought to many of his constituents. Or to help the present-day unwell fight off the ATOS pandemic.
  • Being a Toady, a founder indeed, of the Royal Guild of Toadies. This has earned him the position of adviser to Michael Gove.

Today we learn this,

A Conservative MP is campaigning for national insurance contributions (NICs) to be rebranded the “earnings tax” in a move that has caught the eye of the chancellor.

Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, is bringing forward a 10-minute rule bill this week that proposes changing the name as the first step towards merging it with income tax.

It is highly unlikely to make it into law through this route but George Osborne, the chancellor, is said to be attracted to the idea.

Gummer has been campaigning on tax transparency as a merger of income tax and NICs could make it clearer to people how much they are paying to the exchequer out of their earnings.

National insurance, first introduced in 1911, is levied on employers and employees to pay for certain benefits such as the state pension. It works out at around 12% per year, plus an extra 2% for earnings above £41,450.


Ipswich Spy notes that renaming National Insurance  is a demand of the hard-right Tax Payers’ Alliance*.

Gummer states that “Taxpayers are consumers”, including no doubt employers.

Nobody should be in any doubt as to which ‘consumers’ he is most interested in.

A recent post (14th February)  on his Blog shows where he stands, “ANGLIAN WATER SHOWS WHY PRIVATIZATION CAN WORK.”

Now he wants to get people aligned with the bosses to complain about the level of tax, that is the “earnings tax”.

Gummer’s support for the City of London and hard-right free-market ideas are no secret.

Perhaps  Georgi Dimitrov was thinking of the likes of Gummer when he talked of “of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital.”

*The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has called for National Insurance (NI) to be scrapped to make the tax system simpler and more transparent. The need for tax reform has never been more pressing, particularly in light of this week’s revelations about HMRC errors.

The campaign group says National Insurance serves no purpose and has set out a package of measures to merge both employers’ and employees’ contributions with Income Tax. The call comes as part of the Treasury’s call for feedback as part of its consideration of the integration of the operation of the income tax and National Insurance contributions system……

The move could significantly reduce the burden on businesses of complying with these taxes, as well as making it easier for people to see exactly how much tax they are paying on their earnings. Here.

The Spectator underlines our point.

After describing the Ipswich Toad Eater’s proposal notes, 

That’s all very noble in itself. But there’s another point, which Gummer isn’t focusing on, but which is politically handy to his party. Labour wants a greater emphasis on raising taxes after 2015 than the Conservatives do. But because tax rises aren’t very popular, the best way to do this beyond some symbolic taxes such as raising the top rate back to 50p (if that raises anything more at all) and introducing a mansion tax would be to focus on the mysterious National Insurance. But if National Insurance became an Earnings Tax and it was clearer to the electorate what it is, then the Tories wouldn’t need to work quite so hard on their ‘stealth tax’/’jobs tax’ campaigns as they have before.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 24, 2014 at 10:53 am

The Shadow Over Ipswich.

with 2 comments

Major Ipswich Tory Donor

Education secretary Michael Gove has chosen Ipswich MP Ben Gummer as his parliamentary aide.

In an unusual guest post a Mr Cthulhu comments, 

““Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”

Which roughly translated means, “The mussel crop in Ipswich Docks promises to be rich this year”.

Mr Cthulhu adds, “An excellent  choice. That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.”

Written by Andrew Coates

October 30, 2013 at 10:58 am

Hate on the Dole: George Osborne to Make Unemployed “pick up littter.”

with 14 comments


‘Community Service’ Osborne’s Solution to Mass Unemployment.

The Daily Mail exults, “Benefits will be stripped from the long-term jobless unless they work full time picking up litter, removing graffiti or preparing meals for the elderly.”

“George Osborne will today announce details of the US-style ‘work for the dole’ programme, starting within six months and affecting 200,000 welfare claimants.”

The Independent reports the crucail details.

200,000 people a year who have claimed jobseeker’s allowance for three years will lose benefits unless they take up one of three options after two years on the Work Programme:

  • Thirty hours a week for six months of community work such as making meals for the elderly, cleaning up litter and graffiti or charity work, plus 10 hours of “job search activity”.
  • Daily attendance at a jobcentre  to search for work instead of a  brief interview once a fortnight.
  • A mandatory intensive regime for claimants with underlying problems such as mental health, drug addiction or illiteracy.

Although the benefit sanctions will be controversial, the Tories regard the “work for dole” scheme as an example of “tough love” and insist their aim is to help the jobless back into work.

We note,

Statistics released by the DWP today show that the performance of the Work Programme – which was already achieving less than doing nothing at all – is steadily getting worse.

By June 2013 a lower percentage of people who had been on the scheme for one full year had found a job which lasted at least 6 months  – known as a sustained job outcome – than in the previous two months.  In April 2013 14% of claimants who had been on the scheme for one year had found sustained jobs, by June this had dropped to 13%.*

Boycott Workfare  rightly compares the plans to the punishments given out to those who have broken the law.

Unemployed people and campaigners have condemned George Osborne’s announcement that long-term unemployed people will be forced to work unpaid or face losing their social security as a criminalisation of unemployed people.

The maximum community sentence that a judge can hand out is for 300 hours, but claimants on six-month workfare schemes are already being forced to work without pay for 780 hours. The four-week Mandatory Work Activity scheme is already the equivalent of a medium level community service order that a person might receive if they were found guilty of drink driving or assault.

When a similar scheme was introduced in the US, thousands of jobs in the Parks Department were lost in New York alone – to be replaced with forced unpaid workers. Similar case studies have emerged in the UK, where workfare placements are already taking place in hospitals, council offices, charities and businesses.

What is the record of previous workfare schemes?

A pilot has already been tried.

Boycott Workfare commented on the results,

The preliminary results are from the trailblazer pilot, which tested CAP along with Ongoing Case Management (OCM) – “a more intensive a more intensive offer of flexible and personalised adviser-based support, as well as a set of mandatory activities, delivered by Jobcentre Plus through increased adviser interventions for six months”. These two schemes were tested with a control group continuing on standard job centre plus, and participants randomly assigned to the schemes.

Fifteen to 18 per cent in each programme strand had entered paid employment, become self-employed or were waiting to start work at the time of the survey, six to seven months after starting on the trailblazer. These job outcomes did not vary significantly between programme strands, nor did the types of jobs entered, take-home pay and hours worked.

For participants on OCM, those who reported receiving more personalised support to their individual needs were significantly more likely to be in work at the end of the programme. However, for CAP participants, neither attending a placement nor receiving jobsearch support were significantly associated with a job outcome around the end of the programme.

The majority of participants reported being in receipt of JSA at the time of the survey. DWP statistics published alongside this report found statistically significantly lower levels of benefit receipt for both CAP and OCM participants compared to the control group about six months after starting the programme.

The degrading sight of the Chancellor of the Exchequer announcing, with glee, that the out-of-work will have to clean the streets, wash the walls of scribblings, and cook for the old, awaits us today.

His Minister of Work and Pensions, Ian Duncan Smith, is said to be devout Catholic.

Not doubt that played something in the decision to make life hell on earth for the unemployed.

Important Update.

Johnny Void points out how the hard right Policy Exchange has manufactured statistical support for Workfare.

“The general public’s opinions on workfare have been grossly distorted by the nature of the questions asked in this survey.”

* The TUC said (26 September 2013),

Work Programme is still failing to help vulnerable people, says TUC

Commenting on figures published today (Thursday) by the Department for Work and Pensions on the government’s Work Programme, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

‘Despite the official spin, the Work Programme is still failing to deliver for many jobseekers.

‘Just one person in 25 is able to find a proper job after a year on the scheme, and disabled people have seen virtually no benefit since its introduction. Although there has been an increase in placements for those on those on the dole these improvements are starting to tail off.

‘The government is obsessed with punishing those out of work, rather than helping them find jobs. The best way to get to grips with our unemployment crisis would be to offer a jobs guarantee for anyone out of work for at least a year.’

Written by Andrew Coates

September 30, 2013 at 10:34 am

Thatcher and Enoch Powell.

with 6 comments


I hate the ugly, hate the old,
I hate the lame and weak,
But more than that I hate the dead
That lie so still in their earthen bed
And never dare to rise.
I only love the strong and bold,
The flashing eye, the reddening cheek,
But more than all I love the fire
In youthful limbs, that wakes desire

And never satisfies.

Enoch Powell.

Yesterday on Question Time Charles Moore, the author of the soon-to-be published updated biography of Margaret Thatcher, spoke vociferously in defence of her memory and legacy.

He practically foamed with anger at those who ‘disrespected’ her with protests and Death Parties.

Charles Moore combines a boundless admiration for Thatcher with warm feelings towards one of Thatcher’s major influences, Enoch Powell.

Writing of the later Moore said last year,

Powell’s passion was a virtue as well, because political leaders should be able to feel and to dramatise the history that makes a nation what it is.

His commitment to the British nation state, and above all to the Parliament which embodied it, made him pay relentless attention to the visceral issues which lay behind the questions of the day. “Enoch was right”, taxi drivers always used to say 25 years ago.

They meant, right about the dangers of mass immigration. Some of them were racists, but I don’t think most were. They had a pride in the identity of their nation and a fear when they felt it threatened. Powell spoke to these feelings, and although his language was inflammatory, he was right to raise the subject.

If you were around in the 1970s it was not necessary to see the connection between Thatcher and Powell, even after Powell had been forced out of the Conservative Party.

One could simply feel the strong bond.

But if proof were needed Thatcher later said this – on Powell’s views on immigration.

In an interview for Today shortly after her departure from office in 1991, Margaret Thatcher said that Powell had “made a valid argument, if in sometimes regrettable terms.” (Wikipedia)

In more detailed terms the connection is described as follows.

“The former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, based many of her defining policies along the lines of Enoch Powell’s rhetoric. There are not a great many differences; although Margaret Thatcher did make attempts to curtail immigration, it was not to the extent that Powell had proposed in 1968. Thatcher also intended to greatly reduce the power of the welfare state and national assistance, which Powell had not been so enthusiastic about.”

Andrew Gamble was to call Thatcherism the politics of the “Free Market and the Strong State” .

It was this ideological debt to Powell as well as the New Right that he referred to.

People were forced to be free on the market, and if they didn’t like it they would be stamped on.

Richard Seymour’s Obituary of Thatcher is well worth reading on these links.

When admirers of Thatcher talk of how ‘vicious’ the 1970s left was, and had tasteless and hateful those holding Thatcher death parties are, look at the poem of her hero above.

Its stench is hard to forget.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Ben Gummer Ipswich MP to Consecrate Shrine to Baroness Thatcher.

with one comment

Lady Lane, The Beautiful Site for New Shrine to Baroness Thatcher.

Ben Gummer Ipswich MP (Con), Minister for Ipswich, Mayor of Ipswich and leader of the National Amalgamated Associated Operatives for Bankers* gives an alternative view in this guest post on Tendance Coatesy.

Thatcher was the most truly great PMs in this country’s history.

I met her several times over the years – the last time was at the funeral of Ted Heath – and she always had time for me.

She did more to form modern Britain than any other person. She reversed decline and gave the nation a most significant endowment, a renewed spirit of confidence, enterprise and endeavour.

I would like to add that Baroness Thatcher inspired me to go into politics.

As a lad,  taking pot shots at some ne’er-do-well peasants on the Suffolk Estates of my father (now Baron Deben), I played my part in that spirit of endeavour and enterprise.

The people of Ipswich owe a lot to her work.

The closure of the Ransomes and Rapier in 1987 and the clearing of the Engineering firms, and other industry based at the head of the River Orwell paved the way for today’s much-needed Neptune Marina.

Without this reversal of decline would the much-loved Bistro On The Quay be there?

That is why, with a committee of local figures, we have formed the Lady Lane Shrine group.

A historic site, dedicated to our Lady, will become the destination for new pilgrimages.

This time in Baroness Thatcher’s Honour.

The young folk begging in the gutters of Ipswich and sleeping in doorways will find great consolation in this.

Gifts and tributes to the former PM  can be placed at my Central Ipswich Office.

We are pleased to have received the sponsorship of Wonga Dot Com.

*From Ben’s Blog, latest post:

Three Cheers for the Bankers 29th March 2013.

My post a few weeks ago included a letter from City UK, which lobbies on behalf of the financial services sector. It is a clever outfit, because despite its name it works hard to represent companies and employees working outside London in other financial centres across the country. And they know how to lobby: with the letter came a factsheet on my constituency. Frankly, in the case of Ipswich they don’t need to do any explaining – the numbers speak for themselves.

There are two things to note here.  First, that of all places in Britain we should be the last to indulge in ‘banker bashing’.  There are a few in London who give this sector a bad name but in the main people working in financial services are very normal: they might even be your neighbour or the person who you sat next to on the bus this morning.

Secondly, this sector produces enormous amounts of wealth – the better part of £1 billion in Ipswich alone.  Without it, we would not be able to afford Ipswich Hospital or your local primary school or the roads, not perfect as they all may be.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm