Another week, another PMQ’s, and this was yet another painstakingly long and surreal one and filled with jokes, laughs, and incoherent shouting as per usual. However, not much of a word from Speaker Bercow until he decided to talk a little bit about football and give PMQs some extra time. Maybe he was too busy with his yoga to pay attention to the fact that Jeremy Corbyn was repeatedly interrupted and disturbed by unruly schoolboy behaviour? You’d have thought he would have learnt his lesson from last week but apparently not, his bias against Corbyn is starting to rear his ugly head.
Contrary to many mishearings as shown on twitter and other social media, It’s actually posted workers that Jez was referring to and on which he spent a large amount of his allocated question time focused on. The Posted Workers Directive as proposed by the EU commission allows workers to be posted in different countries and perform skilled labour without adhering to the minimum wage of the country they are in – this poses problems for British workers as their jobs could be undertaken by cheap labour. This is obviously a massive concern, and Jeremy Corbyn, the so-proclaimed voice of the working classes, was right to back Cameron into a corner over it, but with some pretty hollow responses focusing on a single market economy and a reminder that they’re both on the same side when it comes to staying in the EU, it was a pretty pointless back and forth. To be perfectly honest, I kind of lost track of what Jez wanted from him, which I suppose was a knuckle down on workers rights in the UK, but it turned into a bit of an anti-Brexit campaign, with DC commenting on the economic benefits and Jez commenting on how the EU, in general, strengthens workers rights.
Housing Bill and crisis
London has a massive housing crisis. It was the main issue surrounding the London Mayoral elections and continues to be a focus of discussion. The population of London is steadily growing, and though more homes are being built, it’s not necessarily the ones that are needed. Issues along these lines were brought up at least three different intervals throughout PMQs, in reference to specific constituencies such as Holborn, the Housing Bill that has been introduced by the conservative government and Housing benefit and its impact on refugees. In their manifesto, the conservatives promised the right-to-buy for 1.3 million people, and in this session, he even started that it is the conservative government that has been building and delivering their manifesto pledge of 200,000 homes. DC keeps mentioning affordable homes and right to buy, talking about how the deposit of a house is significantly less (not mentioning numbers of course) with the right-to-buy scheme.
This is a load of S**t. Affordable housing? Is that the string of luxury homes you’re building throughout London in areas that are otherwise used by the community? One prime example of this that I witnessed myself the other day is a community football pitch and sports ground built into an old building opposite Shoreditch High Street Station. This is now going to be turned into Luxury apartments, gentrifying the area even more so it’s constituents can’t even kick a ball around anymore, but instead a load of million pound homes can be brought up and ‘used as vessels’ in a corrupt housing market (to quote Nigerian counter-corruption campaigners.)
And to take all this further based on what’s affordable and what’s not…
David Cameron seemed pretty content to keep nattering on about right to buy and even decided to throw in the Conservative policy for a new living wage, basically asking us all to bow down and kiss his feet because he put that into action. Jez obviously had some other words to say about this policy, and so do I. The National minimum wage has risen from £6.70 to £7.20 an hour. According to David Cameron, that’s on average an extra £20 per poor household a week. Really? Let’s talk about this.
It’s for people over 25 for starters, so even though there are young adults who are living in poverty, with young families up till the age of 24, they’re not eligible. They still earn £6.70 an hour, even in London, and I think that needs to be widely known. So even if you’re 24, you may have been living alone and self-sufficient, even with a family, you’d still only be entitled to 13,900 a year, 13,400 after tax.
The stronger issue, is based on the fact that as much as DC wants to call it a living wage, it’s not. The living wage in London currently stands at £9.40 and outside of London at £8.25. Based on working a 40 hour week, you’d be expecting to earn just under 15,000 before tax. After tax, this would be approximately £13,200, not including national insurance etc. (*using the tories own 11,000 tax-free policy)
Putting the minimum wage up to £8.25 would be a yearly wage of 17,160 approx 15,900 after tax and the London living wage would get you 19,500 (not even 20 grand) which after tax would be 17,840. A year at Eton College, where David Cameron famously attended – costs around £37,000. I know not all of us could afford to have a tax dodging daddy, but please do tell us again about how you understand what it’s like to live below the bread line, when your education costs way more than a year on a living wage.
To bring all of this to a point, how in the hell does David Cameron know what an affordable house is? Does he know what an affordable rent is? For a young family? For a student? All he can talk about is buying houses but that is still a long-lost pipe dream for many people today, from the poorest in society to the middle class, we no longer expect to be able to buy, and all that rhetoric is pretty much lost on us. Focus on safe, affordable houses for those who need it and you might have a point, but right now it’s nothing but empty promises.
A View from the Bridge.
The anti-corruption summit is due to start, which will see a coming together of countries from all geographical alignment to focus on tax transparency and corruption from all countries – so what is DC going to do about the UK administered tax havens that receive large sums of money by dodgy sources (as investigated and come to light by the Panama papers) that should and need to be shut down – especially in London. But we’re not talking about the economy here, (I know that’s what you want to put forward to all the rich bitches rooting for you in the back seats), but instead about tax evasion and we all know that’s something you have quite a lot of knowledge in. ‘We need a government prepared to tackle this amount of corruption’ – couldn’t have said it better myself, so why are the conservative MEPs voting against the EU proposal on ‘country by country transparency reporting’? Dodgy Dave being dodgy as usual and not answering this question put to him by my right honorable mention this week Angus Robertson MP, the SNP parliamentary group leader and spokesperson whose definitely making a name for himself by standing up to DC and putting forward the questions that matter. Doesn’t mean dodgy Dave will actually answer the question, though.
Honest opinion on DC’s dodgy dealings? Just because a lot of the tax evasion that was going on seems to be legal it doesn’t by any means make it right. David Cameron: You are one snakey guy, and you’ve been scapegoating the poorest members of society about tax dodging for the longest time when you, your father and probably a ton of your other friends and family are (technically legally) funneling money off-seas, just to be redistributed into private education, private business matters, and places that the majority of your citizens are never going to see. Yet you wonder why we still have a problem with it? Shut up and answer the goddamm question.
JezWeKhan vol. 2: Return of the Cam.
David Cameron did say that he was looking forward to working with London Mayor Sadiq Khan – who I might add has one of the strongest elected mandates– on issues in London especially solving the housing crisis. He said nothing about the disgusting campaign he and Zac Goldsmith lead in the run-up to the mayoral election, branding Khan as an extremist with no evidence. Khan’s mandate is a step in the right direction against racism and smear campaigns, and David Cameron should be running away from his use of dog whistle politics with his tail between his legs.
Then why wasn’t he? Although Lib Dem leader Tim Farron MP stood up and demanded that the Prime Minister took back his comments and admitted his poor tactics in the campaign, Jeremy Corbyn didn’t mention Khan once. Not once. Not to congratulate him, not to hold DC accountable for his words, it’s like he forgot he existed. Especially after everything Dave said about him and his friends last week, you’d think he would have stood up and demanded an apology. To be honest, I’m glad he didn’t go that far, making PMQs even more petty on the subject of language in my eyes would be a mistake, but he should have at least said something, and I’m quite disappointed by it.
Right Honorable Mention – Coming back to the babe that is Angus Robertson MP but more specifically his congratulations to Nicola Sturgeon, who was reelected with 46% of the vote in the Scottish parliament elections, the most legitimate voter turnout in recent history within Western Europe.
Little positive – The voter turnout in Police Crime Commissioner elections have risen by 25%- general local election voting has risen, this is a definite step in the right direction for increasing voter turnout and decreasing apathy in UK politics. (Side Note: for more information on why electoral reform and increased voter turnout is important, my dissertation relating to this subject can be found online here)
Overall, long, surreal and a little bit boring at times, but still a laugh involved hearing DC mention Boaty McBoatface – trying to gain cool points and failing miserably. When will you learn Dave.