June 19, 2011 by Rhi
There’s a very amusing chap on twitter, who goes by the name of Old Holborn, who I follow not out of support for what he says, but more out of need to have a good old laugh at what passes for political comment these days.
He’s not really a rabid right-winger. In fact, such is the flimsiness of his arguments, I’m not entirely sure that he’s for real. And he does say some funny things in a tongue in cheek fashion, which make me howl with laughter. And so he’s on my follow list, and I occasionally pop onto his blog to see what soundbites he’s setting forth to the masses on the issues of the day.
The trouble with what he says, is that it’s very similar to the rest of the right wingers on twitter – all bombastic outrage, and supposition presented as fact. A bit like Daily Mail headlines. And the main trouble is, he writes tweets with sweeping ideals, but which can easily be picked apart in all of three seconds. For example, this appeared in my feed the other night:
Now, I decided I wasn’t going to get involved in the right or wrong of his argument. He’s against tax and is a great believer in every man for himself. But I did take a little delight in pointing out to him a glaring error in his rhetoric. His argument hinges on fairness for “The Taxpayer”. But public sector workers pay tax as well, at the same rate as non public sector workers. So he’s contradicting himself. They can’t be working longer and paying more tax whilst also retiring early. I did try to point this out, but I don’t think he understood.
The I read this blog post, which appeared not long after the comments made by Philip Davies regarding the minimum wage. The tone of the post is one which I have noticed creeping into right-wing commentators in recent times. It was also present in Mr Davies comments in the House of Commons. It’s one which is meant to make people believe in the inherent goodness of what the speaker is saying – one which gives the impression that the idea which is being discussed is actually of benefit to the poor people. It’s not because of a need to protect their own interests, oh no. It’s to give poor people the same opportunities to better themselves. Philip Davies was full of concern for people with learning difficulties, being oppressed by the silly liberal lefties. Similarly, Old Holborn wants those people without work to take back control of their destiny. He argues that it’s so terribly unfair for them to have to work for a rate which the Labour government set, and not one which they themselves are happy to work for. And so the minimum wage is holding everyone back, and stifling individuals. Unemployment would drop if the minimum wage were abolished, and if we can’t see it, we’re daft.
Hmmm. Well, it’s a nice ruse, I’ll give him that. It’s ALMOST like he thinks he and his ilk care about unemployed people. However, what it actually amounts to is a cynical attempt to get something for nothing, which is not unusual for those who would like to see laissez-faire return to the table.
Unemployment rates are high because there are more jobs than there are people. The recession has forced cutbacks, and companies are working out how few people they can get away with having on their staff. Abolishing the minimum wage would not change that. For big business, no minimum wage would allow them to pay a pittance, and take away the chance for people to earn a living wage for a job which often is worth more than the minimum wage you would currently receive for it. Abolishing the minimum wage would only reduce unemployment if companies were willing to take on two people instead of one, for the same rate (i.e. pay each on £3 per hour, as opposed to one person £5.93). Which is completely unlikely. Companies, when faced with the choice of more employees or more profits, are going to take the profits every time.
So, we’ve got just as many unemployed people, just as few jobs for them to apply for… and now a bartering market where the prospective employee, according to our learned friend’s reckoning, is in control of how much his/her labour is worth. A-hem. When it’s an employer’s market, it’s quite obviously going to be they who are in control of how much they pay, and it’s up to the employee to name the right price. So what we’re looking at is a reverse gazumping scheme, where people are falling over themselves to work for the lowest amount of money, in order to secure a job. Which, of course, is a situation which perfectly suits right-wing sensibilities. Young people, and those at the lower end of society, kept at the bottom, with no wage guarantees, and no job security, whilst business owners and “old skool” Tories sit at the top like King Fucking Solomon saying “We’re not sure we can afford to renew your contract on your current rate. Any chance you could drop to £3 an hour, squire?”
The thing which I find most sinister about this new generation of Tories, is they ease to which they’ve adapted to the old “Call Me Dave!” act. Policies and ideas designed to maximise profit for those sitting pretty on other people’s money, are dismantled and repackaged in a snazzy new form, with added hand wringing and buzz words, to make it sound as those they’re so keen to help the poor people better themselves. I’ve mentioned in another post how, on the very day George Osbourne spoke about needing entrepreneurs to step up and help the economy, I discovered that the Government funding which I could have access to start my own business, had been frozen by the new Government.
Old Holborn’s harmless enough, a gentle amusement with a neat line in soundbites, but his ideas ultimately lack substance. But the trouble is he’s not alone… and these ideas which are marketed as being helpful to the poorest in society, but which are actually there to hold them further down in the mire of unemployment, are dangerous. Hopefully, the great British public are too smart to fall f or it…