We’re Not as Dumb as You Think We Are…


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…


11 thoughts on “We’re Not as Dumb as You Think We Are…

  1. Old Holborn says:

    What exactly IS Government funding? You do know the Govt has NO money and has to borrow from future generations, right?

    If my precious “job security” is bought using the money my children have yet to earn, I’ll won’t have to make sure they piss on my grave when I’m dead.

    • Is this a new thing, then? Since the start of the welfare state, the wages of the current workforce is used to pay for the education of the the future one, and the old age of the previous one.

      And the funding would have meant I could have started my own business, and been off of unemployment benefits within 6 months, earning my own wage. Without the scheme, I was still on benefits – but with no way out of it in the current jobs market. As it stands at the moment, willingness and an ability to work is worth bugger all. I’ve never asked for anything other than a chance to get a job. Can you tell me how getting rid of the minimum wage is going to make me any more employable than I am already?

      • Old Holborn says:

        I am curious as to this “funding” you speak of. Was it “risk free money” by any chance? A “grant”?

      • I didn’t get far enough into it before discovering it had been frozen to find out whether there was a start up grant in place. I don’t think there was, but I seem to remember it was implied that it was backed by banks, which meant that having the “qualification” meant that they would look favourably on you when it came to start up loans. Also, the main thing you got from it was a working business plan, in appropriate bank-speak, which is half the bloody battle.

        From what I learned from the JCP, it would allow me, instead of going insane signing on each week at the Job Centre being offered jobs which I had no chance of getting because I’m overqualified for them, to attend workshops which would cover all the necessary factors involved in setting up a new business. I’d get a run on of JSA to cover the interim period between set up and making money which would then be reclaimed when you were making a profit (because the big problem with setting up on your own is that if you don’t have a rich someone to bankroll you from the get go, you have to live rough in order to set up). And obviously my being self employed successfully would, in the long run, take a large amount of cost away from the Government, because i wouldn’t qualify for sick pay, NI or any of that other soft shit that I get from working for the man. It would also mean that I wouldn’t be at the mercy of dipshit employers, and would be sorted to make my own money. Which is actually what I’d like to do. I fucking hate working for people who’s job I could do for them, and who know that fact.

  2. Whatever says:

    “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.”

    Where do you think the money comes from to pay the public sector workers in the first place? I am afraid it is you who does not understand the simple economics.

  3. Billy Blofeld says:

    Fuck – I started reading that blog post – but by Christ it was boring. I had to give up….

  4. Peter Cox says:

    Isn’t it just lovely to have some nice political comment going on out there and I think its just wonderful to have some people who are prepared to comment on it:

    “Oh do fuck off, you lefty slag”

    “Fuck – I started reading that blog post – but by Christ it was boring. I had to give up….”

    If you aren’t prepared to join the debate in any particular way, why comment at all. Surely you might consider it a waste of your bandwidth. If so, just get lost because if you aren’t prepared to contribute then you shouldn’t bother. This is an important point about the state of the jobs market in our economy and requires proper consideration and not some internet yobbos deciding that it isn’t worth their time and telling us thus.

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