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How Labour Abuses The Middle Classes

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jh...8/ixportal.html

How Labour abuses the middle classes

You should be rich or poor under this Government - otherwise you're stuffed. The past week has shown just how far ministers are prepared to go to help the two extremes. If you are living on benefits, smoke, drink, have out-of-control children and like shoplifting on the side, then the Government can help.

It will provide you with a personal trainer, a supernanny to sort out your domestic problems, extensive family tax credits and will turn a blind eye to anything small you might like to nick from a shop. You don't have to worry about taxes and the police are too frightened to stop you keeping a gun on the side without a licence.

The rich get the same treatment. This Government doesn't seem to mind if they don't want to contribute much to the coffers, so they get to spend their money on personal trainers, supernannies and shooting. They cruise into London from Heathrow via special taxi lanes and have chauffeurs waiting outside the shops so they don't get parking tickets. They are given peerages in return for dosh and shuffle their money and mortgages around with alarming alacrity without incurring the wrath of the state. Just ask David Mills.

It is everyone in between who bears the brunt. The middle classes are now as derided as Mr and Mrs Dursley of Number Four, Privet Drive. Ministers can't bear the hard-working families they pretend to want to help. They dislike their curtain-twitching, the pushy parents wanting to send their children to the best state schools, their whining about the NHS and whingeing about their long commutes to work.

But it's the middle classes who are paying the bills and sticking to the rules while everyone else breaks them - and it's a huge constituency. They are the ones who pay the speeding fines, who will have to fit the new children's seats in the back of cars, who have to squeeze on to the increasingly antiquated public transport system. They will not get a peerage for their 30 years of community service unless they have also given a million to the party.

They are also the ones who can't afford to have more than two children. It's now a status symbol for hedge-fund managers to have five, and the worst off get help with their broods. But those in the middle have to think before they procreate. How can they afford to have a second child, pay off the mortgage and save up for their pensions unless both parents work? Even if they manage to pay for the childcare and the ballet lessons, they will have to help with the university tuition fees (now £3,000 a year).

They are the ones who have seen their tax bills rise without the balancing effect of a large bonus. The gap between the top 10 per cent and the rest of the country has grown each year since Labour came to power. Those in the middle are struggling with inheritance tax (six million are now liable), higher income taxes (1.6 million more pay higher rate income tax than before Gordon Brown arrived), massively increased council taxes, dentist's bills and increased pension contributions.

It's not only Tony Blair who lets his rich friends and the poor off the hook. Gordon Brown woos the rich in the City as much as those on the worst housing estates. He enjoyed the use of Geoffrey Robinson's penthouse hotel suite and his free trips to the south of France, and backed this former Treasury minister even when he was exposed for not declaring his offshore bank accounts.

Interviewed on Parkinson at the weekend, the Prime Minister showed he was every inch the middle-class man, even if he does holiday with rock stars and dodgy Italian leaders. He talked about helping his children with their homework and he worries about getting up the property ladder. Mr Brown's home in North Queensferry is typically bourgeois, and he says he wants his children to have a normal childhood.

But they both seem happier sucking up to the rich or talking down to the poor. They are traitors to their class.

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Excellent article, but I think the middle classes would be treated this way under any goverment.

This is how I see it;

The Rich didn't get rich by giving away money, the majority (and this isn't a critisism) will try and avoid as much tax as possible. This can be done through accountants or by simply leaving the country. If all very high earners/entrepreners left the country, we really would be up the river without a paddle.

The low or no income families are used by the media to highlight any goverments failings (think NHS, housing, etc). They are also more likely to be part of a union which can also have a lot of power.

The middle income/class are generally steady earners, however, they would be unlikely to use an accountant for tax dodges and could not leave the country as easily as the high earners/entrepreners. The media do not take as much of an interest in them as the plight of the poor will always sound more dramatic and ultimately sell more news papers.

So the rich can supply money and private sector jobs (in theory) and the poor can provide a congratulatory voice for the goverment. The middle class, although the 'cogs of the UK', will never cause the goverment any problems unless they all leave en mass.

I believe this was the same under most goverments, not just this one.

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that article i find in a number of points offensive and wrong.

Firstly i think the people that have been most shafted are the working classes, not the lazy and unemployable class but your steady in employment working class.It always amazes me why no outrage over a article like this that only assumes there is a thieving/robbing/lazy class then its straight to middle class, ie everyone under middle class is tarred with the same brush.

The middle classes have done quite well out of labour, a large majority of there band work for the government and thus have recieved huge pay rises, they were also more than likely to have owned homes hence did very nice out of there growing equity.

The lazy dolies did quite nice too, while the tories treated them with mostly the contempt the deserve the labour party threw money at them and blamed there lazyness on society.So they upped all there benifits and gave them more money in diffrent tax schemes.

The real shafted part of society is what i see on this site, the hard working joe blogs that never had a house to sell, or never had lazy tendancies.That aint married and dont get any subsidies.That dont have kids and dont get tax credits and free this and that.

But when the pot is handed out they get nothing in return but are expected to give even more, ie a single person is not only totaly priced out of buying a property to live in, theve been subjected to higher rents on what were traditionally there homes ie 1 bedroom flats, they also pay 75% of the council tax when only one wage is coming in.And it costs just as much to warm a house for one as it does for 2 or 3 or 4.And that home costs as much to buy as it does for 1 or 2 or 3.

This is the real shafted part of society and not the one the writer of the story in this thread talks about, theve been watching there houses put on over 100k each in equity the last few years, and many of them have then used this to BTL, to increase the pressure on the hardest done by part of society even more.

there are 7 million single people in this country now, and tony blair is using his policies which he has made no bones about are all about families and helping families, to shaft every single on of them.

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This can be done through accountants or by simply leaving the country. If all very high earners/entrepreners left the country, we really would be up the river without a paddle.

Lets say that tax is like paying to get into a nightclub. Some people, students, the poor pay a very reduced rate, the VIPs get in for free, I have to pay fair enough I think, I'll fork out a tenner, even if I'm subsidising the others.

But things have changed under the New Labour Management, it feels more like Iv'e been beaten up, spat on, had my wallet taken off me, and then to add insult to injury I've been told that I can't even get into the club anymore.

Luckily for me I have just about enough money to mean that I cab take my trade elsewhere.....which is precisely what I'm doing. ;)

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Good grief! the Telegraph is rude about the Labour government. Whatever next?

I remember reading an article by Charles Moore in the Telegraph moaning about au pairs, school fees and his scond home in Tuscany. I nearly cried, it was so unjust....These people live in another world, a very long way away from the real life situations of anyone I know as middle class.

A public school and aristocratic elite that cannot accept that a democratically elected Labour government has the right to be in power, is not a group I will listen to with too much sympathy.

I deeply regret the fact that Labour has not put up income tax on the rich (earning over 100k for example) to 50%. Clamping down on individual and company tax avoidance with the same zeal as they attack benefit fraud would also be a sensible move.

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ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH

:angry: :angry: :angry:

Chancellor Gordon Brown wants to give 13-19 year-olds up to £25 a month to keep them "off the streets", as part of a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4785164.stm

Some hope. I calculate you could buy 8 bottles of white lightning with that (not including special offers).

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Yesterdays FT has an article

Middle-aged and stranded by the ‘new economy’

By Richard Sennett

Published: March 6 2006 19:56 | Last updated: March 6 2006 19:56

If you did not get your multi-million-dollar bonus last year, few people will shed a tear for you. But spare a thought for people in the middle of your organisation. Many of them are highly vulnerable to risk with little prospect of reward.

In the last generation, wealth has stagnated for workers in the middle of the economy even as those at the top have, famously, become even richer and, an unsung achievement, many poor workers have increased their wealth share. Stagnating wages are the main cause; in the US, for example, the middle quintile is barely better off than it was 15 years ago. Though property values have increased, this asset is hard to access for ordinary income; to gain traction as consumers, mid-level families in the US and Britain have piled up debts, while middle-class Europeans have not done much better.

For this slice of society, stagnation has become intertwined with insecurity. Work has taken on a new character in recent decades for people in the middle; its risks are especially evident among those whose fortunes are tied to the “new economy” – cutting-edge, global businesses such as financial services, media and high-tech. They account for no more than 20 per cent of US and 15 per cent of British employment but in them, modern capitalism has concentrated its energies and defined its ideals.

The new economy has reformulated workers’ experience of time. Long service and accumulated experience do not earn the rewards that more traditional companies once provided. Instead, cutting-edge businesses want young employees who can work long hours; the “youth premium” works against older employees with multiple responsibilities. Dynamic companies have also shortened the time-frame of work itself; jobs are defined as short-lived projects rather than permanent functions. In media, mid-level employees can expect increasingly to work on six or even three-month contracts, if there are contracts at all. Throughout the “new economy”, companies are rapidly changing business focus and identity in response to shifting global market conditions.

Meanwhile, time has been transformed throughout the economy as the security net of benefits has torn. Thirty years ago, industrial labourers were menaced when plants went bust; today uncertain pensions and healthcare have become middle-class problems. The risks of space have compounded those of time. A generation ago the work exported to low-wage countries were routine, manual jobs; today, computer programming and architectural engineering can be profitably exported to India, China and Brazil.

Instability can be an opportunity – if you have real wealth to invest, or are young and unattached, or an immigrant exploring cracks in the labour force. If you are dutiful but not brilliant at work, if you have children and a mortgage, if you are worried about old-age hardship, then instability does not equal opportunity.

How did the middle slice of workers wind up in this fraught position? After the breakdown of the Bretton Woods agreements in the early 1970s, a sea of capital flooded the world and it was “impatient capital”, in the words of Bennett Harrison, the economist, capital looking for short-term returns on share prices rather than longer-term dividends on profits. To benefit, companies had to change themselves by innovating in their products or in the way they organised themselves, in order to “send a signal” to their markets. Performing for these markets has increased the centralisation of power. To turn a business around quickly, the command centre must be able to act decisively without bureaucratic muffling. Modern technologies have helped companies strip out their middle layers of bureaucracy, and so shorten the chain of command.

Though not a dominant employer, the dynamic motor of the new economy controls smaller, local businesses, down to goods in the corner store. More important, the short-term, lean, high-tech company has become the sex symbol of the business world. Mid-level, middle-aged, stable workers detract from the allure: they appear in managerial manuals devoted to the new economy as “ingrown bureaucrats” who are “resistant to change”. A company can sex itself up practically by replacing mid-level bureaucracy with technology, by exporting technical work to low-wage countries, or simply by enforcing a work ethos in which all employees are treated as young, unencumbered and driven.

For the last 10 years, my research team has been studying how people in the middle cope with these pressures. As befits adults, people with paunches are ambivalent. On one hand, they believe in the new work ethos: business should be dynamic and lean; in publicly-traded companies, mid-level employees recognise the shareholder pressures on their bosses. On the other hand, they see their own income stagnation as unfair. If the company does not value their commitment, why should they feel loyalty to it?

Many discussions of “work-life balance” focus on the lengthening time employees now spend on the job; in Britain, the European champion, working and commuting is edging up to 11 hours daily. The people we interviewed have found various effective ways to deal with these family-time deficits; they encounter more trouble managing the unreliability of work as a source of family support. That both men and women worry about failing their families was a key finding – this spectre once haunted manual labourers but has now migrated to the middle-class. Manual labourers had strong unions to turn to; white-collar unions are weak or non-existent in the new economy.

People in the middle, both young and old, grasp at the idea that “skills” will somehow defend them against the risks of the modern workplace. Yet, young people know that the education system turns out many more qualified graduates than there are jobs. And middle-aged people grasp at the idea of retraining themselves even though they know employers are likely to prefer freshly-trained workers at home or workers pre-trained abroad. Nothing was more grinding, to me, than listening to people my age talk of “re-inventing” themselves to be more competitive, mouthing clichés they barely believed.

The struggling middle class has become a favourite theme of western politicians. This political rhetoric seems out of touch with the realities on the ground. It celebrates the skills society, which in reality is increasingly located off-shore. Politicians have not taken on board, I think, the crisis of the work ethic for those in the middle, an ethic that turns on institutional loyalty and reliability in providing for the family – an ethic that requires political programmes to ensure continuity and durability in middle-class life, to countervail against the new economy.

The writer is author of The Culture of the New Capitalism, published this week by Yale University Press

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Excellent article, but I think the middle classes would be treated this way under any goverment.

This is how I see it;

The Rich didn't get rich by giving away money, the majority (and this isn't a critisism) will try and avoid as much tax as possible. This can be done through accountants or by simply leaving the country. If all very high earners/entrepreners left the country, we really would be up the river without a paddle.

The low or no income families are used by the media to highlight any goverments failings (think NHS, housing, etc). They are also more likely to be part of a union which can also have a lot of power.

The middle income/class are generally steady earners, however, they would be unlikely to use an accountant for tax dodges and could not leave the country as easily as the high earners/entrepreners. The media do not take as much of an interest in them as the plight of the poor will always sound more dramatic and ultimately sell more news papers.

So the rich can supply money and private sector jobs (in theory) and the poor can provide a congratulatory voice for the goverment. The middle class, although the 'cogs of the UK', will never cause the goverment any problems unless they all leave en mass.

I believe this was the same under most goverments, not just this one.

No government can get elected without the middle class vote. I think it really depends on what you regard as middle class. If you are talking about "average earners" I don't think they regard themselves as too badly off under New Labour. Afterall their house is 'worth' loads of money and they have a job, and access to easy credit to buy that new car.

It's the more traditional professional middle classes that are badly off. Higher rate tax payers but not 'the rich'. They are not used to having to compete with poorer people with access to unlimited credit bidding up the houses they want to buy. They also plan for things such as pensions, inheritance tax and the kids' education. They are able to see how they are being milked by this government. Telegraph journalists would probably come under this category.

All the while interest rates stay low and unemployment stays high the indebted masses will just about be able to keep their heads above water and carry on voting new labour back in. There are however an incredible number of storm clouds gathering on the horizon as we know, but for the moment it still seems like plain sailing.

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My mother used to moan about the squeeze on the middle classes when I was a child in the 80s... under a Tory government of course. I found it all rather tiresome at the time (as you would, it was almost as bad as being subjected to The Archers) but am growing concerned at my increasing tendency to have the same worries now... :blink:

odd thing is, my ma shouldn't really have been moaning. Whatever processes were in place had got her from a council house to near-bourgeois surroundings in fifteen years. That's the rub, do people want to pull up the ladder behind them? Or did Thatch split the working class right down the middle - pulling half up to homeownership and university for the kids and leaving the other half idly soaking up benefits?

(mentioning her usually sparks off some heated debate... Thatch that is, not my Ma... unless you're from South Yorkshire)

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The number of social sterotypes put forward by this article is alarming - typical self-proclaimed 'middle class' derision of anyone who doesn't drive the kids to school in a monster-truck-type 4x4.

And I'm sorry, but the "we can't afford to have children" argument is bullsh1t, it's more like "we can't afford to have children and maintain our above-average quality of life" :

They are also the ones who can't afford to have more than two children. It's now a status symbol for hedge-fund managers to have five, and the worst off get help with their broods. But those in the middle have to think before they procreate. How can they afford to have a second child, pay off the mortgage and save up for their pensions unless both parents work? Even if they manage to pay for the childcare and the ballet lessons, they will have to help with the university tuition fees (now £3,000 a year).

If they were desperate enough to have more children they'd start shopping in Lidl instead of Waitrose, drive a Fiesta instead of a Range Rover, and holiday in Cornwall instead of Provence.

They might also consider moving to a cheaper house in a not-so-posh side of town.

The people who really can't afford to have children don't live the 'middle class' lifestyle of Telegraph journalists.

that article i find in a number of points offensive and wrong.

Firstly i think the people that have been most shafted are the working classes, not the lazy and unemployable class but your steady in employment working class.It always amazes me why no outrage over a article like this that only assumes there is a thieving/robbing/lazy class then its straight to middle class, ie everyone under middle class is tarred with the same brush.

The middle classes have done quite well out of labour, a large majority of there band work for the government and thus have recieved huge pay rises, they were also more than likely to have owned homes hence did very nice out of there growing equity.

The lazy dolies did quite nice too, while the tories treated them with mostly the contempt the deserve the labour party threw money at them and blamed there lazyness on society.So they upped all there benifits and gave them more money in diffrent tax schemes.

The real shafted part of society is what i see on this site, the hard working joe blogs that never had a house to sell, or never had lazy tendancies.That aint married and dont get any subsidies.That dont have kids and dont get tax credits and free this and that.

But when the pot is handed out they get nothing in return but are expected to give even more, ie a single person is not only totaly priced out of buying a property to live in, theve been subjected to higher rents on what were traditionally there homes ie 1 bedroom flats, they also pay 75% of the council tax when only one wage is coming in.And it costs just as much to warm a house for one as it does for 2 or 3 or 4.And that home costs as much to buy as it does for 1 or 2 or 3.

This is the real shafted part of society and not the one the writer of the story in this thread talks about, theve been watching there houses put on over 100k each in equity the last few years, and many of them have then used this to BTL, to increase the pressure on the hardest done by part of society even more.

there are 7 million single people in this country now, and tony blair is using his policies which he has made no bones about are all about families and helping families, to shaft every single on of them.

Sorry just read this - well said.

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Mass immigration is the reason why the income to Labour as a share of GDP is shrinking - and thus the middle class shrinks. All the above is because real wages are driven down whatever the inflation measure says.

"It is clear then both the best partnership in a state is the one which operates through the middle class of people, and also that those states in which the middle element is large, and stronger if possible than the other two together, or at any rate stronger than either of them alone, have every chance of having a well-run constitution."

Aristotle 350BC.

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Mass immigration is the reason why the income to Labour as a share of GDP is shrinking - and thus the middle class shrinks. All the above is because real wages are driven down whatever the inflation measure says.

Brain, I heard the Phillipine Government anounced thier economy is sucking in 100s of millions in the form money transfered out of our economy by migrant workers sending money 'home'.

And thats only the Philippines..................

Another mass drain on the UK

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Clamping down on individual and company tax avoidance with the same zeal as they attack benefit fraud would also be a sensible move.

'Clamping down on benefit fraud' - you are joking, right?

Here's a typical example of a fraudster I know, and he is but one of millions;

Age 39

Lives in prosperous South East

Skills - average intelligence, good communicator

Worked - never

How? - pretends he has pannick attacks (virtualy lives in loud bright nightclubs)! Has been 'required' to proove he's tried to work. Does a couple of days then goes sick and gets sack.

Always had multiple girlfreinds, yet also one steady GF and baby.

Total chaotic irresponsible life.

Has all utilities paid. Gets invalidity benefit. Rent paid.

Thanks Nu - Labour.

Oh and BTW, his child will copy his example most likely. The spiral of benefit dependancy.

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Thank you for your replies and sorry it's taken so long to get back on the forum. Appologies in advance for the (very) quickly scribed reply, I have to be off soon.

I think homeless makes a good point regarding how the middle classes (esp. those aged 50+) have done well out of HPI in the noughties. But in the late eighties they were paying around 15% interest on their mortgage (when the chancellor was setting IR too).

As far as voting is concerned, yes the middle class are probably the largest voting group, but what difference does it make when the three parties had very simular policies? Also, many middle class people were (IMO) a little misguided in their reasons for voting labour. I remember seeing a guy in his 30's on the news saying he had voted labour because he had just bought a house (?!?!).

However, timmy_30's comment has made me think that things are worse for those under 35 (middle and working class) under this labour goverment. What I mean is, we can't get on the housing ladder, we have to delay having kids, we need to save for our own pensions while paying for are parents pensions at the same time.

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Polly Toynbee got it about right on Monday, and even had a suggestion about how to reduce mad house price inflation to boot.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Colum...1725279,00.html

If some guy never works and gets all the benfits you refer to Dogbox the he must have a very unfulfilling life. Sure, make him work if possible, but its his loss too.

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Has all utilities paid. Gets invalidity benefit. Rent paid.

Thanks Nu - Labour.

Oh and BTW, his child will copy his example most likely. The spiral of benefit dependancy.

If life is so good on benefits why isn't everyone claiming them?

If the middle classes are so oppressed by Labour why don't they just all go on the sick and get council houses and live off the state?

Perhaps because life on benefits isn't as rosy as all that after all...

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Oh and BTW, his child will copy his example most likely. The spiral of benefit dependancy.

It's either a spiral of benefit dependancy with benefits, or a spiral of poverty without. Brown has committed to cutting child poverty, which means handing out benefits.

What's worse?

You can argue about HOW benefits are handed out, or just not hand them out and blame the poor for being poor, Thatcher style.

What's worse?

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


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