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There's a lot of Jeff Randall's output that I quite like but this just reads like confused drivel full of bar-room baseless statements.

We're in danger of turning 'success' into a dirty word

By Jeff Randall

There's something in the air; something that's not quite right.

After a decade of Labour government, dedicated to increasing equality, widening inclusion and improving public services, those who should have benefited seem unhappier than ever. The stench of naked envy is polluting Britain, like stale cigar smoke in a dining room.

The politics of envy crap used to rile me in the tory days. Most people couldn't give a monkeys if people want 20k of plastic surgery, gold-plated Bentleys, £300 bottles of champagne. Most people couldn't care less about 'envying' millioniares that grow rich by providing a decent product or service.

They do object to parasitic speculative activities where, yes, it is a zero-sum game. BTLers hoovering up housing stock en masse DOES take from FTBs. Bankers growing rich by pushing debt and creating too much fresh bank credit DO merely transfer wealth from people without assets to people who do have them.

Perhaps Labour's core voters expected too much. Perhaps they thought that 10 years of Tony would be like winning the pools. More pay, less work, free ride.

Perhaps they are confused. Gordon insists that the system is working brilliantly, yet experience tells them that property is becoming ever more unaffordable, NHS hospitals are closing and state schools are a lottery.

An average house costs £200,000. An average salary pays £25,000. Trying to buy the former, while earning the latter, is enough to make even Happy Larry feel miserable.

Ordinary people are painfully aware that, though they have little problem affording many household essentials, cheap food and discount clothing, when it comes to securing high-quality education and health facilities, life starts to get tricky.

Despite Brown's injection of many extra billions of pounds into state schools and hospitals, voters know that there's a disconnect between what has been spent and what is being delivered. More resources going in hasn't meant better services coming out.

This is more on the money but where's the connection to the 'envy' the article opened with? We all know we pay more to get less with Gordie.

Where there's private-sector competition, by and large, the economy is producing more for less. As a result, we're all better off. But where there are public-sector monopolies, it's often the other way round: value-for-money exists only as a concept.

So Randall wants the public sector privatised? There's been an explosion of, for instance, dental services in Vision Express and Boots and the competition has not forced down prices - it's still cheaper on the NHS (if you can get registered). The US private healthcare system hasn't produced loads of cheap-but-good McClinics. Unless you can employ wage slaves to do the work the private sector does not deliver a wonderland of cheapness. Randall's ideology would like it to be so but it isn't.

Unless the private sector can use sweatshops, cheap labour, or make people 'productive' by stressing away doing three peoples' jobs it's not at all efficient - it just sacks people a bit quicker when things go tits-up

This has thrown up some bizarre anomalies. Minimum-wage earners can afford to fly to Spain twice a year, but they can't find a dentist. They can buy a ticket to Malaga in five minutes, but need to queue all morning to have their molars fixed.

The old 'poor people all have sky/smoke 40 fags a day/go to Tenerife/wear flash trainers' chestnut. Minimum wage earners trying to be self-supporting live in dank bedsits with no hope of a decent council home (unless they work the system) and certainly no hope of a private rental or buying their own home. It's dickensian. Go ask Shelter what the poor put up with, Jeff.

And it's not just those at the bottom of the ladder who are fed up. A breadwinner on £50,000 is forced to share his wage packet almost equally between his family and the Chancellor. British taxes are at their highest level for 20 years.

For those even farther up the income scale, there is, at least, the option of paying twice: first through taxation and again via school fees and health insurance. Though galling, many prefer to forego holidays than condemn their kids to a second-rate education.

By the way, for those who are keen to find out more about the shortcomings of state schools, letters and post-cards, please, to Labour MPs Ruth Kelly and Diane Abbott.

So what does Jeff recommend? Cut taxes and make it all private? I have some sympathy for the idea of privatising education and taking away the 'posh factor'. There are some good DIY schools around now made by groups of friends or neighbours, black parents, etc. to take their children out of the morass without spending a fortune for traditional private education. Jeff doesn't say what he means, it's just throwaway stream-of-conciousness stuff.

For the majority who make up Middle Britain - the people who it is fashionable to call "hard-working families" - there is a mounting sense of injustice.

Above them, they see City bankers and commodity traders earning more in a year than they will in a lifetime. Below, there is an underclass of benefits junkies who take whatever they can, while contributing next to nothing.

When you're working 10-hour days and commuting on top, it's hard to accept that a financier can make your annual salary in a single phone call. Equally, it's tempting to be cynical about what Lord Browne does to earn £90,000 a week at BP.

As for welfare scroungers, why does the Government allow 1m incapacity-benefit claimants (there are 2.7m in all) to continue drawing handouts, even though ministers believe that they could and should be in employment?

So middle class workers realise they're just a better class of wage slave after all.

If half a million Poles, many with no English, can find jobs in Britain, why can't all those domestic idlers earn a living? And why should we pay for them? These understandable anxieties, and others like them, are gnawing away at the silent majority.

Because they have a different agenda - learn English, work a bit, save up and go home. Poles see nothing wrong with sharing a room in a slum as it's a bit of a laugh for while, a means to end end - a kind of working holiday adventure, a bit like someone going backpacking or youth hostelling. With wage so low at the bottom of the labour market, even HA rents will be too high for many would-be ex-benefits claiments.

So much for the politics of envy - what about the politics of spite? 'Give 'em a Dickensian life and **** 'em'

The upshot is the unfortunate growth of a grievance culture. In the 1970s, it was known as "the politics of envy" and manifested itself in the question: "If I can't have it, why should you?" Today's sociologists call it "success resentment".

Early promises from New Labour about a positive attitude to wealth creation have wilted along with the Prime Minister's popularity. The Government says that it wants Britain to have a dynamic, entrepreneurial economy, yet ministers are taking cheap-shot swipes at the winners who are coining it. It's intellectual dishonesty.

Peter Hain, Alan Johnson, Beverley Hughes are sending out signals that it's OK to have a pop at big earners. Unsurprisingly, the trade unions are on the warpath.

In particular, GMB leaders are persecuting Damon Buffini for making so much money at the private-equity firm Permira. They claim his salary is paid for by the misery of others. Yes, Permira got rid of a lot of staff at the AA. But has anybody bothered to look at its other businesses?

Buffini's team has created many more jobs than it has destroyed, but nobody wants to hear that. Voters are angry and politicians are delighted to pander to their prejudices. So, too, are parts of the media.

In its coverage of the private-equity debate, Newsnight, BBC2's main current-affairs programme, depicted those in the industry as stand-and-deliver Dick Turpins. When I asked the editor of another leading BBC news show about impartiality and the internal reaction to Newsnight's approach, he said: "Nobody even mentioned it."

We are, as a business-based economy, regressing, sliding backwards, dangerously close to the point where financial success is no longer admired; instead it has to be justified. Too many businesses that are doing well are pilloried rather than applauded.

More clouding of the issues once again. People know the difference between genuine wealth creation and speculative fluff. People have got wise the the toxic-sludge-is-good-for-you PR lies about how wonderfully efficient outsourcing, downsizing and now asseting-stripping is. All they see are few living wage jobs, fewer middle class position and everything deskilled so anyone willing to turn up with a smiley face can do the miserable jobs that remain. Sorry, Jeff, calling people envious doesn't cut it.

Edited by CrashedOutAndBurned
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How do you incentivise the private sector to get involved, when - if it were truly worth doing - they would just go it alone?

...you make it so top-heavy,slow and beaurocratic that anyone who has a cheaper,speedier alternative will have MAJOR profit.

the public sector is ripe for picking,if the government have the balls to take on the unions....and play hardball by stopping NI and public sector wages once the unoins go for strikes.

it won't be popular,and politicians being the weak-willed wimps they are will be fearful of losing votes...but the opportunity is there.

...lets just hope they don't **** it up like railtrack.

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I was an IT contractor for 20 years.

It was always the ones who complained most about taxes (invariably Tories) who cheated the most and ended up paying less.

e.g. Putting holidays thru the boox. Any meal as entertainment. Closing companies down and starting another one. One person i know kept over £30,000 of VAT. Wife as an employee. Offshore companies. etc etc. All fraud.

These are not options available to the average person.

The rich do pay less tax. How much did Phillip Green take out of BHS (all tax-free) - one billion pounds?

I though lowering the top end of tax was supposed to make the rich less likeley to evade tax.

It's not envy, just a sense of fariplay.

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  • 2 weeks later...
The City is nothing like a free market. Those bonuses are the result of a government-controlled market in credit which funnels most wealth in the country into the banks.

Spot on!! It's only because of the skewed market in interest rates that these people get so much money

Bankers growing rich by pushing debt and creating too much fresh bank credit DO merely transfer wealth from people without assets to people who do have them.

yes!!!

the video, e-Petition, audio, book and blog

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There's a lot of Jeff Randall's output that I quite like but this just reads like confused drivel full of bar-room baseless statements.

The politics of envy crap used to rile me in the tory days. Most people couldn't give a monkeys if people want 20k of plastic surgery, gold-plated Bentleys, £300 bottles of champagne. Most people couldn't care less about 'envying' millioniares that grow rich by providing a decent product or service.

They do object to parasitic speculative activities where, yes, it is a zero-sum game. BTLers hoovering up housing stock en masse DOES take from FTBs. Bankers growing rich by pushing debt and creating too much fresh bank credit DO merely transfer wealth from people without assets to people who do have them.

This is more on the money but where's the connection to the 'envy' the article opened with? We all know we pay more to get less with Gordie.

So Randall wants the public sector privatised? There's been an explosion of, for instance, dental services in Vision Express and Boots and the competition has not forced down prices - it's still cheaper on the NHS (if you can get registered). The US private healthcare system hasn't produced loads of cheap-but-good McClinics. Unless you can employ wage slaves to do the work the private sector does not deliver a wonderland of cheapness. Randall's ideology would like it to be so but it isn't.

Unless the private sector can use sweatshops, cheap labour, or make people 'productive' by stressing away doing three peoples' jobs it's not at all efficient - it just sacks people a bit quicker when things go tits-up

The old 'poor people all have sky/smoke 40 fags a day/go to Tenerife/wear flash trainers' chestnut. Minimum wage earners trying to be self-supporting live in dank bedsits with no hope of a decent council home (unless they work the system) and certainly no hope of a private rental or buying their own home. It's dickensian. Go ask Shelter what the poor put up with, Jeff.

So what does Jeff recommend? Cut taxes and make it all private? I have some sympathy for the idea of privatising education and taking away the 'posh factor'. There are some good DIY schools around now made by groups of friends or neighbours, black parents, etc. to take their children out of the morass without spending a fortune for traditional private education. Jeff doesn't say what he means, it's just throwaway stream-of-conciousness stuff.

So middle class workers realise they're just a better class of wage slave after all.

Because they have a different agenda - learn English, work a bit, save up and go home. Poles see nothing wrong with sharing a room in a slum as it's a bit of a laugh for while, a means to end end - a kind of working holiday adventure, a bit like someone going backpacking or youth hostelling. With wage so low at the bottom of the labour market, even HA rents will be too high for many would-be ex-benefits claiments.

So much for the politics of envy - what about the politics of spite? 'Give 'em a Dickensian life and **** 'em'

More clouding of the issues once again. People know the difference between genuine wealth creation and speculative fluff. People have got wise the the toxic-sludge-is-good-for-you PR lies about how wonderfully efficient outsourcing, downsizing and now asseting-stripping is. All they see are few living wage jobs, fewer middle class position and everything deskilled so anyone willing to turn up with a smiley face can do the miserable jobs that remain. Sorry, Jeff, calling people envious doesn't cut it.

You would make a great politician - intelligent, thoughtful, balanced, fair, passionate. Why not start your own party?

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