Sunday, 23 April 2017

More Bank Holidays - Nice Idea but it highlights establishment ignorance

The Labour Party's proposal to throw in an extra 4 Bank Holidays is a nice idea but it really does highlight the disconnect between those in power and the ordinary people they want to vote for them.

Nowadays, for thousands, a Bank Holiday is just another day in the working week. This is especially true for people in low paid work such as social care, catering or retail. Where others may receive enhanced rates of pay for working the Bank Holiday there is no such benefit for the low paid who receive their minimum wage.

A second reason why this is proposal which is disconnected from the reality of ordinary people is the idea that these Bank Holidays should coincide with the national saints days.

With the exception of St. Andrews Day these all fall in an 8 week period, in this period there are also the two Easter Bank Holidays and, a week after St Georges Day we would have the May Day Bank Holiday! So, in 9 weeks or so, there would be 6 Bank Holidays.

Now, while this may be nice, for the many who have to work on Bank Holidays, there is the additional burden of having to find child care while teachers enjoy their extra days off!

Only the Easter Bank holidays could be guaranteed to actually fall in the school holidays every year and those who need to work, particularly those in low paid jobs face extra costs or loss of earnings.

Surely it would much better to simply promise an increase the the number of statutory holiday entitlement for all workers, so that the time off could be taken at a time convenient for individual workers. It would be a policy headline that would resonate more with those the Labour Party needs to win back and show a greater connection with the reality of the life of the lower paid in the UK nowadays. 

Monday, 23 January 2017

The Ignorant Arrogance of the Establishment


You can’t help noticing, can you, that there is an awful lot of whinging about the current political results sweeping across the world.

The election of Donald Trump has evoked protest marches, as did the European Referendum result in the U.K.

Yet rather than whinge and bemoan the results the ‘establishment’ need to look at how the things that they find so disdainful actually happened and take action to establish public trust in the ‘establishment’.

Donald Trump did not just walk into the White House. There is a very rigorous set of hurdles to jump before anyone can get there feet under the desk in the Oval Office and the journey of Donald Trump was an example of how many people across the world are rejecting the arrogance of the ‘establishment’ and an example of the ignorance of the ‘establishment’ in recognising that.

To become the 45th President of the United States Donald Trump had to first win the Republican Party nomination. What was clear from the outset of that race was that established politicians – e.g. Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie etc – were being rejected by many Republicans across the U.S. Even the second place candidate, Ted Cruz, was considered outside the ‘establishment’ in terms of his views etc.

Yet the ‘establishment’ chose to attack the anti-establishment candidates rather than attempt to listen to what people were saying and address the issues that drove them to reject the status quo.

Then Donald Trump was helped to the White House by the Democratic Party. Again the nomination process showed a rejection of the ‘establishment’. The Democratic nomination was supposed to be a coronation of Hilary Clinton, yet the campaign and success of Bernie Sanders showed how many Democrats were rejecting the ‘establishment.’ Again these issues were not dealt with as the Democrat ‘super-delegate’ system ensured Hilary Clinton would get the nomination without really having to listen to the electorate.

Whatever the issues with e-mails etc. Hilary Clinton had begun to lose the election at that point.

So, despite all the warnings and opportunities to change tack, Donald Trump is the inn the White House yet the ‘establishment’ still moan and whinge rather than begin to win the trust of voters back.

Brexit has a similar story. Those advocating remain did little more than give out doomsday scenarios of what would happen if we left the European Union. Yet there were many reasons why people voted to leave, many felt that the ‘establishment’ (of which the EU is a part in the UK) was leaving people behind in terms of quality of life. While immigration is an issue the reality is it is the perceived effects of immigration – e.g. impact of jobs, wages, public services etc. – that people are more concerned with rather than the immigrants themselves. Yet the ‘establishment’ and their advocates often label those who voted Leave as racist!

Even months after the result the politicians and media are solely focused on the ‘plan’ for Brexit and the minutiae of the actual details rather than tackling the real reasons why people voted to leave!

Another example of the ignorant arrogance to the political elite and something that will further erode trust in the ‘establishment’ over the next few years.

Pope Francis has even joined the fray warning against the rise of ‘populist leaders’. Again this ignores the reasons for why such leaders are rising up across the world. People are unhappy with those who are, supposedly, elected to look after their interests.


Politicians, the mainstream media and others within the ‘establishment’ need, right now, to start listening to the people who feel that they have been displaced in the political process, who feel that they have been ignored by the ‘establishment’ and who feel they are losing their quality of life while those in the establishment prosper, in order to take action to address the concerns and issues affecting many people who, if not listened to, will continue to vote for ‘outsiders’.
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