Proof that Theresa May isn’t a friend of workers’ rights

The head of May’s policy board, MP George Freeman, has said in the past that he believes Britain’s biggest firms should pay only 10% corporation tax and that people working in new firms should have no employment rights (such as maternity pay, paid leave and minimum wage). These proposals were included a policy paper he co-wrote in 2013 with fellow Tory Kwasi Kwarteng called “The Innovation Economy: Industrial Policy for the 21st Century”.

In the paper, he suggested:

We should exempt new firms for their first three years from employers’ national insurance, business rates, corporation tax and employment legislation.

Yet another humiliating Tory u-turn (VIDEO)

As local election results came out on 6 May, the Conservative government tried to slip out another humiliating u-turn as quietly as it could. Having previously insisted on forcing all schools to become academies by 2022, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan backed down in the face of significant opposition from parents, teachers, governors and politicians.

Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell responded to the policy change by saying:

It is frankly a humiliating climbdown for David Cameron and his education secretary, who just weeks ago were insisting they would plough on with the policy regardless.

The Local Government Association’s Roy Perry, meanwhile, said:

We are delighted that the government is listening to our strong opposition to forced academisation, which has been echoed by MPs, teachers and parents and backed up by evidence.

But there’s a catch

The u-turn has only been partial. While ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools will no longer be forced to convert, the Department for Education (DfE) will still give itself sweeping powers to push ‘underperforming’ schools to become academies.

Watch Nicky Morgan squirm below as she claims to have listened to professionals – in spite of previously telling them in a very stubborn way that she had “no reverse gear when it comes to our education reforms”:

The government’s education white paper also still includes controversial plans to remove parents’ rights to representation on academy boards of governors and to allow head teachers to award qualifications to members of staff. And as Lucy Powell insists, there are a number of other challenges which should be a priority for the government:

Ministers must urgently tackle the serious problems they have created in education, including school budgets falling in real terms for the first time in 20 years, chronic shortages of teachers, not enough good school places, and chaos and confusion in the exams system

What we can learn from this most recent government u-turn, however, is that vocal opposition from citizens and professionals does have the power to change government plans – no matter how difficult it may seem at points.

Get involved!

– Find your local Anti Academies Alliance group here.

– Write to your MP to tell them what you think about the government’s plans for the education system.

– See more on forced academisation here, popular opposition to the plans here, and the threat of industrial action over the issue here.

Featured image via NewsNow/YouTube

Yet more pro-Tory bias on #BBCQT

On 14 April, several Twitter users highlighted the fact that, after a couple of weeks of Tory scandals, the first question on BBC Question Time was a non-issue about Jeremy Corbyn:

A note on my take-down of LBC

On 6 April, I published an article slamming radio station LBC for attacking Jeremy Corbyn over his call for Cameron to come clean on his family’s tax schemes.

I just wanted to note that LBC, like all corporate media sources, has some respectable journalists – like James O’Brien. But the general rule is that we cannot trust outlets with corporate money behind them to be truly impartial.

In short, this is just a shoutout to all of the good journalists out there stuck working for corporate outlets. Hopefully, we will soon be able to break free from the stranglehold that corporations currently have over the media.

Cameron’s family and their love of tax havens

Just to add to this brilliant article by my colleague Carlyn Harvey at The Canary, which exposes how Cameron’s family tried to hide their tax-dodging schemes when he became Prime Minister in 2010, we should also remember this from The Mirror in 2015:

David Cameron’s IN-LAWS have links with a string of tax havens

The recent Panama Papers revelations about Cameron’s millionaire father avoiding taxes through an offshore company are simply not the exception. In 2012, The Guardian spoke about the Prime Minister’s tax-dodging family history four years before the Panama Papers story broke.

Now, Tory donors (including three former Conservative MPs and six peers) have had their connections with offshore firms exposed.

In short, tax avoidance is the rule for Britain’s top 1% – and for their global counterparts. They are the inevitable result of the inherent injustice and inequality which lie at the very heart of capitalist economics.

Iceland’s Prime Minister may have stepped down after mass protests over his own involvement with offshore schemes, but he is likely to be the exception.

International tax avoidance is not going to end without action. Workers throughout the world will need to unite (and be very clear about the principles that unite us) if we want to bring about meaningful change.