Tag Archives: recession

An impartial guide to the 2015 election.


If you live in Blighty you’ve probably been bombarded by Party Political Broadcasts and news media about the various main players in the upcoming General Election.

Blogs are a great way to get one’s personal views across, but rather than expound my own views, I thought I’d give you lucky readers an impartial look at what these nefarious Tory miscreants have achieved thus far. (Told you it would be impartial.)

FOODBANKS

The number of people using food banks has gone from circa 40,000 under Labour in 2010 to one million under the Tories, in just five years. (This graph is about a year out of date. Figures have now surpassed one million.)

foodbanks, election 2015

DEBT

Our National Debt has not reduced as the Tory charlatans claim but has, in fact, tripled under the Tories.

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 20.50.08

 

IMMIGRATION

Britain has one of the lowest immigrant populations in Europe. The more the merrier I say. We’re all from Africa anyway.

Brits living abroad

Brits living abroad

Foreigners living in the UK

Foreigners living in the UK

BENEFITS

I’m sick to death of that maleficent rapscallion, Iain Duncan Smith referring to people on benefits as scroungers.

Benefit cheats account for £2 billion whilst tax avoiders account for £32 billion.

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And let’s not forget, for most people claiming benefits, they are just claiming back a fraction of what they have put into it in the first place.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 20.37.14

 

LABOUR AND BIG BUSINESS

Read ’em and weep.

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THE GREAT DEPRESSION

The current economic catastrophe was not caused by the last Labour government. It was caused by the banks. Admittedly, Labour deregulated the banks more than they should have. But financial deregulation began in 1986 under, guess who… Thatcher.

econ-lies

 

THE NHS

Don’t get me started… 70% of NHS contracts have been awarded to private sector companies since 2013. (Most of them with connections to ConDem politicians.)

NHS-privatisation-300x245

EDUCATION

Did you know, as part of the government curriculum, primary school kids do maths every day but art only once every two weeks?

Obviously, there’s no value in the arts.

No value in creativity.

No value in imagination.

No value in self-expression.

And there’s certainly no maths in art… no fractals, no Fibonacci sequence, no Golden Ratio, no geometry, no equations, no dimensions, no fractions, no angles or shapes…

That’s not a criticism of my daughters’ school, in fact, it recently got an outstanding from OFSTED, it’s merely a criticism of the curriculum handed down by the government.

I’d also have free tertiary education for all too. (Something which Labour have not put in their manifesto.)

wd950112

So, dear readers, as you can see, I have no personal axe to grind and have been as unbiased as I possibly can.

To recap:

Under the coalition the economy has stagnated,

the national debt has tripled,

the NHS is in meltdown,

1 million people rely on food banks,

3.5 million children live in poverty (that’s a staggering third of all children in the UK),

The Tories believe the people who should pay for our country’s debts are the poor rather than their rich benefactors to whom they give tax breaks and government contracts.

All-in-all, a successful term of office, don’t you think?

All you can do is evaluate the facts laid before you and then decide who to vote for. After all, that’s why we live in a democracy.

Just remember, a vote for the Tories is a vote for the Dark Lord. And a vote for UKIP is a vote for the Dark Lord’s imbecile sibling with xenophobic tendencies.

CBnKInvVIAA1XpM.png-large

I must give a shout-out to a few blogs from where I’ve filched most of the above stats, graphs and images. Although, I can’t remember what I’ve nicked from where.

So thank you to:

Tom Pride at Pride’s Purge.

Kitty S. Jones at Politics and Insights.

David Hencke at David Hencke.

Mike Sivier at Vox Political.

Thomas G. Clark at Another Angry Voice.

The Guardian.

The Independent.

Channel 4.

 

If you see something of yours that I have not credited just drop me a line and I’ll amend the post and give you the credit you deserve.

 

 

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Filed under Children, community, Disability, Economy, Education, Ideas, Inspiration, Politics

The Emotional & Mental Cost of the Recession


One of the things that’s been playing on my mind this past while is: How will this recession affect people’s mental health in years to come?

The reason I’ve been pondering this notion is that, most people I know who are in full time employment, have had to take between 15% – 25% pay cuts and are working about 30% – 50% more hours per week.

Basically, they are having to do the jobs of the people who have been made redundant, (as well as their own), for less money.

Descent Into Hell, by Michael Hensley

I’m not having a pop at employers. I know a lot of businesses are in a very difficult situation: Trying to be more competitive; trying to hold on to staff; trying to stay afloat etc…

Some may say they are lucky to be in a job. But if these people are doing one and a half jobs then there is going to be a physical and mental consequence to this at some point in the future.

Burn out.

Longer hours, less money, the stress of potential redundancy. It is, and will continue, taking its toll on marriages and parents’ relationships with their kids.

Will we see an increase in the rate of divorce?
How many children will lose one of their parents to the recession?
More cases of depression?
Will suicide be more prevalent?
More people undertaking psychotherapy?
More people on medication?

And, most importantly for the government, who will pay for it?

Because someone will have to. Have they budgeted for it? Has it even crossed their minds?

Perhaps it has. Perhaps it’s all part of a ‘separating the wheat from the chaff’ policy.

It might even take 10 years before people’s ruined lives show up on a statistician’s spike.

But rest assured, there will be a price to be paid, and it won’t necessarily be fiscal.

mental illness, depression

The Scream by Edvard Munch

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Reset the Debt – Global Economist agrees with Batley lad.


A few months ago now, I came up with a rather radical idea to get us out of this financial pickle we’ve found ourselves in.

That idea was catchily called: Reset the Debt.

(I know, I know, I should get paid for this sort of stuff.)

Anyways, it wasn’t just a catchy slogan, the idea was to reset everybody’s debts to zero so we can start spending again. Yippee!

A bit like winding back the milometer on your car. Not that I’ve ever done that, you understand.

I posted it on TED and got pilloried for it as being economically naive. I might not be a global economist, but I am in the business of coming up with ideas to solve business problems.

And most radical ideas can be a bit frightening.

Well now, (he says, blowing onto his fingernails and polishing them on his lapel), Steve Keen is a global economist, and he’s advocating exactly the same thing.

Basically, the reason people aren’t spending is because they’re paying off their debts.

The government is giving money to the banks who aren’t passing it on to their customers. Presumably because they don’t want oiks like us getting into even more debt. They’d rather give it to their employees in the form of big fat tax free bonuses.

Mr Keen’s point is: Get the government to invest the money by paying off its citizens’ debts to kick-start the economy. [Obviously measures would have to be put in place to prevent people from getting back into debt and living within their means.]

The economy won’t grow if people don’t buy anything.

Otherwise, Mr Keen argues, the way the government is handling the Great Depression at the moment, it could take us 20 years to get out of it.

Who’d a thunk it? A Batley lad solving the world’s economic crisis.

Reset the Debt. I can see the placards now!

Hang on a sec. Just let me stick one of them © thingys on it.

Reset the Debt!©

Economist Steve Keen, Hardtalk

Economist Steve Keen on Hardtalk.

I’ve decided to set up an e-petition to garner some support for this idea. I need 100k signatures to get the Govt to discuss it in the House of Commons. If you think it’s an idea worthy of discussion, please add your name and share to as many people as possible.

https://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/resetthedebt

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How Art can Save the World


Okay, let’s go back in time a while.

No, even before Sky +. I’m talking about waaaay back, before we paltry humans ever even had like proper words to talk with.

Before language, before literacy, before art, before music, before KFC, before farming, before religion, before the bronze age, before the stone age, before politics, before war, before society.

Now that’s a long time ago. That’s nearly as long ago as Leeds United last won a trophy.

I’m talking about when a bloke in a cave was trying to tell his mate that there was this big mother-fucker-mammoth down by the base of the volcano that would feed the tribe for a year – if they had a refrigerator. It’s like a scene from an early episode of Give us a clue. Except he can’t. Because language hasn’t been invented yet.

So, in frustration, the caveman, let’s call him Herb, picks up a charcoal ember from the fire and starts trying to draw what he’s seen on the cave wall. His mate, let’s call him Frank, has a bemused look on his face as if to say: You can’t draw for shit. Except he doesn’t because he can’t talk.

Eventually, after a bit of practice, Herb’s pictograms start taking shape. Suddenly, the penny drops, (except currency hasn’t been invented yet), and Frank mimics what he perceives to be a mammoth down by the volcano. Herb excitedly points one index finger at him whilst simultaneously placing his other index finger on the tip of his nose.

And thus, Art was created. (And Game Shows.)

And lo, the tribe was fed.

And while sitting around the camp fire gnawing on a mammoth hoof, Frank gesticulates that Herb’s mammoth looked more like his missus than a mammoth.

And there begineth the bar-room brawl.

Now, what better way to finish off a good feed than a bit of a knees-up. So Herb picks up a couple of sticks and starts tapping out a beat on a hollowed out log. Frank and his missus, let’s call her Marjorie, start tapping their feet and before you know it they’re cutting a jig around the fire almost setting light to Marge’s sabre-tooth tiger print frock.

And lo, music was created.

And the tribe was happy.

So, maybe it was a wet day in caveman land and all the paints were a bit soggy. Or maybe there weren’t any cave walls to paint on. Or maybe there was just too much to say for one picture. But at some stage, somebody somewhere decided that ‘ug’ meant mammoth. And ‘og’ meant dinner. Then Marge said something along the lines of: ug, og, ag, pig, bag, nog, bok, jim-jams, flim-flam, muktub, jimmy choo, pak choi, bic, ram, mo jo.

Thus, language was born. And men became hen-pecked.

And we could communicate with each other. Then came writing so we could pass on information to people we couldn’t speak to – either people faraway or people in the future.

This meandering post is about creativity. And humankind’s ability to ingeniously invent and create things to make our lives better.

Now, to my point:

The first thing western governments cut in a recession is the arts. But it is the arts, in their broadest form: language, music, literature, poetry, art etc, that have shaped all the world’s civilizations.

Without the arts, we don’t have culture. And without culture, we don’t have society. Without society we don’t have civilization and without civilisation we have anarchy.

The UK government is slashing budgets left right and centre, with anything remotely to do with the arts top of the list. With all these austerity measures citizen’s wills are bending to breaking point. And it is only going to get worse. We’ve already seen students rioting. It doesn’t take a genius to work out where this is all heading.

Maybe investing in areas that nurture our more creative and innovative sides might get us all through this economic depression into an era that shows just how ingenious and resourceful we are.

Okay, so money-where-my-mouth-is time.

Here are a couple of suggestions for ideas that could change the way we live and learn.

First up:

Vote in the wall.

This is an idea I had a while ago about how to encourage a bigger turn out in elections. Basically to hi-jack cash machines on polling day.

It would result in more people voting, which would, if had been around at the last election, have resulted in a different government. Which, let’s be fair, would be better for everyone who’s not involved with banking.

Second:

Zero Debt.

Reset all the world’s bank balances to zero and start again.
What about all the people who are actually owed money! I hear you cry.
Well, maybe the banks should suffer a little bit too. If they can make billions in profits so soon after the recession, I’m sure it wouldn’t take them too long to make their money back.

Third.

Book Depositories.

Now that the ConDems are closing all our libraries (apologies to anyone outside the UK who this doesn’t apply to), how about we turn libraries into Book Depositories?

Where rich, poor, middle class can drop off their ‘used’ books so that others might benefit.

You could even have a tie-in with books shops. ‘Drop-off’ bins instore where books can be collected then redistributed to libraries/depsoitories. What’s in it for the book shop? Well, you’ve got a customer in your shop who’s already predisposed to buying books.

I was fortunate enough to live, literally across-the-road from a small library. I used to take my kids to it all the time. It wasn’t anything to do with not being able to afford books. It was a great experience for them.

There were computers for people who didn’t have the internet. There were bridge clubs, scrabble clubs, god, they even had books!

Now it’s closing down.

This wasn’t just a library. It was a community centre.

So… Council owned, and run, Book Depositories where the council doesn’t have to pay a penny for the stock on its shelves.

There you are now,

Ideas change the world. People have ideas.

Let’s put our noodles together and creatively figure a way out of this mess.

We owe it to Herb, Frank and Marjorie. Oh, and Miriam, who’s Herb’s partner, but is a bit shy.

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Filed under Art, community, Ideas, Illustration, Politics

Recession proof


It’s no secret that the car industry has taken a bit of a hammering in this recession. Understandably, consumers are holding onto any money they might have in case the worst happens on the job front. There are those, however, who do have a bit of disposable income to splash about. So how do we convince them to spend it with us? Tackle the recession head on. If you’re going to buy a car in a recession, you should at least consider one that’s recession proof. Here’s one I did for VW.

Credits:

Agency: DDB Dublin

Creative Director: Declan Hogan

Concept: David Milligan-Croft

Copywriter: David Milligan-Croft

Art Director: David Milligan-Croft

Client: MDL Ireland

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