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Showing posts from February, 2012

The problem of unemployment and the inadequate solution of workfare

There has been a lot of coverage recently about workfare, which if you don't know is a scheme to get unemployed people into work placements. It is controversial for a number of reasons, 1 it is working for Job Seekers Allowance alone, 2. it is widely disputed that it is voluntary, 3. multi million pound companies are supplied with government paid workers, 4. most participants don't get a job at the end, 5. it gives paid work to unpaid workers. There is a lot of rhetoric surrounding the scheme from the left it is blasted as slavery and likened to workhouses and on the right opponents have been called Trotskyists! and George Eustice even claimed opponents were communists! The slavery claim is a bit out there but at least has some basis in fact what opposing working for benefits has to do with communism is bizzarely outlandish at best.

Anyway I digress, the real and present problem here is not whether this scheme works or whether it will help solve unemployment but the disparity …

The Unions should ditch Labour

Yesterday the GMB Union broke the news that their affiliation to the Labour Party would be a major debating point at their conference. The Union which funds the Labour party to the tune of £2 million a year has a number of members who want to server ties with Ed Miliband's party. There is a lot of disillusion with Ed and his party's unwillingness to stand up for working people. This presents a welcome debate in my opinion (I may be slightly biased, but) I don't believe that being a member of a union should mean having to financially support one particular political party. The idea that Labour speaks for the working classes is simply not true, they may speak for some of us but other working class people prefer the views of Mebyon Kernow, or Plaid Cymru, or the SNP the Green Party or one of the myriad of socialist and communist parties. Not to mention the many working class people who are not left wing, the idea that poor people vote Labour and rich people vote Tory ignores …

Cornwall's exports need to be better connected with the world

It strikes me that since antiquity Cornwall has been a well connected place, but it is not now. In fact since the first recorded histories we read of Phoenician traders coming to Cornwall to buy tin, this trade in minerals lasted for millennia and saw great empires rise and fall as it continued unimpeded. This trade with the Mediterranean was not just confined to metal exports, fish cured in various ways was caught and landed here and sold to the Catholic markets of Europe for the traditional meat fast on fridays. On the subject of religion we know that Cornwall was well connected with the Celtic world by the number of saints found in Cornwall who hailed from Ireland, Wales and Brittany. All of these connections of course were facilitated by the sea and our unique geographical position jutting out into the Atlantic. There is a widespread fallacy that Cornwall was isolated and remote before the Great Western Railway was built but it ignores the lessons of history and the Cornish landsc…