I’ve just transferred some money across to my nieces bank account because she’s gone overdrawn because she hasn’t been paid this month. I did it not just because I care about her, but because I am raging angry, because we always pay, even after we bailed the banks out, we always pay, and bank charges, in particular, drive me incoherent with rage.
You name it, we pay, always. Taxes, excise duties on fuel and the like, passports and driving licences, VAT, bank charges, instant fines, school fines, refuse and waste fines if we put our refuse out in the wrong way, parking charges, including hospital parking charges, even for beleaguered staff, and monster fines if we get it wrong or forget for any reason. Late payment fines for bills. Bailiff charges and court charges and fines for even the most minor transgressions. Government sanctions, and loss of the means of survival, for the most spurious reasons. Council Tax. Stamp duty and inheritance tax. Prescription charges when we’re sick. We even get to pay for all the taxes that are avoided or evaded and stashed away in tax havens, because someone’s got to pay to keep the country running when they can’t be arsed, nor give a damn
If we take out a loan or mortgage, instead of paying a fixed charge as we do for real world goods and services, the financial markets scalp us with interest charges out of all proportion to the value of the service they provide. Interest on government debt which is currently around £1.8 trillion cost us £62 billion in 2016/17, next financial year it will be £68 billion. Personal debt in the UK was £1.557 trillion to the end of September 2017, interest payments for the year would have been £49.885 billion. Bearing in mind that we pay interest on the same money year on year, this is a monstrous scam, bearing no relation to the actual cost to the banks of servicing the debt.
After taxes every pound we receive is worth 35.12 pence, we pay on average another 3.65 pence in interest charges and after all the other charges we are forced to pay, the amount of every pound we have for actual living costs is somewhere between 20 and 30 pence. That means someone over 25 on Job Seekers Allowance of £73.10 has £21.93 for actual living (£14.16 for under 25’s), all the rest is soaked up in charges of one kind or another.
The fact is that for ordinary people the financial buck stops with us, we pay and pay and pay with very few options for avoidance. It is estimated that tax revenue lost to cash in hand work (working class tax evasion) is between £2 billion and £8 billion, the overall tax revenue lost to tax avoidance and evasion is estimated to be somewhere between £10 billion (ha ha ha) and in excess of £119.4 billion (2012/14).
The reason that bank overdraft fines (which is what they are) drive me into incoherent rage is because, as we discovered in 2008, when the banks overdrew (or blew it), threatening the entire global economy, they were rewarded with a bailout, at our expense, and business as usual, including their bonuses. If I have an arranged overdraft I pay £1 a day (£31 on a 31 day month) with no cap on those charges and if I go into an unarranged overdraft I pay £6 a day with no cap (£186 on a 31 day month) and I definitely won’t get a bailout, just the bailiffs if I cannot pay.
What stokes my rage isn’t just the fines imposed by banks, it is the fact that the Tory imposed austerity and every other cut, slash and burn policy they have introduced at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives and the biggest national asset stripping operation this country has ever seen has all been justified on the basis of the (entirely spurious) need to pay down the debt (which they have increased and by 2020 will have borrowed nearly twice the combined borrowing of all Labour governments since 1945) caused by the banking bailout.
But even that doesn’t come close to the underlying issues that are like a jet blast of oxygen in the furnace of rage that sweeps over me.
Ordinary people are the bread basket of the nation, makers and wealth creators. Whilst corporations and the super rich get tax breaks, concessions and handouts amounting to hundreds of billions of pounds every year, ordinary people pay for all those benefits and yet are despised and treated with contempt by the government, the super rich and businesses and corporations. We can’t even get mandatory legislation for a wage we can live on and wages have been tanking for over 50 years whilst inflation has been rising year on year since 1900, with very few annual exceptions. The national minimum wage, or the ‘new living wage’ as George Osborne deceitfully called it, isn’t even enough to live on and the DWP has turned the UKs life support, end of the road, social security system into a secret penal regime that dwarfs the UK criminal court system and imposes penalties that deprive people of their entire means of survival and the government refuses to even acknowledge that it kills people, despite the overwhelming evidence.
Despising ordinary people is nothing new, the Industrial Revolution made Britain the wealthiest nation in the world, but ordinary people had no share in that wealth. Until post WWII, slums, or homes from hell, were everywhere and vast numbers of ordinary working people had no access to health care and the unemployed and destitute were treated, at best, no better than slaves.
Under the Tories poverty diseases are back with a vengeance, in the year 2014/15 7,366 people were admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary diagnosis of malnutrition. That’s what ‘making work pay’ means in Tory Britain, work for your poverty or die and if you cannot earn enough to live on, they’ll sanction you, so you get to die anyway.
What Britain is now is a monstrous scam, by every foul means that they can dream up, the Tories are transferring the wealth of the nation into the hands of a greedy rapacious parasitic elite, including themselves, at a human cost that they aren’t even interested in measuring and about which they don’t give a damn, and when the appalling suffering in Britain is raised in parliament, you can witness on national television the Tories sneering, mocking and barking like the jackals they are.
And all of it, every single hell cursed part of it is a scam, a lie, a twisted hell spawned conception of bastardy that they are pursuing out of vindictive, spite filled, hate and greed. They despise their victims, and that is what fuels my rage when my niece works her socks off and can’t even get paid and then the bastard banks punish her for having no money when they are the bastards that stole it in the first place with the active complicity of this filthy bastard government who have laid the blame and the pain squarely on her, and all of us.
And if you are curious to know what the real magic money tree is in Britain, it’s us and they are robbing us blind.
KOG. 19 November 2017.