Our candidate for the Brighton Pavilion constituency, Howard Pilott, has been invited to a future election hustings and was asked to provide replies to a number of questions in advance.
FIVE QUESTIONS FOR PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATES
Question: It is said that the gap between rich and poor is wider in the UK than any other EU country and it’s getting wider. Do you see this as a problem and, if so, what do you believe are the best ways of tackling it?
My guess is that this is true, and my analysis would be that this is because we have a more naked version of capitalism in this country than in most of the EU. For one reason or another Europe has a much more collectivist tradition than the UK and this has resulted in things like the social chapter of the Maastricht treaty. Remember Germany had state welfare provision before we did. Anyway the upshot is that the forces of capitalism are stronger in UK than in EU and the way capitalism works is to attract power and money to those that have power and money: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The state colludes in this. Note that in the recent scandal involving swiss tax evaders, there were no prosecutions [or possibly one] whereas if it were you or me, we’d be done, no questions.
Apparently it’s too expensive or difficult to prove with rich people. Lord Fink saying his tax avoidance was ‘vanilla’ and everyone does it reflects the fact that he doesn’t know anyone on PAYE – which is most of the working class. So much for the premise of the questions, and so, yes, it is a problem: of course it is not right that so many should ensure hardship so these greedy pigs should further increase their wealth. The obvious way of tackling it is to abolish capitalism: it’s only been around for a few hundred years and has now outlived its usefulness. Let’s work together for a socialist future where the wealth of the world is shared collectively.
Question: A very tangible example of the rich/poor divide is the difficulty many people have in affording a home. First time buyers are in competition with Buy-to-Let landlords and rich speculators using property as an investment. How can this issue be addressed?
When I grew up nearly everyone I knew lived in council houses. They weren’t brilliant but they were ok and we weren’t all constantly feeling inadequate because we didn’t own our own house and have something to pass onto our children. The public were bribed into this house buying stuff by being given houses at knock down prices and once all the good houses are gone, council housing becomes more undesirable – a happy spiral for the tories who dreamt this one up. As the property market builds up the usual make-a-quick-buck operators move in. If you have money you can buy a house and use it to make more money through rental. The system is recycling money from the renters [those who do not have] to those who already own property – another example of capitalism in the raw. The governments of whatever hue may or may not choose to try to regulate this but it is an aspect of the system so they work against the grain. Unless property is collectively owned there will never be fairness in its distribution, there will always be those at the bottom losing out badly and those at the top doing very nicely thank you. Again the only real solution is the abolition of capitalism.
Question: The reduction in Legal Aid has impacted many people seeking justice in their varying situations. For example, the number of separated parents accessing family courts to resolve their children’s access rights has halved and the number of children using contact centres went down to 9,000 last year compared to 15,000 in 2013. As a result, many contact centres are now closing. How can people with limited means get the justice that their circumstances demand?
Simply put, they cannot. The trajectory of recent policies is to remove any safety nets for the less well off, because the benefactors of the government resent paying taxes to fund this: their greed literally knows no bounds. Added to the fact that the legal profession is a petit bourgeois cartel that ensures its members can charge a fortune for their paltry efforts. The following was quoted in the Express in 2013: “Last year for every pound the NHS paid out in compensation, 54.9p went in legal fees.”[24/9/13]. If working people have access to the law they are more likely to hold the wealthy to account and therefore the wealthy will try to stop this: that’s capitalism.
Question: As political parties focus on pleasing the groups of people most likely to vote for them (e.g. pensioners), the needy in our society are being ignored and marginalised. For example, as a result of central and local government cuts, many people with learning disabilities have lost some or all of the services they rely on – leading to social isolation and a loss of skills, as well as placing huge burdens on their carers. What ideas do you have for fostering a compassionate and just society where hardship, need and isolation are addressed?
I think I can honestly say this passes us by. We cannot be accused of courting the squeezed middle or any other sub group – we just want to connect with YOU. Often disabled people are marginalised because employers perceive them as more bother and less worth: easier to get someone without a disability. I have yet to meet an employer who cares beyond a bottom line; might do for a bit but there will come a time...
Building a society where the competition for jobs money and the necessaries of a decent life are a thing of the past engenders a certain spirit of togetherness: we’re with each other not against each other. We are not threats to each other but potential allies in what we achieve; we all become neighbours with a collective interest in our community – which includes its members. The society we have was justly christened the rat race: it doesn’t have to be like that – we can change it all.
Question: A lot of people, especially the young, feel disengaged and disenchanted with politics. They feel that the challenges they face are not understood and they distrust politicians. What do you believe are the most effective ways in which ordinary people in this country can influence national and world affairs for the better?
Simple: by taking control of them. Leaving control of this world to the rich and greedy has resulted in incredible deprivation and despoliation of the planet. Big business has treated the ground the sea and the atmosphere as a cost free dumping ground with terrible repercussions. Overseas engagement usually results in things going from bad to worse – where do you want me to begin – and here we are seeing the end of a government running on a platform which nobody voted for. There is an alternative: we can land satellites on tiny comets at the other end of the solar system; we can make the lame walk; we can do a lot better than this. Socialism IS the alternative.
If you have a question you wish to put to Howard and the Socialist Party directly he will be attending a number of hustings personally, one of which will be the One Church Brighton –
Date: Sunday, 19 April - 7:00pm
Venue: Gloucester Place Baptist Church,
Gloucester Place, Brighton BN1 4AA
There will be other opportunities to direct questions at the Socialist Party such as at another hustings organised by the Brighton &Hove LGBT Community Safety Forum
Date: Monday, 13 April - 7:00pm
Venue: Queens Hotel, 1-3 King's Rd,
Brighton BN1 1NS