The 2016 Budget didn’t hold many surprises. Cuts to disability benefits, neglect of the North of England, and perks for big corporations seem to be commonplace when it comes to this heartless Tory government. But how does the budget affect you personally? Here is a fun device that the BBC has come up with. Enter a few details in the Budget Calculator and it will tell you if you’re better or worse off:
There is a vast gap in the UK when it comes to health, as a recent study by National Statistics highlights. Unsurprisingly, affluent locations in the south of England are much better off than areas in the north, such as Manchester, Blackpool, Bradford, Birmingham, the North East & Lincolnshire etc.
Men in Kensington & Chelsea can expect 80.2 years of good health in their lifetime, while men in Salford can expect 46.3 years of good health (and, in reality, wouldn’t expect to live 80.2 years in total). Women in Westminster can expect 78.3 years of good health, while women in Birmingham can expect a paltry 46.1.
The reasons given in the article for this ‘sickness divide’ by Dr Ann Marie Connolly are ‘smoking’ and ‘lack of activity’. But this only scratches the surface. It is lifestyle as a whole that contributes to this sort of vast gap in health.
- Pollution (poor people can only afford to live downwind of industrial areas, and so have to breathe in crappy air on a daily basis. Not an ideal environment for exercising).
- Diet (the minimum wage cannot sustain a balanced, healthy diet)
- Working environment (breaking your back every day is bound to cause health issues. Also, when you get home after a horrible day at work, how likely are you to want to exercise or take time to cook a balanced meal?)
- Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs (the poor in society want escapism, and therefore turn to substances that can aid that).
- Stress (when you’re constantly worrying about feeding and housing your family you are going to experience mental/physical health issues).
- Education (in poor areas the schools aren’t as good, causing an endless cycle)
- Environment (it is fact that just being able to see a nice, green setting improves physical as well as mental health)
- The list could keep going on…
If the government was serious about investing in the North, and creating their ‘Northern Powerhouse’, these are basic discrepancies that they should be focussing on correcting instead of tokenistic HS2 railway plans that or neither here nor there.
On the Daily Mirror website, there is a section HERE where you can type in your postcode to find out how many years of good health you can expect. I can expect to live 77.3 years (62.4 of that being good health) … but I live on a bus route, so that’s assuming my road safety is up to scratch. Give it a go yourself!
It is common knowledge to anyone who has seen The Terminator that robots are going to take over the world and rule us with an iron fist. They are probably already monitoring what we’re saying on the internet. At this point I want to say that I am in favour of the robot invasion, and i’d like to pledge my allegiance to the mighty robot overlords!
We will all be replaced eventually, but some of us are in more imminent danger than others. The following is a BBC production, which allows you to search your job role (or something close to it) and check out the likelihood of you being replaced by a robot in the next 20 years.
If it looks like bad news, you might want to consider joining your union, unless David Cameron completely outlaws unions in the next five years, which he seems to be working towards. Come to think of it, the job role of “Prime Minister” and “Politician” are not on the list. Does that mean the role of Prime Minister is already occupied by a robot? Is Big Dave crippling the unions to make it easier for the rest of his robot brethren to invade the UK? He certainly seems eager to stop human beings entering our borders.
On a more serious note, the job role I was most interested in looking at, Soldier, was not on the list. Maybe that topic’s a bit too risque for the BBC to delve into. Unmanned killing machines could be just around the corner – a scary thought!
Feel free to comment with your test results.
This blog is inspired by the above piece, found on the BBC website, which asks the question “How Do I Know If I’m A Bully?” It’s an article aimed at young people, and is designed to make them look at themselves objectively and question whether or not they are having a negative impact on someone else’s happiness. Bullies don’t tend to see themselves as bullies because it’s such a negative label. They are also looking at events from a very particular perspective, and will therefore lack empathy.
Maybe David Cameron and the Conservative government should have a look at the article. It might encourage them to peer into the proverbial mirror so that they can get a glance at the reflection looking back at them.
According to the article, bullying behaviour can include “verbal abuse, such as name-calling and gossiping”. This week our Prime Minister, David Cameron, was caught on a live microphone saying “We just thought people in Yorkshire hated everyone else. We didn’t realise they hated each other so much.” You have to hear the recording to identify the venom in his tone when he said this. The PM says that it was “just a joke”, but a bully would say that, wouldn’t they?
Another indicator is “emotional abuse, such as threatening, intimidating or humiliating someone”. The Tories are acting very threateningly towards the working class by bringing in new legislation to restrict unions and industrial action, taking away people’s power to fight for a fair, safe working environment. And there are thousands of families that have had to go through the humiliation of using food banks because of the barbaric cuts that have been made during this reign of terror.
“Ignoring or isolating someone” is also on the list. The government has ignored the youth of the UK, and has isolated groups such as the unemployed and immigrants, often actively demonising them, and using psychological projection to place blame on them for all of the country’s troubles. This links into the next thing on the list of bullying behaviour: “Criticising or spreading rumours”. Of course, the Conservative government puts Rupert Murdouch’s evil media empire to work when it comes to much of this nasty business. Ask Jeremy Corbyn, who is lynched for something as little as wearing a tie “incorrectly” (while Cameron’s Yorkshire jibes are swept under the carpet).
Finally, the government should look at this one: “physical assaults, such as hitting or pushing”. The way the government is handling the NHS is the equivalent of physical assault. Sneaky hidden cuts, privatisation, and plans to make the public pay for healthcare will batter the British public black and blue. See THIS ARTICLE for more on that.
I think you’ll agree that, by these standards, the Conservative Government is a giant bully, strutting around the UK like it’s a supersize playground. Hopefully Jeremy Corbyn will turn out to be the hero this country needs to put the bullies in their place!
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
A famous quote from Mahatma Ghandi, which can be applied to the Labour leadership campaign of Jeremy Corbyn.
Before Jeremy Corbyn was announced as a Labour leadership contender my local MP, John Mann, sent me an e-mail to ask who I would like to see chosen as the new leader of the Labour Party. I didn’t hesitate in typing Jezza’s name. After he garnered the necessary backing, and stepped forward as a possible candidate for the role, I was delighted.
However, his campaign has received a variety of responses, from complete dismissal to mockery to fear, and, of course, the usual scare-mongering that has become a staple of the Tory modus operandi when it comes to making the “idiot masses” do their bidding. But I don’t think that’s going to work this time, because the above responses have come from politicians and the media. The response from normal, working-class Britons has been consistently supportive of Jeremy Corbyn’s no-nonsense, sensible political outlook.
This terrifies politicians. It is a threat to the stoic, heartless status quo that David Cameron’s Conservative government has manufactured. It is a threat to careerist Labour politicians, such as Liz Kendal, who is willing to turn Labour into a mirror-image of the Conservative Party in order to gain power for herself.
Jeremy Corbyn isn’t gaining support because he wants to move the Labour Party even further to the right. He’s gaining support because his vision of the Labour Party gives the British public a REAL alternative to the cynical Tories. He is also a breath of fresh air from the vulgar, robotic, pandering, politicians who were shoved down our throats in the marathon-length run-up to the General Election. He has principles, sticks to them, and doesn’t rush headlong towards the centre-ground at the drop of a hat.
Seeing Tony Benn’s protégé become the Labour leader would be a rare cause for celebration in our current UK political landscape (which has conditioned us to constant despair and disappointment). Anything other than a Corbyn victory will disengage the public, particularly young people, even more, and allow the Tories to dominate for many years to come.
Jeremy Corbyn gets my support. JEREMY FOR LABOUR
Welcome to a day in the life BBC Television on Sunday the 26th July 2015 (tomorrow’s schedule).
We will start the day off with BBC Breakfast from 6am in the morning. The most senior presenter of this show is Bill Turnbull, educated at Eton College. Following this show, we have more current affairs from the Andrew Marr Show, hosted by Andrew Marr (educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge), who will be discussing the latest policies from our government, which is run by David Cameron (Brasenose College, Oxford) and George Osborne (Magdalen College, Oxford). At 10am we have more political discussion on Sunday Morning Live, compered by Sian Williams (Oxford Brooks University).
After this we have some light entertainment in the form of Bargain Hunt, where antiques experts such as Kate Bliss (Brasenose College, Oxford), look for antiques at jumble sales.
12:15 – Formula 1 racing. We get to watch the current champion Lewis Hamilton (graduate of Cambridge Arts and Sciences) drive around in a shiny car. He is currently strong favourite to retain his title. But if you’re not a sports fan, you can watch Chefs on Trial instead, hosted by Alex Polizzi (St Catherine’s College, Oxford). Following the F1 we have a sports-based gameshow ‘A Question of Sport’ with rugby star Matt Dawson (Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe)
At 15:45 we have property show, Escape to the Country, with Alistair Appleton (Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge), followed by the Two Tribes gameshow hosted by Richard Osman (Trinity College, Cambridge).
We can then chillax and sing along to Songs of Praise, hosted by the likes of Bill Turnbull (Eton College), and Sally Magnusson (University of Edinburgh). At 17:45 Richard Osman (Trinity College, Cambridge) returns for Pointless, a gameshow which he hosts with Alexander Armstrong (also of Trinity College, Cambridge). Then it’s a news update from Reeta Chakrabarti (Exeter College, Oxford).
At 19:00 it’s time for one of the BBC’s flagship shows, Countryfile, with Ellie Harrison (King’s College, London), and Joe Crowley (Magdalene College, Cambridge). If you’re not into this you can watch Locomation: Dan Snow’s History of Railways instead (Dan Snow is a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, if you were wondering). At 20:00 we have Fake or Fortune? with Fiona Bruce (Hertford College, Oxford) and Bendor Grosvenor (Harrow School, Pembroke College, Cambridge). Alternatively you can watch Dragon’s Den, where the entrepreneurs are joined by new girl Sarah Willingham (Cranfield University, Oxford).
We end the day at 21:00 with crime mystery entertainment, Partners in Crime, starring David Walliams (Collingwood Boys’ School in Wallington, and the independent Reeigate Grammar School).
This day of entertainment will be brought to you by Director of BBC Television, Danny Cohen (Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford), Director of News & Current Affairs, James Harding (Trinity College, Cambridge), and Director of Strategy & Digital, James Purnell (Balliol College, Oxford).
BBC Mission & Values (link to quotes below)
- We respect each other and celebrate our diversity so that everyone can give their best
- Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest
- Audiences are at the heart of everything we do.
Judging by the disproportionate number of people from privileged backgrounds on the BBC, I don’t feel that socio-economic diversity is being sufficiently celebrated. I also don’t think the BBC’s employment track record is very “impartial”. And if audiences are at the heart of everything the BBC do, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a proportional representation of the average UK citizen on our screens instead of people who won the postcode lottery?
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the weekly charts. Boy, have we got a show for you today! You’ve heard the rest, now hear the best. This is your top 10 countdown of how the poor stay poor, and how the rich get richer. Mind the gap, folks, or you’ll fall right through!
- Privileged in high-power positions
Yes, this one is an oldie but a goldie. Virtually all of society’s most sought after positions are occupied by people born into wealth and privilege. Politicians, masters of industry, actors, singers, bankers – you name it, the privileged have a monopoly on it!
War. Huh! What is it good for? Making lots of money! (Iraq). But then there’s total war, too, such as World War 2 when the common folk had to go into battle while the privileged gave them orders. But it was all to protect our way of life! Well, the privileged were doing well before the war, and the poor had it bad, and that’s how it has been afterwards and ever since. So that’s the way of life all the common folk were asked to protect. Sometimes I think it might be time to give those commoners a break….NAH.
- Cut Vital Public Services
Nee-naw nee-naw nee-naw. That’s the sound of an ambulance arriving 3-hours too late. The rich can pay for private healthcare, but the poor tend to rely on the NHS. But we can’t make this service too efficient because if the poor aren’t worrying about their health, then they may be trying to steal a slice of dosh from the rich.
Bankers (rhymes with wankers) storms in at #7. They take risks and the masses pay the price. The bank charges you a fee if your account balance drops below a certain level (yeah, cos that’s going to help my low bank balance), and they make you pay higher interest rates on loans because you haven’t got a summer house to put up as collateral. Expect this one to rocket up the charts in the coming weeks.
- Demonising the Welfare State
This is a zinger. Demonising the Welfare State (B-Side: Fuck Communism) is a new one, and expect it to linger in the charts for at least another 5 years. If the most vulnerable members of society are having a hard time, get everyone to turn against them. This distracts from the bankers (rhymes with wankers) and other Chosen Ones who are slowly killing the working class. That’s right-wing morality for ya!
- Withdraw Power
The poor cannot be allowed any sort of power. It is a threat to the rich, and their hedonistic way of life. The number one target? Unions. We can’t have the scum protesting and causing a disturbance because they feel they should be paid a fair wage.
- Expensive/Inaccessible High Education
Call us old fashioned, but us English believe that knowledge is only for the richest in society. Otherwise, how would they stay rich? We like the poor to be uneducated so they continue to make bad decisions. Besides, who’s going to clean all those mansions? (no mansion taxes to worry about now, chums).
Boo! Yes, this is David Cameron’s favourite tool. He wants to scare you into blaming others (immigrants, people on benefits), he wants to scare you about the economy (it’s fragile, but the Tories can fix it; we just need to destroy your lives in the process!), and he wants to make you believe that any positive change would end up destroying the world in the long run.
- Don’t tax the rich!!!!!!!!
For God’s sake, don’t tax the rich! They need as much money as possible so they can provide the scum with low-paid, exploitative jobs…so we can tax said scum. The perfect system for keeping the rich rich and the poor poor.
AND COMING IN AT NUMBER 1……SCRAPPING THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT
May God have mercy on us all.