Ed at the End – Ed am Ende

de: Mein Bericht in der Jüdischen Allgemeinen über die Wahlen aus jüdischer Perspektive.

en.: Last week I wrote a lenghty article in the Jewish German national the Juedische Allgemeine about the UK elections from a Jewish perspective. What can be said about how Miliband was portrayed, how is Cameron seen by UK Jews, and other points from a Jewish viewpoint.

Link:

www.juedische-allgemeine.de/article/view/id/22261

“Never Again No Coloureds” – Nie Wieder Keine Farbigen

Pictures and details (German) about my article in the German Taz taz.de/Diversitaet-von-Kunst/!159721/, regarding three London exhibition which try to do late justice to the under-representation of the culture and histories of people of a wider African background in Great Britain.

I would like to make one personal comment about Staying Power and the power of all the three exhibitions. As they are all in different places, I could help myself but looking at my fellow passangers on the London Underground as I traveled from location to location. I had just witnessed the world of some of the the parents and grand-parents of the people sitting with me on the train-carriage and a feeling ofcomplete satusfaction of palcement came up in me, of them, and also of myself, all belonging to this place called London and having fought our right to be here and having done so for a time long before us! Staying Power indeed!

Images to support the article, with kind permission by V&A, and BCA, and some my own.  All rights reserved!

Bilder und extra Infos zu meinem Bericht über drei Londoner Ausstellungen, welche versuchen Menschen afrikanischen Hintergrunds in Galerien und Museen gerechter zu werden   Taz taz.de/Diversitaet-von-Kunst/!159721/

Extra Informationen.

Kommentar:

Wer mit der U-Bahn, der Londoner Tube, von Ausstellung zu Ausstellung fährt, sitzt automatisch und unumgänglich den Personen gegenüber, welche mit der Welt der Ausstellungen verbunden sind, die Welt ihrer Eltern, und Großeltern und zum Teil auch ihre eigene. Das Gefühl kommt hoch, gerade wenn man selber Londoner ist, dass wir alle das Recht haben hier zu sein, mit einer Geschichte, die weit über die heutigen Momente hinaus geht. Staying Power indeed!

Extra Details:

In der Ausstellung in der Tate werden nicht nur “schwarze” Repräsentationen aufgedeckt, sondern auch weitaus komplexere Identitäten: Von primitivisierten und exotischen Darstellungen schwarzer Menschen des klassischen Stereotyps, zu seltenen Repräsentationen gleichgeschlechtlichen Beziehungen. Einer der zeitlichen Höhepunkte ist die „Negro Anthology“ (1934), von Nancy Cunard (1896-1965), in welchen neben bekannten Harlem Renaissance Künstlern, auch Werke einiger britischen Künstler stehen, beispielsweiße ein Lied Harry Quashies, und ein Banner eines weißen englischen Künstlers, John Banting (1902-1972), welches die Worte „Rassen vereint euch gegen imperialistische Unterdrückung“, trägt.

Am dominantesten im Raum ist Ronald Moodys (1900-1984) große Midonz Holzbüste. Hier gibt es eine direkte Verbindung zur Politik. Moodys Bruder Harold, beide Brüder gebürtige Jamaikaner mit medizinischer Ausbildung, war der Gründer der britischen Gleichberechtigungsbewegung League of Coloured People (gegr. 1931) und einer der politischten schwarzen Stimmen Großbritanniens seiner Zeit.

Doch einige Werke der Künstler mischen sich bereits jetzt auch unter den andren nicht schwarz thematisierten Ausstellungsräumen der Tate und auch im V&A geht schwarze Repräsentation auch über die Ausstellung Staying Power hinaus. Im ersten Stock findet man in einer weiteren Sonderaustellung namens In Black and White, zum Teil herausfordernde Arbeiten gegenwärtiger KünstlerInnen wie Sonya Boyce. Issak Julien und Chris Ofili mit jenen älterer, wie Uzi Egonu (1931-1996), Faith Ringold und Emory Douglas. Auch das Original des Black Panther Manifestes ist dort zu bewundern.

——-

Eine Weltstadt für Reiche – World Capital for the rich

Auf Deutsch AND SUMMARIZED IN ENGLISH

This page contains many images. Please allow time for the images to load

Hier stehen weitere Angaben zu meinem Bericht in der Taz, 5/5/2015 “Eine Weltstadt für Reiche / 14 Millionen für ein Zimmer“. Bilder und weitere Ausführungen, die nicht mehr in der Druckausgabe Platz hatten.

Supplementary notes to my article a “World Megapolis for the Rich / 14 Million for a Room“, (5/5/2015) in the German taz, amongst others images and text that could not be fitted in the tight parameters of the paper, already sacrificing a whole page for my report.

Dort wo früher noch in jeder Straße eine Bäckerei war, stehen heute Lokalbotschaften des Londoner Immobillienbooms. Im Fenster kein warmes Brot, sondern Bilder von Wohnungen und Häusern. Makler und private Hausverwaltungsagenturen haben Hochkonjunktur. In manchen Gegenden wie etwa im hippen Shorditch, Kaffee trinkenden Islington und opulenten Knightbridge, können es mehr als ein Dutzend solcher Geschäfte in einer einzigen Straße sein, die versuchen vom Hausmarkt in London zu profitieren.

Where before there were bakeries, today there are newsagents. In some single streets more than a dozen attempting to profit from the London housing market.

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One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge, ein Richard Rogers Bau. Ein Einzimmerapartment kostete dort im Januar ganze £10 Mio Pfund (€17.74 Mio).

One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge, where you can acquire a one bedroom apartment for but £10 Million Pound

Demoplakat bezgl Whnungen

An Wohnungen fehlt es dennoch überall. In der Londoner Wohnungsstrategie des Bürgermeisteramtes musste im Januar die jährliche Rate für Neubauten um 10.000 pro Jahr gegenüber den Raten vom Vorjahr erhöht werden. So sollen über die nächsten Jahre in London 42.000 Wohnungen pro Jahr neu erschaffen werden, und auch diese Zahl ist bereits zu niedrig. Nach Vorrechnungen des Bürgermeisteramtes selber, braucht London eigentlich jährlich zwischen 49,000 und 62.000 neue Wohnungen.

There is a lack of housing units, London would need up to 62.000 flats a year, according to calculations of the mayor’s office.

Elephant Park

Drei neue wunderschöne Neubauten wurden errichtet, mit dem süßen Versprechen, dass bald alles so aussehen würde, und ein Park solle auch dazu kommen. Es waren aber einzigen Häuser mit besonders schöner und menschenfreundlicher Architektur. Als im Jahr 2007 Labour nach einer Pause an die Macht kam, sagten sie dem Plan innerhalb einiger Monate zu, und er erschien jetzt in neuer Form, höher, gedrängter, mit weniger Parkland. Nach Southwarks Verfügung hätte die Stadtregierung auf 50% Sozialwohnungen für den Bau pochen müssen, das tat sie aber nicht. Die Rate der Sozialwohnungen wurde zuerst auf 35% heruntergehandelt, ein Versprechen des letzten Londoner Bürgermeisters Ken Livingstons, doch, letztendlich akzeptierte Southwark 25%, mit insgesamt 585 Wohnungen für Menschen in den niedrigeren Gehaltskategorien, davon 212 Wohnungen als „erschwingliche Wohnungen“, definiert durch eine Mietpreisreduktion von 20% oder mehr vom Marktpreise und 294 weitere als Wohnungen zum Teilankauf. Trotz der Wohneinheitserhöhung wird Elephant Park nur 79 echte Sozialwohnungen anstatt der vorherigen 1200 haben. Anwohner gründeten eine Lobbygruppe, die 35 Prozent Gruppe, die sich auf das Versprechen des Londoner Bürgermeisters stützt. Auch Heygate Eigenheimbesizter konnten den Wohnkomplex nicht retten. Einige streiten noch heute über ihre Entschädigung, denn der Wert der Wohnung wurde viel zu niedrig angelegt, mit dem was “Elephant Park” später einmal wert sein soll. Der Wohnrechtler und Akademiker Bob Colenutt, 72, der Gruppen, wie die 35% Gruppe bezeichnet all dies als „social cleansing“,

Ein Bericht der Londoner Wohnungskommission im Londoner Rat (GLA), der im Februar 2015 herauskam bezeugte den im Heygate Estate zu observierenden Trend Londonweit. Mit der Restauration von 34213 Sozialwohnungen in London wurde die Zahl der Wohneinheiten zwar auf 67601 erhöht, aber die Anzahl der echten Sozialwohnungen ging trotz dieses Anstiegs auf 22135 zurück. Man nahm zumindest an, Southwark hätte zumindest mit dem Projekt den Bauunternehmer gut zur Kasse gebeten. Doch auch das war nicht der Fall. Durch einen administrativen Fehler kam der Kaufpreis, den das australische Bauunternehmen Land Lease für Elephant Park zahlte an die Öffentlichkeit. Nur 50 Millionen Pfund, ein Bruchteil von dem, was das Gelände Wert ist.

In Elephant and Park the real council flats on site were reduced from 1200 at the Heygate Estate to 79 through the redevelopment. Statistics confirm, the amount of social housing is going down in spite of new flats being built. This is not an accidential development.

Baustelle London, hier Old Street

Building-site near Old Street London (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Laut einem befragten Bauunternehmen, einem der großen in London, die auch für Sozialwohnungen verantwortlich sind,  investieren nicht alle Unternehmen qualitativ in ihre Bauprojekte.  Bei ihnen sei das anders, denn es zahle sich später aus. “Wenn ein Wohnkomplex beliebt wird, gewinnen alle”, sagt der Bauunternehmer, “und es wird mehr wert. „Gerade bei Großprojekten muss sorgfältig gebaut werden, auch aus Eigeninteresse wenn man auf einem Großbau die nächsten15 Jahre ist, und das Bauobjekt sogar darüber hinaus managet, dann können die ersten Wohnungen nicht nach 15 Jahren schon zusammenfallen, sondern müssen solide sein.“ Bei anderen hat er bereits Projekte in London gesehen, wo „nur fürs schnelle Abzocken gebaut werde“.    Bei den soliden Firmen wie ihnen selber, würde nach einem natürlichen Zyklus gebaut, „einige stattdessen kommen erst, wenn sie Hoffnung auf Gewinn haben“.     Die Regierung müsste mehr auf Qualität pochen, welche dann das Volumen vorgibt oder limitiert. Dabei könnte lokaler Input der Anwohner das Design eines Planes dramatisch verbessern, und so sollte nach bester Praxis ein Plan nicht schon ein fertiger Deal sein, ohne dass man mit der Lokalbevölkerung überhaupt seriös gesprochen hat.

Some build just for quick money, told me one senior execuitive of a major developer in London. Input of locals should be essential.

(c) Mount Pleasant Forum

(c) Mount Pleasant Forum

Aber auch hier gibt es solche in London, die diesen konsultativen Prozess nicht ernst nehmen. Als zwischen den Stadtteilen Camden und Islington auf einem ehemaligen Postgelände bei Mount Pleasant mehre riesengroße 15-stöckige Wohnblöcke mit etwa 700 Wohneinheiten gebaut werden sollen, ist die Konsultation nur eine Scharade. Die Planer schicken ein paar Leute, die selber keine Ahnung haben. Auch hier wurde der Erstarchitekt (Terry Farrows), dessen Pläne noch relativ kunstvoll dezent waren und sich in die historische Gegend fügten, gefeuert, und die Wohnungen noch aggressiver und höher ausgeführt, ohne Achtung darauf, wo die Kinder dieser Menschen, die hier leben, in die Schule gehen sollen und wo man zum Hausarzt geht oder einkaufen soll, eine Entwicklung im Übrigen, die mit der Privatisierung der Royal Mail unter der liberal-konservativen britischen Regierungskoalition im Zusammenhang steht. Auch hier wurde mit der Anzahl der Sozialwohnungen gepokert. Die Bezirke Islington und Camden fordern grundsätzlich eine 50 prozentigen Teil der Neubauflächen für erschwingliche und soziale Wohnungen. Doch dies wurde vom Bürgermeister Boris Johnson und Royal Mail auf 12 Prozent heruntergeschraubt. Die Anwohner, in der Annahme, dass sie das Objekt nicht stoppen können, konterten mit einem plausiblen und professionell ausgearbeiteten Alternativplan, mit niedrigeren Gebäuden und verbesserter Infrastruktur welche der Geschichte und dem Umfeld der Gegend gerecht wird. Als dieser Antrag durch die normalen Instanzen gehen musste, wandte sich Royal Mail an den Bürgermeister Boris Johnson, der ein Veto einlegte, und den demokratischen Prozess zerstörte mit der banalen Anschuldigung, dass es sich hier um den Protest„revolutionäre Bohemier“ handele. In Wirklichkeit besteht der Großteil der Anwohner so seinem sozialem Mix, genau jener, der beispielsweiße in Elephant und Castle so erstrebenswert war. Als ob er den Anwohnern nun doch etwas geben wollte, erhöhte der Bürgermeister den Anteil erschwinglicher Wohnungen am Ende auf 24 Prozent. Einer der Leiter Mount Pleasant Anwohnergruppe, Edward Denison, selber Architekturexperte, bezeichnete „als Teil eines altbekannten Spielchens“.

At Mount Pleasant original plans by the famous architect Terry Farrows got soon thrown overboard, and developers planned a colossal sky rocketing development that would fit in the area like an UFO from space. It would rake light away and there was no planning of ammenities and infrastructure. The development had similar issues with the rate of social housing and in a very bold move the mayor Boris Johnson personally intervened. The locals, knowing they can not prevent the plan designed an alternative, that was a little lighter and greener and fitted better in the area. They are yet awaiting an appropriate reaction to their proposals.

Spitalfield Market mit Norman Foster Verputz

Nicht nur gegen das später veränderte Elephant Park Projekt und Mount Pleasant, wehrten sich die Londoner Anwohner. Im Osten verloren Anwohner und Architekturenthusiasten den Kampf gegen den Abriss von Robin Hood Gardens, ein 70ger Jahre Sozialwohnblock im Stil vom Heygate Estate. Nun wird die Londoner Stadtbehörde Tower Hamlets dort neue Wohntürme aufstellen, die nur wenige wollen. Ja fast allen Stadtteilen gibt es ähnliche Probleme und Kämpfe, die meisten mit relativ wenig erfolg.

Spitalfield Market (c) Lucy Rogers

Spitalfield Market (c) Lucy Rogers

Einer der ersten war die Kampagne gegen den Umbau des Spitalfield Marktes, zwar kein Wohngebäude, aber ein beliebter und bunter Markt, der die gesammte lokale Stadtgemeinschaft anzog. „Das einzige was wir mit unserem Protest erreicht haben“, erzählt einer der Hauptprotagonistinnen Lucy Rogers, „ist das Erhalten einer einzigen Fassade“. Der Umbau führte zu einen dramatischen Anstieg der Mieten, und das Verschwinden nahezu aller kleinen Geschäfte und Marktstände. Stattdessen gibt es dort jetzt die üblichen Ketten und Geschäfte des Luxusbereichs. Auch in Tottenham konnten die Anwohner nicht gegen die neuen Pläne des Fußballvereins Tottenham Hotspurs in Vereinigung mit der Stadtbehörde Tottenham agieren, der Carpenter Estate vor dem Olympiapark, vor den olympischen Spielen ein Hauptstreitpunkt in Sachen Wohnungen (SIEHE TAZ http://www.taz.de/!98092/ ) steht heute nahezu leer, und ohne Verwendung. Hier sollten nach Umbau erst Luxuswohnungen, später dann Studenten leben. Beides viel durch, letzteres auf Grund von Studentenprotesten in Solidarität mit den Menschen die hier einst wohnten. Neben dem ehemaligen Olympischen Dorf selber und um das Olympiagelände herum, tummelt es an nacholympischen mehrstöckigen Wohnbauprojekten.

There are many similar stories from different corners of London, such as Robin Hood Gardens and the Carpenters Estate in the East or the Tottenham Hotspurs Redevelopment in the North. At Spitalfield Market a long standing campaigner, Lucy Rogers, said, all she and the others could save in the end is not the market but an original fascade.

New Era Estate, (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn, All rights reserved

New Era Estate, (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn, All rights reserved

Doch es gibt auch ein paar Erfolge. Als ein amerikanischer Anleger den New Era Sozialwohnblock in Hoxton letztes Jahr kaufte, wollte er die Mieten erhöhen. Immerhin liegt der Altbaukomplex am Fuße des superhippen Stadtteils Shorditch und nicht weit vom Londoner IT Zentrum um Old Street. Die Mieter und einige Eigenheimbesitzer jedoch, unter der Initiative zweier Mütter, alleinstehend und „britisch Working Class“ im Jogginganzug und mit lackierten Fingernägeln, gingen auf die Barrikaden. Mit Hilfe des Lobbyisten Russell Brand, er schrieb im selben Jahr ein Buch namens Revolution, machen sie so viel Krach, dass der Anleger unter Druck kommt und den Wohnkomplex innerhalb acht Monaten an eine wohltätige Wohnungsstiftung verkauft. Lindsay Garrett, einer der beiden, sagt, es fing an für Bürgermeister Boris Johnson peinlich zu werden. Hätte die Kampagne länger angehalten , hätte das ungewollte Schlagzeilen bedeutet, die auch auf andere ähnliche Fälle gezeigt hätte, Auf Politiker konnten sie wenig hoffen. Ihre Parlamentsabgeordnete Diane Abbott (Labour) „sei erst in letzter Minute dazugestoßen und hätte sich dann in der Masse gebadet, als ob sie schon immer für die Sache gewesen sei“. Jetzt denkt Garrett selber in die Politik einzusteigen, „für die Sozialisten oder die Grünen“, sagt sie. Einer der wichtigen Gründe des Erfolges war, behauptet sie, dass alle im Wohnkomplex zusammen hielten. Sie, und andere wollen nun eine Londonweite Lobbygruppe aufbauen, den eines der Probleme sei die Größe Londons und das „nicht über die eigene Nachbarschaft schauen“. „Was an einer Stelle passiert, wiederholt sich überall in London“, sagt Lucy Rogers, eine campaignerin von Spital Field Market. „Die Bauunternehmer, Investoren und Planer wissen das, aber die Normalbürger nicht Man könnte viel angewandter die Stimme der Bevölkerung vertreten, wenn sich Nachbarschaften gen den Ausverkauf vereinen und Informationen austauschen“,

There were some successes. At the New Era Estate in Shorditch Hackney, campaigners managed to steer off rent increases with a little help of Russell Brand. The estate that was purchased by a profiteering American group, was sold off to a housing charity  without much further ado. Now they and others attempt to join hands for a London-wide campaign against the sell out of London’s flats.

Aufruf zum Marsch Januar (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Aufruf zum Marsch Januar (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Die einzige wirkliche Hoffnung bleibt die angekündigte überregionale Londonweite Vernetzung von verschiedenen Lobbygruppen. Doch bei einem Marsch zum Thema Londoner Wohnungskrise im Februar blieb die Anzahl der Demonstranten enttäuschend niedrig. Obwohl es ein londonweites Problem ist, beschränkte sich die Anzahl der Demonstranten auf nicht mehr als je nach Bericht mehrere Hundert oder Tausend. Obwohl die Kampagnen der letzten Jahre kleine Erfolge verbuchen konnte, bedarf es eines Wachstums des öffentlichen Bewusstseins dazu. Doch in einem Land, welches im Gegensatz zu Deutschland, obsessiv an den Besitz des Eigenheims glaubt, ist das alles andere als leicht. Doch vielleicht wird einmal genau der Ort dieser Wohnbaupolitik sich selber zum Opfer. Das britische Parlamentsgebäude ist nämlich laut neusten Angaben in einem erbärmlichen Zustand. Der Sprecher des Hauses John Bercow gab an, sollte es nicht renoviert werden, so werde es bald untauglich für politische Zwecke. Bestimmt mag aber eine Wohnbaugesellschaft sie in Luxuswohnungen umbauen.

Sad news is that a recent march in January, was not as large as it sould have been, given the size of the problem. But perhaps it will soon be solved by other means. The speaker of the house of Parliament said recently that the House was in a bad state and needed essential repair. One wonders if it could not rather be sold off and converted into luxurious flats by a developer. It surely is a prime location second to no other.

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Jüdische Wähler und Kandidaten in Großbritannien: Auf dem Weg nach Westminster – Jewish voters and Jewish candidates in the UK: Traveling to Westminster:

Was jüdischen Wählern wichtig ist, und was Abgeordnete sagen und jene die es sein wollen.

Link: http://www.juedische-allgemeine.de/article/view/id/22140

Exclusive for the German Jewish national Juedische Allgemeine an article that assesses what iss important to Jewish votersm MPs and wonna be MPs in Great Britain.

Link: www.juedische-allgemeine.de/article/view/id/22140

Wahlnotizen aus Essex – Election Notes from Essex

Zusätzliche Bilder und Text aus Essex zum Taz Wahlvorbericht Großbritannien (Johnson / Zylbersztajn) (Hier: taz.de/Unterhauswahl-in-Grossbritannien/!159231/)

Pictures and text supplementing the pre-election text in the German taz weekend (read here Johnson / Zylbersztajn:  taz.de/Unterhauswahl-in-Grossbritannien/!159231/)

Haltestelle Benfleet.  Viele arbeiten in der Londoner City

“Mitten in Essex liegt Benfleet, eine dreiviertel Stunde mit dem Zug entfernt von Londons Finanzbezirk. Die meisten der fast 50.000 Einwohner sind Wohnungseigentümer mit einer ungewöhnlich niedrigen Anzahl von Sozialwohnungen unter fünf Prozent.”

In the Middle of Essex you find Benfleet, 45 minutes by train from within the London financial district. The majority of the 50.000 residents are home owners, with an unusual low figure of socially rented flats.

Typische raktionaere Fans. Ein Waffenladen in Benfleet mit Ukip Poster.

“Auch hier bestrafte man letztes Jahr die Torys mit den lilafarbenen Pfundsymbol gewappneten Männern.”

It is here too, that the tories were punished by the men wearing the purple emblem.

Konservative Abgeordnete beim Lamentieren im Wahlbuero in benfleet

Rebecca Harris, die hier seit dem Jahr 2010 den Sitz Castle Point, zu dem auch Benfleet gehört, in Westminster vertrat, will einen Sieg des Ukip Kandidaten in den Nationalwahlen verhindern. Sie erzählt von immer wieder heruntergerissenen Plakaten und wie Ukip versuche mit Gerüchte und irrelevanten Argumenten Punkte zu sammeln, beispielsweise mit der Tatsache, dass sie nicht in der Gegend lebe. „Der Ukip Kandidat ist selber erst im März hier hergezogen und gibt sich jetzt als Einheimischer aus. Der Kandidat der aber hier am längsten wohnt ist der von Labour!”

Rebecca Harris is the Conservative MP of Castle Point,of which Benfleet is a part. She wants to prevent Ukip entering parlament. She states that many of her posters are torn down, and how UKIP creates rumours about her, and would point at the fact that she would not live here. “However,” she points out, “the UKIP candidate only moved here in March, and now claims he is a native. The only person who lived here for a long time is the Labour man.”

Will Ukip waehlen, Schellackpollierer Lee O'Brian, 56, Benfleet

Polierer Lee O’Brian, will eigentlich Ukip wählen. Doch das Argument, dass eine Stimme für Ukip die schottischen Nationalisten mit Labour in die Regierung bringen könnte macht ihn Sorgen.

The French Polisher Lee O’Brian wants to vote for UKIP. “Most jobs in the building industry are undercut by Easter Europeans,” he argues. But an entry of the SNP into government alongside Labour worries him.

Strasse in Benfleetmit Ukip und Konservativen Plakaten

Obwohl die Konservativen und Ukip überall plakatieren und vehement Wahlkampf  führen, ist der Enthusiasmus für die einen oder die anderen begrenzt.. Bei den Lokal-und-Europawahlen im letzten Jahr gaben hier 69% Prozent keinen Wahlzettel ab. Köchin Kerry Bird, 46, wird verrät, dass sie genausowenig einen Stimmzettel abgeben werde, wie der neunzehnjährige Spielplatzgestalter Lian Kavaha. Der hat sich noch nicht einmal registrieren lassen, damit er wählen kann.

Altough Ukip and the Conservatives put up placards all over the place, and the battle seems real, many people feel they can not get enthused by all the fuss. At the last elections in 2014 69% of the locals did not vote at all. Cook Kerry Bird, 46, does not want to vote at all. Lian Kahava, 19, a play ground designer, has not even registered to vote, he says.

DSC02628

Doch diese Herren im “Conservative Club” von Benfleet sind sich sicher, dass sie für die Conservatives wählen werden.

But these gentlemen in the Conservative Club of Benfleet say they will vote only for the tories.

DSC02612

Markiert durch die unmittelbare Nähe zur Themse, mit kommerziellen und Privaten Anlegerstellen und Fabriken wie der Pharmakonzerns Proecter Gamble, sieht man im unauffälligen Stadtzentrum merklich viele Ein-Pfund Billigläden und „Cash Converter“, Geschäfte in denen man Gebrauchtes für Geld eintauschen kann. Grays, ein paar Hanltestellen von Benfleet entfernt,  ist auch die Geburtsstadt des Komikers und bekannten Lobbyisten Russell Brand. Er forderte, dass keiner wählt, und so beim politischen Spiel nicht mitzumachen, und einige vor Ort bestätigen diese Ansicht, obwohl sie das nicht wegen ihm tun, sondern aus eigenem Missmut zur Politik.

Being near to the Thames, with many commercial and private harbours, and many factories like the pharamceutical company Proecter Gamble, Grays is a town that is not very distinct from many others, except for its unusual high amount of One Pound shops and cash converter stores.  It also the former home of Russell Brand, who argues famously that people should not vote. Many echo his views here, though their non affection for the political game is genuinely theirs.

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Trotzdem liegt Ukip Kandidat Tim Aker laut Vorhersagen vier Prozent vor Labour und fünf Prozent vor den Konservativen.

In spit of this the UKIP candidate Tim Aker is leading the polls.

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Mitten in der Fußgängerzone steht Ukip zu trotz ein Einwandererladen „Europa“. Die rumänische Verkaufsassistentin Elena Nistor, sagt die Engländer beschreiben uns so, wie sie selber sind.

Amidst the pedestrianised centre stands a Europe store, as if to spite UKIP.  Romanian shop assistant Elena Nstor claims that the English describe them in a way, that applies much more to themselves.

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Auch Barkan Ozgur, 22, mit türkischen Familienhintergrund, der im türkischen Grilllokal Asya Mangal gleich neben dem Bahnhof von Grays arbeitet, behauptet. „Grays ist ein Scheißloch“!  „90 Prozent leben hier von der Sozialhilfe, und davon sind viele alleinstehenden Eltern“, weiß er zu wissen“. Obwohl dies übertriebenen ist, nur 13% der Bewohner erhalten Sozialhilfe, nationaler Durchschnitt, stimmen ihm die vier anderen Anwesenden zu. Vielleicht liegt es daran, dass der Großteil der Sozialwohnungen, bis zu 14-Stoeckige graue Hochhäuser, fünf Minuten von hier stehen. „Wir sind die einzigen, die hier arbeiten!“, behauptet auch Wesley Mears, ein 32-jaehriger Projektmanager, dessen Eltern aus der Karibik stammen und weiter „Die weißen Jungs wollen weder für einen Job an einen anderen Ort reisen, noch haben sie oft die notwendige Ausbildung“, glaubt er, und wieder sind sich alle einig.

Barkan Ozgur, 22 who works in a Turkish grill opposite the station says, “Grays is a shit hole. 90 percent of the people who live here do not work here.”  That is exaggerated, as only 13 percent of the residents receive benefits, that is quite the national average. But maybe it is because a lot of the council flats of the area are situated five minutes behind the shop, including some 14 storey high tower blocks. Wesley Mears,32, of African-Caribbean background argues, that white English boys are inflexible when it comes to work: They don’t like travelling to another place for work and often lack the right qualifications. We are the only ones who work here.”

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn Ukip Poster in der Mitte. Wohnung in einem Sozialwohnungsbau in Grays. | “Ukip Poster in the middle” Housing Estate in Grays

Der Antikenhändler Mark Johnston, 53, sieht das vollkommen anders, er wir Ukip seine Stimme geben: „Mein jüngerer Sohn hat keinen, der von uns bevorzugen Grundschulplätze bekommen.“ Johnston behauptet, das liege an der Einwanderung von den Osteuropäern. Er sei kein Rassist, hätte sogar polnische Freunde, aber er versteht Grays als bedroht, weil Osteuropäer aus den dort ärmsten Gegenden hier her kämen und sich dementsprechend unmanierlich benehmen würden.

The antique dealer Mark Johnston, 53 wishes to vote for UKIP.  He says he could not get his preferred choice of primary school for his younger son and blames Eastern Europeans for that. He claims he is not a racist, and that he  even has Polish friends. But Grays would be threatened by Eastern Europeans who come from the  poorest areas of Eastern Europe and they would behave themselves accordingly, he says.

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn Conservatives Wahlplakat in Benfleet  | Poster of teh Conservatives in Benfleet

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn Conservatives Wahlplakat in Benfleet | Poster of the Conservatives in Benfleet

Ian Davies, 39, in der Tierhandlung gegenüber, umzingelt von Fischtanken, beschreibt sich als den Konservativen verbunden. Seine Stimme kriege jedoch nur jene Partei, welche in den nächsten Tagen am wenigsten dreckigen Tricks spiele. Seine zur Wahl skeptischen erwachsenen Kinder musste er zur Wahl überreden „Das geht nur“, meint Davies im Hintergrund eines kreischenden Papageis, „wenn Politik glaubwürdig und aufrichtig bleibt“.

Ian Davis from a small animal shop argues he is committed to the Tories. But he will only give those the vote who play fairly in the next few days. He says he had to convince his parents to vote and continues, whilst a parrot makes itself heard in the background, that this would only be possible if politicians remain trustworthy and truthful.

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

(c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Seltener sind die Spuren der Labouranhänger!

Much rarer are traces of Labour supporters.

Eine Frage des nationalen Gedenkens und Vergessens. A question of national memorization and forgetting

Potentieller Ort des Shoa Memorials neben der Tate. |Potential location of the shoa memorial next to Tate Britain.

Potentieller Ort des Shoa Memorials neben der Tate. |Potential location of the shoa memorial next to Tate Britain.

GERMAN: In London wird eine nationale ‪#‎Holocaust‬ Gedenkstätte gebaut. Man will dabei nicht sparsam mit den Fehlern des eigenen Landes sein. Doch manche wundern sich über das Vergessen einer Geschichte die viel mehr mit Entscheidungen London zu tun haben!
ENGLISH:  In London a holocaust memorial is to be set up. Britain warrants not to be economical with the truth and British mistakes. But some observers note that another history whose decisions were actually made from within London has not yet got appropriate remembrance.

http://www.juedische-allgemeine.de/article/view/id/22013

ENGLISH TRANSLATION (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) (slightly altered with original quotes)

This text in a slightly shorter version was first published in German in the Juedische Allgemeine 14th April 2015:

Two months ago the British government announced, that it would make available the equivalent of around 67 million Euros for the construction of a national Holocaust memorial in London. Consultations concerning this proposal which brought together experts and survivors had gone on in the previous year. Amongst others they felt that too many different organizations had sought to obtain funding for holocaust related memorialisation. With the planned national memorial site the research and the remembrance are to be better managed and administered.

The new memorial site will be fitted with an integral educational centre using the latest technology. As a first and pressing step, survivor testimonies of the still living witnesses are to be recorded for posterity.

Despite the liberation of the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen through the British Army and the Allied victory 70 years ago, Great Britain’s image at the memorial site is not to be shown triumphantly, argues the Jewish historian David Ceserani, who was also privy of the consultation.
Ceserani said in particluar:

It would be essential to show how Britain was involved in the fate of Europe’s Jews in the 1930s and 1940s and that in doing so it would also be absolutely necessary to confront the negative elements of the story.

In the historical preamble, the report mentions the appeasement of Nazi Germany, the grudging response to the refugee crisis, domestic anti-Semitism and fascism,  internment, the closing of the Jewish national home to Jewish fugitives from Europe, and the patchy response to information about the mass murder of Jews during the war. The report in absolutely clear that the learning centre, which will be organically connected to the memorial, will present an honest appraisal of Britain’s relationship to the fate of the Jews and that it will not be ‘triumphalist’. Equally, the educational programme that will be developed over time will encourage young people to dwell on the ambiguities of the British response to Jewish suffering. It will not be a ‘whitewash’.”

Kurt

Kurt Marx (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

A group of aged holocaust survivors at the holocaust survivor centre Shalvata, the only such institution in the UK, welcomed the announcement to build a national Holocaust memorial site. Kurt Marx (89), who grew up in Cologne, and had fled with the Kindertransport to England, argues it should be a place that remembers and shows what evil humans are capable of performing. “In the beginning many thought Hitler was only a madman and he would not stay for long. But what he did, in spite of the fact that Germany understood itself as a civil society, “says Marx.
Marx is grateful to Britain for his rescue. But he remembers, that many Britons made no difference between him a German Jew and Nazis at the beginning,. Even today this would continue. At Shalvata he is not allowed to speak German, as it might upset some other attendees.

Belgian-born Sarah Espinoza, who escaped the Nazis just before the outbreak of war “on the last boat across the Channel to England”, as she says, reports shockingly how she spotted a sign during a recent visit to Belgium which read : “No Dogs and No Jews!” This is evidence that rampant anti-Semitism continues, she argues. “If you do not drum it into the heads of people, the Shoah will be forgotten and one day history may repeat itself,” fears the 90-year-old.

Chaim Olmert, Shoaueberlebender | Shoa survivor Chaim Olmert (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Chaim Olmert, Shoaueberlebender | Shoa survivor Chaim Olmert (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

Chaim Olmert (87), survivor of numerous labour and concentration camps, demands, that the new centre will depict the Holocaust in all its complexity. He states how his wife’s family had been arrested by the British during their attempt to escape to Palestine and sent to prison in Mauritius instead. He adds, “It is important that the Holocaust is not thrown together with other genocides in the same pot, because it was a unique chapter in human history,” admonishes Olmert.

Where exactly the memorial will be located is as yet not entirely clear. Currently there are three possible locations however: Near Tower Bridge, next to the Tate Britain Gallery and in front of the Imperial War Museum. The suggested sites follow other findings from the commission concerning the holocaust memorial site, for many survivors were unhappy with the current London Holocaust monument erected in Hyde Park in 1983. They believe it to be too small and rather distanced from the centre of town.
But another group would rather welcome a memorial in Hyde Park. The former history teacher Oku Ekpenyon (69), she received an MBE for her initiative on African and Black history, has been campaigning for the erection of a monument in Hyde Park to commemorates the victims of the slave trade since 2002. In fact 2008 Ekpenyon received assurances from the London Mayor Boris Johnson hereto, but the project has been stalled ever since due of a lack of funds.

Model of the slavery memorial that was planned for Hyde Park | Modellbüste  des Sklavenhandeldenkmals

Model of the slavery memorial that was planned for Hyde Park | Modellbüste des Sklavenhandeldenkmals

Now that the government has announced,  it intends to finance a Holocaust memorial, Ekpenyon wrote a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, asking for government help: “The government claims it wishes to remember the human suffering of the Jews during the the Holocaust. With a fraction of the sum intended for the Holocaust Memorial, you can ensure that there is also a site that reflects on the time of slavery and the price African people paid for the development of this nation. ”

Star Wars actor Hugh Quarshie, one of the patrons of the slavery memorial campaign, argued:

“I think there should be a Memorial in every major capital city, just as there are tombs to The Unknown Soldier.  It is not simply appropriate and important but essential because it would signify universal recognition that the attempted extermination of one group of human beings by another group of human beings is not just wrong but an absolute evil.  We talk about The Holocaust because it it is still within living memory, was strategically planned, systematically executed and perpetrated by a nation claiming to be at the highest rank of civilisation, and extensively documented, recorded and even filmed. The word Holocaust is not to be used lightly; there are gradations ranging from mass murder to ‘ethnic cleansing’, to genocide.  But it is my hope that such memorials would also testify to the atrocities of earlier holocausts not so extensively documented, but no less extensive in their scale or their atrocity: the near extermination of the indigenous people of South America by the Conquistadores, recorded by Bartolomeo de las Casas in his anguished Account of the Destruction of The Indies; and of course the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  We can only estimate how many millions died during the crossings or were brutalised and worked to death after arrival. This was brutality on an industrial scale, carried out by nations claiming to be among the most sophisticated on earth; but there have been no apologies made or reparations paid.  And it is precisely because there are no living witnesses that we need memorials to these horrors.”
Freddie Knoller (Foto HMT, mit Erlaubnis)

Freddie Knoller (Foto HMT, mit Erlaubnis)

The 93-year-old Auschwitz survivor Freddy Knoller, born in Vienna, understands this. His greatest fear, he says, is oblivion and indifference – especially when the survivors will no longer be there. He sees the planned Holocaust Memorial as an important  reminder to democracy, because something like the Holocaust could only rise out of dictatorship. Freddy Knoller’s lead for the memorial is however far more humane, “Let us love one another, not murder,” the old man begs, who has been himself, he claims, a life long optimist. “I never gave up!”

Manifesto Review. UKIP, LIBDems, SNP, Labour and Tories.

Below you will find my notes on Lib Dems, Conservatives, The Greens, and UKIP Manifestos.

Many people speak about the budget, the austerity cuts and the NHS, and truly that is what bost people in Britain look for in the manifestos, except when you are a UKIP supporter and the only measure of things is the membership to the EU.  However reading the manifestos has actually high merit because one recognizes the general political zeitgeist.

One of the really positive things from most manifestos is the drive towards more equality on gender and sexuality and general tightening of discrimination. Even UKIP cough up references on tolerance. The Greens make equality their main theme, but it is also a theme for the Lib Dems and Labour.

However both Conservatives and of UKIP could mean that Britain soon leaves the European Human Rights Court and the guarantees it gives, not to speak of European migration issues and the freedom of movement.

One point UKIP fails but all other parties more than recognise on is actually another, a comprehensive and deep understanding on climate change. Not one of the four others excludes the topic. Whilst the Conservatives are less specific and comprehensive on on it  than the Lib Dems, and the Greens the two most elaborate parties on this, as well as Labour, you have a feeling that they felt they needed to act, both on grounds of negotiated global targets and because of the accusation that their aims as the new green party on the block announced last time around where not acted upon.

Education is another key area beyond the budget and the NHS. All parties seem to believe more child care is better, though there are huge differences in outlook.  The Conservatives believe in an increase of free schools and tight testing.  Labour on the other hand is against free schools. The ib Dems and the Greens are the only two who would take school curriculum development  away from state, whilst the Greens are the only party that talks about school to start only at 7 like around the world, and that there must be a new emphasis on the inter-social.

If you like a breath of fresh air it is well worth saving through the Lib Dem and the Green party manifestos. Labour, whilst more socially attune than the Conservatives are not as radical and several issues as Miliband makes us believe. However the reality of the questionable first past the post system will have it that this will remain a race between Labour and the Conservatives.

Of course at the end it is the deficit and austerity and how much needs to be cut that many people ask.  The Conservatives stand alone with a fast repay, followed by the Lib Dems in their thought on necessity. Labour remains rather vague on how much the deficit will go down, whilst the Greens feel it is time to invest as the economy changes and new jobs and relationships will transform society.

As a press person I also noticed the Lib Dem reaction to Wikileaks and similar. Newspapers and the Media should be able to argue for exceptional special freedoms in court if their investigative journalism brings to light corruption, and human rights abuse, and infringements on liberty and the like. Most other parties at mention references to Leveson and the need of a charter.

The best policy that UKIP offers and biannual people’s referenda on major policy issues, however such votes whilst they increase democracy, will also come with a price tag.

Many parties are making huge promises on the NHS, even UKIP finds somehow 12 Billion Pounds, the largest amount of all parties.

on with my notes which were first shown on my facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/dzx2.net/

UKIP

So read the ‪#‎UKIP‬ Manifesto. Here are some of the points I picked up:
The ‪#‎UKIPManifesto‬ is interesting to read because it is not as far removed from reality as some may believe to be, though some policies may let some raise eye brows, such as their cavalier attitude towards the climate change targets (they are not mentioned. Their key policy is the stop of EU membership which has a set of consequences. Their trade vision is global, and they talk of Japan, China and the U.S. alongside Europe as equal partners. They also want to leave the European Court of ‪#‎HumanRights‬.

But it insists that Britain is and UKIP is a as a party tolerant. One of its policies states however to work against policies in the name of “multiculturalism that are divisive.”

They are against the keeping of data of innocent people, but the DNA samples and similar foreigners to be sentenced abroad are to be kept.

They like the budget for the ‪#‎NHS‬ to be lifted to £12bn and reintroduce housing benefit for the under 25s. To save costs it wants to abolish three departments, and offices, the Environment and Climate Change department, the National Service Office and the Big Society Office, the the Department of Overseas Aid.

They like to see an increase to police and security personnel
and a moratorium on ‪#‎unskilled‬ migration for 5 years. Generally they want an Australian point system on migration.

On housing they support new builds on brown fields and they support the right to buy option.

Big housing projects should be able to be opposed with 5% of local votes, there are to be biannual referenda on the most important issues of parliament to give back democracy. They are pro fracking and want to abolish incentives in wind and solar power as only hydro would work, they say. To solve the airport crisis they suggest the opening of a small airport that was closed. HS2 is to be scrabbed, and there are several pro car policies such as a 25 yr rule on classic cars excise duty release, ending toll roads, and decreasing speed cameras. They also are opposed to any pay as you drive schema, part of some environmental policies of others.

The ‪#‎Smokingban‬ is to be reviewed according to UKIP to add smoking rooms to pubs, and micro-breweries are to be assisted. As ‪#‎FGM‬ is non-British, it is specifically mentioned in the section on “British culture” as an issue that needs to be watched by all agencies involved. Similarly they specifically mention sham marriages and honour killings as to be watched. I wonder if it tells us something about how UKIP views certain migrants and how they position themselves against them?
They support the NATO 2 percent investment (they still like to be member of that) and support the nuclear deterrent option and ‪#‎Trident‬.
They are big on animal welfare but also pro GM.

Taxationwise they have a three tear system between normal tax, 30% for mid level earners and 40% for high earners

Those studying Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine will be excluded from tuition fees. They like to create schools that look after kids between 08.00 and 18.00 and during the holidays.

—-

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

The #LibDemManifesto. The first thing to mind is the size of the Manifesto of the #LiberalDemocrats. 158 pages, almost double the amount necessary by Labour, the Conservatives or the Greens, whilst there are thinned down easy read versions available I thought!

Once you have a look at manifesto number four (after Greens, Conservatives, Lib Dem), it becomes clear that all parties have decided on several key areas which are the same, based on assessments of what they thought are important. With the Lib Dems you even recognise this on the cover page. #LowCarbon Economy, Education, fight climate change, raise personal allowance, £8 bn for #NHS, emphasising in particular the Mental Health system, it says in colourful blocks.

The comprehensive copy of the LibDem Manifesto is well worth reading. It is mature and understands global challenges such as on the climate. It also knows how to work things out from the inside. But they do mostly without the dogmas of other parties work hard gain much, although their policy is not that much different it aims to emphasise positives. As LibDems their policies on the economy but also on rights in general,, democracy and human rights shine out as much as an incredibly strong drive on meeting the climate change targets, though some will be disappointed about their position on nuclear.

On the economy the Lib Dems intend to balance the books, but like Labour intend to do it in a fairer way. In that way they intend to upkeep taxation as a way to reduced the budget and be able to use a more sustainable percentage from 2017/2018. They say that would be the fairer way forward. They feel that further cuts to public services would be unsustainable. A big diagram states they will cut less than the Tories and borrow less than Labour.

Many of their policies are based on what has already been set during the coalition, including building on new banks, the New Green Investment Bank, and the building of #HS2 and double innovation in the next government. One of the familiar themes, supported by most parties is their drive to apprenticeship increase and the regional growth fund, which they label success. The financial policies are directional rather than specific, like wanting to support more alternative financing like crowdfunding and supporting an independent #Banko England. If they had their wy they would like to introduce Land Value Tax. Interesting is their commitment to set a zero carbon economy by 2050, they want more legally binding targets on pollution and inadequate resource use and put the Green agenda on the list of the NHS and school priorities. They have the most interesting policy on airport expansion, being opposed to the expansion of any of the London airports and rather seeing this as an issue for Britain as a whole. Airports should not interfere with the 2050 zero carbon policy. Like the Greens they specify of the need of energy reduction. By 2030 60% of the energy should come from renewables, however they remain open on nuclear energy and on fracking but insist on stringent safety. 70% of waste should be recycled they argue. They also like to create more national parks where local communities want it. One tree is to be planted fpr each baby born, amounting to 750.000 trees a year. They like to support all EU emission and pollution standards. They will introduce a Green Transport Act, a Zero Carbon Britain Act, and a Green Buildings Act (to include insulation regulation). 300.000 new homes to be built per year with new rent to own housing and 10 new Garden Cities. They like to ban letting agent fees to keep rental costs down and consider licensing rental, and rent repayment orders where rental properties are deficient of standards.

Their increase of #personalallowance is the same as the Conservatives, £12500 and they state they like to introduce free child care for two year olds, and free child care of up to 20 hours fr children up to 4 years old and expand the shared paternity leave and make child care up to £2000 tax free. Like Labour they support a mansion tax set at a £2 M threshold and wish to ensure there are no ore tax loopholes. On benefits they support the Tories Universal Credit. The fuel allowance and TV licence for pensioners is to be means tested. The Lib Dem education policy is based on fairness and access and making sure qualified teachers ensure set standards in numeracy and reading and writing. However interestingly they mention the #Education Endowment Foundation in order to establish what world in education rather than pre assume politically what works (e..g. Tories grammar schools), and an Educational Standards Authority that is totally removed from ministerial interference. They also specifically mention the teaching of religious and non religious views. Other policies they mention are for looked after children and a 2/3 reduction on bus for young people between 16-21 years. The abolish tuition fees promise is gone, they focus instead on making the student debt repay as fair as possible and helping those who most need it to study.

On rights they would like a digital bill and freedom of rights act introduced to protect from undue governmental interference or spying. They champion equality on gender and sexuality and like to see a continuation of it, with targets of 30% of women in companies boards. They also like to increase legislation for secular ceremonies allowing humanist weddings for example. To make employment more equal they like to have name blank recruitment in the public sector. Interestingly on freedom of press, they like to allow journalists special and exceptional powers to break the law in order to expose and judicial approval before journalists have to give free their sources. They are generally supportive of penal reform, including special education programmes for drug offenders, and to review both #LegalAid. They also want to permit cannabis for medical use and review the experiments on legalisation elsewhere. They support on the other hand strong border checks (exit and entry) and want to continue employment and school checks. But #EUmigration is not to be interfered with, although they will tighten some rules like on child benefit to children abroad. Loss of life in the Mediterranean trafficking is supposed to be worked with on a united approach. Despite having lost out on parliamentary reform in the last government they want to continue to work for a reform of the house of lords an proportional governmental representation. Parliament must also become more family friendly with more job shares on offer. Naturally they support the devolution and decentralisation processes. Their foreign and defence policies are mature with many specific examples. They explain why they kept the NATO 2% spending requirement and know what challenges lie ahead. However crucially they see defence as a partnership with others arrangement rather than one of sole lead. Economically they support the EU market and #Ttips. Their overseas Aid is supposed to be kept at 0.7% with aims on eradicating poverty and discrimination and promote sustainability.

The Greens

The #GreenPartyManifesto spends much time explaining its rational, going through the fact that resources are finite, and that if all people on earthy consumed the same as in the UK we needed three earths, if as much as in the US four earth.  They seem most closely to understand voters apathy and dissatisfaction with current politics.   Their starting thesis is that they do not believe that the economy is a dire as indicated. More important than growth they argue is equality. They like to stop measuring the UK by GDP but instead by Adjusted National Product which would take into account the environment and unpaid work performed at home. The policies are in part well argued, it looks like experts are behind many of them, for example on the school policy, certainly on their environmental policy.  The #Greens surprise with costing at the end of the chapter though whilst they save 21 bn the costs of spending will go up, but it is assumed that the economy will improve through the equality based and environmental system they propose. If the policies of Labour and the Conservatives may only excite in part as new approaches, the Greens come up with a wealth of ideas and policies missing from current political debates.  On the other hand some of their policies may need proper checks if they are not to be abused, such as their family unification policy for immigrants. Without prospects of the Greens becoming the winning party in May, some of what they propose could be a useful point of departure in potential coalition or even as a guide to the larger parties how they could enrich their thinking. The Greens make use of pointing at failures over the New Labour and the Conservative / Lib Dem coalition, for example the privatisation of Royal Mail.

Some ideas are merely directive, but others are very clear we will, we will not, many with a price tag. What the Greens do further well herein is to explain the background to each policy, as many people may read such ideas for the first time. Greens want to use the opportunity and interest in them to be understood and pass on their message of a alternative.The policy I disagree with is their call for a boycott of Israel. Here they have fallen in the trap of the anti-Israel lobby.  It is singular, as they only ask this of Israel, and sets in the footsteps of a long racist history of boycotting and excluding Jewish people.  They would be much better of to engage with all those progressive organisations and parties that exist in Israel.

Should they become coalition partners one or the other policy may enter the actual political discourse.
Some of the bits I picked out:

Local #CreditUnions are to provide alternatives to banks and credit sharks.
Ban on cages in poultry
CCTV in all #slaughterhouses
ban on foe gras, cloning.and ending genetic selection on fast growing animals
protection of UK farmers from low welfare imports
stop non medical animal experiences,
stop #GM animal breeding,
end puppy farming,
review dog legislation.
Publish free publicly funded scientific research,
prevent gene patenting, banning waste food and organic material to landfill,
recycle 70% of domestic waste by 2020 and move towards zero waste,
tighten targets on #CO2emissions taking consideration of the fact that the UK has used above its world population share over many decades. Cut energy demand by ½ 2020, by   ½ 2030,  2/3 by 2050
free nationwide retrofit house insulation to avoid fuel poverty,  costing £45 bn but creating 100.000 jobs.
£4.5bn into research less energy costing processes over one parliament, priority on community base energy creation.
Invest up to £35bn in renewable grid in next parliament
All public buildings to have solar panels by 2020
up to £2.5bn into research of alternative energy, such as tidal and wave power
phase out all carbon fuel by 2023, exit nuclear within 10 years, ban all fracking, expand electricity storage capacity, prevent new builds on flood plains.

More policies:

  • Reinstate finding for equality and human rights commission,
  • Equality and diversity education to be compulsory in all schools,
  • continue to tackle #institutionalRacism,
  • 40% of all public bodies to be made up of women,
  • £100M over course of gov. to nationwide rape crisis centres
  • retain independent living fund
  • provide 0.5bn for free social care for 18
  • increase disability living allowance by £1bn per year
  • increases carers allowance by 50% (=£1.2bn per year) 6.5 M careres saves state £119 bn
  • end external testing of disabled persons,
  • free local transport to all young people and students (£4bn/yr)
  • raise criminal age to 14, lower voting right to 16, make higher education free,reinstate beneft
  • for under 25 yr olds
  • free NHS prescriptions for all, abolish #TVlicence, but support BBC
  • Repeal Health and social care act 2012, gov needs to provide comprehensive health service,
  • NHS have to declare financial interests and conflict of intr, stop further PFI, increase /
  • re-establish public governance,
  • NHS budget incr by 12bn icr tobacco and alcohol taxes
  • access within one month to talking therapy
  • schools: democratic accountability, comprehensive system of which grammars should be part!
  • Local authority to decide how they want to spend education money , play, social cohesion, confidence building for 6yr.  compulsory educ. to start at age 7, abolishment of SATS, broad balanced and enriching curriculum, coherent 16-19 framework and mix between vocational and academic, increase outdoor,
  • Power to #BankofEngland to limit mortgage size, make buy to let less incentful through taxes, scrap help to buy schema,
  • 500.000 new sociallyrental homes,
  • 35 h. week, end 0 hours contracts, living wage, #RobinHoodTax, encourage small firms to thrive because they are closer to local community,
  • 45% GDP to spend on public goods
  • Wealth tax of 2% on the 1%
  • make tax avoidance hard
  • introduction of a basic income as opposed to benefit
  • double child benefit
  • #Billofrights with reform of house of lords,
  • reintroduce legal aid
  • no cap on council tax. And new taxes, eg. Tourist tax,
  • devolution
  • human rights and press freedom
  • renationalise and electrification of railway, but no expansion at Gatwick and Heathrow,
  • Migration. International policies to help stop war and crisis
  • family reunification facilitated because of family benefit
  • allow foreign students to work for 2 yrs after graduation
  • trafficked migrants: no immediate fear of deportation
  • corporations not to take over African food market,
  • smaller prison system, right to vote etc
The Conservatives

Overall the Conservative Manifesto is a mature and strong manifesto that can build on the strength of being in government.  It is quite strong on facilitating business, other sections noteworthy are its elaborative points on immigration and migration control and conserving the natural environment. Its £8 bn. commitments on the #NHS and the inheritance allowance for properties worth up to £1M have been mentioned in the news, as much as the commitment to enlarge the Right to Buy.   It aims to abolish the European Human Rights Charter with a Bill of Rights, create English votes for English issues as well as Scottish Devolution and renegotiate the relationship with Europe.

The manifesto of the Conservatives strikes almost as a financial academic document. Its language is held somewhat more governmental and business jargon. The first chapters strike in the way it is mindful of anything that enables and could ease business, including expansion of transport infrastructure such as HS2. Interestingly the document fails to mention the real benefit of the rail links which is not the increase in travel time, but the freeing up of the old tracks for commercial transport. The plan looks at all areas of business and how these can be made better, for example increasing cutting of red tape plus many business incentives.

They argue to have found a good formula for benefit recipients with the universal formula and explain that to make work pay they will lower the threshold for benefit entitlement to 23.000 Pounds.

The Conservatives recognise that the reliability on the finance sector has been detrimental for Britain. They aim to invest in more manufacturing and establish a Northern power house. In order to help the poorer they higher the threshold for income tax to £12.500 annual earning.

Their section on immigration is elaborate and detailed. EU Migrants will have to wait up to four years for certain benefits like housing and there are safe guards that are directly linked to successful employment. Failure to work after six months will mean that people will have to leave, a direct infringement on the current treaty rights, which the Conservatives wish to renegotiate. Exit controls are to be implemented and people to be deported are to be satellite tracked.

On education they on the one hand continue to support free schools, but on the other continue increased statistical evaluation with set standards for progress from age 11 that are relatively narrow on basically maths (timetables) and reading (a book) and writing a concise well punctuated report.  Social and Creative skills are not mentioned, but they like to increase the amount of teachers that teach Mandarine and increase science teachers. A first is a phD and postgrad loan system, truly missing in the education system.

On the NHS their 7 day NHS have been well advertised, as has their promise of an additional £8bn into the system for the next five years. The conservatives too mention the new cancer taskforce as a priority.  Insufficient cancer treatment made the headlines in the weeks prior to the manifesto launches.

The manifesto is mindful of the games in Rio and mentions support to school sport with £150M per year so that all children have two hours of sport each week.

The Big Society also returns with national civic service for 16-17 year olds.  The Manifesto also specifically talks of pardoning all wrongly convicted LGBT people in British history along the example of Alan Turing.

A further £25-30bn savings until 2020 on government services that are wasted or inefficient including a reduction of MPs to 600. Further on governance they want to introduce English votes for English laws. They promise to honour the devolution agreement on Scotland and add to it a promise for Wales and continue to work on Northern Ireland.

On housing 200.000 new starter homes for first buyers under 40, a help to buy ISA and the extension of buying your own housing association home.

There is an emphasis on protecting the Green Belt areas and a program on developing small parks, they promise to do more on air pollution but what and how they would do that is not elaborated. However there appears to be an understanding of re-establishing a more valuable natural habit, including flood defences and a Thames Tidal Tunnel and a Blue Belt, a marine protection area.

Its energy policy is supposed to go slowly off carbon, but still has nuclear listed with Hinkley. Due to the lack of public support they will stop subsidies for onshore wind farms.
The sex abuse cases of recent years have found themselves into the manifesto too. Like Labour the Tories promise to make sexual crime and protecting women an issue, and particularly mention the lessons of Rotherham.

The Conservatives want to scrap the #HumanRights Accords (Abu Qatada) and introduce a British Bill of Rights, which will have enshrined issues such as Press Freedom.  They mention the right to deport people, and the prisoners voting issue, that has been an issue with the European Court of Human Rights, to be addressed by the new Bill of Rights. A tighter relationship between security and police on data is supposed to be crucial to prevent against terrorism, and the Tories wish to be less tolerant on non violent extremism here.

Properties worth up to £1M will go out of inheritance tax and continued freedom to spend pension on what pensioners like.

On defence  £160  billion in new military equipment over the next decade is to be spent, including six new destroyers, seven submarines and the Joint Strike
Fighter, Scout armoured vehicles, and frigates. The word Trident is absent but probably included.

0.7% of national income are to continue go to international development and aid in line with UN targets.

Labour:

Firstly to note t is well written. Much easier on the eye than Conservatives, the Greens and UKIP and less voluminous that the Lib Dems Manifesto. I would call it softer in impact, distanced from the Tories with some social initiatives, though crucially not super radical in areas of housing and families.  State child care still ends at age 4, and parity is mainly an issue of paternity leave after birth.  This is a far way from the #Nordic progressive economies. On #schools Labour is more obsessed with the state sector’s governance rather than with radical reform in line with progressive research on education, except with reducing class sizes for the 4-7 year olds. They also talk of more freedom for heads and structural control issues.  It deals with alternative free schools by simply not wanting any more, though the policy on private schools having to work with the state education sector in order to maintain some benefits like tax cuts is not a bad idea.  On #mentalhealth #Labour has made good suggestions, equalizing psychological access to drugs. The overall commitments on the environment, defence and the international overseas aid are in line  with what one expects but not excessively radical either.  Interesting is that #TTIPS should not affect the #NHS.  Labour maintains a rise of 2.5 bn in the NHS budget with 48 h GP guarantees and on the same day if need. The most progressive point here is a special cancer commission that will make the best and most up to date cancer treatments available in the UK, a reaction to UK’s bad record on cancer. Further, Labour’s commitment on the increase in the minimum wage, reductions on business rates for smaller businesses and a 50% rate for people on incomes over £150.000 is part of its idea that bigger companies and earners should pay their share rather than receive preferenced treatment. There is also a reduction in university tuition fees.  Labour talks also about continuing devolution including in England and be guided to end top down policy, making extra money for local communities available. Labour stresses its manifesto is fully costed and will reduce the debt, though it does not give a figure by how much.  Interestingly it talks about a programme to rehabilitate #radicalised Britons who return from fighting in #Syria. On #socialhousing #affordable homes,using the new buzz word that can get rents up to 80 percent market rate and not proper social housing (council flats). They promise to build more homes (not necessary affordable) and put some checks on estate agents commissions and the rental market.I could not help feeling that its message on the front cover sounded like an old Lutheran church heading, work hard gain God’s grace.  As a German I feel there is lack of emphasis on life being more than work, and that means investments in leisure services, free time off work, and good cities to live in after work.  END I will try to read the other manifestos as well as they come but can’t promise that always immediately as they come up.

SNP

In Bullet points is my reading of the SNP referendum. It is a progressive manifesto, with a probably workable increase of spending. However the SNP is rather thinly spread on the specific details of education, NHS, policing, and equality. The main principles are there, but compare this with the breath of especially the Lib Dem Manifesto and aspects of the Greens it lacks in thoroughness in my opinion, though it gives clear directions. The Manifesto has a clear intent: Aim of the SNP is to achieve financial independence of Scotland. Hereby lies the interesting question, if one can trust a the progressive honey of a nationalist party, if you do not support complete independence.

  • 0.5% increase above inflation per year yielding at least 140bn investment
  • 0.50 tax for high earners
  • Mansion Tax
  • tax on bankers bonuses
  • bank levy
  • abolition of non-dom status
  • reversal of married couple allowance
  • NHS +9.5bn above inflation and increase of NHS budget 24bn by 2020-21
  • no further privatisation of NHS
  • raise pension by 2.5%
  • keep winter fuel allowance
  • scrap trident, but yes to maritime defence, purchase some aircrafts to get carrier going, more transperency and full costing at MOD, frigates to be build in Scotland
  • min. wage up to 8.70 by 2020
  • no cuts to child welfare / benefit and 30h per week free child care
  • increase carer’s allowance and no cuts to disability living allowance, pilot carer’s leave
  • scrab bed room tax
  • reduction of tuition fees in England
  • oppose EU withdrawal
  • introduction of post study work schema for migrants
  • annual house building of 100.000 units per year
  • increase employment allowance from 2000-£6000 per year
  • abolish zero hour contracts
  • lobby for lower energy bills
  • moratorium on fracking
  • 50% representation if women on all boards and drive towards equal pay
  • abolish house of lords in its current form, abolish first past the post
  • SNP will always support Scottish independence
  • wants to protect oil and gas sector but work towards carbon reduction, increase offshore wind, and hydro-power as well as community based energy gain.

  • Devolution to include broadcasting, increase of support of BBC Scotland by 100M
  • Supports HS2 and wants it connected to Scotland
  • Protection of Royal Mail universal service and ensuring gov keeps 30% of shares
  • support LGBTI throughout the world, overseas aid should not undermine public services in developing countries, debt relief
  • In drive for equality VAT on sanitary products to be removed
  • invest in mental health 100 M in next three years
  • 25 M extra for people with motor neuron diseases
  • continue school refurbishment / investment with £1.8 bn
  • expand educational maintenance allowance
  • Wants to move towards fully financially independent Scotland