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I’m going away for Xmas (which is a legitimate abbreviation, by the way) and I may not have access to the Internet, so there may not be a Telegraph Comment of the Week nor any of my regular features.  In any case, normal service (such as it is) will be resumed after 2 January.

To all my regular readers: have a great Xmas! See you next year!

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I’m off on  holiday for the next week. There will only be sporadic posts as I have limited access to a computer.

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The choice of candidates…

…here in Hammersmith is between the usual 3: Labour, Tories, Lib Dems plus the Greens, UKIP, and the BNP. So that’s 4 avowedly capitalist parties, one fascist party and one ever-so-slightly left wing party but no socialist candidate standing for election here.  I know this is a marginal seat but why haven’t RESPECT or TUSC stood a candidate here? I suspect the answer lies with the popular perception that Hammersmith is a constituency that is comprised of the fairly well off and the extremely well off.  But there are also a lot of social housing tenants here too; they seem to have been ignored by the Left. Perhaps they realise that they have little chance of beating Labour, whose traditional support comes from places like council estates; the very same council estates that the council leader, Stephen Greenhalgh, wants to see bulldozed to make way for ‘mixed’ housing.  If his plan goes ahead, Hammersmith & Fulham will become the Wandsworth of the 21st century; a socially cleansed borough that returns one Tory council after another.

But this doesn’t always mean that the electorate will necessarily vote for a Tory parliamentary candidate. The Tooting constituency in Wandsworth borough has been won by Labour, while the once solidly Labour constituency of Battersea (which the estate agents marketed as “South Chelsea”) changed hands in the mid-80’s at the height of Thatcher’s property boom.

Hammersmith is one of two constituencies in a densely populated but small borough. The other, Fulham and Chelsea, was reunited after a lengthy separation; it is natural Tory territory…the two are meant to be together…or are they?  Have you seen North End Road recently? It’s hardly on a par with Kings Road! There is one council estate in Chelsea and that is the appropriately named World’s End Estate.

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Budgets and deficits (reprise)

As usual, the various candidates are talking about how we need to “reduce the deficit”. What they’re not saying is how, exactly, they intend to achieve this.  The most obvious way to reduce the deficit is to make all of us pay for it through taxation. But who is to blame for the deficit? Is it you? Is it me? No, it’s the government that got us into this mess. Why should we pick up the bill for the banks?

Meanwhile they all want us to spend more and there’s a reason why they want us to do this: to fill their coffers with money that has been provided by VAT. But if people don’t have money to spend, how can they take money that isn’t there? Even if more people went out and bought loads of useless things, it wouldn’t make much difference; there is no heavy manufacturing in this country and most of our cheap consumer goods come from China. Thanks to Thatcher, there is no manufacturing base left in Britain. All we have are service industries and they do not provide the same kind of income. Then there’s the banks who, thanks to rampant deregulation, get to call the shots. Gordon Brown actually admitted that he had ‘got it wrong’ regarding the banks when he acquiesced to their demands for deregulation. Now we have Tories like Boris Johnson telling us if the banks are taxed or regulated, then they will leave London for elsewhere. I say, let them go. They helped to cause this mess and they were bailed out at our expense. Why should they be allowed to dictate terms?

I noticed that the Lib Dems have made a suggestion that they may tax the banks. …but they propose deep cuts to public spending, claiming that “at least we’re honest about it”.  The Scottish Socialist Party is against cuts and is probably the only party to come out strongly against them but then they are a socialist party unlike the rest of the field.

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