Guest article

Guest article: Guy Matthews expands on his super-viral ‘Free stuff? We’ve paid for it’ tweet

Guy Matthews is a Labour supporter who featured in the first ever ‘Labour Voices’ video by the late and much-missed Simon Baker. His plain-speaking, hard-hitting comments on the lies of right-wing claims to represent working-class people went viral and led to a series of Labour Voices videos communicating truth to people all over the country:

A tweet by him this week – a response in his typical style to the nonsensical right-wing claim that ‘socialist just want free stuff’ – also went hugely viral, striking a clear chord with a country sick to death of Establishment narratives telling us we can’t afford the important things while the government throws money at its own narrow priorities:

Now Guy has turned that tweet into a guest article for the SKWAWKBOX, expanding on his theme in a brutal dissection of Establishment fake news that needs to be read, digested and shared:

Socialists just want free stuff?
By Guy Matthews

Socialists just want free stuff is a pretty common theme coming from the right-wing. It conveniently feeds in to the “workshy scroungers lazing about” narrative they love to push at every opportunity. But it’s not exactly true, is it?

Most of us pay taxes, with exceptions of course. The unemployed, the disabled, rich Tories…

Why? Why do we pay taxes? Surely it’s in the expectation that the government will use our collective funds to provide the best quality of life they can, to as many people as possible. We pay taxes so we can have a police service, so we can have roads and railways, hospitals, teachers for our children and so on. You know, all that stuff generally considered to be the mark of a mature and developed society.

Somewhere down the line though, this idea seems to have gotten lost. We’ve seen massive cuts in government spending on public services like those mentioned above, whilst seeing tax breaks handed to the super-wealthy and giant corporations. Corporate welfare is at astronomical levels.

When workers aren’t paid enough wages to live on and so have to claim top-up benefits from the state, whilst those companies are returning increasing profits every year, what does that tell you? That those profits are in part driven by taxpayer subsidies. We are literally giving our taxes to people so that companies don’t have to pay them a proper wage.

And they dare to claim socialists want free stuff? We’re the ones paying for corporate benefits. It’s like giant companies have their own personal welfare state, just for their shareholders.

We don’t want free stuff. We want what we’ve bought and bloody well paid for. I pay my taxes so I can drive on the roads, so my kids can be educated, so my parents can be cared for in their old age.

I don’t pay my taxes so corporate shareholders can get a nice fat dividend every year, or so private companies can run what used to be public services in a substandard way for a juicy profit.

So stop looking after the super-rich and start looking after us. We’ve fucking paid for it.

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22 comments

  1. Our taxes have been taken to fund wars and the Corporates, that isn’t what it was meant to be, we have the highest tax burden since the 70s, so called tax cuts have always been unbalanced by the increasing of hidden taxes and the fact tax cuts and tax rate cuts benefit the rich over the poor.

  2. Oh for more common sense talk that speaks to all of us like this.

    I am sick and tired of the growth of a political culture increasingly limited to approved things to talk about and approved ways to express our opinions. We need to be completely free to express our ‘condition’ in our own words, not some sanitised, approved PC gobbledegook that could mean a mirad of things so is effectively meaningless.

    Everyone does pay tax though.. VAT and other ‘hidden’ taxes hit those with small incomes the most.

    1. In the modern world we are not supposed to talk about class or anything that resembles us and them?…..We are all equal we are told! But we know their would be no need for Socialism if that were true,We are at war with a political class that despises everything the working classes stand for fairness decency…and a society where everyone will be valued and workers are valued by the employer as more than a disposable commodity to be bought or sold…..We have one chance to put Corbyn in government….remove the baggage of disloyal mps and abolish the House of lords.We need to be brave and show the guts to do what must be done for the many not the parasites!

  3. The Labour party must make sure this this point about tax is put across to the people . Employers are being subsidised by the tax payer. These subsidies must be reduced to make the employers pay the proper rate for the job – though this will cause unemployement initially, we will all be better off in the end.

  4. Guy, it’s worse, EVERYONE pays tax – if you’re poor enough not to pay income tax, you still pay indirect taxes like VAT.

  5. VAT means that those at the bottom of the earnings scale pay far more tax in proportion to their wealth(?) than the rich.

    30-odd million vehicles on our pothole-infested roads; but how many are owned by the rich – and how many tax-exempt vehicles are owned by the working classes?

    But those in their Bentley Bentaygas almost demand you in your Citroen C1 give way to them because they pay a little bit in road tax…

  6. I take exception to that, the unemployed and disabled DO pay fucking taxes, taxes when they eat, they heat, they buy clothes and shoes, extra bedrooms, council tax.

  7. All I have ever wanted was an opportunity to compete as an equal. Not positive discrimination; not privilege nor favouritism, just equality. The same rights as anyone else & to be judged as an individual, whether its in law; education or employment. See me, see who I am & not what I am.
    The system is designed to favour the few & not the many; the one per cent & not the people. Top jobs (public or private) are already reserved for those from public school. The class war is not over & the struggle has nothing to do with identity politics, regardless of what the Guardian; the BBC & Channel 4 might preach.

  8. Interesting that an example of narrative control from the so called ‘left’ involving sharing a video of Williamson speaking in the same down to earth language as this article has come to my attention. Naughty naughty Aaron… Williamson has been decreed a non person, a person to be exiled, wiped from the liberal left ‘approved’ political map for not being PC enough… all his views are therefore discredited so get back in line NOW!
    https://twitter.com/AaronBastani/status/1156650719350579201

    Go Aaron Bastani, don’t always agree but at least you stick to your principles and genuinely fight for what Corbyn stands for.

  9. Yes and just read that VAT was designed so the rich corporations can have their tax cuts and make working people make up the difference.
    Excellent points by Matthew and read in financial pages that for example supermarkets in the UK are subsidied by tax credits to pay staff to the tune of £8b a year, we taxpayers therefore subside pay and the owners run away with the profits!
    Oh and as capitalists are the legal thieves of surplus value from the workers they get everything for free!
    Good points on the upper class welfare state particularly as I have just been on a high street helping on a Unite Universal Credit Day of action; Corporate welfare (tax subsidies and tax relief) is £79b a year that is £3,500 per household! Perhaps the upper class Neo-Liberal Capitalists are in glass houses and shouldn’t throw stones but they are cocky and do because of their monopoly of the Right Wing media.
    Their job is to CON people every day, our job is to try to wake people up every day using as simple language as possible. Solidarity!

    1. When you think as well as the £79b we hand out to them we also pay for the family credit families get because they won’t pay decent wages, We might as will jjust hand over our taxes to the rich and miss out the middle men.

  10. But taxes don’t pay for these things. Every currency-issuing government spends before it taxes because it is impossible to do it any other way. Taxation is not required to pay for anything at the national level – the government can fully fund all public services at ANY moment. It just chooses not to. The Left HAS to start understanding this and challenging anyone who says otherwise, or we will condemn ourselves to continue framing economic arguments along neoliberal lines (e.g. that there is a finite amount of money to be spent etc.). Once the public understand these principles, it will be impossible for the Tories and the Blairites to argue that austerity is necessary, and that socialism is ‘loony leftism’.

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=9281

    https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2018/07/25/the-treasury-admit-that-tax-does-not-fund-government-spending-as-modern-monetary-theory-suggests/

    1. Exactly spend then tax.

      I’ve posted this video before, it is centred on the government surplus fallacy but relevant and short.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=287Cu5me0Og

      Central banks are another area that needs to be exposed in my opinion, I recommend Prof Richard Werner on central banks and banking. Princes of the Yen is a good place to start. In book and video.

  11. PLEASE, don’t use Americanisms like “gotten”. Got is a perfectly adequate verb that fits.

    That aside, I do agree with your points and we should kick back.

    1. I believe it actually started in the UK centuries ago before migrating to the US and then back…

  12. When 20% VAT is added to the purchase price of something we’re paying tax on tax.
    Not referring to VAT which is claimed back by businesses but the corporation tax the various businesses pay, the road fund licence they pay on their vehicles and all other taxes paid throughout the supply chain add to the purchase price we pay on which VAT is calculated.
    VAT’s true rate is probably closer to 30%.

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