Saturday, 5 February 2011

A Hellish Epiphany

I've been suffering some computer problems lately so I apologise to those people who read my page that I've gone a week without blogging.

I was going to do a humourous comedy piece today to cleverly juxtapose the serious political issues that I discuss but I was in the newsagents an hour ago buying a Mars Bar and had an epiphany that I realised I needed to share.

Standing and waiting to pay for my chocolatey goodness, I scanned the newspapers at the counter in the idle way that I do. The Daily Mirror defied everything we know about mathematics to suggest that there is "a chance" that Posh Spice may give birth to a daughter, and the Sunday Sport was running a piece called "Kimberly Walsh in boob shock!" In short, it's a typical tabloid Saturday in Britain and all seemed well with the world.

I then reached the bottom of the rack to see a small column on the front of the Independent entitled, "My War on Multiculturalism". It is David Cameron's personal take on how Britain's ethnic minorities are failing the decent, God-fearing, Daily Mail readers of our country.

Now, I don't want this entry to descend into comment on a specific policy. The story itself will undoubtedly be unfair to minorities, contain conjecture stated as fact and to top it off, it will probably be entirely unrepresentative of how Cameron actually feels. This entry is not about minorities. Instead, it's about a moment of realisation that made me almost choke in shock.

With every single cut that this government makes and every socially-divisive piece that is written in its stead, I, my fellow union stewards and my politically-aware friends and coleagues have yelled, 'ideology!' but I confess until this moment, I didn't fully realise the implications of what I was saying. As part of this government's slash-and-burn policy, we have seen the NHS, local government and social care decimated, to mention just a few of the coalition changes. I have braced myself to oppose whatever the government suggests as an alternative to the current state of affairs - and here's the horror - they aren't suggesting an alternative. They are simply cutting in the belief that it is the only way to change our society.

David Cameron is not a tinkerman, simply looking to keep the system and replace one face with another. It is not even that he is looking to change the system. Instead, he has decided that the only way to change Britain for the better is to tear down everything that has been built and start again completely from scratch. Like God looking down before the Great Flood, he has seen, judged and deemed us all unworthy.

As I staggered, bleary-eyed, from the shop, I wondered frantically if everyone else sees this already. I wondered if I was the only blind one, or the only one who can see. It is simply this. If you are elderly, there will be no care. If you are disabled, there will be no support. You will accept the reduced terms of your pension scheme, or you will get no pension. If you are attacked in the street and the police are unable to direct resources to you, you will get no justice. Most tellingly of all, if you are sick, you will get better on your own, or you will die.

Even as I am writing this, I feel like the lowest of the conspiracy-theorists you see sometimes on American TV. I am miserable and cannot even look at my Mars Bar. But most of all, I understand now why I'm really involved in a campaign to derail this government's policies. I cannot stand and do nothing as Cameron pushes more people into poverty, promotes inequality, induces misery and adds to the suffering of millions of people around me. We all deserve better.


  1. They are cutting to save this country from a currency crisis which will cause food and services from getting even more expensive. They are cutting because the public sector has ballooned to 40%. The money to pay for everything has to come from somewhere, its socialist dream to believe that money grows on trees and you can support everyone in the country with no productive employment.

    what should the public/private sector split be? How much tax do we need to be to pay for the public sector at its current size. The only solid fact is the tax the uk takes is short by 10billion per month, and the country is loosing, and both parties agree it wont be pretty if it carries on. You either need to increase taxes by 10billion a month, £100 a month extra for every working person, or you cut services by less per person in the population, or you do something in the middle. Is every pound spent correctly? Is every Tax Pound spent effectively? The public and private sectorx should both look at themselves and ask am I good value, am I worth it?

  2. Hello Anonymous,

    Firstly, thank you very much for your comments - it's nice to know that I do have a concerned audience and I really appreciate intelligent reasoned debate.

    I'll come back to commodity prices another time, as I believe that much of the increase in food prices around the world is as a result of market manipulation by corporations, and I daresay import/export taxes play a part too. I have a piece about that subject planned in my mind for the near future but I need to research it more fully. It goes without saying that the increase in commodity prices is probably the single biggest factor that will affect consumers in the UK this year.

    When you say 40%, I assume you mean a 40%/60% split in terms of money spent on public/private sector. I couldn't tell you what an ideal ratio would be (and I guess it would depend on circumstances in the country at any given time) but I do believe strongly that there are certain sectors that should not be opened up to the market (primarily education and healthcare.) I have worked through a number of years of efficiency savings with my employer, and the last true efficiences that can be made are probably on a macro scale - corporate IT investment and the like. I also see no reason why any Chief Executive needs a salary in excess of £100k. If that means you can't attract 'the best', we should take the second best and be done with it. These are after all tough times, and we're all in it together.

    On the subject of tax, the figure you give seems believable enough and I think that the UK has plenty of ways to reduce its expenses. It could bring troops home from Afghanistan, cancel Trident and cut spending on projects such as the Olympics. This doesn't even look at alternative ways to raise capital. The obvious ways to do this are to increase council tax or as a better alternative, stop tax avoidance by very rich companies and individuals.

    The point that you make about the value received from money invested is a good one, and we should always be looking for ways to improve efficiency. However, the concern that I have about the cuts is that I am unconvinced they need to be made at all. Debt in the UK was manageable up to the time that we chose to bail out the banking system. We can expect an ultimate return on the money invested in the banks, so I'm unsure what has changed. The deficit is less now than it was when the Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan famously told the country that they had never had it so good.

    I have also seen notable right-wing politicians such as John Redwood calling for cuts to corporation tax and high-rate income tax. I believe that if the government is serious about investment in people, why not do it directly? In these days of private/public partnership, does it even matter who invests? At least if the government does it, they control what is being done.

    Once again, thank you for your input, it really does make for a better blog to have an alternative opinion. I don't actually know if I'm a socialist - I certainly don't vote Labour, as you'll know if you read my other entries - but I also do not like where this governmentis taking my country.