That we are in an economic recession, there is no doubt. That right wing politics and politicians come to the fore in times of economic recession is attested to by the History of the Third Reich. There is a laager mentality which ensues; “I’m alright Jack, blow you,” which becomes prevalent during such times. That corruption becomes rife, authorities deliberately wink at sharp practices, is attested to by the lack of political will to regulate the banking sector properly and of course the Andy Coulson debacle; where even our Prime Minister was prepared to wink and give Andy Coulson a ‘second chance.’
Our Government tells us that we all have to bear the burden of the economic recession. However, our Government fails to see the obvious; that the ordinary worker never benefited during the economic boom. Labour imported migrants, which kept profits high and wages down, so playing into the hands of the fat cats who tried to keep wages to £6.00 per hour or below. These workers, many of whom are working for viable business which the banks are refusing to give loans to, are facing redundancy, higher fuel prices and higher VAT on those fuel prices. Can this Government not see that the burden cannot be borne by the poor? They bore poverty during the boom years and have no fat to cut during this recession.
In a rural area, like Rutland, there is no Job Centre at all. It is considered that £65 per week is sufficient to keep body and soul together, whilst trying to heat that body. Those on the poverty line are trying to live on cold food to save electricity, turning off their fridges to save electricity, giving up their televisions to save money and still they are not able to make ends meet. This Government, having decided that the minimum to keep a person alive is £65 per week, rising in April by some £2.00, deliberately winks at the policy of having closed Job Centres, so making the rural poor pay from £6.00 to £10 in travel costs to sign on in order to receive their paltry subsidy. These travel costs are not taken into account by any Government, so each person who has to travel to sign on is surviving on less than the bare minimum the Government considers it possible to live on - of £65 per week.
I joined the Conservative Party under Ted Heath and frankly that Party would now be considered unconscionably Socialist in its care for the poor, its commitment to the National Health Service and a level playing field in education. Our best Universities are embracing academic decline as they raise their fees to £9,000 per annum, so making an education, once more, a privilege for those who can afford it, rather than merit it. It is time those who do have fat to cut are made to acknowledge that too many people are being made to live well below the poverty line, the real poverty line which means that at the end of a fortnight there are three or four days in which even pasta at 28p a packet or stale bread reduced to 30p a packet is beyond their means. It is time we addressed the endemic corruption, which relegates more and more people to the ‘sin of poverty’ and started demanding that we no longer wink at the felonies of capitalism stripped, as it has become, of moral virtue or ethical considerations.
Corruption impoverishes us further and it is time we took action against companies who gain insider information about PFI contracts for say the Air Ambulance Service; ex-military or corrupt police types who set themselves up as ‘private eyes’ and tap our phones and correspondence; banks who pull the rug on viable companies and cricketers who bowl no-balls for profit. These are just the visible tip of a very destructive ice-berg which is holing the Ship of State. We are closing our eyes and ears to all the alarm bells in the hope that the holes won’t sink us.
We are sinking and, whilst the first-class passengers are jumping into the lifeboats, the rest of us are facing a very bleak future.