I know that my news feed is largely governed by who my friends are and that someone else might see something else entirely. For instance, I noticed a comment recently about fuel prices and one of the people commenting was quick to point out that the recent rises have been down to oil companies and retailers greed and NOT the government. That's nice to know. Nice, in that it isn't their fault, this time. However when you realise that 64% of what you pay at the pumps is fuel duty or Extra Taxation, you start to see that even not blaming a government this time is like suggesting that the wet weather hasn't been the contributing factor in the recent flooding...
There is usually a mid-term backlash against governments, but the news that we've lost our Triple A credit rating hasn't helped the already hapless Tories and has given the Libdems some bizarre false hope that they might emerge from all of this with their integrity restored and with more chance of being voted for again than at any point in the last 2½ years (I think they dream too much).
The thing is I cannot remember another government that has made so many poor decisions, made so many U-turns and alienated so many people. I have always been of the opinion that since Thatcher, you lot, the general public don't give a shit about anyone other than yourself. Thatch promoted the 'I'm all right Jack' mentality and I think that has been prevalent for most of my adult life; even Blair did nothing to promote community, which is why Cameron's Big Society idea was always a barrel of laughs; he was trying to restore something his hero obliterated, except that we know, deep down, that Cameron's Big Society was just a smoke screen to make some less extreme Tories think that their side of the current government were caring individuals.
Can you imagine what we wouldn't have now if the Tories had got in with a majority? To be fair we'd probably be on the verge of a civil war - but an interesting civil war because both the police and the armed forces have borne the brunt of government cuts and criticism, so one would have to wonder how long they'd support Cam before deciding on a military coup. We may well have seen Egypt-like changes in our own country had the Tories been allowed to make the sweeping axe cuts they want (feel the need to do).
This is why I think some people are now beginning to grow intolerant of the way the current government is treating those not as fortunate as the rest of us. Joe Average is aware that there are scroungers and fiddlers, but he's also aware there are 1000s of families who are so desperately poor they should be the targets of Children in Need and Comic Relief and not Africa. When we read about pregnant women being evicted from their homes because they've lost all their benefits, despite working full time cleaning in the centre of London for the minimum wage; or about disabled or terminally ill people being told by the government appointed ATOS that, yes, they might be dying, but that doesn't prevent them from working until they do. Or any other genuine tale of injustice being served because the government doesn't really give a shit about anyone that isn't already self-sufficient or rich.
What me and my low earning chums should realise is that the Tories don't really give a shit about anyone that isn't likely to feather their nests - now or in the future. They really are all right and their children will be all right even if the rest of the country is burning around our ears. The 20% of people in this country who vote Conservative because of their class, upbringing, wealth or selfishness will never change; they will never look on people not as well off as themselves and feel they deserve a chance; they will look at those not as fortunate and wonder why they aren't cleaning their boots or working 80 hours a week to be able to feed their children. It isn't their fault that we have so many people who don't contribute anything meaningful and if we can't exterminate them, then lets make it so difficult for them that death becomes a blessed release. This is the Tory ethos in its basic premise. Do not invest in the future; do not care about those less fortunate; do not help those that need it; do not allow anything that will change what we have and what we're going to get.
The remaining percentage of people who vote Tory because they truly believe that it is a party to look after them and their own need to wake up and smell the coffee. The only way you will ever be part of that 20% is if you have the money to begin with. You have to remember, Tories are the only party that will eat their own young and by that I mean they will embrace a person if they fit the bill, but they won't 'like' them and they will be quick to dump them, as acrimoniously as they can, if they do not always and consistently tow the party line. Tories that are maverick and don't tend to tow the party line are the ones that people like me look at and wish they could have been the ones who held power rather than the mad - Thatch, bad - Cam or inept - Major. Nadine Dorries might be a rich bitch, but she called it right when she called Dave and Gideon a couple of out-of-touch rich boys. She should have been made a Dame for that, but like so many great things it got swept under the carpet somewhat (and she blotted her own copy book pretty dynamically).
Now, I can hear comments from a number of my not left wing friends and instead of doing what any politician worth his salt would do and artistically sidestep the questions, I won't. Do I think Labour would do it better, especially after they screwed up last time? I don't actually think they screwed up last time. I think the wrong people ran the country, but not the wrong party. I look back at the unbelievable fuck ups that Thatcher and Major over saw and compare them to Blair's foibles and I'm amazed that he is as vilified as she is. Yes, he was a twat, but this country saw the building of new schools, hospitals and other massively essential things for the future of the country's infrastructure and you know what, even though I haven't got kids, I'm glad they got us into some debt because it has given three or four generations of kids the opportunity to learn in new schools, be treated in clean and new hospitals (even if the NHS is being dismantled around our ears) and have a fighting chance for the future. Any one of my Tory mates, tell me this, when was the last time a new school was built with nothing but government money when the Tories were in power (and one that wasn't built with private money and therefore only accessible to the elite's children)? I bet you can't.
I'm fed up with people blaming labour on the recession. I take it then that it is also Labour's fault that the rest of Europe is in a slump? Labour's fault that the Tories can't implement a fair tax system and continue to target the people who are less well off - if you see that a fair tax system would bring the government in £100billion extra and ripping the welfare state apart will bring them about £20billion, where is the sense in targeting the poor, unhealthy and unfortunate?
My old landlord, Mr Chan, when I ran my failing business back in the early 1990s, said something that has stuck with me ever since. It should be the mantra for every living person in 2013. "I don't expect life to be easier, I'd just like it to be fairer!" You can't really argue with that.
Effercio et ineptias
- I am really struggling with the new Steven Wilson album - The Raven Who Refused to Sing and Other Stories - I'm giving it a third straight listen and its not growing on me like I was told it might. The most immediate thing I can say about it is that Mr Wilson appears to have left his balls at home and gone for a bland, faux moody and unspectacular 3rd album... Or, of course, this might be down to me being music'd out after spending most of this year so far going through my record collection and playing everything that hasn't been played for more than 3 years or at all.
- Another interesting Steven Wilson tidbit is that he says that a copy of his new album found its way onto the internet and probably thousands have been circulated now, depriving him of money. Well, I couldn't find it anywhere, so I bought it. This is one case where I kinda wish I'd listened to it before buying (or perhaps that's why he's got a public bug up his arse about it?).
- Last night I had a massive... fire. I burned all the rubbish in the garden; old tree stumps, fence panels, flotsam and jetsam that has accumulated over the last 2 years. I could have salvaged a lot of it for the fireplace, but we already have a rotting shed (as opposed to a Burning Shed which is the record label for the above mentioned album) full of wood and combustibles and I just wanted to have a massive... fire. This morning, well over 12 hours after it started, it was still smouldering, but all that was left was a few twigs; plus I gave my allotment area a thoroughly good raze, which is always good for the coming crops.
- I love the way that as soon as we get to around the 20th of February, the news stations start filling gaps by offering fluff pieces about the impending spring. Recently it was about fashion and how do retailers sell summer dresses when everyone else is walking around with balaclavas and mittens on? Who cares; all I know is that despite the weather men saying that spring will start on March 1st, in reality there's more chance of it snowing on March 1st than there is it snowing on Christmas Day.
- I can feel a Stephen King rant coming on.