When is it time to start a revolution?
I’m not sure exactly when I started to become interested in politics. Possibly when I became a dad, or maybe last year when Scotland voted on independence. Whenever it was, the election in May this year really made me sit up and pay attention.
The Conservatives winning outright, albeit by a slim margin, took me by surprise. But it made me more aware than I previously have been and, the further into the rabbit hole I go, the more I realise that the current government doesn’t represent me in the slightest. Almost every day a new announcement comes along that I disagree with, shake my head at or just try to shrug off.
If you’ve ever watched The Thick of It, House or Cards or Have I Got News For You, you’ll know all too well the spin politicians put on things.
The glare of social media highlights this spin more and more; for every policy announcement there’s a bunch of people ready to read between the lines and offer their interpretation of what is actually meant.
Every day new dirt gets dug, and every day David Cameron’s party continue to disappoint. Their shortsightedness is disturbing: nothing seems thought through past the quick buck their mates will make.
There’s plenty in the Government’s foreign policy to dislike but for this post I’m going to look purely at key internal issues from the last six months.
Last week we had the leaked letters between Oxford City Council and Cameron, highlighting raw the fact that our Prime Minister doesn’t realise just how deep his cuts go.
We have the continuing saga of Jeremy Hunt trying to manipulate the press, asking them to turn the front line staff of the NHS into public enemy number one. And the letters from the institutions he’s tried to lean on for help exposed, as they publicly rebuked him on Twitter. Doctor’s don’t threaten to strike because they want to Jeremy — they do so as a last resort because you aren’t listening to anything they say.
We had the leaked memo from the environment minister, highlighting her concern that the UK won’t meet the 2020 climate targets – and thus could face a hefty fine.
We have the ongoing saga of the “Snooper’s Charter”, where people that don’t seem to understand technology are claiming it’s in our best interest. Yet the evidence suggests that it won’t make us any safer, and instead leave us far more vulnerable to data breaches.
Four significant issues, all inside a week. The week before that the tax credits bill was delayed by the House of Lords, the outcome of which is yet to be fully determined. A word of advice for David and George — the House of Lords “haven’t intervened in money matters since 1909” because they didn’t feel the need to. They do so now — these people in such a position of privilege — because they can see how irresponsible and socially damaging your proposals are to millions of people.
Just six months ago Cameron was promising he wouldn’t sell off the NHS, yet he’s just sold the Child Health Care services to Virgin. He also said he wouldn’t cut tax credits and it would be the greenest government we’ve ever had. The spin machine is whirling fast.
What else? Well, they’ve been busy this last six months.
In September the steel industry in the North East was left to close down, widely believed to be because China are selling off their surplus steel cheap right now. Nobody knows what we’ll do in a year or two when the price goes back up.
Also in September — the news was about there being no substantial plan for helping the refugee crisis, despite other countries doing all they can. There are still millions of people out there fleeing from a war, and winter is coming.
They’ve also removed the planning legislation that was due to come in which stipulated new homes were to be built carbon neutral. The housing crisis is set to continue rising, and at the same time Cameron has said he wants a family starter home in London to cost £150,000. We’d all like that, but by stating this it seems he’s even more out of touch with the London property market than he is with Oxford City Council.
Continuing on the environment theme, they’ve slashed funding for renewable energy while at the same time ploughing full steam ahead with loosening regulations on fracking.
Police services are being cut, and firemen are being laid off. SureStart centres are closing down despite being more used than even, libraries have closed and museums will be next.
I dare not look too closely at what they’re doing to education – it’s been amazingly quiet of late since Michael Gove was moved from that post.
All these cuts to funding, while at the same time the rich get richer. Tax cuts for big businesses, if they even paid it in the first place. Let alone the loops exploited by the Chancellor’s daddy.
At the same time as all this, they still have 50 billion marked for HS2. Our train network is in desperate need of improving, but HS2 doesn’t seem to be value for money. Why not? Because it won’t improve East-West links or be finished until at least 2033, and once it is will only offer roughly the same sort of train network France has had since 1981. There’s far more advanced technologies out there, yet our government seem unwilling to acknowledge them.
There are plenty more examples of expensive bad decisions to call upon, but HS2 strikes a particular note.
I’m aware that not all of these points began life directly with the current government, and that Labour made mistakes during their time too. But has any other UK government managed to make such a mess in such a short space of time? Or is it that I’ve just started paying more attention?
My concern now is where we’ll be in 4 years time. Given their record over the last 6 months, it doesn’t feel like we can wait that long before we get the chance to elect a new government.
Only 37% of the people who voted in May actually voted for this government, and there are signs that some of those are wishing they hadn’t.
I say to those people, and the remaining 63%, and all those who didn’t vote: we need to stop shrugging at the headlines, and instead take back the country we live in, and make it somewhere to be proud to live in once again.
We need to start a revolution.