Well, summer has been and gone since the last blog – although I never intended there to be such an interval, but so it goes. So what’s been going on?The ‘main event’ was obviously the independence referendum and as an on the record ‘no’ I’m obviously pleased that you won’t be needing a passport if you come up from south of the border. It was an interesting campaign that got quite heated at certain times and certain places. It reminded us why Gordon Brown was once a power in the land [and is still widely respected this side of the border]. And it gave the Prime Minister the opportunity to display true statesmanship in the wake of the result by fostering reconciliation. And he totally blew it with a petty partisan speech aimed at his own right wing which alienated the ‘no’s’ as well as the ‘yes’es’, reneged on recently made promises, blabbed about ‘the Queen and I’ and ably demonstrated why if it had all been about ‘the effing Tories’ we’d be running the saltire up our flagpole as I write.
And it goes on. We’re all in this together, but we’ll reduce spending on the poorest in society so that we can give tax cuts to the well off. Benefits must be frozen as it’s unfair if they rise more than the wages of hard working families. Given that benefits have been frozen at 1% for two years and ONS figures show average wages only increased by less than 1% once in the past 15 years I’m having trouble with the maths on that, unless we’re talking about the public sector, which the Tories have been vilifying ever since Cameron was elected leader, who have had pay frozen . So there you are, a hard working tax payer in the public sector with no wage increase for the past few years, David and Gideon’s diktats make you redundant and now you’re a benefits scrounger who isn’t deserving of an increase in income either. This way to the low wage economy…
And just to add insult to injury we have human rights: well, at least for the moment we have them… Apparently as we are British we don’t need the European Convention on Human Rights, we can have our own British version. They just don’t get it – or if they do, they don’t care. You either believe in universal human rights or you don’t. And if you don’t then have the guts to say so. And if you do, then how about principles rather than expediency. Oh, sorry, this is politics… Human rights are not a menu where you can choose what you want, when you want it, and who you want it for. They are all for everyone all the time. And the whole point of an international convention is that individual signatories cannot change it as and when it suits them. A “British Bill of Rights” sounds grand [how about a written constitution then …] but any future government with a working majority can rewrite it as they want, and without any forewarning such as inclusion in an election manifesto [much as the recent changes to the NHS. Now THAT’S mission creep…].
I’m reminded of the words of a Bruce Cockburn song written over 30 years ago* – when I saw him perform it about ten years back he said it was still as relevant as when he wrote it. Still is… “It’ll all go back to normal if we put our nation first, But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse”.
And remember. If, on 7 May next year, you go to bed with David Cameron, you wake up with the Tories – Gove, Gideon, Shapps, IDS, Grayling, every last one of them. And they’ll probably charge you for it…
*The Trouble with Normal. I’ve added a link. If you look at the lyrics it really could have been written yesterday.
Currently listening to: Blues Run the Game – Jackson C Frank. [Thanks to the wonders of Spotify. Other music streaming services are available]. A song I first heard as performed by the late great Jackie Leven at The Troubadour in Earl’s Court