Friday, 6 April 2012

All in it together? ... Phooey.

Back in 2010, I made a few pronouncements about what I thought of the government coalition, but since then I've rather kept my powder dry. It did not take much imagination that pronouncements such as "We're all in it together" (Cameron) would rebound on the governing parties, and the truth of it all is at last coming to the surface.

Don't get me wrong - cuts were always going to be necessary and drastic. But the Labour Party knew that and were already drawing up their plans (slower pace cuts with less pain and providing for room for growth) when they were ousted by what turned out to be a coalition. The Labour Party has since derided the coalition for the swingeing cuts with no or little room for growth. The government said: "Ah, but staffing cuts in the public sector will be picked up by self-generation in the private sector!" Phooey number 1: Since then, unemployment has increased and growth predictions have had to be hugely downgraded. And I say a 1.8% growth for next year will remain a pipe-dream. There's nothing that the government are doing that will cause that kind of growth next year.

And now we come to this year's budget and Phooey number 2. The Liberals (anxious to be noticed and that they had won (to them) a great victory in getting closer to their £10,000 allowances-before-tax) in the process took their eye off the ball and did not notice that families getting by on £15,500 p.a. are going to lose some 20% income as a result of the changes to the Tax Credits system. Under this new system, claimants now have to work 24 hours a week instead of the previous 16 hours. Trouble is, there's not enough bouyancy in the market for employers to offer such claimants extra hours per week, and so these families will be some £3,000 to £4,000 p.a. worse off. On top of that, a study has revealed that the average family with children stands to lose £511 p.a. We're all in it together? Well, the richest people in the country improved their lot by 20% last year, and they will now be even better off now that the top rate of tax is being reduced. Yes, the chancellor says they will be caught by other taxation changes, but we all know that the rich employ clever accountants, don't we? Those accountants will get even more astute and more rich.

Phooey number 3? Well, today we find that in London, the Kid's Company (which helps 13,000 children there) has reported a dramatic rise in the numbers of children coming to their walk-in centres, not in search of shelter or safety but for food. The situation concerning poverty, however, is getting worse all round the country, not just London. Cameron, while you are stuffing your children's faces with Easter eggs this week-end, think about the Dickensian affair taking place on our streets now!

Are there any more 'phooeys' to find? Oh, yes; plenty. One of the most serious of these concerns the recent closure of the State's forensic labs facility. It's already been found that there are many anomalies now being created in the private sector's version of this so that the chances of errors in justice are now remarkably increased. I expect to hear next year that the savings gained by privatisation have been more than swallowed up by High Court appeals and maybe wrongful imprisonments that we will never hear about. And that's just the financial side of things - what about the sufferings to families affected by the process?

I say, if it's not broke, don't change it. And, please Mr. Cameron, when in future you say that "We're all in it together", kindly remember that we're onto you. What you're really saying is that the wealthy will continue to be "in it together" to be even more wealthy and will ease their consciences by throwing out a few scraps to the down-and-outs.

What can I add to this sad litany of phooeys? Well, I could go on, and in particular get at the government for  how they've (not) planned for water shortages in the south-east. The south-east really does soak in all the blessings going, and the water issue is just one more!

Phooey.
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