Two thirds of the cabinet – the crux of government – are millionaires. Does anyone really believe they understand what it is to have been made redundant and be struggling to pay the mortgage? To have a disability? To have a low paid job and struggle to pay the bills? Have they ever been in a position where they have had to choose between heating and food, and are they ever likely to be? If not, then how can they represent those elements of society? 2,700 pensioers die each year because they cannot afford to heat their homes. According to the UK government’s own figures over 13m working people exist on less that 60% of the average income, and more than 7m people (again in work) in 3.6m households live in extreme financial stress unable to feed themselves and their families at the end of each month.
We have 2.6m unemployed people in this country, and according to the Office for national statistics one in four employed people want to work more hours than they currently do. In fact the number of these people has increased by 1million people in the last four years. Why do they want to work more hours? Because they cannot afford to support themselves and their families on their meagre wages. The Tory aim to increase labour market flexibility has meant that many have had to take part-time jobs because there are no full time positions available. These people do not sound like the benefit seeking scroungers that our government would have us believe they are, and yet the war on the welfare state continues.
Meanwhile we have a cabinet worth £70m pounds collectively, led by a Prime Minister of the rich who tells us “We’re all in it together” while cutting tax on the richest in the economy. The richest 1000 people in the country (according to the Guardian) have increased their wealth by £155bn while the rest of us suffer recession after recession and cut after cut. Why does he defend the priviledged so staunchly? Could it be anything to do with his net (largely inherited) £3.8m fortune? How does he get away with it? This is depressingly easy to answer. The telegraph estimates that there are 280,000 millionaires in the UK, or roughly 0.4% of the population and yet 67% of the cabinet are millionaires. It appears we do not have a government of the people, we are governed by the rich and as the old saying predicts: “Power corrupts”.
Does this government have a mandate from the people to do the things it is doing? On a seemingly constant basis the PM and those in both coalition parties tell us that they have to take unpopular decisions. That they are the ones with the strength to make difficult choices regardless of how unpopular they might be. This is wrong. The government of the UK is a representative body, they should be acting in accordance with the wishes of the electorate and doing nothing more. Clearly this is not what is happening, but if you’re not sure consider these points as examples and note that there are many, many more:
a. Effective Privatisation of the NHS
This policy was so predictably unpopular that the Conservatives “forgot” to mention it during their electoral campaign. They did tell us that there would be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS, but I’m not sure that this statement really covers their policy of using the NHS as a franchise logo for private businesses that use your ailments to make a profit. Unsurprisingly the early signs predict disaster, with vast cuts in available treatments, privatisation of NHS trusts and individual hospitals and warnings from doctors, nurses and professionals throughout the organisation that there will be fewer treatments, more waste, less efficiency and a higher cost.
b. Cuts to the welfare state
Most people take this to mean cuts to job-seekers allowance but it’s much more than that. Child tax credits have recently been re-structured in the least fair way that anyone can imagine. Being fair is not really this government’s priority though, for example the changes to child tax credits will save up to £1.5bn by depriving working families of that money, but the Tories gave this away by cutting the top rate of income tax and costing the country over £3bn. That’s a pretty tough pill to swallow for anyone who has been told that their allowances are being cut to help pay off the debts caused by rich investment bankers who will pay significantly less tax on their astonishingly large bonuses-for-failure in future. Nonetheless, the government has taken no direct action to tackle the banks or bankers and instead focussed on selling your healthcare to businesses that are trying everything to avoid paying tax at all.
c. Reduction of your employment rights
In short, this government wants to make it easier and cheaper to sack you when business is poor. This may not be your fault, you may have served the organisation faithfully and successfully for years but as far as the government is concerned, the business owes you no loyalty. According to the Office for National Statistics there are 29.6million employees in the UK, and 2.6million job-seekersin a potential workforce of 34.1million people. This means that over 95% of people in the UK are employees or potential employees and the government is eroding their rights. In addition to this, cuts to the economy and the ensuing economic effects have meant that average pay increases have been 1.9%, considerably below the inflation rate which has been hovering close to 3%. This means not only are employees losing their rights, but they are also effectively taking a pay cut.
d. I could go on…. And on…. I don’t want to over-egg the omelette though, so perhaps people could add other government policies since 2010 that have hurt the majority of the country to the comments (below).
It is clear that we do not have a government of the people, for the people or by the people. These people do not represent you, this is a collection of career politicians that are making decisions that benefit only the richest people at the top of the largest organisations in the country. A collection of people that pretend their decisions were difficult and have the temerity to tell you that they are acting in your best interests. We do need strong politicians that are capable of making difficult decisions, but those decisions are very different to the ones that are being made. We need politicians with real experience of life’s difficulties who are prepared to stand up to the tyranny of corporations and protect their people from the life-destroying effects of poverty and inequality.
Our current government however is simply a collection of weak politicians who are selling your rights, your health, wealth and your services. And they expect you to be grateful!