Does anyone out there think that this is the best we can do? By which I mean, couldn’t things be different, couldn’t life be better for the majority of the population of this country? After all, is this what you envisaged when you were younger? Not only that but we have it on good authority, the Chancellor of the Exchequer no less, that, if the Tories get back in after the election, there will be even greater austerity. So you can’t say that you haven’t been warned. However, what we should be asking ourselves is why does this appear to be the only option on the table? Is it really not possible, in the seventh richest economy in the world, to have a society which generates sufficient wealth to meet the needs of the majority of its citizens while making the use of their unrealised potential? A potential that Jesse Norman, MP and I believe to enormous. The word Mr Norman uses is “vast”.
Well, if you accept what research seems to show, ie that the single biggest factor that decides your future is the family that you were brought up in and their wealth and that this is surely followed by the education we provide for our children, then these are something that we should concentrate our resources on. We should also include in this a decent health service followed by decent transport facilities. That will do for a start. Research also shows that our NHS is among the best and the cheapest in the world especially compared to privately financed services. What was good old fashioned British Rail was considerably cheaper to run than its privately owned successor with a subsidy from the taxpayer now considerably more than it was previously. The plethora of academies and free schools are no better than the local authority supported model that most of us still use. In fact privatising and fragmenting all of these has been more expensive and less effective. Yet each of them used to contribute to what I believe is, to quote Billy Bragg, “Sweet moderation, heart of this nation”. Can we not, in fact, have a society that utilises our virtues of caring and sharing and not our vices of greed and avarice as its motivating forces? Well, we can because we had much of that in the period from the end of the WW2 until the 1980’s.
The problem is that to get back to where we were will probably need more money to be generated from our taxes. It may just be that that is the price we have to pay for living in a civilised society. Will any political party please start that debate? They daren’t, because they fear political suicide. Yet, until we do, the present system will prevail. Unfortunately, we all know that it is unsustainable and we put that debate off until next time while we slide further towards a society that can’t even meet the basic needs of those who most need it. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.