It’s been a while since I had a rant, and really one is long overdue. For those of you who follow the news here in the UK, you may be aware that the last few days have produced some jaw-dropping events.
IDS (Iain Duncan Smith) has resigned saying the cuts in welfare spending that he has been busy promoting and implementing for six years, have gone too far, and asking David Cameron if he really still thinks “we are all in in together”, which was the Tories slogan for the 2010 election. I do not believe IDS has resigned because he has suddenly developed something approaching a conscience. I believe he sees the chancellor, George Osborne as in a weakened position, and has chosen this moment to stick the knife in. IDS is part of the Brexit campaign; George Osborne part of Bremain. Neither of them does a great deal to attract me to their causes. Make that neither of them does anything that attracts me to their causes. If the choice is just one or the other, we really do need a Third Way, though without Tony Blair.
Now on some occasions I might enjoy watching a bit of internecine action among the Tories, but these posturings do not make for grown up politics, and the referendum, which I bet Dave is really regretting ever mentioning now, is important, and deserves serious attention, not partisan voting along the kick-out-the-foreigners-and-raise-the-drawbridge on one side, and we’re-doomed-if-we-leave on the other. I made the mistake of looking at the Daily Mail to see how that organ of hatred was responding to IDS’ resignation. Mistake. It depressed me for hours, and I am still scared that the people who wrote comments at the end of the articles live in the same country as I do. If Hitler were to stand as their local candidate they’d vote for him.
There are too many things here for one single rant, but I’ll have a go. IDS’s hypocrisy is mind boggling. If he only woke up last week to the fact that the bedroom tax, the cutting of the Independent Living Fund and goodness knows how many more small minded measures that have sent the lives of many people living with disability and without private means into a state of fearful chaos, he is, at best, woefully incompetent. This is man, remember, who denied that food banks were necessary to the lives of many, and accused one charity that provides them of being political. Well poverty is political when it is caused and/or exacerbated by the actions of the elected government.
Same goes for homelessness. That other big-hearted guy who like IDS has joined the Brexit side, and claims its because of his conscience, and not at all because he sees this as a chance to be PM after Cameron, is Boris Johnson. BoJo is the current Mayor of London. Despite the fact that London has obviously yet not voted on whether it wishes to stay in or leave the EU, staff at the Mayor’s Office were told that they were not to go against his, BoJo’s, stance on Europe. The other night, in answer to a question about high house prices at the regenerated Elephant and Castle, he said, “I can’t afford to live where I grew up. The city changes.” Except that BoJo can still afford to live in London. People displaced from the Heygate Estate cannot afford to rent flats in the private sector that in any way approach the size of their previous homes, and buying is out of the question. This shrug of the shoulders is a chilling indication of the truly ruthless individual who hides behind bumbling bonhomie, and a haircut that in certain lights is rather like Donald Trump’s.
Meanwhile on the wounded side of the Tory party we have David Cameron and George Osborne. I had to shake Cameron’s hand once. I was at work, and couldn’t really put my hand behind my back. He seemed ill at ease having to talk to ordinary folk, so maybe that’s why he had a rather limp handshake. I dislike Cameron intensely, but beside Osborne he seems almost nice. What sticks most in my gullet is when the Tories talk about making cuts in the name of fairness. Live in a council owned property where you have a spare bedroom? Oh that’s not fair. Move to a smaller property (where are all these council properrties in convenient sizes? nowhere) or we’ll tax you. Even if that spare bedroom is used by carers looking after your severely disabled child. But what is fair about the families of David Cameron, George Osborne et al having inherited enormous wealth? What’s fair about them having received an education that costs in the region of £30k pa? If we’re talking about fairness in our society, why is it that it is the poorest and the most vulnerable who lose time after time, while the rich and powerful use tax dodges, expect and receive huge bonuses?
Over someone’s shoulder on the bus home tonight, I saw that Novak Djokovic has said male tennis players should get more prize money than women because their ticket sales are higher. Men’s tennis is more promoted. Men’s sport is more promoted. Look through any sports section of a newspaper and the coverage of women’s sport is negligible outside the Olympics. Try evening up the playing field and then see what the ticket sales are like.
Cynical bastards all of them.
I’m losing the plot now.