Friday, 14 May 2010

The Dark Days Return

When Margaret Thatcher was kicked from office as prime minister by her own party in 1990, I really hoped that we would have seen the last of the nasty, selfish, hopeless days that we had seen when she came to power in 1979.  Throughout that period and as a direct result of her policies, Britain faced the highest unemployment it had ever seen, many industries disappeared and many people lived in poverty and others lost their homes.  Society became sharply divided and this was expressed by the numerous riots the UK experienced in the early 1980s.  Public service deteriorated as local authorities were compelled to take the lowest bidders for any service and they achieved this by paying poor wages; public bodies like utilities were broken off and sold off to the great benefit of speculators and already wealthy business people.  The rights of the individual were seriously eroded and it took almost another decade to even get some of these back.

Of course, after Thatcher we had seven years of John Major.  Whilst also a Conservative he did not pursue the assiduous campaign to undermine the UK.  He did not deny that society existed in the way Thatcher had done and for much of the time he had too small a majority to introduce forceful policies, though railways were privatised much to the detriment of the British economy and society.  Some of us hoped that he would fall in 1992, the last time the UK ever had a chance for a Socialist government, but through scare tactics and electoral irregularities the Conservatives remained in power until replaced by the Christian Democrat, New Labour Party which came to power in 1997.  Of course, by then the 'centre' of British politics had moved far to the right of where it had been in 1975 and now privatised utilities, even an independent Bank of England were seen as acceptable.  New Labour did introduce the minimum wage and signed up to the Social Chapter provided by the European Union but its other policies such as electoral reform and removal of the unelected House of Lords were soon dropped.

Now we have a coalition government, but as William Hague, the new Foreign Secretary noted, the 'bulk' of the Conservative election manifesto will be put into effect.  Tactical voters like myself who voted for the local Liberal Democrat candidate they thought might keep the Conservatives out of a seat now feel utterly stupid.  Effectively anyone wanting progressive approaches has no voice in this country.  Of course, that is precisely what the wealthy like Lord Ashcroft and other corrupt ultra-rich want.  The election of New Labour in 1997 was no restoration of democracy, given the deals Tony Blair had to make to get into power, it, in fact marked a further step in the erosion of the influence of ordinary people on politics.  With David Cameron in charge control of politics and the economy is now more blatantly in the hands of the elites than it has probably been since Sir Alec Douglas-Home, a former lord, left office in 1964.  Cameron is far less 'ordinary' than even Margaret Thatcher.  Fortunately a number of his 'babes', young, glamorous, privileged candidates parachuted into constituencies did not get elected, but there are are tens of MPs who owe their position to Cameron and will follow him devotedly the way Blair was able to build a large coterie of devotee MPs around him when he came to power in 1997.

Even with my fear of the Cameron government I was startled at how fast he has moved to further damage democracy, by moving to 5-year fixed term parliaments and making the dissolution of parliament require a 55% majority rather than a 1 vote majority.  Yes, of course, this brings stability in the way that a dictatorship brings stability by doing away with those tiresome things called elections.  It is interesting that even Conservative MPs are opposing this step, barely days into Cameron's government.  I just pray they give him a hard time over this threat to our polity.  Cameron seems to combine all the worst of Tony Blair with the worst of Margaret Thatcher.  This means not only will he pursue policies that will put millions of us out of work and hundreds of thousands to lose their houses, but he will expect thanks for all the suffering he is putting us through and like Blair be surprised when we complain about what he has done. 

I hope that my expectations do not come true.  I hope the Liberal Democrats and even Conservative backbench MPs can rein in Cameron's Frankenstein's monster of New Labour media manipulation, Thatcherite economic policies and an elitist focus on carrying out policies that benefit the already highly privileged.  However, what I see at least is a return to the 1980s with mass unemployment and as a result social discontent leading to increased racism and rioting.  I hate to think of how many wasted years we have ahead of us in which the average person is going to have to battle week after week just to keep a job and somewhere to live.  People have analysed how much the people born just before and during the Thatcher period have suffered throughout their lives.  I really pity the children of today who from this week onward will have their lives blighted as education and health funding is slashed.  In the course of a day, the opportunities of millions were closed down.  From now it will be the privileged who get the job, who get that place at university, not the average young person who will be marched into whatever schemes Cameron and his lackeys think up, notably the military-style national service for 16-year olds that he has already promised on numerous posters.  Cameron seems to have been raiding Mussolini's handbook for policies.  I can only hope that the day will come when I am among the crowd cheering as Cameron is strung up by his feet in Westminster.  In the meantime we have to mourn yet another lost generation blighted by economic and social policies aimed at benefiting the very rich and in particular enabling them to deny opportunities and exploit the average person in the UK. 

Emigrate now.  How many people wished they had left Nazi Germany sooner? Leave now before the UK is turned into an utter wasteland populated by a bullied people struggling just to survive as the privileged literally lord it over them as we take step after step to an authoritarian regime.


Anonymous said...

And where will you be emigrating to, Cuba or perhaps Venezuela? I suspect you will stick around and continue to write your sixth form polemical diatribes. When will you get around to writing something positive ie. give us the Rooksmoor 'Manifesto'?

Rooksmoor said...

Anonymous, thank you for your comment. You have missed one key point, which is that I am proud to be British and love living in Britain, I have no desire to leave. However, I want to live in a Britain in which everything I hold dear: free health care, good education for all, safety for all the types of people who live here, a decent transport system, reasonably priced food and utilities, are available.

I do not think this is too much to ask for, I am not even asking for a job for myself, though that would be welcome. Whilst I have not produced a posting 'The Rooksmoor Manifesto', it is obvious for all to see in my postings in my railing against this government (and that of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, at times, you may note, especially on civil liberties), and in the greed of utility companies and the general selfishness that is so prevalent in the UK now as result of attitudes Thatcher promoted.

Instead of the things I have outlined above, and they would form the basis of my manifesto, I see cut backs so swingeing that people will die, there is no way you can deny it. More people will die from ill-health, more children will die from neglect, more old people will die alone in their homes. That is the most blunt problem, but there are a whole raft of others, such as the lack of opportunity for young people, unless they come from small elite class; the wasted lives caused by long-term unemployment.

The UK is still suffering from the years of Thatcher and I hoped I would never see them again. Instead, even worse than I had feared a far harsher policy is being imposed on this country.

I make no apology for writing diatribes. This is my blog after all and the wonders of blogging is that I can make such statements and hopefully provoke interest and discussion. Interesting you seem to have no problem with David Cameron's diatribes which tell us we should delight in having all our services slashed just so that the wealthy elite he favours can prosper.

What is so wonderful about the policies we are seeing at the moment. I know no-one personally who is benefiting from them. In fact, many avid Conservative supporters are suffering themselves. I am no masochist.

Tell me what is going to be so wonderful about the UK of 2010-14 given the current government's plans? Who will be living a better life as a result of them? What hope can you offer?

Rooksmoor said...

A posting containing my 'manifesto' is scheduled to appear on this blog on 5th September 2010 at 08.00 BST. I trust it will outline in a simple to digest form, the kind of policies I have been advocating on this blog over the past three years.