As George Osborne’s first Conservative only Government budget was being delivered yesterday my Twitter and Facebook feeds began to be filled with anger, pain and scorn, with an undercurrent of a deep sense of helplessness.
And I agreed with everything people were saying. I agreed with the sentiments and my emotions resonated. There was not a single post in support of the budget, in support of the Government, in support of the direction this country is being led. It really got me wondering, why is it this way? If the Conservative Party were voted into power last year in such a huge swing where are all the Conservative supporters now? I pondered a few thoughts, maybe there is some truth in the 7 statements below:
- Lots of people say they don’t like what is happening to the poor but when it comes down to it they will put their own interests first and vote for what they perceive will make them better off.
- Lots of people like what the Government are doing but don’t feel confident to express this for fear of being heckled, or even abused, by others.
- There are many who benefit a little from current Government policies. This means they enjoy a little extra comfort and security. In comparison to the significant life changes that are imposed on many of the most vulnerable this raises no emotional response and therefore there is no impulse to express anything on social media.
- Nobody feels inclined to support the Government policies because they are self-seeking, income gap widening, dangerous and loathsome.
- Those who feel upset by the political situation have got it wrong and are caught up in a deluded whirlwind of conspiratorial negativity.
- It is cool to bash authority.
- By my own conscious and sub-conscious choosing my Facebook friends and those I follow on Twitter are skewed towards my own fairly socialist, left leaning political views.
I asked my Facebook friends and Twitter followers if there were any views that supported Osborne or the Government. There was silence for quite a while and then a few people gave helpful responses. The comments ranged from factual to mildly pleased and were certainly void of any of the emotion that was featuring in my feeds. Also, I know that those who helpfully commented also have strong misgivings about other aspects of Government policy.
I am pondering all this because my thought processes always take me down the line of anger and a desire for action. Yet, I don’t want to indulge anger or take action for a meaningless cause. I want to ensure I am objective in what I expend my emotion, energy and time on.
However, nobody seems to be able to come up with a strong and passionate reason for supporting the Government. The budget and Government policies may offer small financial gains for many but these benefits are, in my opinion, woeful in comparison to the destruction that I see meted out on our communities.
I can only conclude that the anger is necessary and the need for change is critical. If we care about our communities, and especially those who are vulnerable, then we must spend ourselves to see justice. Action will look different for different people but I believe passively continuing with the status quo will lead to generations blighted by poverty and social exclusion.
I haven’t looked into the detail of what George Osborne was gobbing on about today with regard to benefit cuts* so I’m only dealing with the headlines. But I think that is ok, sometimes, because it is only the headlines that most people hear about and so that is essentially the message Osborne is trying to get out to the public.
I have two points to put to George:
- If you’re that desperate to save £3 billion why not cut a tiny bit of the approximately £60 billion we spend on defence. Come to think of it why is it called the ‘Defence’ budget? Looks more like an ‘Attack’ budget to me. Incidentally, we spend a larger proportion of our GDP on the military than any European country (excluding former Soviet states). I can’t see extremists instilling terror into Sweden, Belgium and Italy etc. Maybe its just a coincidence or lack or reporting, or maybe other countries were sensible not to presume they could tell others by force how to live their lives.
- The little benefit credit cards you are going on about George, they are pure nastiness and will only serve to humiliate and divide and will not stop people spending on alcohol, gambling etc. You make the assumption that the majority of people on benefits cannot budget. And when you spout off about that sort of thing you just reinforce that lie to the rest of us. How can you lecture others about spending money on alcohol when the tax payer had to pay £7,000,000 last year so that MPs can have cheap alcohol in the Commons?
I must say though, it is very thoughtful of George to scrap inheritance tax on pensions. I wonder who that is going to benefit most? Can you imagine how big the pensions are of all these rich Tories?
* Apologies George, I know they’re benefit ‘freezes’ not ‘cuts’, I just forgot for a moment.
So is it just like the general election last year when EVERYBODY was going on about voting Lib Dems and then bottled it and went for the usual left or right? Or is just that everyone I spoke to, or read on facebook, did vote YES but in reality just make up a tiny part of the voting public and the older non facebook using demograph are more likely to make the journey down to the polling station?
It’s not that I mind too much. I did vote YES but only because I want more fun on voting day. And it’d be nice to have a vote for some minor party but still feel like your vote could count in deciding between the big two or three. But I thought with all the ‘anti-Tory-no-to-AV-dirty-tactics’ stuff going round people would vote YES but I guess they didn’t and probably bottled it again.
It’s always an anti-climax getting in those little quarter booths things they have where anyone can see what you’re doing and just putting a little X in ONE box. Ah well too late now anyway.
Finally, an elected Member of Parliament showing some passion! This is Tom Watson, the MP for West Bromwich East where I work at the YMCA.
It’s with reference to the Government withdrawing funding for nine schools in Sandwell to have new builds. I understand that there need to be stacks of cuts if we’re to stabilise the country but to take this away from young people in Sandwell is utterly heartbreaking. I have never experienced a community where so many people are working so hard together in such messy situations and if anybody deserves a break it is the people of Sandwell.
I am disappointed that Michael Gove has not fulfilled his promise to visit Sandwell. I think this is cowardly behaviour.
Also, how funny that ‘miserable pipsqueak’ is such an offensive term…no wonder Gove is nervous of coming to West Brom, he’ll get a bit worse than that there!
I called in the polling station on my way to work this morning. I don’t need to remind you it is so important to vote. If you don’t then you have no right to grumble about what politicians are doing. There were 12 choices on my ballot paper so there is so much choice. If you’re totally fed up with the main parties then have a look at one of the others.
I think it is particularly important to vote today because this could be a dangerous opportunity for the BNP to get a bit of a stronger foothold in democracy. Please don’t waste your vote because you can’t be bothered to get down the polling station. I believe they are open till about 10pm so you have plenty of time.
For those who would like to vote with a bit of a social conscience there are some options out there for you. The Green Party, The Christian People’s Alliance, Libertas and Jury Team seem to be alright and don’t seem to be focusing on money as their main agenda. I personally am vary wary of those parties who predominantly push for a better economy and ignore the environment and social justice. Whilst a good economy is very beneficial to improving these areas of society I think there are a lot of greedy people in politics and there are several parties who seem to believe that British people are better than everybody else.
Anyway, if you haven’t voted yet, please do!