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.
About 2600 years ago a man stood up at the gates of a temple and delivered a crazy speech that should have motivated those that were listening to stop doing evil to the poor and vulnerable and to restructure their society so that everyone was dealt with fairly. They didn’t and their country went down the pan.
It kind of reminds me of society today to be honest. Generally, when I talk to people who would probably describe themselves as middle class they admit that they have hardly been affected by the cuts, if at all. Where they are affected it is usually only luxuries they are having to forego. However, if you were to survey the most vulnerable or many of those who haven’t had the privilege of a full education then you would find story after story of people who are being pushed into poverty.
That people are having to resort to using services such as foodbanks is terrible. But what worries me even more are the seeds that are being sown. I heard of an estate where all the Family Support Worker posts were made redundant. These may not be classed as vital services for the community but the good that these professionals bring cannot be measured in a few short term outcomes. If you prevent one family from slipping into poverty and empower their children to complete their education then you are paving the way for health, good relationships, achievement and general well being for generations to come.
We have a responsibility as individuals to live lives that bring justice to one another. And our elected government has a responsibility too. The government’s sneering attitude to the poor has been documented in the media over the Christmas period. I’m really no expert nor informed on the most effective campaigns. However, we can all keep our eye out for petitions etc. and we can all write to our MPs in the run up to crucial votes about policy change that effect social justice. One specific example is to see if your MP is in this list of MPs who voted against investigating why foodbanks are being used so much at the moment. If they are, give them an earful and get your friends and family to do the same!
We can be the change that we want to see.
(You can read what the man referred to at the start of the post said in chapter 7 of the book of Jeremiah in the Bible. I do believe as a society and as individuals that we are complicit in some of the accusations in verse 9.)
I have sympathy with people losing out on pensions they’ve been working towards….
…but I didn’t notice the strike at all. I may have been the exception but f it wasn’t for the news I wouldn’t even have known the strike was on. At work I had contact by phone, email and face to face with quite a few public sector workers so they can’t have been on strike. And Anya’s school stayed open – thank you to the headteacher and all the staff there – you deserve praise for working today that can’t have been an easy decision.
It made lots of news but did anybody else feel much impact?
This BBC story describes what I would argue is the most ridiculous law ever conceived.
OFSTED has ordered two female police officers to stop looking after each others’ children! The two mums just use it as a means to work. However, they have been accused of illegal childminding because they look after children and receive a reward. But that reward is simply that they have their own children looked after in return!
If you want to sign a petition against this then click here.
Does anybody know of any other equally ridiculous laws?
So that fella Michael Martin has gone. I suspect this whole hullabaloo will fade away. Gordon Brown’s statements yesterday suggest that Westminster is totally rid of selfishness and greed now but I doubt it.
Any MP who can be proved to have deliberately claimed expenses they should not have should face the legal consequences. I do not think we will see any MP in court over this affair but that would prove what the public feel, that there is one rule for them and another rule for everyone else. What has been committed is fraud and, although I am no expert in the law, I do feel there should be one or two prison sentences handed out. You cannot steal thousands and be able to slip away into obscurity.
My hope is that through this expenses row many of us plebs will take a long hard look at politics and how we vote and how we can influence our politicians. There is the tangible fear that the BNP (and UKIP!) will benefit from this debacle, the big parties need to grow up and win the trust of the nation and lead by example.
Those of us not standing as politicians need to get to know our local politicians. It is not that difficult to build some sort of relationship with them and once you have done that you can genuinely influence them.
All of this aside I think recent events have proved that institutions will always be corrupt. As a Christian I have always had a hope that world leaders would do what is right but I have learnt that this is a futile hope. There are so many things that make the most moral leader compromise. What the world really needs is for those who love Jesus to declare his truth so that the wrong things in our society are exposed in the light of truth. If politicians do the right things, and if we can influence them to do the right things, bonus. But what must always happen is that Christians speak the truth with love and without fear.
I have resisted commenting thus far in the crazy affair. I can’t say that it has enamoured our trustworthy Members of Parliament to me that much. I’ll comment/vent in a couple of days. In the meantime….what do you think?
Any other creative methods of righting the wrongs?