I couldn’t be bothered listening to news about George Osborne’s Conservative British Budget yesterday. Normally I watch these things “live” on TV but yesterday I just watched westerns on You Tube. And I barely watched the News last night.
From what I gather, there were two headlines. The good one is that the minimum wage will be increased incrementally to 2020. The bad one is that welfare benefits will be cut for single people and that Child Tax Credits will only be paid on the first two children after 2017.
Perhaps the really bad news is that nobody seems to care. Oh yes…Labour will make noises and indeed SNP, SDLP, Plaid Cymru and Greens will be even harsher on the Tories (the smaller parties are nationalist and have the luxury of not being involved in alternative Westminster Governments). But really Labour are out of step with national thinking, even with a considerable portion of the working class.
It is not really surprising to me. Before the Westminster Election, a SDLP colleague told me that the Party’s stance against Welfare Cuts was not a big talking point on the doorsteps. People…unless directly affected had little interest. After the Election, I was told that many voters were downright hostile to people on benefit. The narrative being that “I work hard and cant afford one car…how can the man next door, who never worked a day in his life afford two cars”.
Effectively, the working class are divided and the Tories always win in those circimstances. Difficult to watch the news last night and see Cameron, Osborne and Johnson cheer a minimum wage of £9 per hour…in 2020.
The Bullingdon Boys….the ex-members of the posh University Dining (Drinking) Club have won. Life isa continuing political war. You win some. You lose some…but mostly it only matters when you get a glimpse over the hill, to a Future I wont live thru. Thats the only time you can claim victory or face defeat
It used to be better. In the darkest days of the Troubles, in the 1970s, I was in my 20s. I knew that if I survived, then I would probably see the end of the Troubles. And I did….but GOD knows I was 45 years old when the Good Friday Agreement was signed.
Likewise, I was in my 30s and raising a young family when Margaret Thatcher was in her pomp. Difficult in the 1980s to drive home from a public sector job and listen to the News. Thatcher, Whitelaw, Tebbitt, Fowler, Ridley,Nott, Gummer…a set of unprincipled bastards who were governing Britain when the Bullingdon Clubbers like Cameron, Osborne and Johnson were still doing some serious after-dinner vomiting.
But even in the darkest days of the 1980s, there was a certainty that I would outlive Thatcher and Thatcherism. Certainly the old bitch has gone to her eternal reward but I am not so sure that I outlived Thatcherism as New Labour was almost a refinement.
But while I was younger than Heath, Wilson, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major and their Tory and Labour contemporaries in the 1970s and 1980s, I am actually the samea age as Bliar and Gordon Brown, who have left the political stage.
Politicians now are younger than I am….whether its Cameron, Osborne and Johnson….or whoever Labour choose as Leader…Burnham, Cooper or the woman Liz Kendall, of whom I have never heard. Jeremy Corbyn is the exception that proves the rule…he is actually a little older than me.
The point is that my day is over and will be even more over when the current Tory Government reaches the end of its term in 2020. The Tories might win or lose that election but their legacy is likely to endure.
Little about the world appeals to me. I might have thought in the 1970s that I would outlive the Vietnam War …and I did. And I even outlived Apartheid and the Cold War. But I wont outlive Israel-Palestine, Greek financial crisis, migrants on coffin ships heading to Europe.
And worse, the music and TVis crap. I wont outlive the influence of Lady GaGa and Simon Cowell.