Friday, October 22, 2010

'Fair' spending cuts will hit the poorest hardest

So, the news today was that it looks like the "fair" spending cuts are going to hit the poorest hardest.

Weeeeeeelllllll, who could have seen that coming? What, nice Mr Cameron and his true blue tory chums are going to further marginalise the marginalised. Shock! Horror! Surely not...!

Well, yeah. Because tories play to type. Conservatism in its very nature is about preserving the status quo. And the status quo is that there are rich people and there are poor people. And the rich people want to stay rich and the poor, well who cares, they're not important, or 'respectable', or stimulating the economy.

Since taking power the tories have announced they are going to 'liberate' the NHS, with a document that within the NHS is regarded as privatisation in all but name. The tories have used a notable tax-dodger to review public expenditure and identify wastage. Oh, and they upset middle class people by threatening to cut child benefit - which nice Mr Cameron resolutely and passionately declared they Would Not Do.

Last week I heard an interesting presentation by the boss of Mori, the opinion pollsters. He said that broadly speaking a majority of people liked the idea of a 'big society'. The problem was only a handful of people wanted to be the people serving others in the 'big society'.

Which reminds me that last year when I worked in the charity sector, some people I worked with got excited about David Cameron's idea that charities could partner with government to deliver services. 'How great!' they cried. 'A government who will work with us.'

They were idiots. This 'partnership' is a scheme to get charities to shoulder the costs of caring for the poorer ends of society when government withdraws. It's not partnership - it's the government saying "We don't want to do this any more... over to you! Yay now we can afford a tax cut at election time to our chums in the City!"

The thing is charities are unreliable. They don't have secure income streams. There is huge variation in what they can do on the ground in different areas. They rely on goodwill to get through most of the time. And they are feeling the pinch as a result of the recession.

Yeah, let's use them. What a brilliant idea.

Now you could say, "Well, Jon, it's obvious where your political sympathies lie and you just have an antipathy towards tories. This is your excuse for laying into nice Mr Cameron and his liberal desperate sidekick, who are both saying the figures have been skewed and the poor won't really get screwed. Where's the fair and even-handed reportage that we ought to have on this blog?"

You know what, no. No balance. I don't need to say anything when international slime-hound Rupert Murdoch is sticking up for Cameron. That's all the balance we need.

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