Writer David Simpson says the UK is firmly on a destructive course and voting the Tories out of office on 7 May will only delay the inevitable
IN 1694, 13 years prior to the Acts of Union 1707 that marked the founding of the United Kingdom, the Bank of England was established as the government’s banker and debt manager. In a sense, then, the debt of the United Kingdom is older than the United Kingdom itself.
This debt helped to fund an empire that covered almost a quarter of the Earth’s landmass and ruled over a fifth of the Earth’s population, it enabled the United Kingdom to invade all but 22 of the countries in the world and to celebrate -between 1914 and 2014- one hundred uninterrupted years of warfare.
Over the last five years we have been told that the global financial crash was caused by the poorest people living in Britain, who used their power to evade work, causing the national debt to spiral out of control.
Over the last five years we have been told that the global financial crash was caused by the poorest people living in Britain.
The solution offered by the wealthiest and most powerful people in Britain to bring that debt back under control is to limit poor people’s access to money and power even further and to drastically reduce the quality of their lives.
In the run up to the General Election it is conventional wisdom that we must pay the debt our generation has irresponsibly racked up over the last 300 or so years because to do otherwise would be to ask our children to pick up the bill.
No matter the distribution of votes and which party accumulates which seats, the people will have spoken and what they will say has already been interpreted: “The British people have told us that they want to see change, but that they want that change to be enacted within a fiscally responsible framework.’
As a result, whoever is elected on Thursday 7 May will be expected to continue the process of destroying the health service that will take care of our children when they are sick, destroying the education system that will enable our children to grow into well-rounded adults and destroying the social security net that will take care of our children in times of difficulty, so that our children do not have to suffer as a result of our profligacy.
Given that the DWP now dehumanises families as ‘benefits units’ it is likely that by the next election the jobs promise will be downgraded to a sleeping cubicle and a work station.
The only vision of the future that has any currency these days is the Conservative vision in which every child will grow up to own a home and to have a job in a state that constantly runs a budget surplus.
If this utopia seems underdeveloped, it is unfortunately the only one we have as the putative opposition lacks the imagination to conceive of a vision that differs any more significantly than in the additional pennies it will ask businesses to pay workers or in the bureaucratic burdens it will place on nurses and teachers.
Indeed, it can build the courage to hate immigrants and poor people slightly less than the other guys only after agreeing vigorously with every criticism of any principle it once claimed to hold.
A home and a job? What kind of home, what kind of job? Given that the Department for Work and Pensions now dehumanises families as ‘benefits units’ it is likely that by the next election this promise will be downgraded to a sleeping cubicle and a work station.
Labour’s counter offer of two hot meals a day will be ridiculed as socialist fantasy funded by a magic money tree. If this utopia does not enthuse you, then it is not merely the fault of those on the right, it is also our fault. David Cameron is correct to say you can only have the NHS if the good foundation of the economy exists to support it, though not in the way he imagines.
We exist in a perpetual present of protest in which we attempt to resist the collapse of the things that have already collapsed.
We had the NHS, university education, libraries, public swimming pools, botanic gardens, museums, art galleries, a public broadcaster. You may think we still have some of those things, but we do not, they are already hollowed-out relics of a time gone-by; we tried building a socialist utopia on top of a free market economy and now instead of imagining paths to alternate futures, we exist in a perpetual present of protest in which we attempt to resist the collapse of the things that have already collapsed.
By the time we imagine our defeat it is already too late.
Voting out the Tories on Thursday will postpone some of their more vicious cruelties, but we will continue to live in a Tory world in which they control which version of the past is accepted as reality as well as the direction of our future, and in which we live like Tories, work like Tories and consume like Tories.
I hope that on Friday, when the election is out of the way, we will begin the process of claiming the future by imagining a new utopia, one where we can both live and work like human beings.
Picture courtesy of the Conservatives