Friday, April 09, 2010

There Is No Such Thing As Society, Arsehole

Even if we accept the Tory thesis that a hike in National Insurance will be a "tax on jobs", which I think is something that requires more intelligent and more objective analysis than either I, David Cameron, Stuart Rose or the editor of the Sun is capable of delivering, why are none of the newspapers or those legions of Tory-voting businessmen getting exercised about the £6 billion in "efficiency savings" the Tories are promising to make from public services?

Do we really believe that public services in this country are so bloated the aforementioned sum can be taken from them without savage cuts being made to things we really rely on as a community, like (and forgive my sentimentality) the Police, the NHS, Libraries, Social Work Departments? You might think we have no need at all of the last two on that list, given that most people either can't, or don't, read anymore and all Social Workers do is let dirty people strangle babies. But wait and see what sort of a society we have if you let those services go.

Of course, the rub, as Shakespeare would say, lies precisely there. Margaret Thatcher once famously said, "There is no such thing as Society," and for all his liberal posturing David Cameron doesn't believe there is either. (Stuart Rose may well be Margaret Thatcher's regenerated body in a suit and tie.) It isn't the responsibility of the State to do anything except free business to create riches for everybody, as far as Thatcher/Rose and David Cameron are concerned. Suggesting it has anything else to do borders on Communism.

Perhaps one of those folk, or their legions of supporters, would like to explain to me why, if that's how their brand of Capitalism works, nobody on my street or in my neighbourhood appears to have got a penny richer since Thatcher walked into Downing Street 31 years ago and delivered that weird, arrogant, delusional speech about bringing light where there was darkness and bread where there was hunger during her premiership ( I was so frightened by the look of glazed, evangelical conviction in her eyes that day I have blocked most of what she said out of my mind).

Maybe the Welfare State has turned us into fat, helpless oafs and the Tory Government that's undoubtedly on the way just needs to be freed that one extra yard to get rid of it altogether. That would sure as hell be an efficiency saving. Maybe they'll do that and then we parasites will all go out and work like Stuart Rose and Jeff Lebowski did and the streets of Semilong will flow with liquid gold.

There are very few people around here, incidentally, who don't give at least 40 precious hours every week of their lives to somebody making a hell of a lot more money than they are, but it could be that just knowing the dole office is there to stop our children from starving is what's making us soft. There are, after all, 168 hours in a week, and we spend a good deal of those asleep when we could be working.

It could also be that the Conservative Party has been mean, heartless,vindictive, and entirely wrong-headed right from the start; but I wouldn't want to complicate David Cameron's view of the world too much. We are only in the first week of the campaign, remember.

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