Crappy New Year
04/01/2012 Leave a comment
As far as the economy goes, 2011 was a bit of a poo. It was also the year in which my already extremely shaky faith in politicians hit an all time low and so, as we enter a new year it is natural for us all to look forward and wonder what 2012 might bring.
So where better place to look than David Cameron’s new year speech? I’ve just watched it on YouTube. If you’d like to you can do so here or read the full transcript here. If you can’t be bothered then don’t fear, I have a selection of the best bits below.
On 2012, David says this:
It must be the year we go for it – the year the coalition government I lead does everything it takes to get our country up to strength.
I’d kind of assumed he was already going for it in 2011 but it seems as though he wasn’t. It does beg the question as to what exactly he was doing. Was he perhaps biding his time? Was he just waiting for the economic depression* to reach a certain level of calamity before calmly springing into action? Or perhaps he was just lulling it into a false sense of security?
Anyway, let’s not dwell on that. We are “going for it” now so let’s look forward:
The coming months will bring the global drama of the Olympics and the glory of the Diamond Jubilee.
It gives us an extraordinary incentive…to look our best: to feel pride in who we are and what – even in these trying times – we can achieve.
I know that there will be many people watching this who are worried about what else the year might bring…The search for work has become difficult… I get that… I know how difficult it will be to get through this – but I also know that we will.
This all sounds deeply uplifting until you think about it – at which point it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
I’ll start with the Olympics. I am glad that we have the Olympics and I even have some tickets for the tennis. I’ll also watch loads of it on the TV and cheer on the UK’s athletes all the way. Having said that, I don’t really understand the link David is making. What has getting excited about the Olympics got to do with finding a job? Is he implying that unemployed people just need some motivation? I hope not but either way I don’t understand it.
About the Diamond Jubilee I’ll be honest and concise – I don’t care. I absolutely could not possibly care about anything any less. The country’s most privileged family celebrating another milestone for the length of time they have been living a life of ridiculous luxury is I think, if anything, demotivating. If I were unemployed and having severe difficulty in making ends meet I’m not sure the royals having another party at the country’s expense would be the motivational catalyst that propelled me back to employment.
Back to David:
Too often our schools aren’t up to scratch, our hospitals aren’t always clean enough and our police don’t catch criminals. Brilliant and committed people work in public services – but somehow the system stops them doing their job. So we’ll change it.
Ok, but tell me how. The current government has cut funding for education and the police without providing any coherent policy on how, with less funding, those services will be improved. We’ve heard the big society idea about parents running schools but I don’t think too many people found it coherent. I find the policy of changing schools into “academies” to be at best confusing. The news is full of teachers’ concerns about this policy and rather than offer a clear explanation to ease these concerns, the government instead chooses to label the teachers as “ideologues happy with failure“.
If a government chooses to cut funding for education and the police whilst at the same time maintaining that education standards will rise and crime will go down, then the public deserves a very clear explanation of exactly how this will be achieved.
(I do appreciate though, that in 2011 the government hadn’t started going for it yet, so perhaps a good explanation is just around the corner.)
The NHS on the other hand does have a protected budget but the government’s justification for reform is one of the most shameful examples of misleading the public I have ever seen. I wrote about that here.
Onwards and downwards:
I will be bold about working to cure the problems of our society. While a few at the top get rewards that seem to have nothing to do with the risks they take or the effort they put in, many others are stuck on benefits…
David said exactly the same thing many times in the run up to the election but in the 20 months since he took over he has done nigh on nothing about the former problem of the few at the top (other than attempt to cut inheritance tax on the very rich) and in dealing with the latter has responded by cutting benefits and public services. In this respect, not only has he not been going for it, he has been going for the exact opposite.
So none of his speech so far made sense. What rabbit was he going to pull out of the hat that would possibly address all of the glaring holes in his arguments?
I profoundly believe that we can turn these things around. That’s what I mean by the Big Society…
I lost the will to live at that point.
* Yes, I said “depression” – the word that politicians around the world have been avoiding like the plague. It’s been three and a half years. Perhaps in 2012, their New Year’s resolution should be to wake up and call it what it is.