This week there are three particular gems of contempt in the public domain, (just imagine what they say to each other in private) from this most regressive and right wing of Governments, and the Lib Dems continue to commit political suicide by taking part in such a grotesque project.
Number one on the contempt agenda: Public Sector pensions. The Tories hate the Public Sector and would do literally anything to stick the boot in. Joe Public won’t tolerate the active dismantling of services, which is what the Tories would do if they thought they could get away with it. In their ideal world everything would be privatised and left to sink or swim in the market environment. Meals on wheels? No money in that. Children’s services? Ditto, let the Charity sector take that on. Etc, etc, ad nauseum.
So instead of dismantling our World Class Public Services, the Tories have decided to destroy the one thing that rewards people for making the choice to do the right thing and work for the benefit of their fellow citizens, the pension scheme.
Yes, Public Sector pensions are generous, and rightly so. We should be proud as a nation that we reward people for dong the jobs that are often difficult, time consuming (very few people work to the clock), often emotionally as well as physically draining and actually make the lives of others better. The butchering of the Pension system is a direct example of the Tories attitude of; “Fuck them, they don’t vote for us anyway”, whilst at the same time allowing a monumental £120 billion get away in tax avoidance and doing nothing about the fact that the pay of someone at the top of a company has gone up in the past 10 years from 69 times the average wage to 145 times. Barclays Bank paid just 2% tax on it’s profits, Vodaphone got away with £6 billion in evasion and the Bankers Bonus gravy train is racing away at full steam as though nothing ever happened. In January crippled RBS paid more than 100 of it’s staff over £1 million each, and bonuses totalled in excess of £1.1 billion for their investment arm alone. Meanwhile a guy like me is expected to put £84 a month more into my pension in order to receive £164 a month less.
So the rich wreck the economy through greed, and the rest of us are meant to pay for it. It’s like someone is punched in the face repeatedly and the perpetrator claims it’s the victim’s fault for not getting out of the way.
Number two on the contempt agenda: Michael Gove. This guy oozes self-loathing and takes it out on the section of Society that he came from. A product of (initially) the comprehensive system and coming from an average back ground, Gove must sit uneasily in the company of the Etonian set around the Cabinet table where Boy George Osborne is known as “oik” because he only went to the down at heel St. Paul’s.
So in an effort to make himself feel good, and to distract from the cash claw back from schools fiasco, Michael Gove today decided to trash the exam system which many of our young people are passing through at this very time, claiming it is “discredited” and “too many candidates are getting A grades”, whilst going on to say that, “Universities are losing confidence in the A level system”. Way to go Mike. Just as everyone involved is finishing the exam season and entering that period of limbo waiting for results and the life changing impact that they have, Gove decides this is the time to lob his grenade and show his true colours, echoing Thatcher’s 1986 chilling memo to his predecessor Ken Baker, “the true purpose of education is to teach people to know their place.”
Number three (and taking the biscuit) on the contempt agenda: Tory MP for Shipley, Phillip Davies said that disabled people should work for less money than the rest of Society, even if that means going beneath the Minimum Wage. The sad thing is that he doesn’t even realise why people are upset by his crass and stupidly ill informed contribution describing the reaction of disability charities as, “Left Wing hysteria”. No censure from Number Ten, I note. Sums the Tories up.