Dead trees and broken promises



I am one of those people that everyone loves to hate. A middle class pinko, a champagne socialist, a supporter of basic income.  Yet I also believe in rewarding the talented, the hard workers, the entrepreneurs who take the risks, but without dismantling the safety net that should give everyone the chance to live a worthwhile life, no matter what happens to them and their loved ones.

I'm also a carer, but I don't fit the public's image of what a carer should be like, so there's no group or party that represents me, or seems to care about the interests of my children.  All we want now is a bit of support and the chance to live our lives quietly and free of fear.  Fear of the future and what the Government will do next.

I look across the pond and am terrified by what is happening in the UK where the working poor are encouraged to blame those on welfare for the taxes they have to pay, and the unemployed to blame immigrants for taking all the jobs.  Meanwhile welfare is cut to the bone and people are dying as a result.  Will there be revolt?  Or just a rise in hatred, hopelessness, bigotry, suicide, crime and starvation.

And apparently Cameron's policies are not right wing enough for many of his MPs.

I blame Mrs Thatcher's for the start of the rot.  Her ideology seemed to promote the idea that it's every man, woman and child for themselves in this life.  But that doesn't take into account the bad things that happen to people, and how your life can change in an instant.



All over Europe there is seething resentment, anger and despair.  We don't know who to believe or who to trust any more.  Nothing is ever simple, yet we are often asked to believe that it is.  Those whose think that their lives have been destroyed by austerity policies are demonising those who are implementing them, whether it's the police, the water meter installers or politicians.  Intimidation and threats are seen are justifiable.  That makes me and others like Jazzygal very uncomfortable.  At the same time those who are doing okay often seem to look with contempt at those families and individuals whose lives have gone into a tailspin.

I remember the sneering reaction from mothers on an Irish parenting site when I told the story of how within the space of two years I had gone from being half of a couple with a very good joint salary to an out of work lone parent with an income of just child benefit and domiciliary care allowance.  Now that situation only lasted for a month, but I will never forget it.  The mums were not interested,  I was mocked and lambasted for my choices and I was told that I'd made my bed and I had lie in it.  And so did my children.  None of them seemed to realise how easily it could happen to them too...

So I'm not happy with either camp.

Yet I grew up in a world that felt relatively secure.  Built by my parents' generation, who wanted life to be better for their children and grandchildren.  Whatever happened to that idea?  My world included a free health and education service, benefits for those who fell on hard times, and a pension from a grateful nation so you could enjoy your final years.  A society that cared, flawed as it was.

Those ideas have been mostly blown away with the chill wind of austerity, to be replaced by the smell of fear.  Even my securities have gone.  Things I thought were essential to human life are to be taxed, whether you have the means to pay for them, or not.  Things I thought I owned will now have to be paid for forever.   The most vulnerable of all are to be targeted the most.  And that's when I get really mad.  I broke down in tears and anger in the pharmacy last week at the news that our medical services were no longer covering a second medicine that Smiley needs.  It's not that I can't afford it, I can find the money, but they don't know that, and clearly they don't care either.  If she didn't get them she could end up in hospital, costing the state far more in the long run, so it doesn't even make economic sense, besides being cruel and heartless to a young adult who cannot fight her own corner.

In today's world it seems that all safety nets are to be removed.  Perhaps that explains why those who have, just want more and more, in a vain attempt to feel safe.  Perhaps they are living in fear too.

I didn't vote for either of the parties that currently form the Irish Government, but I had some hope that things would get better.  They didn't.  They cannot blame the Troika for all the choices they made.  All the incompetence.  The shoring up of the Golden Circle.  All the buddies they appointed to State Boards, all the expenses they claimed, all the cuts they made to the sick and vulnerable.  Granted, life is much worse in the UK for many people, and elsewhere.  But should we really be thankful for that?

And now there's talk of an election taking place soon in Ireland, at the same time as the protests against Irish Water, the much-hated water charges and the current Government become deafening.  Or do they?  A huge protest is planned for this Wednesday 10th December.  It will surely be a tipping point.  If the protest is big enough, perhaps something fundamental will begin to change.  And I confess that I'm afraid of what those changes will mean.  If not?  Then I fear that everything will remain the same.  We will see the same people running the country in the same way, with a few tweaks to policy and personnel as a nod to the protesters.  I remember the trees that were planted on my street in the run up to the last election, some of them died, they withered away, just like the promises of the politicians that we elected.  Is it going to happen all over again? 



10 comments:

  1. I think things are in a pretty terrifying state right now - we need a big change and we need it soon or there will be the majority going sick and hungry while the rich sit in their big houses eating cake. Sounds familiar doesn't it? What happened to moving forwards, it feels like everything is going backwards at the moment.

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    1. It really does, and I never thought that things would go this way during my lifetime :(

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  2. I think we all need a little fire in our bellies right now - these times don't come along to often and we have to make the most of it. I would love to see a little revolution rising.

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    1. I agree, but I'm anxious too about what will happen

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  3. I hadn't really got any strong political thoughts until we lost everything following a series of accidents and serious illnesses. The way people treated us as benefit claimants was absolutely shocking. It is too easy to lay the blame at the feet of the most vulnerable in society who maybe not have the means to defend themselves against the fat cats stirring up the flames of resentment. People don't seem to be shocked and appalled that food banks are on the rise and that sanctions on benefits are often unjustified and harsh. We need to look at the bigger picture, stop apportioning blame and work together to benefit the whole nation. ( I think basic income is a great idea). x

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    1. Perfectly said Louisa, and thanks for your comment. Hope things improve for you soon x

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  4. It is amazing, how other countries face the same challenges and worse apathy when it comes to our "First World" political systems. Where everyone strives to be equal but are consistently told they are not. Wonderful post!

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    1. Every political system seems to be in a bit of a mess right now I think. Glad you like the post x

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  5. Extremely well written, Blue Sky. Interesting to read about what is happening in your country, and I feel that it is diabolical how people are being treated. I hope for your sake and that of the many others that things will improve, although with the economy the way it is, I very much doubt it! xx

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    1. Thank you, and we'll keep hoping and trying to change things xx

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