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The Broadest Shoulders PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Boardman   
Sunday, 23 June 2013 21:21

I am in the process of reading “The Road to Wigan Pier Revisited” by Stephen Armstrong.

On reaching page 8, I paused to consider the fact that in 1919 Stanley Baldwin, the coalition Prime Minister, had donated one-fifth of his personal wealth to the Treasury to help pay off the national debt and try to create jobs.

Armstrong reflects on this generous act against the recent Parliamentary expenses scandal and concludes:

 “The idea that MPs would help pay off the national debt from their own purse seems like an insane fantasy; for Orwell it was recent history.”

It obviously raises the question of whether we should expect a better example of moral conscience from our MPs. Should Cameron, Clegg and Osborne set the ball rolling by following Baldwin’s example?

The last Labour Government attempted to remove this moral dilemma for the highest earners by introducing the 50% tax band.

Osborne, with the support of Cameron and Clegg (despite previous assurances given by Downing Street to the contrary) was quick to remove this tax band, which may help to answer my question.

Armstrong (still on page 8 & 9) points out:

“Instead we’re the ones paying through vicious cuts. In 2011 the Child Trust Fund was abolished, child benefit frozen, pension credits frozen, maternity grants cut. In the autumn the winter fuel allowance was slashed – as fuel bills soar – proving potentially fatal for the elderly. In January 2012, people under thirty-five stopped receiving housing benefit unless they living in a shared house. No more one-bedroom flats for junkies withdrawing and trying to avoid mates who still use. From April 2012, tax credits are being reduced and disability benefits withdrawn from one in five people. Although it’s not until 2015 that the pension cuts really hit.

“We already spend the lowest percentage in Europe of our GDP on the public sector and by 2015 we will be spending less than the United States. We have become the NeoCon poster boy. The voices for change are muted, drowned out by hypocritical yells of indignation from an establishment that is almost entirely to blame for the wreckage we are trying to fix.”

Young people will be quick to point out that Armstrong omitted the draconian increase in student fees and the withdrawal of EMA by the current coalition government.

The current tactic of the coalition government is to divide us “plebs” into “strivers” and “skivers” creating a bunker mentality amongst “strivers” that their cause for concern is the “skivers” and not the wealthy people and corporations who use every conceivable avenue to keep every penny in their tightening grasp.



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