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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

I decided several years ago that my opinions counted for nothing when it comes to politics. After all, I only voted Liberal in the 2010 election because they (the Liberals) had promised electoral reform AND to see that student fees would not be increased. Both promises were reneged on once they were given the chance to share a harsh Tory-led coalition, which saw poor and working class folks bear the brunt of re-paying evil bankers for their unforgiven thievery.

I have survived, one way or another, all of the political crap thrown at me (and mine) over almost forty years of working life.  I’ve been lucky. Yet, after six years of an uncaring, banker-loving Tory government many others have been less lucky. However ….

however, after those many years of ups and downs, fuel crises, recessions and occasional years of plenty I’m now being asked to vote on something so inconceivably important that it amazes me we have (need?) a government at all. I am still not clear WHY David Cameron decided to make the EU referendum a manifesto promise (which less than 37% of those bothered to vote (66% turnout), voted for) but here it is – we go to the polls on 23d June. See http://www.parliament.uk/eu-referendum

The question we’re asked is ‘Europe: in or out?’.  We are never asked questions like:

  1. a) ‘Syria, Libya, Iraq: bomb or not bomb?’,
  2. b) ‘Bankers: give them all our money or let them sink?’ or
  3. c) ‘NHS: kill it or not kill it?’ – but yet we’re being asked whether we should remain part of the EU or not.

This is the most horrendous plebiscite you could imagine. The populace is ill-informed and lied to by self serving politicians, who are similarly ill-informed about a future outside Europe.

And yet, this would appear to me to be the most important issue – if we vote ‘out’, what will change? No one knows!

So, because no one really knows what would happen should we vote to leave, issues have revolved around the current state of immigration and the economy, both of which seem to have become ‘European’ matters, rather than ‘all-world’ problems – which they are.

This country was on its knees when we joined the common market, or whatever it was called back then; we’d just had a three-day week and Jim Callaghan was about to face a Winter of Discontent – only working together with partners and some sound Euro-management by Margaret Thatcher (hate her legacy as I do, I cannot deny that she knew how to deal with the EU) did we become the economic power we now seem to be.

For whatever reason, our economy is currently as good as if not better than most in Europe, but I don’t see that as a reason to leave the club we have nurtured and been nurtured by over the last forty years.

I’m staying in.

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A piles of copper penniesI’m getting a bit fed up now of the constant carping by Government and the national media on how ‘wealthy pensioners’ are the new scroungers and that they don’t deserve the benefits they currently enjoy.

I have to state here and now that I have always, throughout my working life, thought that we – the working majority – have a duty of care towards those in retirement and those unable to care for themselves.  As I am fast approaching this venerable stage of life I see no reason to change my opinion now.

Nor do I believe that the rights and benefits I have worked towards all of my life should be reduced or removed.

What is wealth? What do politicians and newspaper columnists mean when they talk about wealthy pensioners?

We are all led into thinking that millionaires like (for example) Lord Sugar should not be entitled to a free bus pass or winter fuel payments. Because of course, he is wealthy. He is wealthy by any scale we use – but I still think that if he and others like him have paid their dues for all their working life, as I have, then they should the same benefit as the rest of us. However – can you honestly see him using a bus pass or actually noticing his winter fuel payment? Really?  He and his businesses will pay more BACK through taxes and the various other ways that HMG suck us dry than we can possibly dream of.

The real issue is that once the populace have accepted, as they are now being led to accept, that wealthy pensioners are scroungers and that those benefits (which all pensioners have worked for, all their lives) should be removed, everyone will lose out.

If HMG remove the right to free bus passes, they will stop funding the bus companies and the bus companies will stop running socially needed buses. In many areas, this is already a huge problem but if bus company revenue dries up even more, they will provide less services. If winter fuel payments stop (which don’t actually cover the cost of winter fuel anyway) then more ‘wealthy’ and not-so-wealthy pensioners will die.

I don’t want my parents (in their 80s) or their contemporaries to have to remain in the house simply because there are no buses or worse, to die because they can’t afford to eat AND heat.

And I don’t want to be faced with the same options myself at any time in the future.

Remember – my generation has paid its dues for over forty years; everything various governments have asked. We have done so in the knowledge (the belief?) that our payments were being invested in a social service that aimed to improve the lives of pensioners and those unable to fend for themselves. And to secure our own futures.

Do not let this change. Do not let the insidious drip-feed of lies become the truth.

 

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I’ve just received this email from The Public Services Union PCS. I’d urged my MP to vote against the bill. I took his reply to mean that he would vote for it – because he’s a Tory and he’ll do what he’s told.

Dear Equality Campaigners,

I’m absolutely delighted to inform you that as of this morning, the government did a U-turn. ITS A WIN!

Last night the House of Lords voted again to keep the general equality duty (Section 3) and this morning the government finally gave up the game of ‘ping pong’ and said that they are not going to scrap it any more.

We knew your emails were having a huge impact from the uneasy contact we were getting from some government MPs who were not happy about what was happening. Your emails, together with our joint working with members of the House of Lords, independent experts in equality and human rights law (such as Professor Sir Bob Hepple QC), trade unions, equality organisations and Liberal Democrat grass roots activists, have all helped in this great victory.

As a legacy equality law coming from the Macpherson Report into the Stephen Lawrence murder, this win could not have been more timely.

I do hope you enjoyed campaigning with us, and interacting with your MP on such an important issue (even when, as I know, some were less than pleasant in their responses)!

There are more campaigns to come on equality as we know that the government has other laws in its sights and we fear further plans to scrap equality law, including more of the Lawrence legacy.

Please, if you’d like to keep campaigning with us, respond ‘yes’ to this email and I’ll contact you again next time we need to mobilise a campaigning crack team!

Great job – take a bow.

Yours sincerely

Natasha Burgess, Campaign Officer
Campaigns and Communications
Public and Commercial Services Union
Web: www.pcs.org.uk

PCS, 160 Falcon Rd, London SW11 2LN

I’m not a member of PCS, I stayed with UCU when I left employment (became self-employed) – but I was formally a member of Cohse which must have evolved into Unison and/or PCS.

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