Allez les Bleus
As you know this week sees the much awaited, much talked about and in many sectors much feared Comprehensive Spending review. Throughout Westminster and beyond public servants are adopting the brace position, hoping that the hobnail of doom will go stamping over someone else’s department and not theirs.
We’re not alone in this. European countries are all going through similar reviews, acts are being passed in parliaments and senates across the continent as governments look at ways at digging us out of the hole that the banks got us in to, through cutting services for the weak, the poor and the needy. Because, of course they are absolutely responsible for the billions of toxic debt run up by the bankers….
I’m not going to dwell on bankers. They are a bunch of c**ts and we all know that. (I even reserve the c word for them alone). What I want to talk about is us and our response to this.
France is a country I know well. I have lived there, I’ve studied there and of course one side of my family is there. I know some of you will think of the French as onion wearing, baguette brandishing, Gitane smoking, cheese eating surrender monkeys. And of course there is a lot to be said for this as a way of life. But France is also a country with a population and a GDP that are almost entirely equivalent to the UK.
They are not a third world country; they are not a backward nor a totalitarian state. They are not oil rich. But they are proud. Proud of whom they are and what they do. And they support one another when times get tough. At the moment the French are looking to increase the retirement age from 60 to 62 and the full state pension age from 65 to 67. Most people don’t have a private pension in France, because guess what…..the State pension is enough to live on. And why is that? Because people have stood up over the years, stood collectively and protected their rights.
At present, the oil refineries are on strike, the students and academics (together) are on strike, the lorry drivers are on a go slow. Each day of industrial action is being supported by 3 million people. And, here is the killer fact…..opinion polls are showing the over 70% of the population ARE IN FAVOUR OF THE STRIKES. They aren’t locking bosses away or holding people hostage (although admittedly some of that has and does go on) as the stereotypes portray, they are engaging in good old fashioned strike action. As is their constitutional right.
Meanwhile, back across the channel, back to old Blighty. What do we find here? Well we don’t really have a State pension scheme anymore and even if we did, we would probably be dead within three years of getting it. We have some of the deepest darkest days ahead of us for many a decade, driven not by financial need but by political dogma. And what are we doing about it? Well nothing really. Less than half of public sector workers are indicating that they are prepared to strike and nearly 40% of workers arguing that industrial action should be BANNED in frontline services.
“Do what you want to them……we don’t care, just make sure it doesn’t affect me”.
But it will. The cuts that are taking place will affect every single person in this country. They will affect the young, the old, the infirm and the fragile. They will impact on businesses in every sector. This isn’t something that is going to happen in sweet isolation with the after effects dissipating into the morning fog. They will affect you, your children and their children…….and even their children to come. So wake up, pay attention and start to angry about the way the heart of this country is about to be ripped out.
Solidarity brother? My arse……