Twenty minutes before midnight, I need to write this. There are still 52 months to go until the next general election, so, that means 52 months more of this Tory government.
What will happen during this time? We can predict some of it, not all of it, but for sure, we will continue to see the unpicking of the civic society on which the health and wellbeing of our country depends.
Companies will be allowed to inject chemicals into the good English earth beneath our feet, to crack open the rocks and extract carbon-rich oil and gas. We are told there will be high environmental standards, but one drop of that toxic mix will be too much. In America fracking has made the people sick… We are told we must have it here to keep our fuel bills low. But is the price of the health of a child?
Social housing will slowly dwindle, as councils are forced to sell off their assets, while fixed term tenancies and ‘pay to stay’ premiums will bump up the right to buys… Meanwhile private rents and house prices are unchecked, and the word ‘affordable’ is just a word now, with no meaning whatsoever.
More cuts to come to the health service, and education and local government… Not enough doctors and nurses, classes too large, public health budgets shrinking.
Health and home… families will feel ever more insecure and ever more in debt. They might decide to blame it onto immigrants.
And yet the deficit will not budge. Make a cut here and the costs pile on over there. On paper the cuts look good, to those who don’t believe in public spending. Last week’s council meeting gave us a perfect example: look at these high staff costs, said one Tory councillor. Can’t cuts be made there?
I wondered if we did that, who would pay for the pensions.
And if we got rid of all the people, what would the Council be? It is no more than the sum of its people, after all. As is the whole economy, in fact.
I’m reminded of the book The Blair Revolution, published in 1996. It ends with a chapter, A New Britain, AD 2005 – if the Tories stay in, or if Labour wins. After 11 years of Labour, and with the surety of ten and maybe even 15 more of the Tories, in the end, it may be, some of that will come to pass.