Amid the smoke and mirrors of a general election, what Teresa May wanted to do, was to make us feel baffled, bewildered and unconfident. So she could step in with her ‘Strong and stable,’ hypnotic chant and mesmerise us into voting for her. Well, events have moved on, and her shiny exterior is now rather tainted. But nothing can be taken for granted and nothing should divert us from examining what she and her government have done.
The first is taking food out of the mouths of little children, the second is taking money away from their education, the third is endangering one of England’s greatest institutions, the National Health Service, and the fourth is having contempt for our intelligence.
“So you’ve heard the squabbling and discord of disagreement here tonight. You’ve seen the coalition of chaos in action.” Amber Rudd’s final words, on the BBC Election Debate on Wednesday night insulted us all and summed up the Tory attitude: we’re not intelligent enough to distinguish political debate from mindless bickering; we’re not analytical enough to evaluate the ideas of different parties; we’re not confident enough to demand that Teresa May steps up and answers the same questions as all the other leaders.
During the debate, we learnt on Twitter that Amber Rudd, had lost her father a few days previously, but had still decided to attend. Firstly, my condolences to her, such losses are heartbreaking. Secondly, this bereavement should have been even more reason for Teresa May to participate in the debate. How come she put a grieving Amber Rudd there? How much compassion did she show her own Home Secretary? Strong and Stable or Stonyhearted and Scared?
A country’s real wealth is in its people. The streets where ordinary people live and bring up their families; the schools where ordinary children go and develop their intelligence, knowledge and creativity. A country’s wealth is generated by the skills, positivity and problem-solving abilities of its citizens. There are entrepreneurs, doctors, scientists, writers and artists, in every street, in every infant school. They’re the wealth generators, the ideas-people of the future, the life-blood of this country. And Teresa May can’t even allow the youngest to keep their one meal a day. It makes my blood boil.
England is one of the richest countries in the world, with one of the most efficient tax systems, and if its government can’t provide meals for the youngest and poorest among us, I suspect mis-management of money. I’m not alleging corruption, but accusing her of dereliction of duty.
Yet, through the smoke and mirrors of a general election, Teresa May expects the country to vote her into power with a massive majority. I have one simple thing to say – Don’t. Because she doesn’t respect us and won’t work in our best interest.
I can’t believe, that after years and years of Tory governments, schools have had their budgets cut so savagely, that children are cleaning their own classrooms, parents are having to buy classroom supplies and teachers aren’t being replaced. Where on earth does Teresa May think the future of this country lies, if not in a well-educated and skilled population? She wants us to trust her with the Brexit negotiations? We can’t even trust her to manage our money properly so that schools can have the funds they need. It’s basic organisation. Every family does it, they budget for the priorities first.
In July 2011, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution inviting member countries to measure the happiness of their people and to use this to help guide their public policies. Increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy: “…to redefine the growth narrative to put people’s well-being at the center of governments’ efforts” Income and health are two of the key factors found to support happiness. Both come from properly resourced education and health systems. They form the bedrock of a country’s prosperity.
The NHS is fighting for its life, because the profit-dogma of Teresa May makes her blind to the long term consequences for the country. As well as people’s pain and suffering. Compassion and ethics, the well-being of a nation, aren’t dirty words. They’re attributes of civilisation and wise governance.
We’re more than intelligent enough to know the factors which contribute to prosperity and well-being. That quality which Teresa May and Amber Rudd believe we don’t possess.
I say, prove them wrong. I say vote them out. Let our children eat, let our children learn. And let our sick be treated.