As party conference season is upon us, we can see the efforts the press are going to in order to keep anything like policy off the front pages- Miliband has been ridiculed for not talking about the deficit in a long speech he attempted to memorise, and the Tories appear to be tearing themselves apart publicly over both sleaze and Europe.
I do love the way the Tories get so obsessed and indeed start frothing at the mouth at the mere mention of “in out referendum on Europe”, as if this is something the man on the Clapham Omnibus (now sadly a cashless affair after recent “improvements” to the payment system), sits and chats about with his fellow travellers. Still, it has to be better than the Minister for (un)Civil Society, Brooks Newmark, emailing naked photos of himself to all and sundry. And while I’m at it, is there some special naming association for Conservative MPs? Mark Reckless, the defecting Tory, has a brilliant name, and it’s up there with the likes of Michael Fabricant in my book.
But underneath it all there is an important question that has to be asked, and if you’ve not guessed it, you obviously didn’t read the title properly. Just why do the government’s policies seem so inherently unfair? Whether it’s the well documented cases of terminally ill people being assessed as fit to work by Atos and having their benefits stopped, or the massive rise in working people having to resort to food banks to feed their family, it’s hard to reconcile the apparent “recovery” and booming economy with what people seem to be experiencing day to day in what for want of a better phrase I’ll call real life.
The glib answer is that the Conservatives policies are aimed at the same bunch of Eton types that got us into this (Eton) mess in the first place- jobs for the boys, MPs currying favour with the sort of big business that will give out Non Exec Directorships like sweeties to those who do them a favour. Of course this falls short when you consider that those business types are pretty finite in numbers and certainly couldn’t be responsible for voting the current omnishambles of a coalition in.
A big clue to who government policy is aimed at enticing to vote can be seen in the Prince of Darkness’s announcement that the Pension Death Tax is being abolished.
It’s old people.
Looking at some statistics from the last election, 49% of those who voted Conservative were over 65, compared to 28% for Labour (source: Daily Mail), a stat that really shows who the Conservative party is run for. Interestingly, the ageing is even worse for UKIP, who’s voters have predominately come from the Tory’s anyway. This means without UKIP, the likelihood is that more than half of Tory voters would be over 65.
Suddenly it makes sense. Old people have an inherent suspicion of so many things:
- Labour (the Loony Left of Michael Foot, or even Communism);
- Young people who: i) sit around on the dole, ii) take drugs, iii) get pregnant simply to get a free house, iv) are responsible for pretty much every ill in the country;
- Foreigners, who if they’re not coming over here taking our jobs, are certainly blowing things up and generally causing the ills that young people are responsible for to be even worse;
- Europe- because the Daily Mail had something entirely made up about the bend on cucumbers or failed to explain how inefficient vacuum cleaners were a bad thing.
Research shows that the older generation vote quite selfishly in general elections. They even feel guilty about doing so, but do it anyway. So what we have right now is a government voted for and supported by the grandparents of children whose long-term education and employment needs have been banjoed by that very same government. The older generation has got what it wants and has pulled the ladder up, sorry kids, your screwed.
My solution would be to simply give votes to children. But until the age of 18 (or 16 – we could lower the voting age too) the votes are cast by their parents. Obviously there are practical issues of who gets to cast their votes on their behalf – mother or father – but these are just small issues to be ironed out.
Osborne has just announced a two year freeze on the increase in working benefits- which effectively means that yet again pensioners are exempted from a government cut. As if more proof were needed…