An open letter to the Prime Minister, and his little dog too.
Dear Mr. Cameron, and that deputy fellow who seems to serve no real purpose,
You need to go. You are destroying this country from the bottom up and we can't take it anymore. The working class, small businesses, pensioners and those who have lost their jobs are slowly having the life squeezed out of them by the skyrocketing cost of living, spending cuts, increased taxes, reduced public services and incomes that haven't even come close to keeping up.
As is always the way, you are making the wealthy even wealthier and the poor even poorer. This is by no means something new, but it is well past time it stopped. You are creating a top heavy society that will soon collapse under its own weight. You see, it is not the wealthy that supports this country. It is not the large corporations you keep giving more and more breaks to. And it most certainly is not self-serving politicians like yourselves. It's us, the average shmucks on the bottom. We who dutifully go to our dead end jobs every day - those of us that still have a job, pay our taxes and national insurance, obey the law and do our best to make ends meet. You sit back and collect your expenses courtesy of the taxpayer and then wonder why we kick up a fuss every time rail fares leap up or the post office slaps an outrageous 30% increase on postage. We are the foundation that holds this country up and we are crumbling under the strain. As any builder can tell you, if you destroy the foundation, the building will topple.
I think part of the problem is that, like most politicians, the word “struggle” just doesn’t exist in your vocabulary. You come from money. You exist and have always existed in an insular, publically educated environment as far removed from the real world as a hamster is from the concept of quantum physics. You have no idea what it’s like to wonder how you’re going to pay your bills or feed your family. The concept of lying awake at night worrying about money or how many more days your business can survive is totally alien to you. You are so far out of touch with the day to day reality of the common man that you may as well be governing the UK from the outer rim of the galaxy. Like Louis XIV watching his countrymen starve while he sips Champagne in the Palace of Versailles, you’re watching Great Britain collapse around you from the palatial comfort of Chequers with a soothing glass of sherry in your hand. So we have to ask, how can someone who has no idea what poverty is be expected to make sensible decisions for those that live in it? Obviously, as you keep proving on a daily basis, you can’t.
Now you may well come back and say that you are the country’s choice and therefore the best man for the job, but that’s just not true. No doubt you’ve conveniently forgotten this little fact, but you see, we didn’t actually vote for you. You won by default. You managed to sneak in because the biased electoral system we’re stuck with made it possible, which of course is the whole idea. It favours the unfavourable. When we went to the polls we had to try and decide which was the least abhorrent of all the undesirable politicans on offer, no easy task I assure you. We thought we had voted for the lesser of many evils, but somehow we ended up with you instead. And now we’re stuck with you until the next election when we can vote for someone else and, in all likelihood, end up with you again. Despite the fact that, in theory, we pay your wages and you work for us, we can’t sack you. We are your employers, yet you tell us what to do and we have no choice but to comply. What a fantastic job! If only I could sit back and bullishly tell my bosses what to do and still collect a paycheque every month, plus all expenses paid - real or imagined - and a big house in the country. Where do I sign up?
Yet I consider myself somewhat fortunate that I do still have a job, even if it is a dead end and pays below par. Because under your rule, record numbers of people can no longer count themselves as employed. Well over a year ago for example my better half lost her job after more than 19 years with the same company. Why? Not because they were a floundering business wondering how they were going to pay their bills, or reluctantly laying people off as a last resort to keep the bailiffs from the door. No, it was because they decided to “shift their focus”, which of course is nothing more than a business euphemism for “make even larger profits for our poor starving CEOs and shareholders who simply must buy a new BMW because the one they bought just 6 months ago now has a smudge on the windscreen”. If you cared as much about "the worker" as you keep claiming, you'd outlaw this kind of blatant coporate greed. Instead you kick back and revel in the delights of the coporate machine.
And what delightful benefits did my wife reap after finding herself unemployed for the first time in more than 30 years? £65.00 pounds a week for 6 months with a generous helping of disparaging comments and heavy handed techniques from employment officers thrown in just to sweeten the pot, as if she quit her reasonably well paid job on purpose to collect a pittance a week for half a year. And then… nothing. No income and little, if any, hope of finding a job in middle age. Despite countless applications and interviews, she was deemed overqualified or simply too old, though of course they couldn’t say that. But no matter, she was no longer an unemployment statistic because she was off the official books, so from your point of view the problem was solved. Out of sight, out of mind. After paying NI contributions for 3 decades this is the kind of thanks she gets? Mr. Cameron, you have completely lost sight of what unemployment benefits were originally conceived to be, if you were ever aware of it in the first place. They are an insurance policy. Something we pay into that gives us some peace of mind when we’re put out of work through no fault of our own. It is not supposed to be a punishment, nor is it a bit of cake thrown to us in a vain attempt to make government be seen as a caring, magnanimous entity. It is something we pay for, and pay a lot for, that’s supposed to keep us alive and with a roof over our heads until we can get another job. Not for 6 months, and not at an insulting rate that would barely keep food on the table of a family of hedgehogs for a week, let alone pay their bills and a mortgage. The way the postal service is increasing their prices these days, £65.00 a week won’t be enough to buy a first class stamp soon.
And yet, somehow, the people who have never worked and seem to have no desire to do so, have never paid into the insurance, reap even more benefits and in perpetuity. Is this fair? If by some miracle we ever manage to put you out of your highly paid job (and I assure you if this becomes the case it will be your own fault) and if, by an even bigger miracle, you managed to be stripped of all your wealth, would you think yourself well done by to receive £65.00 a week for six months and then be kicked out the door with no income whatsoever? Would you welcome the heavy handed draconian punishments threatened by employment officers should you choose not to accept a part time minimum wage job polishing toilets? I think not.
Never mind, at least we’ve got a nice relaxing pension to look forward to, right? Nope! Because despite paying for it all our working lives, chances are there won’t be one when we actually reach retirement age, or rather IF we reach retirement age since you keep putting that further out of reach too. And just to make it even better, you’ve punished pensioners in the latest budget. Shame on them for having the gall to stop working after only 5 or 6 decades and sitting on their laurels, collecting money for free. Let’s freeze that little money maker and put a stop to their fun. Oh, and speaking of pensions, a lot of us took your advice and started paying into our own private pension funds, just to do our part and help out a bit. Currently the two company pensions I have are worth considerably less than what I’ve paid into them, so thanks again for that timely advice….
This country is in dire straights, but you won’t be aware of that of course because you and your friends are doing just fine, thank you very much. Rest assured though, if this keeps up we’ll be headed for another depression quicker than you can say “panhandle”. You seem to have no clue that putting money back into the pockets of the common man, not removing it in ever increasing amounts, is the way to turn the economy around. To return to my original analogy, strengthen the foundation and you’ll have a stronger house. Destroy the foundation and your house falls down. The common man is the one who spends a proportionately larger amount of his wages on taxes and consumables. Buying things creates demand, demand creates jobs. More people in work means more people spending and paying taxes. The wealthy don’t keep this country going because they spend proportionately less of their income, or don’t spend at all in this country, and they don’t pay their fair share of taxes. Your recent budget made sure of that too. You yourself are a prime example. The fact that petrol is at an astronomically high price doesn’t phase you because you don’t have to buy it. It’s just an expense you can claim for and that means that we, as your employer, have to buy it for you. But you see, we can’t afford to buy your petrol. We can’t even afford to buy our own petrol, and for us it’s essential because we need it to get to work so we can pay taxes and you can use those taxes to get your petrol for free. See how this works? Or doesn’t work, as the case is. You’re making a hell of a lot more money than I am, so buy your own damn petrol. And you can stop asking me to buy you a new couch for your second London flat too.
Similarly you’re giving corporations financial help they don’t need. Just as you’re keeping permanently unemployed lager louts in benefits they’ve never paid for, you’re giving millions of pounds of our money to mega-corporations that are already raking in millions, or billions of pounds of profit as it is. Do you fancy yourself as some sort of anti-Robin Hood? Taking from the poor to give to the rich? How much more do you think you can squeeze out of us before we have nothing left to give? And to add insult to injury, you use our money to bail out banks that floundered due to their own greed and incompetence, despite making billions off us in previous years. Strange how we have yet to see any dividends from our role as unwilling shareholders.
When my wife and I realised her chances of getting another job were slim to none, we decided to take the bull by the horns and start our own business. After several months in the retail trade, our shop is already struggling to keep its head above water and we’re wondering if it will still be in existence by the end of the year, and we’re not alone. Every shop in our street is in danger of dying due to poor sales. Where is our millions in financial help? Oh sure, we could jump through a lot of hoops and maybe, if we’re lucky, we might get a grant of a few hundred pounds. Oh yes, and we do get a year free of business rates. Don’t think we don’t appreciate that, because we really do. But it hardly compares to the millions you’re handing out to corporations that are already rolling in dough now does it? And what happens when our rates do kick in? We’re hooped, that’s what. The first couple of months of this year we foolishly thought we were doing well, even making a bit of a profit. Ah, but then came the good old VAT return and there went that fantasy.
Am I getting through to you? Is anyone listening, or are you even there at all? We are sick and tired of hearing you spout vacuous political rhetoric every time someone challenges you on one of your many dodgy deals. We are fed up with the plastic smile stuck on your face when we see pictures of you shaking hands with your rich and powerful bedfellows, or read stories of you giving them our money. We’ve had enough of hearing all the tough talk but seeing no action. We don’t want to hear you blaming the previous government for all our woes because, guess what? When they came to power they blamed the previous government for the same things, as did the government before them, and so on, and so on….
We are at our wits end with paying through the teeth for services that don’t exist anymore. Our roads are in a terrible state, our health care is failing. We pay ever higher rates to jam ourselves like Sardines into a transportation system that delivers increasingly poor service. Our education system is a joke. Discipline is non-existent in schools because teachers aren’t allowed to exercise it anymore. Universities are charging astronomical fees because of your policies despite the fact that they’re churning out graduates who can barely spell their own names.
We pay for police that won’t come out when you need them because they simply don’t have the manpower thanks to your cuts. What idiot would slash the budget of the police force, one of the most fundamental services of a civilised world? You babble on about how the government will come down hard on anti-social behaviour, but have you ever had to put up with it? It took us 3 years to get rid of the irresponsible louts next door to us and in all that time not once would the police do anything, saying it was the council’s responsibility. The council, on the other hand, were of no use whatsoever, whether it was their responsibility or not. For 3 years we put up with loud parties until 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning, abusive and threatening behaviour and intimidation from our neighbours. In the end it was neither the police nor the council that removed them – they simply grew tired of our complaints and moved out. Remind me again how seriously the government takes anti-social behaviour…?
In a similar budget slashing fiasco, what moron would engage its military forces in a war that has nothing to do with us, but not give them enough money, equipment and personnel to do their job properly? While we have nothing but admiration and respect for the members of our military forces, we have nothing but contempt for a government that sends them off to be maimed or killed in an unwinnable war for an unjustifiable cause. Please don’t keep telling us you’re keeping us safe from terrorism. We never did buy that one and we certainly don’t want to hear it now after hundreds of our soldiers have come home in coffins and the threat of terrorism has only increased because of your actions. Only a half wit would invade someone else’s country and not expect terrorist attacks against the invaders and their allies to increase. Have you learned nothing from history? Did you not hear about the grand ol’ time the Soviets had in Afghanistan?
Thanks to you and those like you, we are quickly on our way to becoming one of the third world countries we used to smugly slap ourselves on the back for helping. I wonder which countries, if any, will jump to our aid?
Oh, and one more thing. The EU is sucking the life out of us. We want out, and then we want you out of our government. And your little dog too.
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