Monday, 2 February 2015

Who will dare to be different?

Argument between leading political parties is so often about relatively small differences in emphasis or detail of a shared strategy rather than real difference of strategy. No wonder polls often fail to separate them; and the public become frustrated with there being so little to choose between them. We, the ovine voters, must not be allowed real choices, if these could threaten the Establishment, which, across the political elite, has common interests.
"There is no alternative but to pay down[ or off] the deficit" is a case in point. Why should there be no alternative? They may wish to exclude other options but that there are others is not in doubt, as other economists can aver. Governments make choices about how they spend in our name. We should hope that we could choose between choices - but in reality the options we are given are already selected by them to maintain their power base. Increasingly, the choices made deprive people of well-being in favour of flattering the interests of the powerful. There is an alternative in which the wealth of the country is shared more widely - and this could have greater benefit to the economy by encouraging spending.
Another "given" is that we work all our lives in order to leave "something to the next generation". This is an invention of neo-liberal capitalism - promoting creation of more capital-owning which will ultimately lead to unearned income. It was not always thus. Workers worked for subsistence, with, if they were fortunate, a pension to live in in retirement. For some, there was not always work; let alone a pension - nor a nest-egg. Now we are told that right-thinking people first buy their own homes, then retain them even after they move themselves out into care, while the State pays the cost of the latter. This is apparently a policy shared across the political spectrum: to have tax-payers money used to pay for care whilst the person cared for owns a home they no longer need, except to leave it to their off-spring, who may by this time themselves be entering retirement. The family thus cease to be workers but capitalists, thanks to government policy and at our cost. There must be an alternative where we pay for our own care out of what we have accrued; or rely on the State if we have no such back-stop.
So why does Labour not have the courage to say this? Could it be that all who attain power become capitalists?

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