Wednesday, 6 April 2011
We're Being Duped
One thought that pops into my mind on a daily basis is 'Are we being duped?'
The coalition have been in government for nearly a year and there's little to show for it. Lots of talk about cuts, university fees which will help the poorest, increasing the efficiency of the NHS while angering most health professionals and increasing the state pension - but not for current pensioners.
The coalition allowed English universities to increase fees to a maximum of £9,000 per annum, saying to students that only a few universities would charge anything like the top rate, yet even the lowest rated English university has announced it will charge £8,000 a year.
David Cameron insisted, prior to his election, that the English NHS would never go down the privatisation route. Now he's had to put his NHS Reform Bill into cold storage because so many of those concerned with the implementation have found too many faults.
This week the media is excited at the news that pensioners will receive a flat rate of £140 a week which will avoid the humiliation of older people having to provide confidential personal information in order to receive a few pounds to help them pay their bills. Tens of thousands are too proud to do this we're told. So it's great news for us pensioners as we'll no longer be required to go through the intrusive means test. But no, the new rate isn't for anyone presently receiving a state pension, it's government 'forward planning'. When the new rate comes into being, there will be two rates for pensioners.
David Cameron was in Pakistan admitting Britain caused many of the world's problems and as recompense for a diplomatic 'misunderstanding' last year he vouched to give around £650 million over the next four years towards education in Pakistan, which spends barely 2% of its annual budget on education, but more than 15% on defence.
I don't expect the Prime Minister, when he is abroad, to be running down his own country purely to seek favour with his hosts. He, of all people, should be talking Britain up not down.
We have Nick Clegg insisting his 'overriding mission' is to improve social mobility. Surely his overriding mission should be the restoration of the public finances and reform of public services. His wish to create a 'fair' market in internships is both patronising and fatuous and has all the hallmarks of Labour's headline-grabbing initiatives which get kicked into the long grass.
The few issues mentioned above are the tip of a very large iceberg with a hollow core. We're repeatedly told we must reduce the deficit, yet will having two state pension systems save money? Does giving handsome gifts of over half a million pounds as a bribe towards business save money? The only fair way to increase social mobility is to repeatedly tell them it is intelligence and hard work that count, not their social backgrounds.
Policies rushed through the parliamentary process without due scrutiny or foresight - such as the two mentioned - will cost taxpayers far more than if they had been carefully and thoroughly crafted.
Are we being duped? Too right we are. The Cameron and Clegg duo will continue with their chicanery until someone is brave enough to stand up and shout, 'Enough'. I wonder if this man will be heard.