I gave up on ‘but we live in a democracy’ a long time ago. In your car you are hounded by cameras which mug you for having half a wheel in a yellow box; the House of Lords is packed with unelected friends of elected politicians; the media agenda and content is determined by PR agencies run by friends of elected and unelected politicians; mega-size conglomerates fix prices and mug us under the eyes of elected and unelected politicians; newspapers, websites, online stores collect a wealth of intelligence about us; local authorities check the faeces you throw away in your bins. And if you haven’t been accosted online or in the middle of a hefty bite into your evening meal by a person sitting at a desk on Mars informing you that there is a claim to be made against your parents who didn’t ask your permission ahead of conceiving you, then you should definitely buy a lottery ticket asap.
The only thing that surprised me about Mr Snowden’s alleged revelations was the scale of it; I assumed it would be much greater. We are completely controlled, always have been and always will be, whether it be by right, left or centre. The Internet has simply made it a lot easier for Big Brother to snoop. In the days of the Stasi, it was the man standing behind you at the bus stop, now it’s an 11-year-old’s latest app that the government have bought into that has blurred evidence of you picking your nose at traffic lights.
Freedom is relative and we have a lot more of it in the UK than other places. But I certainly do not buy into the nonsense spouted by Foreign Secretary William Hague: “You have nothing to worry about if you do nothing wrong.” Clearly, as Mr Snowden has pointed out, you have a lot to worry about. The question in point is, how do we live with that fact.
My message is to chill out folks, we have the Ashes coming up and the football season is back in August but don’t watch them ‘illegally’ online or you may find someone knocking on your door. And it won’t be a Jehova’s Witness.
When I was younger (yes I can remember when I was) I had a healthy interest in politics. Without going overboard towards the excesses of the ‘far left’ I was firmly entrenched in the Labour camp. And while my views have mellowed over the years I’m still a Labour voter and expect I will always be so inclined. I’m not one of those people who ‘hate Conservatives’ and I doubt I would ever find my collar felt by Mr Plod while demonstrating against any one of a number of issues. But this week’s savage cuts by a government managed and run by mega-wealthy public schoolboys is enough to make me grow my hair, roll a few joints and get real angry.
The actor Ricky Tomlinson (aka Jim Royle of the Royle Family series) sums up the idiocy of the government’s scything of benefits here. His article summarises the issue far better than I could but there is an important further point that I feel needs making. And that is the ethics of this round of cuts which Messrs Cameron, Osborne and Co are desperately trying to shy away from. By rooting out disabled people and families in social housing where there is a spare room to stand before the Conservatives’ axing squad, they are neatly dividing and ruling over the most vulnerable people in our society. It has not escaped our notice that the elderly are exempt from the axe (as indeed they should be anyway in a country as wealthy as ours), presumably because they would have the audacity to go out and vote against cuts targeted at them.
But the most despicable thing about this legalised thieving of our government is the quasi generalisation put out by Conservative spin doctors that some people on benefits are lazy slobs watching daytime TV while robbing the country of all its money. This view is propagated by nasty apparatchiks with frothing mouths who clog the airwaves on phone-ins telling us how they have seen their so-called disabled neighbour walking to the off licence to buy cigarettes and cheap lager ‘with our money’.
So, to redress the balance, here is my take on the real scroungers; those who should be facing the biggest cuts. How about the hundreds of thousands of people living off unearned income, whose only ‘work’ is to log on and find out how much interest they have ‘made’ in the last week; or how about the scum who run ourbanks and who lost billions of our money and who still pay themselves obscene bonuses with our money.
As if it’s not bad enough for disabled people and some families on social housing to live off a few scraps the government throw at them. Now the humiliation of having to live off even less as another apparatchik comes round to assess if the empty spare room justifies their evacuation. Of course, Messrs Osborne and Cameron will sleep very soundly in the knowledge that if the said family are out on the street, they will be able to choose from the wide range of loan sharks like the one exposed here and one of whose lobbysits is a an adviser to a certain David Cameron MP.