Bribe and rule – letter to the editor

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich:

Dear Editor,

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the NHS is falling apart. Doctors are striking, but the government say their salary demands are unaffordable.

I don’t what the roads are like where you live, but round here there are huge potholes that risk taking your wheel off. But the county council have no money to repair them.

You may perhaps have heard that six local authorities have already declared themselves effectively bankrupt, and that one in six of the remainder are at risk of bankruptcy in the next six to eight months. Which will decimate everything from social care to rubbish collection.

I don’t know if you read that the Army is so short staffed that they are actually talking about conscription in the event of a war.

I don’t know if you noticed, but the Navy is having to cut three ships because of lack of funds.

Perhaps you saw that nearly two hundred schools need rebuilding because they were built with cheap concrete. Rebuilding could take anything up to seven years because there isn’t enough money.

And the police service.

And the law courts.

And the probation service.

Oh, and we have given £290 million to Rwanda, but I’m not sure why.

Short of cash? Don’t worry!! Hunt and Sunak have the solution. Tax cuts!

Of course, it’s always nice to have a bit of extra cash in your pocket, but beware: what is being proposed is a dangerous version of divide and rule. And it has its roots in Thatcher’s “There’s no such thing as society.”

It’s basically a bribe. You give people a tax cut – or what appears to be a tax cut.

They are happy and, for a moment at least, they forget or ignore the desperate state of the country as a whole. Of course, the government hope that the moment of forgetfulness coincide with the general election, and that they will be re-elected on the strength of their ‘generosity’.

But the danger runs deeper. By appealing to the (perfectly understandable) wish of each individual to be a little bit better off, the government is inevitably and deliberately undermining a collective approach to society, whilst underinvesting, underfunding, and ignoring all the social ills we face.

It is an attempt to undermine collective opposition by appealing to personal aspiration.

It would be so much better – it would be common sense – if the money that Hunt and Sunak are proposing to ‘give away’ in tax cuts was spent collectively, socially, for the benefit of the country as a whole and all the people in it.

Any chance that they might notice?

Laurence Bristow-Smith