The selfish vanity of the political class writ large

While the likes of Andrew Mitchell (Minister for International Development) and John Major (quisling former Prime Minister) urge the British people to rejoice in the fact our hard earned money is being sent overseas – while services at home for our own benefit are cut to reduce debt and subsidise follies such as wind power and extremist organisations who seek to do this country harm – we see a further squeeze in our disposable income as gas and electricity prices soar to even higher levels.

We are already at the point where poorer people are having to choose between spending money on food and spending it on heat and light. This round of huge energy price increases will dramatically increase the scale of that problem. Yet the wealthy (and therefore immune from their own policy agenda) members of the political class that has got us into our financial mess, with outlandish and reckless borrowing and insanely wasteful spending decisions, are reducing the help available for the most vulnerable in our society.  As EU Referendum observes:

“Nearly a million extra households face the prospect of being plunged into fuel poverty within months after one of Britain’s largest energy companies raised gas prices by almost a fifth and electricity prices by a quarter”.  That is from the paywall Times, with the Failygraph giving more details about the price rises.

And where one leads, the rest follow. We are in for a torrid time, and the timing is impeccable. Only a week ago, the Cleggerons announced a cut in winter fuel allowance, as they sought to turn us into a “development superpower”.

Superpowers, by definition, tend to have their own house in order before projecting their strength. Conversely our house is in ramshackle state, our landlord in Brussels is extracting more money from us year on year and forcing us to spend more of our dwindling resources on their latest wheezes, and yet we are pretending to be a powerhouse so politicians can look virtuous on the international stage.  It is perverse.

Here we see no more clear an example of how the interests of the political class are not our interests.

I defy any politician in this country to identify a single British voter who believes it is reasonable that we let people in our country die from malnutrition or hypothermia due to avoidable poverty, in order to spend money on people abroad whose own government prefers to spend billions of its own money on a new aircraft carrier and advanced fighter jets rather than alleviating the poverty of its own people. Why should we sacrifice our own fellow nationals to service the ambitions of a political class overseas?  This is a scandal, but it should be a crime.

Taking the argument a step further, it is no secret that there are pockets of extreme poverty in this country.  This was underlined in the BBC1 programme ‘Poor Kids’ last night.  While our money is being sent overseas and politicians speak of helping poor people whose lives are blighted, perhaps we should stop and think about these youngsters who live in squalid conditions and get nothing like the help needed for those who need the help of a safety net.

Consider that destitute family in the Gorbals in Glasgow that is desperate to move to acceptable accommodation because they are living in a damp riddled flat, their health suffering and lives a misery as a consequence. Then consider the spending priorties of that city’s council which focuses its resources on climate change strategies and spend money on its new Riverside Museum while that family continues to suffer. The city council’s ‘vision statement’ shows how low down its list of priorities its residents are:

We want Glasgow to flourish as a modern, multi-cultural, metropolitan city of opportunity, achievement, culture and sporting excellence where citizens and businesses thrive and visitors are always welcomed.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the vision was to devote its resources to ensure no child in this 21st century lives in accommodation that livestock would be banned from inhabiting and that vulnerable people will not be allowed to go hungry or freeze to death? Wouldn’t it be nice if Glasgow City Council’s vision was a vision we could all identify with and its priorities put people before ideological campaigns and monuments to self glory?

The answer is to ensure government at local and national level cannot spend money on anything unless we approve it.  One wonders how many people would vote to spend money on climate change wheezes and new cultural buildings rather than ensure rubbish is collected weekly, people live in properties that are not covered in mould and elderly or infirm residents get at least one hot meal per day. It is time to make our priorities the ones our public servants focus upon.

10 Responses to “The selfish vanity of the political class writ large”


  1. 1 vernon e 08/06/2011 at 3:34 pm

    I am an ardent follower of Mr Mind and Dr North et al, but I am having a problem getting my head round this “Referism” concept. If it means, as I think it does , that “the people” will have a say in how, and how much, the government spends isn’t it predictable that the majority will always vote to have all the goodies at any price. Isn’t this a welcome to Athens approach?

  2. 2 Liz Elliot-Pyle 08/06/2011 at 5:17 pm

    “..the majority will always vote to have all the goodies at any price”. Yes, but if they were only to vote for NO foreign aid and NO further payments to the corrupt EU – they will have achieved something useful.
    Foreign aid and payments to the EU do not benefit the ‘majority’ in this country – so let them have all the ‘goodies’ they want. And stop the wasteful stuff.

  3. 3 Peter Whale 08/06/2011 at 5:21 pm

    The winter of 2011 now just six months away is going to be a disaster for the poor. Energy prices and food are going to be extortionate, the choice between food and heat is going to be made by more people than ever before. When the deaths start mounting watch the obfuscation and lies from our masters. There will be unrest and I look forward to it for the sake of future generations.

  4. 4 Climate Change Con...... 08/06/2011 at 8:39 pm

    All this nonsense in the name of flawed science……

  5. 5 Climate Change Con...... 08/06/2011 at 8:41 pm

  6. 6 Climate Change Con...... 08/06/2011 at 8:42 pm

  7. 7 Climate Change Con...... 08/06/2011 at 8:44 pm

  8. 8 Jeremy Poynton 09/06/2011 at 10:56 am

    Glasgow. Ah, Glasgow. They vote Labour and nothing gets better. So they vote Labour and still nothing gets better. So they vote Labour and nothing gets better. One might almost say they deserve the poverty they seem to happy to embrace?

  9. 9 PT 09/06/2011 at 1:51 pm

    “This is a scandal, but it should be a crime.”
    It used to be called treason, didn’t it?

  10. 10 Dizzy Ringo 09/06/2011 at 10:50 pm

    And this 0.7% of GDP for foreign aid is a figure plucked out of the air some 50 or 60 years as detailed in a paper no 68 Sept 2005 by the Center for Global Development.

    Abstract:

    The international goal for rich countries to devote 0.7% of their national income to development assistance has become a cause célèbre for aid activists and has been accepted in many official quarters as the legitimate target for aid budgets. The origins of the target, however, raise serious questions about its relevance. First, the 0.7% target was calculated using a series of assumptions that are no longer true, and justified by a model that is no longer considered credible. When we use essentially the same method used to arrive at 0.7% in the early 1960s and apply today’s conditions, it yields an aid goal of just 0.01% of rich-country GDP for the poorest countries and negative aid flows to the developing world as a whole. We do not claim in any way that this is the ‘right’ amount of aid, but only that this exercise lays bare the folly of the initial method and the subsequent unreflective commitment to the 0.7% aid goal. Second, we document the fact that, despite frequent misinterpretation of UN documents, no government ever agreed in a UN forum to actually reach 0.7%—though many pledged to move toward it. Third, we argue that aid as a fraction of rich country income does not constitute a meaningful metric for the adequacy of aid flows. It would be far better to estimate aid needs by starting on the recipient side with a meaningful model of how aid affects development. Although aid certainly has positive impacts in many circumstances, our quantitative understanding of this relationship is too poor to accurately conduct such a tally. The 0.7% target began life as a lobbying tool, and stretching it to become a functional target for real aid budgets across all donors is to exalt it beyond reason. That no longer makes any sense, if it ever did.


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