A lot needs changing

Sunday morning TV is grim.

Sky… Trevor-oh-um-er-well-ah-ah-er-well-ummmm-Phillips. On the other side there is not-Trevor-Phillips asking the same questions as Trevor-oh-ummmm-Phillips.

There are three-person panels on both Sky and the Beeb. The format; identical.

People interchangeable. The principle talking-head is whomever HMG want to line-up. Uninspired and dull… in duplicate.

Death-valley, telly.

This Sunday… grimmer.

The minister; the newly appointed chief secretary to the Treasury.

A personable young woman. Clearly bright. The sort of person you see in picture fames on yer-granny’s sideboard, in a mortarboard and uni-gown, clutching a rolled up degree certificate…

‘… we’re very proud of her. She’s done very well.’

And, within the unambitious confines of Conservative comms, (stick to the script, don’t say anything different) she probably did do well.

Avoided the question…

… why have tax-breaks been given at the expense of funding critical public services…

… and trotted out a barrage of numbers to deflect from the fact, immigration numbers are up…

… without a single degree of warmth. No hint of humanity.

Bossy, clinical but, an impressive demonstration of memory. The mnemonist as politician. An admirable party-trick, but…

… served-up as politics… as appetising as a cold fried-egg.

It’s all very well to be able to recite the 9x’s table. It’s something else to use it to calculate the curve of a parabola, to bring an astronaut around the moon and home safely.

Numbers and data… only valuable if you do something valuable with them.

Increases in immigration to keep care-services going is the biggest chunk. Social care almost entirely dependent on low paid, overseas workers.

Without people from overseas many care homes just wouldn’t be here.

The employment rate for people on Universal Credit was 41% in June 2022. That means nearly half of families in-work, don’t earn enough to get by and the State intervenes.

Collecting taxes from low-wagers, to give it back to them in benefits is a very odd policy. Even more odd, importing them to do it.

Pay people properly and they might take on the difficult and sensitive work, of looking after our Ming Vase generation… priceless, delicate and irreplaceable.

Earlier in the week Kemi Badenoch, another young politician… something to do with Trade, was giving evidence to the Covid Inquiry.

The stand-out moment? She said;

‘… there’s nothing we can do about poverty.’

… without any hint of humanity. An absolute. ‘Nothing we can do’. A vacuum of ideas, ingenuity, policy. Dare I say, desire.

It is one thing to be frank about policy. It is quite another thing to abandon hope of improving it.

The Resolution Foundation forecasts that the proportion of people in absolute poverty will increase from 17.2% in 2022 to 18.3% in 2023.

That means an additional 800,000 people in absolute poverty – unless investment is increased or we have some new policies.

In 2010, 25% of all mothers were working full-time, by 2022 this had almost doubled to 41%.

What happened to policy?

There was a time when young politicians had ambition and optimism. Now they appear to have ambition with no purpose other than the pursuit of ambition, itself.

Is the tide is going out on humanity?

No better is Labour. Coy about their plans and focussed only on criticism. Hell-bent on being in power… to do what? How?

Where’s the policy…. dunno.

We’re still living in the shadow of the world banking crisis. Ten years of flatline funding that ripped the heart out of public services. Add to that Brexit and Covid and the future, blue-or-red, looks to be more austerity.

No other policy.

People who rely most on social security have already borne the brunt of years of austerity, the impact of Brexit and the burden of Covid. At the very least, politics must do better… if only for them.

Where the policy?

Investing in public services invests in people and the nation. Underinvesting weakens the economy and our wellbeing.

Sure Start centres prevented 13,000 hospitalisations a year among 11 to 15-year-olds.

The policy has gone.

In 2022, incomes for the poorest 14 million people fell by 7.5%, whilst incomes for the richest fifth saw a 7.8% increase.

What kind of policy is that?

If the next generation of politicians are mesmerised by just the numbers and devoid of ideas, this is a truly grim prospect.

But, not without siren voices, research that tells us;

• The relatively low market wages of politicians attracts a lower quality candidate.

• Bad politicians generate bad images for the political-class, so good people shy away.

• Incumbent politicians hold sway over the careers of future politicians thus bad government leads to more bad government.

There’s a lot that needs changing.

News and Comment from Roy Lilley
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Reproduced at by kind permission of Roy Lilley.