Monday, 14 January 2013

Britain Unchained

Britain's potential is chained. Chained by poverty and by debt.

The way in which it is chained by debt is obvious. The deficit means that our national debt is growing and, as it does, the amount of money we have to pay just to service the debt is growing, taking away money that could be spent on other things. And we will never be able to thrive as a nation with a ticking time bomb of debt above our heads.

But our potential is also chained by personal debt. The level of consumer debt in this country is enormous - particularly with the advent of payday loans. And this debt, run up in a time when people were encouraged to see easy credit as the way to rising living standards and as masking tape for stagnating incomes, is now a toxic cloud hanging over millions of people - stifling them by making constant demands for ever more money to service it and pay it off.

However, debt is relatively easy to solve. In the long run the country will gradually find a way to close the deficit and individuals will, one way or another, manage to escape their debt.

Meanwhile, the greatest chain binding our nation is poverty.

1 in 4 children live in poverty. Someone born in the most deprived areas of Britain will die 15 years earlier than someone born in the most privileged. Children born in poverty are almost guaranteed to finish at the bottom of the education system no matter what their talents are while children born in wealth are almost guaranteed to finish top of the education system. And 4 million people in the UK live in food poverty - unable to afford the basic nutrition they need.

This poverty enslaves people. It enslaves them in a life where they lack proper nutrition, where they have poorer health and worse access to healthcare. Where education and its promise of unleashing innate potential and offering a chance to escape poverty is already closed off to them from the second that they are born. Where jobs are few and far between and where none of them pay enough to live on. Where benefits are an essential everyday part of life in order to survive - even for those in work.

And this is a national tragedy on many, many levels.

Because there are deep, deep wells of potential in this country that remain untapped. There are brilliant minds, great scientists, doctors, artists, teachers, public servants, engineers, builders, designers, you name it, who will never come to be because their potential is strangled by poverty.

Imagine a child born today, a child with the potential to be the next Einstein, but born into poverty. At home her parents will only be able to afford the kind of cheap food that has poor nutritional value because the rest of their money is taken up immediately by the rent and the utility bills. At times her parents even have to skip meals in order to feed their children. And when she goes to school her parents won't have had the luxury of being able to afford the books to read to her so she will arrive behind other pupils on literacy. And as she grows up she will find herself with 30 children or more in a class and a single overworked teacher who has no time to help individual pupils and who has the lion's share of their time taken up dealing with the trouble makers. And she certainly won't have the luxury of her parents being able to buy her a laptop to help her do her work or having the time to help her with her homework.

Her school is unlikely to encourage her to take each science subject at GCSE, instead she, along with peer pressure, will take the easier dual science GCSE instead - because science "isn't for them". And when she comes to the end of the school any ambitions she might have will be squashed by a careers advice system that tells her that she would find it too difficult to go to university and that a job at McDonalds is more suited to her position.

Now, she might be fortunate and get past all that. She might make it to a great university and realise all of her potential. But if she does she will be one of a fortunate few who make it out of the poverty trap. And for everyone of them, hundreds more remains in the chain of poverty.

And that is Britain today. Brilliant minds, potential scientists and entrepreneurs, artists and musicians, trapped in poverty and in dead end jobs, never realising their potential. And without that potential, all of society loses out. All of us are hurt by the absence of the wealth and prosperity they would have created. All of us are hurt by the absence of more bright minds and voices.

But it doesn't have to be like this.

If poverty were truly tackled, with the same dedication and effort it was after the Second World War (a time when this country lay in literal physical and economic ruins), then so much of that potential could be unlocked. The solutions needed might have changed since 1945 but the goal and the sense of purpose needed have not.

Our potential is vast. This could be such a great country if only we could work together to achieve it. Poverty can be eradicated and in doing so we will set us all free. It is nothing less than complete and utter cowardice to give up on the task as being too big because it only remains too big as long as we set our expectations low.

If poverty was truly, meaningfully tackled then we would all benefit. We would benefit from the wealth and jobs that would be created. We would benefit financially from the massive decrease in people forced to be dependent on the state and from the welfare system returning to an emergency welfare system rather than a part of everyday life. And we would benefit morally from a society no longer so deeply divided by inequality and a massive gap between rich and poor.

For this is the crux of the matter:

You can tinker all you like with the economy but unless we truly unleash the deep wells of talent and potential Britain possesses but which are chained by inequality and poverty then we will never, ever be able to be strong and thrive as a country.

That is what modern liberalism tells me. And that is the goal, the vision, which modern liberalism must have. A vision of a new Britain. A vision of Britain Unchained.

11 comments:

  1. It was Germany that lay in literal physical and economic ruin at the end of the second world war and yet it was able to recover and become a world economic power house.
    One reason for this was the bombing destroyed not only buildings but also a class system.
    It is the class system that prevents Britain from truly realising the full talents of its people not poverty as such.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely. Though we did make great strides in breaking the class divide after WW2 in the UK. In fact, the real tragedy is that the wartime generation was more socially mobile than any generation before or since.

      Delete
  2. If YOU were the head of Lib Dems - Instead of Smeggy Cleggy - Then I believe that the LDs would stand a chance at moving this country forwards and upwards - But whilst Cleggy is still a-kissin the Conservatives and basically agreeing with all their inhumane ideas - He is complicit to Murder. He stands idly by and agrees to the disabled being killed through WCA then he is complicit to murder as Cameron and co are.
    Lib Dems NEED to get OUT of this scam govt - They need to - For the people!

    If Clegg carries on like this then the chance of a Lib Dem true govt will never ever be able to happen as he is cutting all the thoughts of liberalism or democxracy by signing the lives of the peple of the UK away under this inhumane excuse for a govt.

    This country USED to be the mother country - No more so.
    A mother would never treat her children in this manner.

    We need to be forward thinking, we need to be proactive. We need to bring back humanity - And we NEED to make the REAL people who made this economy as it is - Pay! And the poor did not do this so why are they being made to pay like this?

    Taxing the poor to death will do nothing but cause a catastrophy to happen. And the mere fact that people refuse to SEE this is very scary.

    But Clegg is basking in his glory (what glory i ask but he is anyways in his deluded world) He is wrecking the LibDems whilst doing this - And Cameron si wrecking the country.

    YOU HOWEVER - You have an open mind that I have not seen in many a year.
    I pray you will go far in the politics of this country - And that democray and humanity will resume somehow cos all I see now is us returnin to the 1700s with no NHS no Welfare state and Nothing to look towards but a country going under - Big time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't forget Atos got its contract from a Labour government and it is unlikely Labour in power would be doing anything different to the present government.
      Welfare can only depend on a strong economy and to create new industries takes time.

      Delete
    2. Atos may have been started by Labour - But Conservascum made Atos get 1000000% more evil and told them to get nasty and inhumane - Just like the party they are serving.

      Delete
  3. he way in which it is chained by debt is obvious. The deficit means that our national debt is growing and, as it does, the amount of money we have to pay just to service the debt is growing, taking away money that could be spent on other things. And we will never be able to thrive as a nation with a ticking time bomb of debt above our headshe way in which it is chained by debt is obvious. The deficit means that our national debt is growing and, as it does, the amount of money we have to pay just to service the debt is growing, taking away money that could be spent on other things. And we will never be able to thrive as a nation with a ticking time bomb of debt above our heads

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So the debt is growing and the govt take money from the poor - Making them unable to spend money - Take money from the middle making them unable to spend money - And GIVE it to the rich who dont have to spend money as they hide it all away for their own selves whilst getting other people to pay for their expenses. Face it - IF Mps gave a toss about the defecit they would not be asking for more money - This 'all in it together' crap and the defecit - is a ruse - Uk has the smallest defecit of so many countries. Yes there is a defecit - But making the spenders unable to spend means that LESS money is spent as they have no spare - MORE comanies go under as poor people cannot buy anything.

      The country has so much power - Yet we throw it away letting people off paying tax, and going after the little man instead of the REAL people who owe billions that would help pay the defecit - My piddling taxes aint gonna pay it but if the bloody bankers and companies were not let off all the damned time - Then we would stand a chance.

      Lets take BACK the reigns. The leeches of the UK in govt are all gaining by selling off every asset to themselves and companies they have shares in.

      This once great country that had enterprise and gusto - Is now run by people who put profits before people - Profits before everythign and people who hate the poor.

      The meek will inherit this country. One way or another and those on pedestal shall fall! You mark my words, and it wont be pretty. I just pray that somebody will be able to stop this bus to nowhere before the bomb goes off and the Uk goes under BECAUSE of the rich, not the poor.

      Delete
  4. George. If Lib Dems have any heart at all this will not be allowed (hence my thinking this will go through unamended!!!)
    http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/welfarecashcard.html

    Why are they treating people like this - Why am I not allowed to use the money they give me for things that help me to LIVE?

    Food - Heat - Clothes - HELP - disabled people need help - Yet we are going to be treated like we are using this for drugs when i dont drink smoke nor take drugs but I DO use the money to LIVE!!!

    (yes I know - conservatives say I am not permitted a life

    ReplyDelete
  5. btw - I pay all my bills and shopping by direct debit - HOW would i do that with some stupid cash card that does nothing but make the company providing it rich

    ReplyDelete
  6. So it IS true. The MPs are just going to do it anyways - Not caring (as if they ever did) what happens to people
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/alexandraswann/100194870/welfare-cash-cards-can-help-reduce-the-benefits-bill-and-stop-people-buying-booze-and-fags-with-taxpayers-money/

    I have NEVER smoked - I have NEVER been a drunk - In fact i dont drink - I have NEVER taken drugs - I have never ever done any of these things yet - I will be forced like a criminal in to trying to use this cash card rubbish that is more thn likely going to line the pockets of some big company.
    HOW will I p[ay my bills by direct debit?
    HOW will I be able to buy a Birthday present for my children? (I take it only posh rich people are allowed to celebrate any meaningful thing)
    HOW will I be able to LIVE? To be able to employ someone to do jobs I need them to do like wash windows, do garden - All things as being disabled i cannot do
    I AM BEGGING YOU TO MAKE THE LIB DEMS STOP THIS AND ACTUALLY BE LIBERAL AND DEMOCRATIC

    I am sickened by what this govt are doing to the poor and the disabled and people who were not born with millions to inherit!
    Sickned
    And to be honest I just wanna get off this bus cos I am sick of being called a scrounger and scum just because i came down with a bloody incurable disease i did not ask for or make happen.

    Sickened truly sickened and NOBODY at all is speaking up in MPland for us. I sw that on the reform debate NO lib dem no conservative actually even went to parliament! Shows how us SCUM are viewed.

    ReplyDelete
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I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

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