The impression of a yawning gulf between two worlds was hammered home today.
On the one side we have reckless gamblers, known as bankers, again raking in cash and handsomely rewarding themselves, on the other there is a threat of extremely severe cuts in local services.
Add that to the high levels of unemployment and the collapsing infrastructure of the nation and I can only repeat again that we are in serious danger of becoming the new serfs to the new feudal lords.
This morning’s Financial Times carries a long report (Do-it-yourself warning as state cuts back) of forecasts by the most senior Local Authority professionals. So serious is the matter that we have a joint report from the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, and the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accounting.
They expect a cut in local services by one third over the three years 2011, 12 and 13. With Alistair Darling forecasting government cuts of over an eighth one might wonder how George Osborne is going to ensure ‘we are all in this together’! If he becomes Chancellor…
The idea of bankers paying their fair share – any share – of the ‘fine mess they’ve gotten us into’ recedes more every day. They complain that they would not be able to hold onto the best staff otherwise. To which the question must be ‘Best for what?’.
“But there is undoubtedly going to be a need for individuals and families and communities to do more for themselves, along with the voluntary sector, rather than looking to the state as the provider of first resort,” comment our doughty professionals.
Bankers, of course, faced no such restrictions to save their bonuses. And, to make that possible, we are seeing the price we will have to pay for a very long time. Who says ‘the prices is worth it?’ Not those doing the paying.
For me this raises a very important question. Who is all this for?
We are dazzled with figures about how we must trade, we must find the cheapest labour, we must become efficient. But must we?
It certainly makes company balance sheets look better. But who is that for? Not for you and me. Does it matter how cheaply goods are imported if we are out of work and unable to buy them? If just having our refuse collected costs an arm and a leg – or if it is not going to be collected at all?
It raises many questions about how we organise our world; and many questions about what is important to us as people. Over the coming years those questions will be major discussion points.
We are offered figures which show green shoots of hope. Today’s double whammy from national and local government leave me feeling distinctly in depression.
Joseph Harris – Debt Control Man
Control Your Debt Crisis on Your Own Terms