The War on Poverty



And so we’ve had the British General Election.

And what a shock it’s been.

I guess there will be few readers of my blog who’re surprised that I consider the result to be a total disaster. It’s hard to see a single good thing in the debacle. There has been a total retreat from good sense or even common sense and an advance of the massed forces of evil.

Our membership of the European Union is in doubt. A promised assault on Human Rights. A further attack on civil liberties. Even more surveillance and intimidation. Further consolidation of wealth in those who’ve already done so well in the last few years. An abandonment of our moral and humanitarian obligations to the poorer nations of the world we are so happy to plunder. Yet more climate change denial and foot-dragging in the increasingly necessary need to take radical action to avert environmental disaster.

The reactionary right continue to be on the ascendancy. They’ve captured power in Russia, Eastern Europe, Australia, Israel, Egypt, most of the levers of power in the United States and now in the United Kingdom. No make-do-and-mend coalition of a hodge-podge of centralist politicians as expected: instead a resurgent Tory party that no longer needs to pretend to be anything other than the representatives of the wealthy and privileged.

Unnecessary and counterproductive welfare cuts. Unnecessary and regressive tax cuts. Unnecessary and prohibitively expensive investment in nuclear submarines.

The reactionary right wing has fought several wars in the last few decades and lost almost all of them. It has fought and lost a war on drugs and has instead brought chaos to Mexico, Latin America and the Middle East. It has fought and lost a war on terrorism, and the world is now a much less stable and secure place than before (especially in precisely those places where the most money and the most lives have been squandered).

It is fighting and winning a war against the environment where there is less and less of a buffer zone against total catastrophe. It has fought and won a war against the poor who are now more downtrodden and dispossessed than they’ve been for more than thirty years.

The wealthy are ever more wealthy (and their wealth increasingly stashed away in tax shelters of one kind of another). The poor are being attacked in Britain with a fresh ferocity.

And if the furthest right get the early exit from the European Union that they clamour for where will we be?

Fewer human rights. A flight of capital from the City of London towards the more reliable continental bourses. A brake on British emigration and the free flow of labour and the burden of trying to deport entrenched immigrant labour with nothing to replace it with. And a Scotland (and maybe even a Wales and Northern Ireland) which may choose independence from England simply to remain in the EU.

And for all this, the Tories have been rewarded for their efforts with an absolute majority in the House of Commons. How much worse could it be?



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