John Clark writes…
First published: May 2012 – Gazette & Herald
Ryedale has no elections in May 2012. There is no great wave of public disappointment; in fact there is probably a collective sigh of relief. I have been canvassing in Harrogate.
The reactions on the doorstep are concerning. There is a massive opposition to all politicians. “You are all the same”, “All in it for your own gain”, “You are all liars”, “It doesn’t make any difference who gets in”, “I’ll vote BNP to get rid of all of you”.
This is before they either close the door or move on to their thoughts on each political party. “I’ve always voted Conservative but this lot have done it for me….they are just looking after the millionaires”.
“Cleggs lot made a whole lot of promises and then broke them – never again”. “I used to vote labour. They used to be for the working people – and now they are not.”
These are just a sample. Maybe I have just been unlucky. I don’t think so. The causes of this ‘unrest’ are:
- The financial problems have been caused by the well-off, bankers, money speculators and greed. They are to be paid for by the poor, the disabled, the weak, the elderly the unemployed and the rest of the vulnerable. None of the main parties speak up for the ‘working class’. This ‘working class’ is not just manual workers. It is all those listed above plus anyone paid less than £40,000/ year.
- Mrs Thatcher saw the apparent end of the ‘working class’. This was achieved by selling off council houses. Many tenants bought their houses. When they became property owners they showed their gratitude by voting Tory. The ‘middle classes appeared to grow dramatically. Now there are very few council houses available for the next generations.
- Deficit and debt reduction over a longer timescale is the sensible route forward. Severe austerity over a long time can have very dangerous consequences. Many believe that WWII was not caused by Hitler. The root cause was the financial pressure put on Germany to pay for WW1 – severe austerity over decades. Unemployment soared, politicians were not trusted and the economy ground to a halt. Hitler provided food, work and hope. His support grew as a result.
The present austerity across Europe is causing social and political unrest. It looks as though there is going to be a move away from the political centre. In France one in five people voted for the National Front. I believe the majority of the French will move towards the left. Otherwise they could be looking at going down a road that is unthinkable.
All the major parties in the UK have moved to the right. This combined with the massive distrust of all politicians could result in a swing to the extreme right. The Tories can look after themselves but the ‘working class’ needs a voice If the left does not stand up and represent the mass of the public then the way will be open for the extreme right. The consequences could be dire.