I haven’t posted much in this blog. It’s not because I don’t see things on a daily basis that make me want to put fingers to keyboard, it’s more that I am wary of posting ‘rants’ and because I always doubt whether anyone will have any interest in what I have to say. Well, things are about to change whether anyone reads this or not! Yes I know I’m a (relatively) old fart and (of course) things were better in my day, but I can still write about whatever I like. This is my website after all!
The Conservative party’s response to the global financial crisis was very simple, blame Labour. Their policy to fix it was also very simple, austerity. The first very effectively sidelined any opposition for years to come, and the second was a golden opportunity.
Conservatives the world over want to reduce the size of government because, in simple terms, they don’t want politicians interfering in the life of the individual unless absolutely necessary. After all, government rules and regulations just hamper free enterprise and wealth creation don’t they? There are no downsides to that...until you have a global financial crisis. Anyway, another of those is a long way off isn't it (Brexit anyone) and in the meantime let’s implement Tory nirvana.
Efficiencies. That was the word used, not cuts. It made the pill so much easier to swallow for a while. We were told that government funded programs and organisations were overweight and just needed some help with their diet. All very benevolent and reasonable, after all it was our taxes that were paying for this gluttony so it was incumbent on us to support austerity.
For a while that worked, but in time and increasingly the consequences of austerity are being seen and felt. There are far, far too many to mention but this story about Northamptonshire County Council is just the latest in a long line.
The key point is, as Mr O'Donnell points out in the BBC report that all of this "took place within a context of sustained local government funding cuts."
The warning came in March this year, as reported by The Independent: "Local councils have seen their central government funding halved in the era of austerity and are now on the verge of financial breaking point, according to a new report by the National Audit Office (NAO)."
This 50% cut isn't accidental. It is deliberate Conservative Party policy to undermine local government. Fed up with potholes? It's your council's fault. They're bloody hopeless. Couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery even though they spend so much money entertaining themselves rather than serving their community. You won't hear that said, but it's the Tory implication, the implication that we'd all be far better off without councils. They're wasting your money remember?
Councils provide essential services at a local level. Here's a list - www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/local-councils. If they do not receive finance from central government, or that finance is cut by 50%, things don't get done. When those things don't get done don't blame the council, blame the government that made the choice to cut your local services.