Thursday, 27 December 2012

What would improve this country in 2013? Let's have a rant...

Bombastic Battleaxe has a good old rant:.This is just a brief list of things that I'd like to see happen... Some are big things, some small, some possible, some very difficult:

1. For us in this country, both government and people, to have a realistic understanding of our current place in the world.  We are no longer an internationally significant power, and it is time we gave up posturing on the world stage, and in particular, supporting the world view of the USA.  I acknowledge the manifold virtues of our Brave Troops, (one would get vilified beyond belief if one didn't) but they should not be risking their lives for so little.
     Likewise, we are never going to be a wealthy country again. Our time is past.  It is no use our government telling us that we have to go through short, or even medium-term austerity in order to 'recover'. We need to be taking a hard look at what needs to be done to preserve the fabric of our society into the future, safeguard the vulnerable etc.
2.  No more Page 3 girls in the Sun. For goodness sake, have we not yet got past that?  When did 'feminist' become a dirty word?  It was hard enough being a young girl back in the 60s and 70s. These days, there is even more pressure to have the right shape, the right hair, the right clothes, the right phone - and never a single wisp of body hair.... Sexism is still rife in government, the media, in industry - throughout society - and embraced by the major religions.
3Get rid of these incompetent, money-grabbing private companies who are making millions out of pretending to get work for the jobless. There are not enough jobs available, and the number of low-skilled jobs is falling, and will continue to fall. We choose - rightly - to have a basic welfare safety-net that does not permit our fellow citizens to starve to death on the streets before our eyes, meaning that our menial, low-paid jobs will inevitably be taken by people from other countries who do not have such a safety-net. It would help if people trying to get back into work were not dealt with so stupidly by the benefits system. We need a more flexible system of tapering down benefits for low earners, and it is far too easy to employ people on insecure, short-term, no guaranteed hours contracts. We can't expect people with families to support to put up with conditions like that - of course they will stay on benefits.
     What to do?  Give the work creation money to small enterprises to encourage them to employ more people, restructure the benefits system as above, and above all, do everything possible to skill up the population.
     At the very least, we must ensure that as many people as possible are literate and numerate. It is estimated that around 20% of UK schoolchildren are functionally illiterate and innumerate when they leave school. Despite constant tinkering with the education system, these figures have apparently not changed much in 20 years. I don't know whose fault it is, but it is utterly disgraceful.
4. Stop building on flood plains, stop people paving over their frontages.  Apparently wet weather is here to stay - well, until it gets dry again. I never again want to see some suit from a water company standing in a dried-up reservoir telling us there will have to be a hose-pipe ban, when they have invested absolutely none of their obscene profits into improving water storage, infrastructure, or stopping leaks.
5. Stop hitting on the poor and vulnerable with ill-thought out benefit cuts. Get a fairer tax system. If we do want decent education, an NHS, and to look after the old and vulnerable etc etc. then the money has to come from somewhere, and the better-off have to cough up their share.  We have all been deluded by successive governments into believing that we can have everything we want without paying more tax.  Well, we will have to pay.
     Universal benefits are unsustainable.  No free stuff for better-off pensioners, no child-benefit for better-off mothers etc. Sure, we won't like it, but the good times are over. While we are at it, we need to ensure that the young are saving for their pensions, or society really will collapse.
6. Get the government some decent advisers.  Who on earth are they employing these days? I dislike the Coalition intensely, but it does no-ones credibility any good to utter a load of nonsense one day, and have to change it or retract it the next. Fuel panic and 'jerry-cans in the garage', pasties, grannies, selling off forests, the mess-up around gay marriage - the list goes on. And those are all small things. What about big strategic decisions? Or probable lack of strategy - most 'policy' seems to be addressed to the short-term.
7. Do something about packaging! It is just after Christmas, so my fingers are smarting from wrestling with shrink-wrapped, bubble-packed, heat sealed stuff. There is altogether too much nasty plastic and unnecessary cardboard. It is a waste of resources, and far too much of it is impossible to get into.  How do old people manage? I know this is a small beef compared with the others, but it is so annoying.  Don't get me started on light bulbs...
8. Let something horrible happen to our red-faced, arrogant toff of a Prime Minister, and his nasty, smirking little side-kick, the Chancellor.  I know that won't happen, but one can hope.......

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