Old Mum’s Tales

I remember my old Mum telling me more than once that ‘folks always get what they deserve’. In fact, it was a favorite saying of hers. That one, and the one about …..’some folks never learn’.

She usually voiced these quotations following some apparent failing on my part. The response she got was invariably along the lines of, “Oh, leave it out, Mum, those old sayings are rubbish.”

Which inevitably got her going all the more.

The only other person she ever had a go at in similar vein was Margaret Thatcher, when she was the British prime minister. Mum hated Thatcher. She’d been a staunch socialist all her life and what Maggie was doing to the country fairly made her blood boil. No-one was happier than my old Mum, when the Tory witch finally got her just deserts, and was kicked out by her own party.

She was right, though, my Mum. Folks never learn, and they do get what they deserve. That’s because folks generally don’t think a lot. Instead, they rely on their gut reaction, and gut reactions are usually nothing more than indigestion.

Take the British, as an example. Ten years of Tony Blair was too much, but a decade of Labour government after the disaster of the Thatcher/Major years did turn the country around. No-one in their right mind could forgive Blair for going to war in Iraq, when 85% of the country said, “No!”, but during those years the pensioners got better off, unemployment stayed relatively low, and the National Health Service began to slowly recover from the devastation wreaked on it by Thatcher’s privatization policies.

Then, America plunged the world into recession, after George W Bush deregulated the US financial sector and allowed them to run riot, leaving governments no option but to bankrupt their nations to bail out the banks. Suddenly, unemployment shoots sky high, closely followed by taxes.

It didn’t just happen to Britain. Europe was hit badly with Greece and Spain far worse off than the UK. Yet, along comes a general election, and what do the British do? They vote another Margaret Thatcher into power.

Folks get what they deserve.

The BBC headline on Sunday read:

“David Cameron indicates universal benefits face curbs.”[1]

The amount of the cuts could be in the order of 40%. David Cameron says he wants to inspire those on benefits to “go back to work.”

Unfortunately, he fails to say where the jobs will come from. Two million plus unemployed are not all professional ‘scroungers’. The vast majority are workers who’ve lost their jobs to the recession. Companies are laying off workers hand over fist. The number of available jobs is falling, not rising.

Today’s BBC headline reads:

“Prisoners ‘should work 40 hours’ a week says Ken Clarke”.[2]

Now that’ll really help the unemployment figures, won’t it?

Kenneth Clarke is the Justice Minister in Cameron’s still-wet-behind-the-ears Tory cabinet.

Apparently, Mister Clarke considers that “jail is a place of sluggishness and boredom for many prisoners, where getting up in the morning is optional,” and he “wants offenders to prepare for life on the outside by establishing the habit of “routine hard work”.”

“Routine hard work?” How typically Tory! Spoken like a man who’s never done a day of “routine hard work” in his mollycoddled, upper class, university-pampered, life.

The words and the ideas are typically Thatcherite, but that’s hardly surprising when you consider Kenneth Clarke was one of Thatcher’s ‘boys’.

Under Margaret Thatcher’s thumb he was Paymaster General, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Secretary of State for Health, and Secretary of State for Education and Science. Under Thatcher’s successor, he was Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer, until Major’s government fell to Labour in 1997.

The great British voters have taken Britain back to the dark days of the eighties. How short are their memories. The ghost of Thatcher once again stalks the corridors of Parliament.

It is, of course, a similar story in the United States. The man responsible for the huge Federal deficit was George W Bush. The man who handed huge cash sums to the bankers was George W Bush. The man who spent billions of dollars invading Iraq (for what?) was George W Bush.

Consequently, when the Bush administration left office the Democrats inherited a huge Federal deficit coupled with the worst recession since 1929. Two years later, and because the economy is slow to pick-up and the demand for workers still low, the good citizens of America are voting for egocentric lunatics like Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin.

It’s just another gut reaction, which, if the Palins and O’Donnells of this world ever gain power, will turn into one almighty bellyache.

Oh, well, it just proves that some folks never learn. I suppose that’s the reason my Mum said they always get what they deserve.

[1] “David Cameron indicates universal benefits face curbs.” BBC, October 3rd 2010

[2] “Prisoners ‘should work 40 hours’ a week says Ken Clarke” BBC, October 4th 2010

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3 Replies to “Old Mum’s Tales”

  1. Ah the poor sheeple, RJA, you’re so hard on them. It hurts to think and evaluate and when has critical thinking being encouraged in schools that preach Creationism?
    I see the way being paved for slavery again. And the poorhouse. And the soup kitchens, don’t you?
    Most countries are bankrupt, it is just sticking the odd oul thumb in the dike and spouting petrol fumes at the peons.
    No one, of any pol stripe has said anything relevant since FDR and WC.
    XO
    WWW

  2. I hope that people get what they deserve, but I think it only happens with the average Joes like us. Is GW suffering? Tricky Dick was praised at his funeral. Is Rick Wagoner hurting financially? I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who did major damage to this country really suffering after they moved out of the public eye.

  3. WWW – perhaps not slavery in the recognized sense, but certainly a widening of the social gap. Socialism (strike me down for using that evil word!) in Britain has always suffered under Tory rule, and in the US Republican policies are now so ‘far-right’ as to split the country in two. Only here, there is little or no welfare net to catch those who inevitably fall into the abyss of poverty.

    Al – you’re quite right, it only applies to the working electorate. The rich and powerful have their own set of rules. I just hope poor old Rick can manage on his $20million pension package. It’ll be hard for him, poor soul!

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