Sarah Palin recently told a rally of Republican supporters Obama would “bring socialism to America”. She gave graphic, if inaccurate, descriptions of the effect of ‘big’ government on people’s lives. She said that there were countries with governments like that, and the populace were to be pitied, because they were “not free”.
Over the last few weeks, since the credit and economic crises began to bite, much has been made in the media of its effects on ordinary Americans. Many have been interviewed. By far the most common emotion expressed by American citizens has been fear. Fear of the future; fear of what will happen to them.
In the UK, the crisis is even worse than in America. The British pound is losing value rapidly; the nation’s economy is now officially in recession; property values are falling; unemployment is rising.
As in the US, the British media is given to interviewing ordinary citizens for their reaction to the crisis. The most common emotion expressed is anger. Anger that the rich are once again fleecing ordinary people; anger at the government for using tax-payer’s money to bail out banks.
Fear is not a factor noticeable in the UK.
Why is this? Are the British more stalwart than Americans? Is the famed British “stiff upper lip” simply covering up the real, quivering, terror inside?
Certainly, there’s trepidation. No-one relishes the prospect of unemployment. Thankfully, for the British, they suffer from ‘big’ government. It interferes in their lives, forces social security and unemployment benefits on them in times of crisis. It ensures families are not left to the mercy of volunteers manning soup kitchens, or Christian missions seeking converts. The jobless receive the same free medical treatment as the well paid. ‘Big’ government insists on a safety net to protect those falling on hard times. Rarely will you see beggars on British streets, with boards proclaiming, “Need food, will work” .
Sarah Palin knows as much about ‘big’ government as I know about the workings of a Mars orbiter. She says she’s for the ordinary people of America, yet from the shelter of her own personal financial bastion, works to propagate even more fear.
The British are free; they’re free to be angry at what’s happening.
Americans can only fear for their future.
Filed under: Politics and freedoms