The feverish festivities of Christmas and the New Year are now over with until the end of 2016 and I hope you all had a wonderful time? Fireworks went off at midnight all over the country, and London put on a truly spectacular show – well done to all the pyromaniacs (sorry, pyrotechnics) and musicians involved in sorting that lot out!
Did you all see the crowds gathered to watch them? Thousands upon thousands of people of all races, ages and religions joined together to see in a fresh new year filled with hope. The vast majority linked hands with others that they had probably never met before that evening to sing the traditional Auld Lang Syne (a song that never fails to make me shed a tear or two) and they did so in peace and harmony.
You see, to me, that is what makes this country special. On the whole we are a tolerant nation that welcomes people from all over the world – and make them friends. That is how it should be. We open our doors to those that need an open door. We help where we can.
Those are the key words: we help where we can. But our government also needs to recognise that it has a duty to help its own people. Those who have lost their homes due to the horrendous floods that are still occurring need that support now, yet it has not (at the time of writing) been given. There are far too many homeless and poverty stricken people. Yet the rich are still rich and massive companies still get away with paying little to no taxes…
Television programmes are aired showing feckless layabouts who freely admit they don’t want a job, but who are, actually, few and far between. These programmes do not show the vast majority who do work (probably on zero hours contracts) yet still struggle because their wages cannot possibly cover their outgoings. Oh no! We are fed the stories of the lazy layabout because it makes for better viewing figures (shock values) and reinforces the idea that ‘the poor’ are all like them and therefore need to be penalised to make them work. People with real disabilities are having their assistance stopped and are being told they have to work. I know a man who is now in his sixties. He worked for over 40 years (and paid his stamp and taxes) but lost his job when he began to suffer from Parkinson’s Disease. He was forced to apply for help. He has had his money stopped as he has been deemed (by someone sitting in an office) to be capable of working. He has had no income for almost two months now, but he can’t find anyone to employ him. He has times when he can barely walk. Realistically, how is this right? Or fair?
Mr Cameron’s idea of a ‘living wage’ is laughable. Appallingly, more and more working people are having to rely on food banks because they cannot afford their rents (private rental fees are astronomical but no council housing is available) and the choice they face is whether to use their money for food or to keep a roof over their heads. Cuts means that money has been diverted from our fabulous NHS, from education, from the police force that now struggles to do its job and from various other facilities that we have relied upon for decades. Our elderly are treated as second class citizens despite the fact that they have paid tax and NI all their lives. More and more people are suffering from mental health issues through the stress of trying to survive, let alone actually have a comfortable life. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the gist…
Austerity? Dickens, eat your heart out!
So, this year I would like to see our Government pull back on its spending outside of this country, and put our hard earned taxes to work to help its own people. And yes, by ‘own people’ I do mean the melting pot of nationalities that makes up this truly Great Britain along with genuine refugee seekers. We all need to pull together and start to look after our own – poverty must be eradicated here before we pay for it to be eradicated elsewhere.
Then we can all have a Happy New Year to look forward to.