OK, so here is my personal election post. It is long. I make no apologies for that. You don’t have to read it, but it would be nice to think that some of you will. It's also a Party Political post.
I want to explain why I feel so passionately about this election. I haven’t done this sort of thing before but I will try what I can to make the point because I believe it is vital.
I've never felt so despairing about what a government is doing. So many public services undermined. How can that be right?
Recent history also shows us the people working in our essential public services - like police officers, doctors, nurses, teachers - have been increasingly struggling to offer the services they are committed to providing but are not given the resources to do so and those individuals trying to serve our community in these services are near to breaking point.
Statistics say that one in four of us (last time I heard, might not be current) will suffer from mental illness in our lifetime. So if you haven't suffered yourself, you probably know someone who has, and you will know the role stress plays in that. And know that eventually people crumble and can't go to work. I fear that our doctors, nurses and police will soon reach that point. I know that many of our teachers have already done so and others are on the brink. When people eventually crumble in larger numbers, we’ll see even more struggling services. And again, treating people who work for our benefit like this just can’t be right.
The Labour Party has a manifesto which commits to reversing so many of the cuts to public services. Unlike manifestos in some elections, which could be criticised for being not thought out, this one explains that more funding for public services will be provided by higher taxes from the top 5% of the population.
Now, if you’re one of those in the top 5% I can see you might have got used to how much you earn and can spend and might not want to do that much, not because you can’t but because you don’t want to help everyone else at your own expense. But for the rest of us, the vast majority … And actually, I don’t believe that all high earners would be against paying more.
When I started work the basic rate for tax was 33%. It seemed fair enough at the time. I earned money, I paid a chunk of it to the government to pay for things I might or might not need but would certainly expect to be there if I ever did need them. Taking the wider picture, I also wanted those things to be there for everyone else. The rest of my money I spent directly on the other things I needed, such as shelter, food and clothing. But they were all things I needed and understood I should pay for. Now we pay much lower basic rate of tax and still none of the parties contesting this election is suggesting that the basic rate goes up. Only the top 5% of earners are going to be asked to pay more tax.
I cannot understand how people can believe it’s ok to mistreat the poor, sick and underprivileged. The top 5% is really not very many of the population. Why aren’t the other 95% united in wanting to support our communities?
All the major religions believe in helping others and atheists are not exempt from being decent, caring people.
In anyone’s eyes, how can austerity be a morally good way to run a country?
I don’t think that people who vote Tory are bad people themselves. I know that some of my friends have often done so and are possibly planning to do so again.
But this time.
This time is surely different. The recent policy of austerity, which is set to continue under the Tory manifesto, surely is just not right.
I expect most people reading this, and certainly reading it to the end, have already decided how to vote and I may anyway have been preaching to the converted. If you think anything I’ve written might help a floating voter, though, please feel free to pass it on.
I don’t know whether to hope or not. Hoping is more pleasant. Disappointment can be awful.