Monday, 2 March 2015

Pensioner vote: a response to the major parties' wooing of my vote

Ok- yes I know this blog is supposed to be stories and poetry but sometime I write other things. Everything is from the heart and my heart is political. so here goes:
In the lead-up to the election the main parties are targeting pensioners because they know older people are more liable to vote.  They think we are going to vote for their right-wing policies because we are all more conservative and afraid of losing our pensions.  Speaking as a pensioner who has fairly typical views let me tell you what kind of policies I’d vote for.

1.  I want to live in a country where there is a fair system of taxation based on the principle that each pays according to their means. This means taxing earnings, rather than commodities, a higher rate of taxation on incomes above £150,000, and taxing international companies on what they earn in the country where they earn it regardless of where the company is registered.
2. I want to live in a country where my taxes are spent on providing services to the citizens of my country, not on lining the pockets of the pariah businesses that all our essential services have been out-sourced to.   What’s the point of pumping money into the NHS when more than half of it has been contracted out to privatized companies that are motivated by profit not patients’ needs? 
3. I want my gas, electricity, and water provided by publicly-owned companies that provide essential services at fair and accountable rates.  I don’t want to live in a country where I am telephoned several times a week by companies trying to persuade me to change my service provider and where failure to shop around and regularly change my provider will result in my being over-charged.
4. I want the railways to be safe, reliable and reasonably priced, not fragmented private businesses that don’t bother to maintain tracks where it costs too much.
5. I want the right to buy council houses repealed and proper council housing to be restored. I don’t want my taxes being spent on housing benefit whose sole purpose is to line the pockets of private landlords, whilst the benefit recipients are blamed for not being able to afford the inflated rents.  I want a stable and fair housing market where those on middle incomes can afford to buy their own homes at prices that have not been inflated by the abolition of council housing and its replacement by the buy–to–let money grabbers.
6. I want to live in a country where the needs of its citizens are more important than fighting wars abroad as a proxy/client of the USA.  Trident should be abolished and our armed forces reduced to a genuinely defensive force whose only area of operation is the borders of this country.  I want ex=service men and women who have been disabled mentally or physically by combat to be properly housed and cared for, not living on the streets.
7. I want to live in a country where everyone can retire at 60, if they wish, on a guaranteed pension, and the under-25s can have a fair chance of getting a job because the old people have retired and freed up their jobs.
8. I want to live in a country where people on benefits are not treated like criminals, where migrant workers are seen as citizens and where sick and disabled people who are unable to work are allowed to get on with their lives without harassment from another privatized, out-sourced pariah business    administering the benefits that we all pay tax and NI to provide.  

We had 15 years of New Labour under Blair and Brown, who did nothing to undo the damage done to our society by Thatcher, but rather, they expanded and developed her policies.  A vote for Labour is not an alternative to the Tories. They all have the same basic polices, which are to bolster up international businesses, the banks and the wealthy in the name of neo-liberal free-marketism, at the expense of the population as a whole.  Parties like UKIP are welcomed by them as they help to distract the voters from the real problems by blaming immigrants for the lack of jobs and low wages, not the disastrous policies of the government.  Not one of the major parties is seriously challenging this view nor offering an alternative.  The servile media help them in this by giving Farage hours of coverage, whilst ignoring or ridiculing other, more serious parties – like the Greens.  

What the main parties, in their targeting of us pensioners, fail to realize, is that we are the generation that had everything we grew up with and fought for taken away from us. Including our pensions.  Younger voters don’t remember these things – permanent contracts instead of zero hours ones, workplace pension schemes, council housing, a choice of whether to work after you had a baby because you could afford to live on one income, I could go on. You can sneer at me for wanting a return to outmoded ways and values, but, for all its faults,  that way of doing things worked a bloody sight better than what we have now.   When I lived in Wales during the Blair years I voted Plaid Cymru – not because I was particularly sold on the idea of independence, but because they were the only party of the left available. If I lived in Scotland I’d vote SNP for the same reason.  I live in England where we are being told that UKIP is the only alternative, even though we can all see plainly that they are only saying the same thing as the other major parties, just in a dumbed down version.   There is only one party offering anything like the vision of what I’d like for the future of this country and that is the Green party.  So that’s who I’ll be voting for.   

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