WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT “JUST ABOUT MANAGING”?

amay1

So, I expect you remember the gut-wrenchingly awful speech, dripping with sugary insincerity, that Mayhem made in Downing Street upon her accession to the post. Her St Francis moment, I thought. Where there is ‘just getting by’, let there be starvation, I though.

She was going to act for the ordinary person; she was going to care about the “just about managing” (not the ones who weren’t managing at all);  she was all about people with mental health issues; she really cared about black people, working class boys, you and me, and not the super rich. This is what she said. (My emphasis in her speech.)

“I have just been to Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to form a new government, and I accepted. In David Cameron, I follow in the footsteps of a great, modern Prime Minister. Under David’s leadership, the Government stabilised the economy, reduced the budget deficit, and helped more people into work than ever before. But David’s true legacy is not about the economy, but about social justice. From the introduction of same-sex marriage, to taking people on low wages out of income tax altogether, David Cameron has led a one nation government, and it is in that spirit that I also plan to lead. Because not everybody knows this, but the full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist Party. And that word unionist is very important to me.

“It means we believe in the union, the precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But it means something else that is just as important, it means we believe in a union not just between the nations of the United Kingdom, but between all of our citizens, every one of us, whoever we are and wherever we are from. That means fighting against the burning injustice that if you’re born poor you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white, working class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately. If you’re a woman, you will earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home.

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“But the mission to make Britain a country that works for everyone means more than fighting these injustices. If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise. You have a job but you don’t always have job security. You have your own home but you worry about paying the mortgage. You can just about manage, but you worry about the cost of living and getting your kids into a good school. If you’re one of those families, if you’re just managing, I want to address you directly. I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle. The Government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you. When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty, but to you. When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you. When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few, we will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.

“We are living through an important moment in our country’s history. Following the referendum, we face a time of great national change. And I know because we’re Great Britain that we will rise to the challenge. As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold, new, positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.

“That will be the mission of the Government I lead. And together, we will build a better Britain.”

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I heard early morning news today, that nearly a million families are having trouble paying their mortgages. And that is before interest rates increase, as they are bound to, and people are forced make real choices.
Then there was this tweet from Jo Maugham:
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Inflation 2.7%. Wage growth 2.1%. Were you just about managing?

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amay2

I’m intrigued to know how a cabinet of highly-paid toffs can say that they are listening to ordinary people when they go out of their way to avoid talking to ordinary people. We know May’s general election speeches have been delivered to selective audiences in closed factories, under the watchful eyes of bosses. So how exactly does Mrs May find out what the just managing are thinking?

And, if it is not the rich and the powerful that are foremost in her mind, but people with mental health problems, people unable to find a school (don’t worry, there will be some selective grammars along very soon), people working all hours to pay the mortgage, or rent, ordinary people with ordinary problems… why did the royal household find itself given a bigger cash bonus in the budget than the WHOLE of SCOTLAND?

What I read in Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto sounds a great deal more like what Mrs May was promising, than what Mrs May has delivered thus far.

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