We need a fairer society than this one

On the news that Big Ben will be silenced for Thatcher’s funeral…

“Maybe the pendulum will swing at the next election. But we need a fairer society than this one.”

Ask not for whom the bell tolls (or not)…

Apparently, Big Ben was last silenced for Churchill, the great war leader, and Tory, who saw us ‘safely’ through World War II, Dunquerque, Operation Overlord and the Battle of Britain notwithstanding!

But maybe he and Thatcher are like bookends…

Churchill ‘saved’ us from the Hun. It should be pointed out here, lest we risk idolisation, that it was the people themselves that fought the enemy, whether in Africa, Europe or other continents, and whether that be squaddies, or airmen, joined by redoubtable Polish fighter pilots, or the land army at home, or the commitment of the war industry, including an army of women for the first time. Various other allies too, especially the Russians, who lost more than anyone else.

But Churchill, through the sheer cost of the war, also lost the British Empire, and with his defeat in the khaki election in 1945 to Attlee’s labour, finally a land fit for heroes could be created (notice the Tories didn’t support that then either, too costly).

Crucial to all this was fairer taxation. Over the years this increased in differnt ways, leading to a peak in the 1970s when the rich paid more than ever before…

But then along comes Thatcher… who stepped in, destroyed union strength, cut taxes, and deregulated finance. A new empire (one that hadn’t really gone away either), a financial empire, was created.

The benefits for the super-rich have been that year after year the richest 1% have paid less and less ever since (including 13 years of Labour).

How rich will we let the super-rich become? What will it take? How many food banks? How many homeless? How many elderly dying in cold winters? How much will we pay for health treatment as the NHS is destroyed?

When will we become a land fit for heroes again?

Maybe the pendulum will swing again at the next election. Maybe it won’t…

But we need a fairer society than this one.