Since the Tory-led coalition came into power in 2010, we’ve been force-fed the mantra that austerity boosts the economy. We’re told that selling off our last remaining national assets, and making deep, damaging cuts to services, are an unfortunate consequence of recession, and a legitimate way to deal with the country’s escalating debt.
So tighten your belts another notch, because there is no magic money tree, and the lives of people already struggling because of Tory policy decisions are going to get worse. And although it may hurt you, and decimate your public services, the government only has your best interests at heart – honestly…
In light of this lack of cash, our ever-imaginative leaders are looking for ways to fill the coffers, and will of course prioritise what’s best for the country over any petty, cruel and damaging ideological decisions.
Enter, Paul Heaton, one of Britain’s best selling singer/songwriters, famous for his work with The Housemartins and The Beautiful South.
This week, during an appearance on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, Heaton revealed that he’d made an extremely generous offer to the nation, but that the Tories had refused.
In a series of emails between himself and Greg Clark, the current Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Heaton offered the government, and the British public, the revenue from his entire back catalogue, and from any future hits. He said:
I offered my songs up for nationalisation. This would mean songs like Happy Hour, Rotterdam, Perfect 10 and the rest, every time they got played on the radio, the state would take the money and put it back into improving our living standards.
As presenter Matthew Wright noted, this was ‘free money’ being offered to the government. And the government turned it down.
So why would any government, in times of apparent financial difficulty, turn down such a generous gift to the nation? Heaton offers a convincing theory behind their decision:
I understand it is not Conservative policy to nationalise things but neither is it to be so blatantly imprudent to throw money away.
Which just about sums it up. Because we’ve been living a lie, and Tory policies have never been about what’s in the national interest. They’ve purely been a mechanism to promote the Conservative political agenda.
The Conservatives are a party that have, since 2010, overseen the sale of billions of pounds worth of national assets, sales that have seen the government accused of shortchanging the public by over £26bn, with the recent Naylor Review, presenting a further devastating proposal to sell off NHS land and buildings on the cheap in another step towards privatising the National Heath Service.
At the same time, the Tories have been happy to oversee tax cuts and financial packages that have benefited rich individuals, businesses and corporations, while public services, schools, the emergency services, the NHS and the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society have seen their finances diminish.
Yet while the policies of selling off national assets and making devastating cuts continues, the UK public debt rises. But promoting the ideal of an anti-welfare, pro-capitalist state, is really what’s important to the Tories, and the argument of debt reduction has just been a convenient smoke screen.
Paul Heaton’s latest album with Jacqui Abbott, Crooked Calypso, has topped the official vinyl album chart, and the Tories’ decision not to take Heaton up on his incredibly generous offer looks set to compare with the Conservative’s other dubious ideological choices.
While the album will ‘Carry On Up The Charts’ the British public will miss out. Again.
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