Saturday, 4 December 2010


From the look of all the pictures on facebook (the most original being a re-creation of the ice world Hoth in a back garden) I'm guessing there has been a bit of snow in the past few days. I also beleive this to be the case as I heard a couple of snow related features on radio two yesterday.

One feature consisted of a lady attempting to name and shame her local authourity. The issue was a request for a grit bin. The lady in question seemed rather well to do and in line with the stereotype had it seemed harried her local councillor into making an over-rash promise that yes a grit-bin will be provided. Unfortunately when the lady called to "remind" said councillor of their promise two weeks ago she was told that no, due to the cutbacks, there was now no money for a grit bin.

The lady talked about how last year she lost two weeks holiday as she couldn't get out of her home for the snow and ice. The presenter then put it to her, why don't the residents club together and purchase a grit bin - cost £1000? Oh no, she said, we pay enough council tax, at a high rate, and see very little in return anyway. It was she argued clearly the councils responsibility.

It struck me as interesting logic. For well to do residents (unless we're talking the squeezed middle here) a £1000 grit bin between them, lets say there are 10, thats £100 each; probably not a huge stretch. A price worth paying for less disruption?

What really gets me though is that government is now asking more of preople in general; students are asked to 'make a contribution' to their education (in fact now a fairly sizeable contribution) and by the same philosophy the disabled are also asked to 'make a contribution' to their care.... in the future it seems more and more people will be asked to 'make a contribution.'

This is because the idea of a big state where we all pull together, where we pool risk and share responsibility, is in retreat to the neo-liberal vision of the small state; a state which asks us to 'make a contribution'.

Therin lies the contradiction in the ladies argument, on one hand she is critical of the level of taxation she in particular is on the receiving end of; no doubt she is at least receptive to the neo-liberal vision of a small state with low levels of personal taxation

Yet when it is suggested she personally 'makes a contribution' she suddenly seems to find the idea repugnant.

I wonder where she stands on tuition fees?

No comments:

Post a Comment