This week, William Hague assures us we can afford £10 million for a ceremonial funeral for Margaret Thatcher. Opinion polls show the public don’t want it, commentators from left and right are mystified, yet 2,200 people have been invited to a decadent funeral for a divisive PM who lies at the heart of many of the problems facing our society today. When I scanned the invitees yesterday, it felt surreal. A mish-mash of variety club has-beens, world leaders she shunned and elite aristocrats who shunned her when alive.
And concluding of the cuts that affect the people she most knows about, those with support needs at the cruellest end of our current government’s stick, she says this (the bold is mine):
[...] it’s that 11 million pounds. £11 million. In Westminster terms it would barely pay for the DWP’s paperclips. It is a drop in the ocean of a welfare budget spanning 10s of billions. It only applied to a few thousand of the most disabled children in society (children just like Ivan Cameron, had he lived into adulthood.) But Lord Freud, failed investment banker and Minister for Welfare Reform, insisted that we could “no longer afford it” We could no longer afford to allow such profoundly disabled children lives of dignity and independence. No more security. No relief for worried families that they would be safe once they were gone.A cross-party consensus of decades, stripped away by ministers who didn’t even know what they were doing.
As she also rightly points out (again, the bold is mine):
Many like me, were fighting the welfare reform bill way back in 2011.We know every last detail, every twist and turn, every sweeping change and every technical detail.[...]
In those three telling paragraphs we have the whole story of this government since May 2010. A government we should be attacking not just on its policy record, but on its massive inability to involve the people who best know. Any modern corporation would say, at least from an HR and comms point-of-view, that those best placed to engineer real change in our processes are those most involved with the implications of each and every one of them: that is to say, the personnel who carry out the tasks and the end-users who are our reason for being. Properly-implemented continuous-improvement philosophies everywherestartwith those most affected – notend upwith them when everything’s been decided. And if we need to begin to attack this government of the inept on anything new, then it must be on their manifest incompetence to follow the mechanisms, values and beliefs their better corporate sponsors already follow in their own businesses.
What we have in this government isn’t successful corporates writ large. What we have in this government is traditional old Englishgraft, grafted slyly – as it were – onto a sleek and supposedly business-focussed series of ever-increasing lies.
Sue and her people, all of us without exception, me in my invisible disabilities, others with their all-too-overpowering, are surelyresourcesto be used for a wider good: people, finite and perishable, short-term in the grand scheme of things – but terribly terribly clever and knowledgeable about the details which, when ignored, are what really metamorphose bright ideas into grief-stricken – even devilish – realities.
If only the government could see its people as this resource I speak of: a resource for a broader understanding of how to improve our society.
Instead, all it sees is an enemy to be vanquished – in an awful and pitiless cloud of no alternatives.
And I wonder where I’ve heardthatmantra before.
A religious concept indeed. For where there is no alternative contemplated or effectively permitted, wearedictatorshipenshrined.