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The right wing press hates you

You might not know it, but you ruined the country. Obviously nothing to do with the Conservative government

Image: The New European

Most people are not greedy. We all have our lottery dreams, but even those are generally modest: a new car, a trip to the Caribbean, rather than superyachts and racehorses. In the real world, our basic ambitions are simple: a stable job; a warm home to spend time with the family; a few treats and a nice holiday once a year; and to be looked after when we fall ill or get old. 

We might also want the kids to go to a nice school that isn’t falling down. We might want to drive to work without worrying about what the potholes are doing to the tyres and suspension, or catch a train that is on time and has enough seats. If we’re really picky, we might think it nice to be able to swim in the sea or a river.

It’s not much to ask, is it? Yet most of these basic desires are denied to millions and millions of Britons. Indeed, it’s doubtful that anyone in the country – even the prime minister – can score 10/10 on that wishlist. How can that be?

We have “full employment” and there’s a labour shortage, but the pressure on those in work to increase productivity is never-ending. Work-life balance? Who needs it?  

You want a warm home? While house prices have risen, to the delight of the Daily Express, so have mortgage costs and heating bills. For many, spending time with the family means living with the parents into your 30s.

A few treats and a nice holiday? Look at the queues at border controls. To be looked after in sickness and old age? Try making a GP appointment; look at the costs of a care home.

Education? Teachers, like doctors, are jumping ship; exam courses are being shut down, playing fields sold off. Equipment is shared, staff are pared back. 

And as for our rivers and seas, well, venture into those at your peril. But it’s just a bit of poo. We’re all going soft. We should be able to cope with life’s little challenges. And if all that is really a problem, who’s to blame? Fortunately, we have a cabinet full of ministers and reams of supportive newspapers to tell us.

First, the country’s woes are all down to Labour. Obviously. They were in power 15 years ago and everything that has gone wrong in the intervening years can be traced back to them. They are profligate, addicted to tax and spend, and can’t be trusted on the economy, Brexit, defence, migration, our culture, our national heritage or anything else (even though the Mail reported in amazement last month that they are ahead of the Tories on each of those). Birmingham, with its Labour council, is bankrupt; London, under mayor Sadiq Khan, has turned into a gangland ghetto where law-abiding Christians and Jews fear to walk the streets. For heaven’s sake, the leader of the Labour Party doesn’t even know what a woman is.

Not only that, but as the official opposition in Westminster, they insist on opposing everything the government does (apart, that is, from all the legislation they let through). It’s just so exasperating. Who can help but sympathise with the Express as it splashes: “Stop meddling! PM warns Labour it must pass Rwanda bill”. And with the Mail, which asks in disbelief: “Whose side is Labour really on?”

Next up are the unions. How dare they represent their members? How dare they press for pay rises, better working conditions and safety measures? They are holding us all to ransom with their reckless, irresponsible strikes. Teachers can earn more than £50,000 a year, train drivers get £65,000 a year, as do experienced hospital doctors. Consultants start at £93,000 and GPs can earn just as much. What more do they want? 

In another world, the chancellor, who maintains that the country can’t afford to pay public sector workers more, says that £100,000 a year is “not a lot”. But he’s a multimillionaire who “forgot” he’d bought seven flats, so it’s probably small change to him. Even smaller change for the prime minister, who had the odd half million to spare to install a private pool and gym complex that costs thousands to heat – at the very moment soaring energy prices plunged the country into a cost of living crisis and as councils had to close public pools and libraries.

So, Labour and the unions are to blame for all the bad stuff that is dragging us down. But someone else is to blame, too: you.

Yes you, reading this. Whether you are old or young, rich or poor, you’re almost certainly at fault in the eyes of the right wing press.

Look, the fact remains, the country needs rich people to invest and bring us all prosperity. Meanwhile, it is necessary to cut benefits for the poor and vulnerable and to pursue through the courts – even to the point of imprisonment – people who earn a pound more than they should while claiming the carers’ allowance of £82 per week. Naturally, it’s good that they should go out to work as well as look after aged and infirm relatives. But if their income hits £12,142, they must return £4,264 to the Department for Work and Pensions. 

The trouble is, too many workers are essentially lazy. Consider the teachers who refused to return to school for fear of catching and spreading the coronavirus, even when it was pointed out that this was their opportunity to be “heroes” – like the nurses, care workers and bus drivers who accounted for a disproportionate number of Covid deaths. 

To the Mail, the Sun et al, it’s all a symptom of the shocking “something for nothing Britain”, where people don’t want to work and those who deign to earn their living, rather than sponge off the state, expect to do it at home in their pyjamas. The idle need to be cajoled into work with “perks”, then shown the “carrot and stick” and, if that fails, we’ll just have to “turn the screw” on the workshy.

Too many fiftysomethings got a taste for indolence during the pandemic and decided they wouldn’t go back to work. These must be a very different demographic to the fiftysomethings of yesteryear who were encouraged by the Saturday newspaper travel and money pages to take advantage of the extra leisure time that technology would bring, retire early and invest their index-linked final salary pensions in continental retirement properties. 

The current generation – which happens to be exactly of the age usually selected for redundancy programmes, such as the ones being carried out at both the Mail and Express – should retrain and do their bit, while the front-page blurbs now ask “Is the sun setting on the dream of retiring in Spain?” Perhaps. But it’s anyone’s guess why that should be. 

Which brings us to civil servants. They are not only bloated mandarins determined to work from home, but they also obstruct and frustrate the will of the people, and even have the temerity to sue the government because they don’t want to break international law. Wimps. Good job Rishi Sunak plans to get rid of 72,000 of them to buy more bullets. That’ll cut the time people ringing HMRC helplines are kept on hold, and speed up the processing of passport and asylum applications.

There are so many special interest groups bringing the country to its knees, it’s probably best to get a few of the obvious ones out of the way here:

The Guardian-reading, tofu-eating, sandal-wearing wokerati and the metropolitan liberal elite go without saying. But they are joined by (deep breath): trans activists; activist lawyers; eco-zealots; leftie luvvies; migrants; Muslims and pro-Palestinian hate marchers; greedy banks; fat-cat local authority chief executives in charge of thousands of workers who earn more than £100,000 (but not chief executives of smaller private organisations on more than £1m a year); spendthrift Labour councils, including those whose precarious finances are weakened by ministers doing favours for friends; the French (who should stop the boats); and Remoaners and Bremainers. 

The latter two groups may not have voted for, negotiated or implemented Brexit, but if they would only just believe, herds of unicorns would be bounding across the sunlit uplands. 

Plus, of course, the BBC. The biased national network – the “broadcast wing of the Labour Party” – with its Tory chairman and Tory board members and Tory presenters, and which gives such attention to Ukip and Reform and ignores the Greens. As Dominic Cummings so rightly said all those years back, it needs to be destroyed, not least as punishment for the jailing of all those women (both of them) who did not pay the licence fee (which should be scrapped). And what’s more, it employs Gary Lineker.

Lineker is towards the top of the list of individuals who symbolise all that is wrong with the country. And much as we champion free speech and defend anyone’s right to offend, Lineker is chief among those who should shut up. So is Gary Neville. They should stick to sport. But it’s fine for Beefy Botham, now a peer of the realm, to enlighten us with his views on Brexit.

Of women already so honoured, we should bow to the wisdom of Dame Esther Rantzen and Dame Maureen Lipman, but ignore Dame Emma Thompson. When it comes to finance, we should ignore Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey and his predecessor, Mark Carney, and instead listen to Mervyn King. The views of Norman Lamont, our Black Wednesday chancellor, are sound, but John Major, the prime minister who appointed him, should refrain from public pronouncements. 

These people all have huge followings, so it is to be expected that they will have an impact on public life and thus become culpable. But it’s amazing how people of seemingly little influence are also responsible for our national plight. Like homeless and destitute people. They are harming our tourist industry, making life uncomfortable for operagoers and need to be criminalised. Especially if they smell. And have a dog.

And disabled people. Just because you can’t move, it’s no reason not to work. Let’s fit a few grab rails and send them into the job market!

The economy cannot sustain 2.8 million people on long-term sickness and disability allowances, many of them young people complaining of poor mental health, an assortment of confected syndromes and disorders, not to mention long Covid. They’re doing themselves no good moping around, popping happy pills instead of confronting life’s challenges. They should get a grip and get a job.

Like the baby boomer generation did. Look at the sacrifices they (or rather, their parents) made and compare them with this ungrateful bunch. The baby boomers who have enjoyed 70 years of peace and 50 of prosperity and have never had to use a food bank. 

The baby boomers who have seen the value of their homes quadruple over the past 30 years and who now fret about having to sell them if they have to move into care or about the children having to pay tax on them if they are fortunate enough to stay in them for life. The baby boomers who had free further education that didn’t bring tens of thousands of debt with the graduation certificate. 

The baby boomers who worked eight hours a day, five days a week, with pauses for tea served in a cup and a cooked canteen lunch, and then went home to be left in peace with no fear of the Sunday roast or an outing with the children being interrupted by a barrage of emails. The baby boomers who for most of their careers would never have imagined that Christmas Day would be just another working day, or that they’d 
be asked to stack supermarket shelves at 3am. 

The baby boomers who may have encountered the class bully at school, but never endured incessant online assaults that continue all through the night, or had unwelcome photographs of genitalia pop up on their phone. The baby boomer mothers who could stay at home, by choice, to look after their children, rather than be pressured back to work and have to pay upwards of £1,000 a month per child for nursery care. Yes, women had to fight (and are still fighting) for equal rights and opportunities in the workplace, but there’s a difference between the right and the obligation to go out to work. 

But, no. According to the papers it’s the young who are the snowflakes, the cosseted have-it-all generation. And it’s time they pulled their weight, so the country can continue to afford the triple-lock pension guarantee. 

A guarantee that is, it has to be said, a lifeline for those with only the state pension to live on, those without private pensions, those who haven’t paid off their mortgages because they were never able to buy their own home and are still having to find rent every week, those who do have to use the food bank and the charity lunch club. But these members of the baby boomer cohort are not the pensioners whose plight concerns the chancellor or the whitetops. They are part of the burden. 

There are also outside factors and actors doing us down, events beyond our control, like the pandemic, Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the Gaza war. Who knows why these seem to be harming us in a way that they are not hurting other countries?

Our response to the pandemic was world-beating. We are Ukraine’s staunchest ally – you only have to consider how many times our leaders have dashed across to Kyiv to put a supportive arm around Volodymyr Zelensky’s shoulder. 

Yet other countries’ economies have recovered and are in better shape – as are their roads. It couldn’t be anything to do with billions of pounds spent on useless PPE, test and trace, contracts for mates down the pub and Eat-out-to-spread-the-virus schemes.

It’s a mystery. But at least there are some things of which we can be sure. Like the fact that while families may be struggling with their finances, their health and their mental wellbeing, that has absolutely nothing to do with what David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak and friends have been up to over 14 years in charge. 

Nor has it anything to do with Brexit. Once those planes have taken a dozen people to Rwanda, everything will work itself out. 

Only the Tories can be trusted. Rishi has a plan. We must stick to it. 

That’s the message that the right wing press has been pushing on the British public. Judging by the opinion polls, people aren’t buying it any more.

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