The winter 2016 edition of County News comes with a headline: “The deepest cuts we’ve ever faced”.
Lincolnshire County Council wants to understand our views, so here are mine.
I very much doubt that they will count for much in what is probably just a paper exercise to gauge the extent to which fellow citizens (with whose views I’m only too familiar) vote for ‘stop entirely’ – that will solve the council’s problem at a stroke.
We are only being invited to vote either to keep things the same or to reduce or scrap services.
If they are services, then they will have been deemed to be of service in the past. None of the services in the survey should be cut.
My view is that, in a civilised society, spending on amenities should be increased.
Cllr Martin Hill’s statement presupposes that cuts are necessary to ‘rebuild the nation’s finances’.
He accepts the current half-baked conventional wisdom put about by the Tories that cuts are necessary and that the only way to balance the books is to cut the things that make us a civilised country.
The options in the questionnaire are skewed towards cutting; there is no option to increase public spending.
The fact is that austerity is a far right political ideology rather than an economic necessity.
It has been developed by the Conservative Party to return the country to Victorian times by destroying the welfare state and keeping noses to the grindstone by pushing the retirement age further and further back.
If they must set out to balance the books (they’ve never been balanced), they could easily achieve it by taxing the rich properly and stopping up tax loopholes – this would be a more civilised solution.
The bankers caused the so-called crisis; we ordinary folk are being made to suffer from lies perpetrated to ameliorate the crisis they caused; meanwhile, the millionaires get richer by the day; they will not suffer from proposed cuts to services.
My suggestion to Messrs Hill and Jones would be simply to refuse to make the cuts and to run a campaign to get councils across the country to follow suit.
None of them have to make any cuts at all. The current vogue for cutting everything is the Tory party at work. There is no ‘have to’ about making any cuts. And notice Cllr Jones’ sleight of tongue – ‘cuts’ become ‘savings’.
The ultimate irony is that, on the reverse of the questionnaire, there’s talk of improving services by a ‘drive for devolution’.
The remaining upbeat pages of County News suggest that everything in the garden is rosy, making it seem hardly possible that the proposed ravaging of services will have the slightest effect on our living standards. Of course, it won’t for the rich.