Simon Duffy

Thoughts, Bemusements & Arguments

Date: 23rd March 2018

Where on Earth is Our Welfare State?

Politicians
Who don’t come from here
Fight for our votes
Before heading off there
To London
To fight with each other
To be Ministers (well a few)
To tell their civil servants
Who’ve certainly never been here
How to make things better here
To pay their friends in business
(Who they’ll go and work for… when their time is up)
(And who certainly don’t pay their taxes here)
To go and deliver services here
To make their profits here
But not to spend it here
And to ensure
All our problems still remain here
So they can keep their jobs, their pensions and their houses
There, wherever that is,
Certainly not here

While all the time
What we really need
Here
Is a welfare state that is based
Here
Run from
Here
Where local people
Solve local problems
Where local doctors
And local nurses
Run our NHS
Here
Where local teachers
And local families
Run our schools
Here
Where citizens
Run their own communities here

What will it take?
To get our power back
Here
To get our belief back
Here
Here, where we belong

Welfare State as Wicked Stepmother

I suppose one dream of the welfare state is that the welfare state is like a Fairy Godmother, kind and wise, although perhaps living far away, and someone, who when called upon, can turn pumpkins into carriages and mice into stallions.

Increasingly that dream of the welfare state is dying and in its place is the nightmare of the Wicked Stepmother. She has her favourite daughters, those she cossets and spoils, while she curses those who are weakest, breaking their backs with unfair burdens, locking them away from opportunity and blaming for them for her own faults.

Mother is dead and the nanny state is long gone.

Of course the Fairy Godmother is preferable to the Wicked Stepmother, but unfortunately she’s just a dream. We cannot choose between these two options. Instead we must wake from the dream and find a way of creating a citizen’s welfare state, where we work for ourselves, take care of each other, and discipline ourselves to protect the weakest from exploitation, stigma and shame

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