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“I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old.”

October 12, 2011

On the day that we learnt that youth unemployment is pushing 1,000,000; on the day that the National Health Service was dealt another blow by the House of Lords; and as the UCU begins industrial action to protest at the attacks upon the pensions of university staff, I’ve had the words of two Labour politicians on my mind.

The first is Neil Kinnock’s warning in 1983 when a Tory general election victory was imminent. He said:  “I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old.”

The second is Nye Bevan’s speech on the eve of the National Health Service:

‘…no amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party that inflicted those bitter experiences on me. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin. They condemned millions of first-class people to semi-starvation. Now the Tories are pouring out money in propaganda of all sorts and are hoping by this organised sustained mass suggestion to eradicate from our minds all memory of what we went through. But, I warn you young men and women, do not listen to what they are saying now. Do not listen to the seductions of Lord Woolton He is a very good salesman. If you are selling shoddy stuff you have to be a good salesman. But I warn you they have not changed, or if they have they are slightly worse than they were.’

I despise the Conservative Party. And have nothing but utter contempt for their Lib Dem lickspittles.

I don’t want to live in a country that thinks there is any virtue in making a profit out of the sick and dying.

I don’t want to live in a country that can throw 1.000,000 kids onto the dole and then talk about them like it’s somehow their fault for not being sufficiently employable.

And I don’t want to live in a country were the elderly and retired, after working all their adult lives, are treated like a burden.

So I’ll be taking every opportunity to do something about it. It’s a priority.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. wartimehousewife permalink
    October 15, 2011 11:15 pm

    What do you plan to do, Rab?

  2. Rab permalink*
    October 16, 2011 9:08 am

    Hello Wartime,

    The temptation in times like these is to pull on yer hard hat, couch down in the bunker and hope the you don’t get pulverised or hit by too much metaphoric shrapnel. But I’ve been reflecting upon all the union meetings I didn’t go to because it meant taking two hours out of my tremendously busy working day. Then there are the demonstrations and protests that I didn’t go to because they were earlier on a Saturday morning and don’t I deserve a lie in just one morning a week? I think of the occasions I sat listening to some apparent superior talking shit and I held my tongue because who these days wants to put their head above the parapet?. But as I see it now, if you’re not in trouble at least some of the time, you’re on the wrong side in the class war!

    And then there is the big one for: I have to join something. My individual outrage is useless. It’s time I did more to work with and stand with others.

    So that’s the start. Who knows were it all might lead.

    • wartimehousewife permalink
      October 16, 2011 12:59 pm

      Good for you, and yes you deserve a lie-in. But don’t underestimate your blog as a method of ‘doing something’ – it gives me plenty of food for thought and I’m sure it has the same effect on others.

  3. Rab permalink*
    October 16, 2011 1:18 pm

    That’s very kind of you to say so, Wartime. Blogging is a great way in which to organise your thoughts. That’s what I find. (Although I enjoy a good rant also – you’ve know doubt noticed). I had a colleague once who told me that you should write all the time and that writing was also a form of thinking because it forced you to take the evidence and ideas that rattle around in your head and make them coherent. I don’t think enough people write stuff.

    Also thinking is a form of doing. I try to convince my students of this, that thinking – lying on their back staring at the ceiling and letting ideas form in their minds and imaginations – is something we humans do. Alas, sometimes thinking is presented as some sort of indulgence, or worse a form of idleness, not-work.

    • wartimehousewife permalink
      October 16, 2011 4:35 pm

      Here here! or is it Hear hear? Hear hare here…

  4. April 4, 2014 7:00 pm

    It’s now 2014 and everything you say is just as relevant as it was in 1945. Can things ever change?

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