Sunday, 11 June 2017

What a week that was!

That was a week to remember or forget if it didn't go your way. Why? I'm talking politics this morning because politics has been the theme of the week.  Having called a general election to strengthen her hand with regard to Brexit, Theresa May, our Prime Minister here in England, has ended up with a hung parliament, which you could argue was the worst outcome possible.  The Labour Party secured more votes than expected and the Conservative party did not achieve a majority of MP's (members of parliament) and are now looking to a small party, i.e. D.U.P., the democratic union party of Northern Ireland to support the government as it makes its way into the Brexit negotiations, which start in nine days time.

For my American friends, the Conservative party is like your Republicans. The Labour party is like your Democrats.  Theresa May was hoping to squash the Labour party in the recent election, but it hasn't happened and now she has 'egg on her face'.

So why did so many people vote for the Labour Party with Jeremy Corbyn as their leader?  It appears that many people were not happy with the Conservative party's manifesto, which seemed to alienate many of the older generation who had been loyal to the Conservatives for many years. Additionally many younger voters voted for the Labour party because they felt that the Labour party cared more for the young people's cause.  All sorts of promises were made by the Labour party in order to woo the young voters. Promises that the Labour party could not hope to keep if they did get into power, but as one young person said afterwards: 'Even if the promises were not kept, the Labour party at least showed they cared and had given some thought to the young.

Where did I stand in all this? I voted for the Conservatives because I feel that they are the best party to take Britain forward into a future where we are no longer part of the European Union.

It just goes to show that people will vote with their hearts instead of their heads on occasion. I think the same thing happened recently in America where so many people voted for Donald Trump even though they must have know that he would be unable to fulfil the promises he so rashly made.

Two of the key points of the Conservative manifesto, which upset so many older people were 1) doing away with the Triple Lock (what is the triple lock pension scheme?) on pensions The Conservatives think that older people, i.e. baby boomers and beyond, are getting ahead of the young in the amount of their income and that the balance needs to be addressed.  That is ok if you happen to be one of the rich, like most of the Conservatives are, but quite a different matter if you are trying to manage on a state pension alone, which is approximately £144 (183 dollars) a week, if you qualify for the whole of it!

The other sticking point is a bit odd.  Previously, if you got old and could no longer look after yourself and went into an old people's home, you would be expected to pay towards your keep. This happened to my mother. It's a long story, but here is the gist of it: she was coming to live with me, but that didn't work out, so she went into a home. I, as next of kin, had to give the manager of the home her bank book and pension book and the house she lived in, which she had nearly finished paying for, was sold and the money added to the pot. In those days, one was allowed to keep £8,000 (10200 dollars) of the money. This was increased to £23,000 (29,325 dollars)but above that the money went to the home. Now, under the conservative manifesto, the limit would be £100,000, with the expectation that that amount would be untouched by the government and therefore the elderly person would be able to pass that money on to their dependents, i.e. their children. On the face of it, that all looked like an improvement and I'm sure that is what the Conservatives hoped, but there is always a catch. The point is, that if you don't have any money, i.e. if you don't own your own house or have lots of money in the bank, then the state has to pay for your care anyway. So, can you blame the older people for spending their equity now before it is taken away from them.

Lots of people over here have been releasing their equity in their house, i.e. taking the money in exchange for a loan on it with the end result that the children will have little to inherit, if anything. That's a subject for a future post.

So, the Conservatives have upset the older people, i.e. 'biting the hand that feeds them' and a lot of them voted for the other side as a consequence.

And what of U.K.I.P. - the United Kingdom Independence Party? Remember Nigel Farage? So many people voted for U.K.I.P. but have now moved their votes to one of the other parties. U.K.I.P. have fulfilled their purpose and unless Nigel Farage returns to the fray, are destined to die a death for certain. After the recent election their leader, Paul Nuttall, stood down.

I think the main problem is that the country is so equally divided, evident since the Referendum on leaving the E.U. last June 23rd, 2016. Now we have two years to make Brexit happen; the clock is ticking and the government is in disarray. Sad times right now!

Have a lovely Sunday,


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