This is the web site for the "Rother Greens" - the local party covering the Rother District Council area of East Sussex
We have an active membership in this area, and meet regularly (currently all our meetings are via Zoom video-conferencing).
The joining details for the September meeting are the same as for the previous Zoom meetings. They will be emailed out to all members and supporters of Rother Green Party a few days before the meeting.
One things I think we can be fairly sure of is that the nation that’ll emerge from the coronavirus won’t be the same as the one that went into it.
It’s been sobering. To date something like 60,000 more people have died since the beginning of January than would have passed away in those months in an average year. Not all of those have been directly attributed to the pandemic. Some may have been people failing to seek help out of fear of catching the virus. But that’s where we are. Sixty thousand dead. If you haven’t lost someone yourself, you probably know someone who has.
After a previous calamity, the second world war, the nation came together to build a better future. That experience, of a government with the will to govern, of the power of what could be achieved with everyone working together for the common good, of rich and poor alike serving alongside one another – all that gave us the welfare state. The NHS, the state pension and benefits for the sick and unemployed have been an enduring monument to a generation that both gave and endured so much.
The lessons of the last few weeks have been a little different. We’ve learned what it’s like to have a government that seems reluctant to govern; reluctant to take tough decisions because they’re the right decisions rather than the popular ones. We’ve learned that the virus, far from being a great leveller, has instead highlighted our many inequalities.
If you’re over seventy, if you’re of Asian or African/Caribbean descent, if you’re diabetic or if you’re overweight this virus has been far more terrifying than if you’re in your teens or twenties. If you’re working on the front line, not just in the NHS or elder care, but at the wheel of a bus or behind the counter of a shop or as a security guard, your chances of dying from the virus have been far higher.
As for the lockdown, how much tougher has it been on people who can’t get out because of disability, or on families with children, or on anyone without a garden?
So how do we build back better?
Well, firstly, is anyone really going to argue with the idea that we fund the NHS properly? Clapping is nice but proper pay and enough colleagues that you don’t have to work yourself into the ground are better. Let’s just accept that striving to make the NHS more efficient will be a never ending task. It’ll never be perfect but it does represent a brilliant investment in the wellbeing of everyone in this country. We can’t rely on the Captain Toms of this world to do that. We need to pay our taxes – and not just the less well off.
Secondly we need a government that believes in government, not a dog-in-a-manger crowd who only want power so no one else can get it. That means managing things properly - like the nation’s stockpile of personal protective equipment. Outsourcing that to a private company was a disaster and cost lives. Sure, government doesn’t have to do everything. We should leave designing mobile phones and running coffee shops to the people who do it best, but public services need to be publicly run for the public, in the public interest – and properly.
Thirdly; one thing the government got right – support for the furloughed (though it should have been capped) and for the self-employed (it was capped). People may have been locked down but they haven’t been idle. Let’s look seriously at a universal basic income so that no one falls off a financial cliff when they’re sick or unemployed. If you want to boost skills and entrepreneurship then giving people the confidence to try new things by guaranteeing a social wage is a powerful way to do that.
And lastly, next time we’re all in it together we really do need to be all in it together. We need to fix our democracy. Because any democracy that’s run by those who think that they’re above the law and that the rules only apply to us ordinary folk, not to them, is broken. Yes democracy is hard work. Yes we need to keep ourselves properly informed so we can get involved. But no, we can’t leave government to those who think they were born to rule just because they were lucky enough to go to an expensive school. Rather we need people who both understand us and give a damn about us because they are us.
So if Dominic Cummings is determined to stick around he can serve as a reminder of the kind of people who shouldn’t be running the show. That’s something that almost everyone should be able to agree on.
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