|Gin Lane by Hogarth 1751|
That a visitor to the town should immediately think of William Hogarth, rather than William Turner, came as a personal shock but also perhaps as a rude wake-up call. Too often perhaps, we attempt to point at regeneration in one direction and ignore or dismiss the equally valid perceptions of others, who leave the town with the opposite impression of the many positive changes, people are working so hard to deliver.
Tomorrow, Thursday, if you believe the press and social media, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, will be visiting the Turner Contemporary Gallery in the morning, seeing for himself, evidence of that same positive influence, the gallery has had over the town's regeneration since it opened.
Get Cameron.' Here's an example of one of their more tasteful posters which labels 'Tories' like me as vermin.
Reading through some of their materials, this all appears to be coming from Thanet's 'usual suspects' intent on 'Saving Our NHS' and proving 'The Myth' of austerity. A welfare state in perpetuity and at any cost, even if the huge sum of money to pay for what we have become used to over the last thirty years, no longer exists.
Simple economics or indeed, history remains a mystery to many of those contributing to the 'Get Cameron' debate. Very few people realise that before WWII and the global introduction of wider income tax rates across the developed nations that followed it, countries normally lived within their limited means. This was broadly a consequence of income tax receipts and the amount of Gold held in central banks.
Without going into a history lesson, what happened after the war, was the idea that the Government of one generation could borrow almost indefinitely and in unlimited sums from the Government of the next, to support capital expenditure, the growth of the public service and huge welfare-related projects such as the NHS.
Such government borrowing, much like any pyramid investment scheme, was predicated on indefinite economic growth of at least 2.5% annually; forever with consistent taxation to match the burden of having half the population dependent on welfare payments of one form or another.
|Liam Byrne's Famous Note|
There's a much bigger picture of course so I will ask readers to forgive the over-simplification but what I'm trying to argue is that the protestors, are dreaming of some socialist Albanian utopia. One of long state holidays and unlimited welfare, where jobs are for life, State pensions forever and medicine is free. They are deceiving themselves, as they have done since George Orwell wrote Animal Farm.
Even the Labour Party, has now conceded that it too will have to take a much harder line on welfare but consistently declines to say what its own plans for austerity might be. What is true however, is that any Government of any colour, after the General Election of 2015, is going to have to cut even deeper than today because we have still only scratched the surface of austerity regardless of what the 'Get Cameron' protesters might believe. when I have spoken with their like before, I've found them to be quite uninterested in economic facts but class-obsessed with a fantastical sense of social entitlement, which lies at odds with my own. Step no further than a conversation with Labour's Cabinet Member, Cllr Fenner and you'll know what I mean.
On reflection. It would be nice if the event of our Prime Minister visiting Thanet and in particular Margate tomorrow morning, was seen as a recognition of the efforts of many hard-working people, in making steady and significant progress towards the regeneration of the town. I do however fear that any visit will be spoiled by those intent on making a point on a political argument which has all the relevance today of the famous Luddite protests at Rawfold Mill in 1812.