Dear West Country Voices,
I think I distantly remember a time when governments cared for their people, nurtured them, assisted them, spent our money neutralising the corrosive causes of poverty and criminality.
I get the sense that the ‘nouvelle vague‘ of the ultra-right wing is using us like lab rats in an experiment. Shrink the state, the awful state, let the free market ensure the survival and viability of the fittest, let private enterprise strip national assets and pay the profits to the shareholders. And so on.
I can vote red or orange until I’m green in the face, but it has no effect because my area is dyed blue, its MP doesn’t reply to my emails, and the locals are wealthy landowners. The reward for this fidelity is that a local, rural, affluent village, is due to get £15 million from the Levelling Up fund to regenerate its market square. £15 million would pay the wages of a lot of asylum processors, but no, this market square is the reward for the flunky MP and her cosy rural supporters.
Maybe former mining communities might need a bit more levelling up, having been levelled down and almost erased.
So endeth the lesson.
I know Lanzarote is not a ‘normal’ place, but the Cesar Manrique-art-encrusted prom, the road surfaces, the lack of grime, the pedestrian crossings, the cycle lanes, the cashback at the filling station, all these speak of socialism: believing that society needs to be cherished, not wrung to squeeze out maximum profit .
Our view of France in August was less rosy. Towns have been battered by Covid, there is a modern tattiness now due to reduced maintenance. I got the feeling that France has lost its whoomph … it’s three years since we’ve been there, and it’s gone downhill in that time. The quantity of dogsh*t remains constant, however, whereas it has hugely increased in ‘Engerland’.
Those last words are, perhaps, an apt comment on the current state of the nation. Ed.
The letter was written in response to this article: