At least a quarter of the British population are now happy, mostly the English living in the South of the country, particularly the Home Counties - the leafy suburban, doughnut-like area surrounding the capital, but in a rather ironic sense, London itself has less than 25% happy, so I have read, due mainly to a large percentage of immigrants living and working there, along with the ethnic minority. When considering the 75% or so, who did not vote Conservative in the last General Election just a few weeks ago, and this includes all those who abstained from voting altogether, as well as all those, including myself, who voted for a representative from another political party, our present occupant of number 10 Downing Street got in there due to a small majority over one main rival party, but by no means over all the parties combined. It's the first past the post polling system. With such a system in place, it seems that the resulting victory for the Tories was something of a fluke.
Although it is of my opinion that capitalism, and the freedom of choice which goes with it, is a better system than socialism with its bureaucratic red tape strangling the life out of it, what I have seen arising from so called "pure capitalism" is greed, and that on a brutal scale. Our recent political history is riddled with corruption, with our cross-party Members of Parliament having their snouts in the trough in the name of "Expense Allowance" - a purse sustained by the tax-payer, therefore a benefits system with a posher-sounding name. Meanwhile, those in the banking industry in particular had their reputations stained by announcements of huge bonuses, so huge some of them were, that it would take literally a hundred years to make on my income! Right-wing newspaper journalists shower praise on these executives for exhibiting "talent" - despite a number of cases of bad or shoddy performance - and so it is held that without them the economy of the whole country would go to pot, so whichever Government is in power, whether Conservative, Coalition, or Labour, such would be terrified to reel in such payments, as this, as they believe, would drive the industry overseas, robbing our nation of the very backbone of its existence.
So to me, as I see it, a limited level of socialism acts as a restraint against capitalistic greed, and also acts as a guard against exploitation of workers, particularly manual workers, by their profit-minded bosses. However, our national mentality deplores the red tape which makes private enterprise stumble over seemingly unnecessary obstacles. Therefore one of our Prime Minister's manifesto promises is to free up businesses of this dreadful "red tape" which make day-to-day running so unnecessarily difficult. On the face of it, this proposal looks fair, and well thought out. But in reality, it is removing any rights for the workers, ushering in the "hire-and-fire" mentality of the bosses without any real consideration of the worker's welfare.
It would be like going back to Victorian times, as one recent BBC docu-drama so explicitly demonstrated. To film such a programme, a group of celebrities, of both genders and of different ages, was brought back in time to the Nineteenth Century, when the vast majority of the population worked long hours to the ground, often in stinking filth and similar rat-infested environments, just to eat and keep a roof over their heads. There were a number of cases when payment of wages was withheld by their employer or site owner if the end product fail to satisfy, and that despite the hours of hard graft put in by those workers in their attempt to produce it. Little wonder the Trade Unions came to existence under Christian conviction, along with the newly-formed Labour Party. Would this revived Victorian work environment and ethic be the final destiny, over the generations, if the Tories continually have their way?
And although our politicians love to get their hands on Expense Allowance to lace their already high incomes, at present the minister for the Department of Work and Pensions is committed to reduce benefit handouts to the barest minimum, if not abolish them in its entirety, if this fellow gets his way without opposition. Over the last few months, I have found one benefit, the Employment and Support Allowance, a wonderful Godsend while recovering from a major cardiac procedure. It took away any threat of impoverishment while we saw this period of convalescence to that of a sabbatical. Here I won't beat about the bush. We both thoroughly enjoyed the sabbatical. It has added further strength to our marriage, gave extra comfort to each other, and gave me opportunities to remain active - walking, cycling, fulfilling outdoor chores, as well as creating opportunities to take my lame wife out of the house to board the train to various historic venues or destinations of natural beauty. I tend to see this period of convalescence more of a life-changing phase than that of the operation itself. Really, there was no time for boredom.
And yet there was reported earlier in the week of one shocking incident concerning this minister of the D.W.P. That was when some leaders of the European Union expressed anxieties about the way our welfare system is being needlessly attacked, so it appeared to them. The minister laughed and declared his intention to continue with the cuts. It is this ferocious arrogance of this Catholic ex-military schoolboy which has sent shivers of terror down my spine. Here is a man who had never faced the prospect of unemployment, nor had he ever done a day's manual labour. Instead, he sees the ill, the incapacitated, and the lame as burdens on the state economy, and are pushed to find work against their will. Furthermore, there are many employers who are not keen to take on such disabled workers, and as such, there was also a report of a rise of suicides among them. This minister is also the one who stereotype the benefit claimer as a leeching lout, workshy and determined to let others support him, without any knowledge on why such a claimant had ended up in such a situation, and that each person is unique, and has his own set of circumstances. I can't help but see such a politician as a brutal Victorian who not only has a lack of any trace of compassion, but given a chance, would have children return to the mine shafts and operate heavy machinery in old-style cotton mills. What I also find shocking is his lack of respect for the elderly, insisting that they should retire later in life, and remain at work instead. Then to add a sting to his tail, he wrote a novel, The Devil's Tune, which had received critical reviews, but fortunately, it was not published on paperback. This very book seems to be the epitome of this minister's character.
This "Britain Working Together" nonsense is also the reason why our Prime Minister wants to introduce thousands of free childcare facilities across the nation. What fails to dawn in him is the importance of mother and child bonding. The mother is the infant's most important person to be with, and the natural bonding between mother and child is what give the offspring the best start in life, including doing well at school, landing a fine career, and with a greater likelihood of staying clear of drugs and crime. But no. Instead, our state leader's obsession with young mothers returning to the office would mean that many a toddler would be left reaching out his hands for his mother and screaming, as she dumps him into the hands of strangers, while she drive off to the office, in a hope of climbing the career ladder.
Sorry to say this, but there is something abhorrent and deeply sinister about our Government's manifesto, and at first it looks to be a mystery on why so many had placed his cross on the Conservative candidate at the polling booth. But according to one report, it was not because there was no suitable alternative, neither was it done out of public admiration. Rather, the many who abstained from voting altogether, if they voted for the main rival party, they would have kept the Tories out of power. Also the masses of the undecided on whom to vote for, at the last moment placed his crayon on the Tory candidate's box for no other reason but to "play safe." The present Government does not reflect the nation's desires, not by at least 75%.
So as I am now considering early retirement, most likely at age 63, mainly to care for and to look after my wife full time, the next few years does pose a lot of uncertainty, perhaps even threatening. But this is where the truth of the Gospel steps in. Romans chapter eight is a good start. Here is a promise that neither life or death, nor angels or demons, neither the present or the future, nor any (Tory) powers, neither height or depth, nor anything in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord, verses 38-39.
Elsewhere the Bible says that he who makes his refuge in God will be happy and blessed. Psalm 125 is one example of the promise to those who has faith in him:
Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken, but endures forever.
As the mountains surrounds Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and for evermore.
Psalm 20 is also worth reading, exhorting us to call upon God when distress comes, and he will fulfill our desires. For the believer, such as myself, there is a God in Heaven who is compassionate, and even laughs at the plans our Government wish to fulfill. Those who are true believers are as firm as a mountain when it comes to security. As it is impossible to move a mountain from its place, so the one trusting in the Lord cannot be moved either. And I can testify that God has never failed to take care of me, even during my teenage years when I didn't know him.
In Heaven, the apostle John sees the risen Jesus Christ as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. This is wonderful assurance. Who am I to fear, if we have such a God we can trust. Human plans will fail, but the perfect plan God has for us will stand forever.