Ruth Hardy points out the huge disparity between the content of David Cameron’s drive for permanent austerity in the UK, and the rather more lavish surroundings he made the speech from. State events always have, and perhaps require, a certain pomp and ceremony about them, but to stand there at a “golden lectern” pronouncing on belt tightening? He couldn’t look more removed from the average Brit that’s shouldering these cuts if he tried.
He enjoys a banquet, while the number of people using food banks has tripled in the past year. As someone on the shift with me said, “It gets annoying that we always serve free food to the people who really don’t need free food.”
The political content of what Cameron is saying is obviously more important than where he was saying it, but I don’t think the latter is irrelevant. I have a fundamental problem with a man who sits on a golden throne and lectures us about spending less, like a modern-day, white-tie clad sheriff of Nottingham. And all around him, the insidious stain of austerity creeps across the country, manifesting in the bedroom tax, rising tuition fees and the closure of public services that vulnerable people depend on.
A roomful of the well-fed & well-heeled nodding away at the announcement that the poor and vulnerable are a bit too comfortable and can take a few cuts, any pang of social guilt numbed by that postprandial brandy.