A longer article based on this post is available for commission
I have given up on most news outlets because I find it exhausting trying to decide what is true and what is not, what is agenda-driven, sponsored, merely opinion, snake oil, mischief-making and so on. We live in an era of deliberately encouraged suspicion and propaganda pea soup. The air is thick with the smell of misinformation manure.
Of course, those in power and those who aspire to power for good or evil, love my kind of apathy. It means they can get away with doing whatever the hell the want. So, I need to work on that failing in my list of things to fix before I move on to whatever is next.
But, my point in this post refers to money. Many, if not all, the architects and executors of UK austerity policies are now doing quite nicely for themselves in the private sector. Remember the mantra: We're all in this together? Except we never were and certainly aren't now.
I read Private Eye, that organ of satire, schoolboy humour, insult and parody, but also a shining example of deep-digging investigative reporting that is rarely seen in the mainstream media. Each fortnight, I can feel my blood pressure rise as I absorb stories of taxpayers money being wasted, literally wasted, because of shoddy government management, of inept national and local politicians pouring millions, sometimes billions of pounds down the drain - and getting away with it.
It would be too easy to drop the Grayling word here - oh, feck it, I will. This from Private Eye, 8 - 21 March 2019:
£33m - Cost to taxpayers of settling case brought by Eurotunnel in which it claimed Chris Grayling failed to follow procurement rules over post-Brexit freight contracts.
£171m - Cost to taxpayers of terminating contracts handed to private probation companies by Chris Grayling in an initiative National Audit Office said was "set to fail."
£2bn - Extra costs of delayed Crossrail project which public accounts committee says are because Grayling's department "did not sufficiently probe the assurances given by Crossrail Limited'.
£3bn - Amount Grayling is about to commit to Trans-Pennine route upgrade despite PAC warning that "the department is not learning from previous programmes."
Grayling is still in his job.
In my near-four decades in business management, I have seen managers and non-managers sacked for relatively trivial reasons compared to this guy. Of course, Grayling has the full (fool) support of the Prime Minister! Disgraceful.
Private Eye is overflowing with stories of equally eye-watering amounts of wasted money by Westminster departments and local councils, denying appropriate shares of funding to areas that are crying out for support - the police, education, NHS, the Arts and more, all for their own good reasons. And this is not to forget the "secret money" handed out behind closed doors to fund individuals and organisations intent on influencing the way we ordinary saps are managed.
Remember, we, the aforementioned saps, are only "important" during election campaigns when promises and pledges rain down on us like fairy dust. Once the polling booths close, we are worth diddly squat.
I don't know what to do about any of this. How and when did "democracy" become "demockracy".
I'll leave you with this number cruncher from Private Eye:
£800 worse off - Average fall in wages for workers in UK since 2008 financial crisis.
£18,000 better off - Rise in wages for MPs in UK in the same period.
Them and us, 'twas ever thus.