The U.K. newspaper the Guardian ran an article today on how Special Needs Education is breaking Council budgets. It’s underlying argument is that as special educational needs are growing the Government is simply burying its head in the ground. As our son is one of the 354,000 mentioned in the article it feels very pertinent to what I’ve been waffling on about for months. We live in times when Austerity reigns supreme. Even the Special Education Budget is seen as an increasingly easy target for cuts.

The Government and our soon to be gone PM are very keen to stress that money doesn’t grow on trees. But surely it does. How else can you explain these little facts.

  • When the current government failed to secure a majority in Parliament it needed a new friend. Friends don’t come cheap. The Government found an additional £1Billion in funding for Northern Ireland budgets which was enough to buy the support of the DUP party. Basically money appears if it means keeping the PM in a job.
  • The Government decided that due to Brexit we needed more Ferry capacity. It unbelievably awarded a £14M contract to a company that had no ferries and had never run shipping before. Basically £14M down the pan.
  • £14M wasn’t enough for this Government so they decided to ignore Procurement Rules in the award of the Ferry contract to a company that doesn’t have any ships at all. So they got challenged by another company. To avoid an embarrassing trial the Government paid another £33M out. That’s a lot of money for no Ferries especially when Brexit was delayed so we didn’t need them anyway.
  • Not quite finished yet with Ferries. The Government paid just under £1M to have Private Consultants assess the viability of a Ferry Company that had no have Ferries. You couldn’t make this up.
  • £67M per year spent on the Royal Family.
  • The Government spent £13M on consultants over two months in a failed attempt to get MPs to back the PMs doomed Brexit proposal.
  • Over £2B has been spent on planning for a no deal Brexit.
  • The Government spent £4M on advertising to try and promote its discredited Universal Credits Policy.
  • Every year taxpayers fork out just under £1M for the PM to use the Chequers Country Estate.
  • The previous Government cut the very highest tax rate from 50% to 45%. This has cost over £8.5B.
  • The Government spent £9M on a leaflet promoting the dangers of Brexit. Now essentially the same Government is promoting the benefits of Brexit.
  • Money is tight but the Government found £55Billion to essentially build a vanity high speed train set through some of our countries finest countryside.
  • £14Billion to build another runway at Heathrow. Bugger the environmental costs. A policy so mad that even the king of buffoonery Boris Johnson said “I will lie down in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction of that third runway … Heathrow is just undeliverable, and the sooner we face that the sooner our salvation
  • The previous PM wanted his own Air Force One. So we spent £10M on one. The funny thing is that Cameron only got to fly on his plane once before he resigned.
  • Although money doesn’t grow on trees money was found to put adverts on vans and in newspapers telling potential illegal immigrants to Go Home. They then found another £200000 to pay for a study to show how good the idea was.
  • Every year Taxpayers are paying £3.7M subsidising our MPs and Lords food and drink cost when they are in Parliament. I’m still waiting for my food and drink to be subsidised.

I could go on an on but I hear you cry no more.

So the bottom line is money is available to the few when it’s needed. Sadly that does not apply to the 354,000 kids with recognised special educational needs and the countless thousands who fall through the system.

We live in hope of change. Unfortunately hope or change is not the middle name of the two chaps competing to be the new PM. They live in a different world

  • Jeremy Hunt regularly earned dividend of over £900k per year on top of his Cabinet salary. He later sold a company which earned him £15M.
  • Boris Bozo Johnson said that his cabinet salary of £141,000 was not enough for him to live on….

So no hope here then. But one day a revolution will come. We will start to get our priorities right and our society will start looking after the many and not the few…

That’s probably got me blacklisted on the American Visa system now and will certainly have pissed off several million in my own country…..

96 thoughts on “Priorities

  1. We can make efforts to learn the rules of the game. But why bother, it’s not a game we’re going to find ourselves on the winning side unless some dramatic changes happen. And God only knows what that could look like.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My son did a presentation at a local government meeting (township level). They had a proposal on the table that went against their own rules. They went through with their proposal seeming to ignore the details of their own bylaws that he pointed out. His initial comment was that it was a waste of effort. I pointed out that you can’t expect to win every battle but that doesn’t mean the war is over.
        As you point out, if you keep applying pressure and point out the liabilities they are creating they will start thinking twice about their decisions.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s shit isn’t it Gary. And I think we need to get our politicians and throw them into the buggest cow pats we can find. They stink anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It seems like the human race is doomed to repeat history. The U.S. is obviously just as bad. When the popular vote doesn’t count and the Orange Idiot sits it the big chair ranting on Twitter while the 1% become the 0.5% we know it’s broken.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Why do you think I upped sticks and moved to France? Although the French moan – they love a good moan – about the fall in living standards, both education and the health service are brilliant.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I say send a letter to your MP, listing what you have written here and end it with why can’t my son have a decent education?
    Then start the list of what your son needs, but not getting. You would have a great letter there.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Just yesterday, I read of the Jewish feast of the Passover. It marked the ending of a time, and the beginning of another. The ending of subjugation and slavery. The beginning of hope. Not all sugar and light but a new journeying to a better life.

    I hope the Passover comes soon for you and your boy.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. A commenter suggested that you make a letter of your post here and send it to your MP. Maybe you should – and send it to as many people, to as many news portals, magazines etc. To journalists even.

        Sometimes all it takes to start a revolution is one person.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Sad stuff for your son who cannot promise any returns on investment. Not that promises amount to a hill o’ beans!
    I have my own pet peeve when it comes to Government subsidies (it is turning into billions) paid to Drax to basically burn old growth American forests in its biomass power plant in Yorkshire.
    The World has gone bonkers.
    We little people just don’t count. We are just in the way…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Drax Biomass is an American company operating in the US (creating wood pellets biomass from supposedly waste timber product, in reality, from whole trees from old growth forests in the South Eastern seaboard of the US. They have just opened a huge biomass making unit in Louisiana). The pellets are shipped to the UK to burn in the biggest power station in the UK, also owned by Drax. Drax have purchased lots of our coal fired power stations and at least two energy companies here in the UK. It takes double the weight in Wood pellets (three times the mass) to produce the same power as coal. It produces more greenhouse gases but clever accountancy argues that trees can be planted to offset it. Our Government subsidises this absolute madness, because no UK trees are burned as it has to be shown as completely balanced and sustainable. What Drax hide, is the absolutely terrible destruction of forest in the US and Canada for biomass production. Make no mistake, the tree replanting (when or if it occurs), is for hardwood or pine monocultures. The biodiversity of North American Forests are under attack, and most people are completely unaware of it. The sad thing is, by the time they realise, the animals and the old growth forests will be gone. Check out the documentary ‘Burned!’
        I will post the link here (if allowed?)
        https://www.linktv.org/shows/burned-are-trees-the-new-coal?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for this information. I actually live close to Drax but had no idea about any of the rest. This is totally shocking!

        At the same time, while the British government and Drax are patently wrong on various levels, so are those who allow the US and Canadian forests to be cut down and shipped here.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. There are Billions to be earned. Many of the American and Canadian Timber companies are private. They are not accountable. In Louisiana (a very poor US state), Drax has a bigger plant than the adjacent Timber facility and many more logs on site ready to go into the production of pellets (made with the use of chemicals). I don’t know what the Drax facility cost, but the adjacent saw mill was 115 million to build. The Govenor of Louisiana has spent 12 million and committed another 20 million to improve the rail lines from the plant to Baton Rouge port… Specifically to ship to the UK and Europe. There are hundreds of Biomass making facilities opening next year as Timber companies are racing to make as much as 200,000 to 300,000 tons of wood pellets per year in each facility. Drax say officially, that they burn 20,000 tons of biomass per day. It is a lot more than that if you count the trains, count the cars on each train going into Drax. Each car on the train can hold 90 tons.

        Aplogies to Gary, this has taken up your space, but I am absolutely furious about what I have found with a little research. I have approached Friends of the Earth, and Biofuel Watch, but they are not interested in this big political fight (Drax are very powerful). The Natural Defence Resource Council (NRDC) in the US are trying to fight this, but even they, with their 500 lawyers can’t seem to get a grip over the Timber lobbies. Oh and the Forestry Association in Louisiana (supposed to protect forests) is run and membershiped by timber company, paper company bosses, and hedge fund managers. The industry is wrapped up tight.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes, it should us all angry.
        Anyway, it is disappointing that FoE are uninterested in taking up the case (so far). It seems to me the information about Drax needs to be made known in the wider public domain so that more and more of the public can voice their concerns.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. People pick battles based on what they think will succeed. I was given the email of the director of FOE UK, but they said that I had sent my research the them erroneously, and sent it to their relations department. They sent me a very pat reply.. And a nice pdf on their position on biomass (a very careful piece about it only being useful if completely sustainable). They told me that they were not doing anything in this regard (they have a tree plant campaign going), and sent me off to Biofuel Watch who are running an ‘Axe Drax’ campaign. It is a small group who run local protests, and doesn’t have many resources. So far, my email to them has been ignored.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. To appease the UK Government, Drax have done a little CO2 capture on the Selby plant. They are going to feed it into a greenhouse growing tomatoes in their little nature reserve that hides waste piles. Drax will build a new facility (not sure what exactly) on the wetland reclaimation on the Humber (Able Ports Ltd). The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Environmental Agency fought that wetland loss tooth and nail, but our illustrious Government, in two rather quiet hearings allowed ‘The Marine Development Park’ to go ahead, as long as ‘Able’ build an adjacent nature reserve. The ground is being prepared now.
        Money talks. The rights of people and Wildlife are cast to the wind.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Indeed. I am glad at least that Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency put up a fight against the wetland loss. It is also fortunate that there is a fair amount of wetland round here but if the government is still hell bent on another runway for Heathrow and HS2, it is going to be a continuous uphill battle to get Drax stopped.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Self-fulfilling prophecy maybe… but yes with so much to choose from, where does one start.

        Another reason to switch the light off when leaving the room…

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Sorry for the rant… You did ask why American wood? And I did say Drax is my pet peeve! 😉 I didn’t really mean to blast you full force with it. Frustration leads to, well, ranting! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      10. A lot of it isn’t waste. When the timber companies log, they clear cut in dense forest where people can’t see. The smaller trees (not timber worthy) go directly to biomass. If you look at Drax’s own process video (of how they make pellets), it shows small trees going into the feeder unit for removal of bark, which can’t be used. The rest is chipped washed, pulverised, and then reformed into pellets. Off cuts from timber yes, but not enough of them to power the world. Drax do not operate a tree replanting scheme. They leave that to timber companies (whom they also blame if anyone pokes them with a finger on the sustainability issue. All very convenient. Private timber companies can hide their books.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. If only the facts would be presented as you have done in all the newspapers and on TV. Part of the problem these days is that with so much choice in how we gather information it is too too easy to filter out anything which doesn’t fit a person’s personal values paradigm.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m sure you’ve only scratched the tip of the iceberg…

    I’m also sure similar lists can be validly determined for every country’s government be they democratic, socialist, republics, communist, caliphates or dicatorships.

    There are those with the fleece and then there are those who do the fleecing – ever it was thus and we never, ever learn.

    I did a little investigating of my own recently… you’re probably not going to like it very much… but i doubt it will come as that much of a surprise either.

    Check your mail.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s so sickening to see how the top really benefits and the rest of us don’t. And when you break it down like this the message really hits home as the situation is similar in America. Hoping for change….still……

    Liked by 1 person

  11. No better here. Am fighting for oxygen concentrater for maks I wear to sleep which only keep me alive when I lay down. The eldery are expendable in USA.:*(

    Like

  12. At least you haven’t had to spend some $340 million for your P.M. to fly to a different place to play golf every weekend! But I hear you … it is the same here. We will go deeper in debt if it’s something that benefits the top 1% of the people, but cannot find the money for special education, health care, food & housing for the poor, etc. Now it is said he is planning to cut our Social Security … money that we paid into all our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In modern England I am now seen as unpatriotic. Seen as a problem. Strangely they don’t do a Yorkshire branch of Harrods. As I have a face for radio I suspect they wouldn’t even let me through the front door. Hundreds of years ago my ancestors would scrape a living shovelling muck. Nothing much changes in our family. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh as a Midwesterner I’m automatically a hick who has no plumbing, lives with cows, and is ready to shoot something instead of talkin’ good. We’re nothing here. America is California, the East Coast, and parts of Florida. (They like to pretend they pay attention to us by including Chicago, but we all know better.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We have our designated roles. You do get broken plumbing but we get that. In the Tolkien movies Yorkshire was the go to accent for main characters who became mad with evil power then heroically died. Which makes a refreshing change from flat caps and whippets.

        Liked by 1 person

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