Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 01/09/23

Kite Flying For Beginners

"Now listen to me, junior plebs!

"We can't possibly make sure that there will be safe healthcare for you when you're an infant (and our dear chums in senior hospital management agree with us)

"We can't possibly ensure that the school that you go to will not fall on your head, because we slashed the maintenance budget to cut the taxes of 'wealth creators' and corporate donors (and our dear chums across the floor of the House agree with us)

"If you're capable enough to get into higher education, we'll saddle you with a five-figure debt for the rest of your lives (and our dear chums across the floor of the House agree with us)

"If you have two siblings older than you, then we'd rather see you starve; it's your feckless parents' fault (and our dear chums across the floor of the House agree with us)

"And if you decide to be so rude and inconsiderate as to actually protest against it, we will get Our Brave Boys In Blue™ to beat you up, fit you up and stitch you up, and get our complaisant judiciary to bang you up and fuck you up (because that's what we did last time, and our dear chums across the floor of the House agree with us, just as they did then)

"But we can offer you a golden opportunity to serve your King and Country...erm...I mean, your community (whatever one of those is) by getting you to volunteer to do the shitty work which used to be done by people whom we can't afford to pay to do them anymore because we have to be fiscally responsible (and our dear chums across the floor of the House agree with us)

"And if you don't volunteer, you'll be automatically enrolled in the scheme anyway and we'll use what's left of the Social Security system to beat you into compliance, so that you'll have to 'volunteer' after all; we have to keep the money going to those 'service providers' like G4S and Capita whose many successes are the stuff of legend.

"So get measured for your orange jumpsuits and be prepared to salute the portrait of His Majesty which will be hung on the wall of your Re-education Centre, and feel that you're making your Glorious contribution to Our Glorious Nation's Glorious future!"

This is all, of course, kite flying of a particularly obvious and cynical kind. Even leaving aside the extreme likelihood of such a system being implemented in a completely half-arsed way by people with no knowledge or experience (merely 'connections' to the ruling Úlite), we know that it could never work without engendering so much resistance as to become Poll Tax 2.0, and even the dimmest of right-wing authoritarian bulbs remember how it turned out back then.

But that's not the point, is it? The purpose is to appeal to that ample portion of the Great British Public™ which is not merely reactionary towards 'ver daaahkies' but towards young people as an entire demographic. Rather like that pineapple-clad sector who believe that they 'wun der wo-wah' even when they were born two decades or more after hostilities ceased, and who think that shoving teenagers into enforced, unpaid servitude is just fine (so long as their own sweet little brats aren't entangled in it of course, at which point it suddenly morphs into Nanny State Oppression). This, of course, merely augments the standard Brit hangover from Puritanism which manifests itself in high dudgeon that someone you disapprove of may be enjoying themselves somewhere.

(The deep layer of authoritarianism in that cohort - and in English society more broadly - may be assayed by a new poll from YouGov showing (amongst other things) that 55% want CCTV in all public spaces, 54% want compulsory ID cards, 50% want everyone's fingerprints on file, the same percentage want the spooks to be able to force mobile phone manufacturers to unlock anyone's phone, and more want everyone's DNA profile to be taken than don't want it)

So, if this ridiculous scheme ever comes even slightly into effect, any young person who says, "Hey! How about giving us properly-funded and properly-supervised health care, properly-funded and properly-maintained schools and colleges (without loading us with a forever debt), proper support for our families, youth centres and jobs we will be paid a living wage for doing? If you can't do any of that, you can shove your Great British National Service 'volunteering' up Snarly Charly's arse with a red-hot poker!", they will have my full and enthusiastic support.