Tuesday 11 August 2015

IDS and Ms Mone: A match Made In Heaven?

Iain Duncan Smith and Michelle Mone;

Now, there’s a combination to send shivers up the spine. Putting the two of them together under a Tory banner to encourage a surge of entrepreneurship amongst the unemployed and disadvantaged, to produce a resurgence in this island’s ‘nation of shopkeepers’ is a bit like grabbing a beautiful but totally mis-sized article of Michelle’s design. You’ll end up with eye candy to admire, but something which utterly lacks any form of real support.

Before this project even starts it’s a busted flush, and whoever even thought about it when the answers are already self evident really needs to be taken behind closed doors for a damned good spanking.

It’s because the answers are so self evident, that corporal, or even capital punishment needs used here.

Now consider the announcement; effectively they want to ‘take us back to being a nation of shopkeepers’.

All you need to do instead of traipsing around the country on what is effectively a publicity exercise, each time being twanged back to Westminster faster than an overstretched knicker elastic could possibly manage, is look back to see why that situation doesn’t exist any more, and what might be needed to be done by government to recreate the conditions under which it flourished, rather than what’s being done here, which is a bit like Michelle embroidering a flower on a bra cup and waiting for it to bloom.

I can answer this, because from Germany to the Dominican Republic, I can speak of a uniformity of what makes this possible. These places do exist, but they’re as easily killed off as day long comfort when you buy Michelle’s products only for their visual impact.

These places have very few chain super-stores; in fact it’s often legislatively punitive for them to enter these markets. These countries often put different tax rates simply based on floor space. Huge stores can pay double per meter what small ones do. Such systems, or their alternatives, are quite effective in encouraging individual entrepreneurship.

Otherwise, no matter what anyone tries, you’re not going to compete. The buying power of the big franchises means they get the volume discounts – your small startup company doesn’t. If they can’t buy you out, they’ll drive you under with ‘loss leaders’ before they jack the prices back up again; you only need look to the spread of Wal-Mart throughout US cities and the demise of the “Mon n Pop” shops. If you come up with something truly innovative, you just might make it, but it’s not guaranteed. This is because the financing is all pretty much tied up in big corporate or the City, and as just another unemployed wannabe, it’s not impossible to succeed in this system, but it’s a real struggle. You could compare it to old Lord Sewell trying to properly fill out one of Michelle’s bras. He’s proven willing, but no matter how hard he tries his favourite coloured one just never seems to fit right. And so it goes with finance packages that might be offered to any would-be entrepreneur coming from the ranks of the unemployed. (NB. Westminster’s a bit kinder than calling our unfortunate masses the great unwashed these days, no matter that their actions demonstrate it is how we’re still considered).

Firstly, legislation needs to be enacted that will level the playing field between the big girls and the little girls on the block. However with vested interests, corruption and lobbying at Westminster, there’s about as much chance of that happening as a prayer to God by Ms Mone asking for all girls to be made the same size, and suddenly half the population would have identical boobs thus streamlining her manufacturing costs. Essentially then if you can’t change the fundamentals, you’re stuck with what you’ve got. What you’ve got is the system which permitted or even encouraged the demise of the entrepreneur – like different sized boobs; it’s a fact of life.

The other thing which isn’t being acknowledged because evidently this UK government is incapable of seeing it, is that while every life is special, valued and cherished, we’re not all created equally. Some will only ever be capable, or even comfortable in more basic capacities, while others will thrive in challenge. As a generality those in the second group tend not to be on the unemployment line for extended periods while the former certainly wouldn’t be there either if they could find a way out. The former tend to need the latter to help them along, the latter need the former to help them truly succeed. In other words, a society that truly integrates people of all abilities to ensure everyone benefits. The UK is like a shop window today, where only Michelle’s best selling lines are out for display, while the bargain-bin items that really didn’t fly off the shelves are like the disadvantaged in our society; they’re quietly sacrificed on a bonfire of the vanities out the back. Let's be honest, blaming the disadvantaged for their situation without allowing or creating ways for them to change it, is vain indeed.

For us Scots and especially those who voted ‘No’ last year, we can only look back and wonder why we did not grasp the thistle. We know the result was mostly founded on Project Fear, yet like one of Michelle’s broken knicker elastics, it might have be unpleasant for a bit or cause a little temporary difficulty, but resourceful people do get past problems, and we know for sure – Scots are resourceful people. We’re resourceful enough to understand that with Holyrood, we might have accountability, with Westminster, we never will.

Ask a ‘No’ voter under those circumstances, why they cast their vote that way. For by understanding ‘No’ is the only way ‘Yes’ will prevail.

Next time we need to say yes, even if it’s only to avoid the picture in our media of Lord Sewell again modeling what Michelle works to produce. For surely not one of us can point to that image and say – “Uh huh – that’s my Country, that’s my Union – I’m so glad I voted for that!”

Finally, on a serious note, ‘No’ voters should also be aware that every time there’s a suicide, a terminal patient forced back into work, either of which seem to happen numerous times on a daily basis through Westminster’s uncaring and unaccountable policies, that they too are responsible for that, and when the day comes that it’s one of their family? Well don’t moan, because it too was your choice.

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