I am not a Conservative voter. Never have been, probably never will be (by “probably” I mean “definitely” while considering the possibility that hell might, one day, freeze over).
However, I do feel that when Theresa May isn’t rubbing her hands in glee, Cruella de Ville-like, at the thought of bringing back fox-hunting, or barking out “Brexit means Brexit” (made-up word with no clear definition means exactly the same made-up word with no clear definition) she’s actually rather good fun. I can almost convince myself that the knowledge that she stands to gain a landslide majority has sent her a tiny bit bonkers, to the extent that she’s now trolling her own supporters.
The latest evidence of this comes in her manifesto proposal to tackle the problem of funding for elderly social care by, essentially, making people who’ve got the money pay for it, even if that money is tied up in their homes. And let’s make it clear, she’s not being a heartless, moustache-twirling Victorian villain here. Elderly people aren’t going to be thrown out onto the streets, the cost of their care will be taken from the sale proceeds when the house is no longer needed.
This has caused considerable consternation among Conservative voters. Apparently, people who’ve worked all their lives shouldn’t have to spend their savings on the care they need when they’re old. Clearly I’m missing something here. I thought the whole idea of saving for your old age was so you’d have the money to pay for the things you need in the aforementioned old age. Like food, heating, lighting and … social care. Let’s face it, if you need someone to help you wash and dress in the morning you’re unlikely to be spending your money on round the world cruises.
But this idea hasn’t gone down well with Conservative voters. According to them, the state should pay for elderly care because they’ve “worked hard and paid our taxes”. That would be the same state that can’t afford to properly fund the Health Service. The same taxes that are insufficient to properly fund the Health Service.
As our lifespans increase so does the number of elderly people on the planet. The elderly have expensive health and social care needs and they deserve to have those needs met. I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting all elderly people to know that they will live out their lives in comfort and dignity without worrying about what will happen if they become unable to look after themselves.
So how do those complaining about this policy propose we pay for elderly care? Higher taxes? Fine by me. Scrap Trident and put the money to better use? Bring it on. Close hospitals and schools, take money from the police and fire services? Everything has a cost. Improved government-funded services have to be paid for in higher taxes or reduced spending somewhere else. Lower taxes have to be paid for in cuts to essential services. What do Conservative voters want?
If I reach the stage of needing care then I’m happy to contribute towards that care if I have the money. If I don’t then I hope the state will be able to pay for it. And if I’m a feckless workshy wastrel (which I’m not) well sadly that happens but a civilised society just accepts that some people are like that and looks after them because we moved away from the concept of deserving and undeserving poor long ago.
I’m not a Conservative voter but I’m not sure that I am a good fit with any political party, probably because I’m prepared to acknowledge the merit in Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat and sometimes even Conservative policies. And on this particular issue I have a degree of sympathy with Theresa May.