Austerity is an institutional thing. We all know it’s a Tory policy, a cover for cutting public services, wages and social support for the vulnerable. It’s also about redistributing the savings to the better off . But it’s not just the Tory Government. It’s the Tory Parliamentary MPs. It’s the Tory local councillors. It’s Tory Party supporters.
It gets worse. All the managers involved in implementing the cuts have signed up to the Austerity ideology. Those managers are the ones who have to make the cuts. OK, they may only be doing their job. It starts at the very top. But then it goes through lots of people before it reaches the victim.
It’s so easy to put all the blame on the Government. But there are millions conscientiously doing their duty, implementing the cuts, even more ignoring the cuts, and a few enthusiastically supporting cuts. Just doing their job. If you work in the public services you cannot help but be complicit in implementing cuts.
You can argue. You can protest. You can strike. But if you do nothing, sooner or later you are going to be working with the cuts.Even worse if you are a senior manager in a public service. You are making the decisions on where, and on who, the cuts will fall.
School heads, NHS Managers, Job Centre Staff, Social Care Managers, the list goes on. And you will also be responsible for the erosion of pay for millions of workers, particularly if you are an elected local government Councillor or Officer.
When Sir Ivan Rogers resigned, his email was leaked.
The message to the staff who worked for him was clear. He said, “For my part, I hope that in my day-to-day dealings with you I have demonstrated the values which I have always espoused as a public servant. I hope you will continue to challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking and that you will never be afraid to speak the truth to those in power”.
We should all challenge power, whatever level that power operates at. We are all complicit to a greater or lesser degree in the evil of the Tory Austerity Policy.
What are we going to do about that? Follow instructions or fight back? We have a choice just like the Tories.