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Tuesday 10 July 2012

First They Came

I hope you'll allow me a political post, but something is happening in Britain today that worries me terribly. Since the coalition came to power they have lurched from group to group, aiming to cut pay, cut benefits, cut pensions. Their policy for selling these cuts to the public has been the classic divide and rule 'they're getting something that you're not'. So far they have targeted the disabled, the public sector workers, the students, and the welfare claimants. Today's target is pensioners. In response to this trend, James O'Brien (LBC radio) draws his listeners' attention to the speech by the German pastor Martin Neimöller, 'First They Came'. I should point out that this speech was written to account for the inactivity of the German people during the rise of Nazism. It's not without a certain relevance today, however:

FIrst they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

When you're not in the group being targeted by the government it's easy to nod your approval of the cuts. After all, the country needs to save money. But how long will it be before they find a way to target you? And how curious it is that while the richest have been given tax cuts, the most vulnerable have been given benefit cuts.
Political rant over, stepping down from the soap-box. Normal service shall now resume.

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