After announcing their preference for the married over those not (un)fortunate enough to be, the Tories’ latest brainwave is to boldly declare that they’re on the side of ‘hard-working families’, whatever they are. As someone who is neither married, nor hard-working, nor a family, I must confess to feeling more than a tad left out of the Tory tent, left out to the extent of almost being picked on. Maybe I’m being hypersensitive, I dunno?
It is of course one of those bullshit politico phrases that is designed to look like it’s appealing to everybody, while referring to (and excluding) very few people in particular at the same time. Basically, anyone who lives in a house where someone gets up in the morning with the intention of doing something vaguely useful for money can claim that it is a reference to them, that it means the Tories are on their side. I remember the phrase ‘catch-all policy’ from my days of self-tuition in the dark arts of politics. Now, in an age where the tribal battle has little value beyond that of the theatrical, we’re expected to give three cheers and a standing ovation to ‘catch-all slogans’, which are every bit as useless as they sound.
There’s a basic flaw with the slogan itself, one which can be drilled through merely with the application of common sense and/or the benefit of personal experience. Isn’t it possible for some members of the same family to be much more hard-working that others? What if someone is working really hard while his or her partner isn’t? Or if both parents are burning the midnight oil, but the kids happen to list playing truant and starting fires amongst their hobbies? Do they still qualify as a ‘hard-working family’ or not? Would a majority Tory government favour some sort of grading system, perhaps running from A to E, dependant on the behaviour of individual family members , which determined whether or not they were ‘on your side’?
Or should we just call it quits, admit that the phrase is complete bollocks, and agree to stop using it? Immediately?
This has become part of a clumsy lexicon aimed at turning most of society against ‘non-working families’, where the curtains stay drawn until 11am, daytime television replaces the grind of a day’s work (I’ve always thought that daytime television is made deliberately dreadful so it does not become a tempting alternative) and a fortnightly game takes place where the aim is to ‘cheat the social’ and wring it for as much as one can. Personally, I’d like to see a very different approach taken to those real scroungers as opposed to genuine victims of economic failure, proud individuals who have found themselves unemployed through no fault of their own. But I couldn’t help laughing my balls off when it was announced that the long-term unemployed would be forced to work in the voluntary sector.
Do we really need to explore the utter fucking stupidity of that sentence? Thought not, swiftly moving on…
Meanwhile, this hard-working vs non-working families debate appears to exclude what is essentially the majority of the population. I’d call us lethargic families, where adults would rather not work if they had the choice, play the Martha and the Muffins song, Echo Beach over in their heads, but pretend to be interested in something that doesn’t generate a great deal of enthusiasm, before going home at the earliest opportunity. Meanwhile, the kids, prior to having their youthful intuition knocked out of them, recognise formal education as the parcel of bollocks and false promises that it is, but manage to get through the ordeal without being expelled, have a stab at the endless stream of exams and maybe, if they’re lucky, discover something that vaguely interests them.
Now this is the civilised world that I actually recognise, so:- Lethargic Families of Britain, know that I believe in and support you, while remaining firmly on your side. Let’s face it, nobody else is. Take it easy.