Don’t worry, I’m not going to rant about those crackpot conspiracy theorists again. Not that they aren’t still out there peddling their deluded versions of the ‘truth’ to the unwary. But I’ve had my fill of them for the time being – there are more pressing issues at hand. Like those bastard bloodsports enthusiasts raising their ugly heads again. Just the other day I caught part of an episode of Countryfile which – at the expense of licence fee payers like me – gave a platform to these morons to try and argue a case for fox hunting. Excuse me? I really do object to my licence fee being used to allow a bunch of over privileged pillocks to try and convince everyone else that it is OK to break the law. Because that’s what they are advocating – blood sports have been illegal in this country for the past decade or so. A move, incidentally, which had overwhelming popular support. But a little thing like that has never bothered our supposed social betters, who, in the programme I saw, were busy enlisting the support of various heavily subsidised farmers to tell us how those bloody foxes have been running riot since hunting them down with people on horseback and having them ripped to pieces by hounds was outlawed. Apparently they’re getting so cocky that they’ve taken to creeping up to farmhouses, pressing their faces against the windows and mocking farmers and their families by sticking their tongues out and flicking V-signs at them as they huddle round their fires.

But fox hunting has nothing to do with keeping down the numbers of vermin. Trust me, if you need to cull fox numbers to protect farm livestock, there are far more efficient and humane ways of doing it. No, it’s all about blood lust. These scumbags like to hunt because they are bloodthirsty bastards. Just look at the sorts of people who ride with the hunts: Prince Philip and Prince Charles. We know they are bloodthirsty bastards – everyone knows that Prince Philip murdered Diana and probably the Queen Mother too, and Charles is always trying to off his mother so as to ascend to the throne. According to those crackpot conspiracy theorists I’m not going to mention, that is. But what I really hate about the hunting lobby is what they represent – a residual form of feudalism which this country can’t seem to shake off. The whole point of the hunt is that they believe they have the right to go wherever they please, whenever they please, in pursuit of their quarry. Boundaries and land ownership mean nothing to them – if the hounds come through your garden in pursuit of a fox and maul your pet cat to death, well, that’s just tough luck, peasant. It’s the way of the countryside, apparently. These arseholes riding around in their red coats, blowing horns and the like, are a visual and very physical reminder that the class system is far from dead and that there is still an elite who can, quite literally, ride roughshod over the ‘lower orders’.

The fact that these bastards are emboldened enough to start agitating for a re-legalisation of hunting shows just how successful this nightmare of a government we’ve had to endure for nearly five years, has been in its mission to create a state of neo-feudalism in the UK. The growth of zero hours contracts, which effectively shifts all the power in the workplace to the employer, leaving workers with next to rights, is another example of this creeping neo-feudalism. And invoking the spectre of feudalism is no exaggeration, as these types of contracts effectively binds a worker to a single employer, preventing them from taking other employment opportunities as they wait by the phone for the call to come in a for a few hours of low paid drudgery. The growth of agency work in some areas of employment has had a similar effect, trapping increasing numbers of low paid workers into patterns of poorly paid casual work with no long-term job security. Perhaps where the government has been most successful is in demonising those on low incomes, subjecting those on benefits to ludicrous ‘sanctions’ for the slightest infringement of the ever more ridiculous rules imposed upon claimants. Equally bad, has been their forcing of long-term claimants onto so-called ‘work experience’ schemes which are nothing more than schemes to provide hugely profitable corporations with unpaid labour. Unpaid by them, of course – why should they have to eat into their profits just to pay people when they can get us taxpayers to subsidise them? Because that is exactly what forcing people on benefits to stack shelves for the likes of Tesco is doing.

Yes indeed, the whole concept of people ‘earning their benefits’ now seems to be an accepted norm, despite the fact that it is a contradiction in terms – the whole point of ‘benefits’ are that they are given to people who, for one reason or another, be it redundancy, illness, disability or just lack of current employment opportunities, are unable to earn money through employment, in order to support them through these temporary difficulties. They don’t have to ‘earn’ them as they will either have already paid in for them when they were working, or will, in their future employment pay for them. Sure, there will be a relatively small number who, because of serious illness or disability, will never be able to fund conventional employment, but hell, shouldn’t we, as a civilised nation, help them out? The same applies to those who, for various reasons, are employed, but can’t earn enough to actually live – why should we begrudge them a basic standard of living, even if it means subsidising them through benefits? Besides, it could all too easily be us who find ourselves in a such a situation – wouldn’t we want to be treated with compassion?

Except that this government has effectively killed compassion in our society. Just look at current attitudes to benefits claimants, immigrants, the disabled, even the old – all of them are frequently characterised as being somehow sub-human, not deserving of full human rights or even proper respect. They’re non-productive therefore they have no value in our neo-feudal siciety, so why should we care about them? Indeed, why should we care about anything? Human rights, health and safety, standards of public service – they’re all just things which restrict private capital’s ‘right’ to make profits – so they aren’t worth caring about, are they? That’s certainly the way it feels in the public sector right now, believe me. Customer service has been redefined as simply hitting a series of sabitrary targets which have nothing to do with quality, standards or provision of public service -because the kind of talentless, soulless, career-chising robots who now occupy most management positions don’t give a shit about such things. For those of us who still care about the concept of public service, it’s heartbreaking. But nobody cares about what we think, either. We’re dinosaurs. So, with a general election due in just a few months, I’d like you all to ask yourselves, what kind of society do we want to live in? One where the most needy are vilified and treated with contempt, where the concept of public service guided by compassion is derided and where just to earn a living you have to give up your rights? Or would you rather live in a society where we treat each other with the respect we deserve for simply being human beings, where you aren’t constantly in thrall to the rich and privileged, where our public places and services aren’t constantly given over to private interests as means for them to make profits at our expense and where we care for our sick and needy through public services devoted to the greater good? I’m not saying that any of the parties contesting the next election are either capable of, or want to, deliver the latter, but I think we all know the ones who are interested only in pursuing the former, unpalatable, proposition.

Doc Sleaze