It Comes at a Price

It comes at a price, this so-called reform
That has taken the US and Britain by storm.
When Marx was a threat they looked over their shoulders
And had to throw bones to the common house-holders,
Offering benefits — dole, pensions, health,
And tax on the rich to re-distribute wealth.
But the Soviets gone and the Left in decline,
The neo-(hah!) liberals can be less benign.

It started with High Priests who came from Chicago,
Determined to place a no-turn-back embargo
On national health schemes and help for the poor,
On social security, dole pay and more.
Privatization became the new fashion,
Prescribed for the world with a dogmatic passion.
This brand of religion’s a thing to behold!
Those treasures we paid for are now bought and sold.

"So much more efficient, so much less a drain,
Things work so much better for corporate gain.
Just look at the Germans! Just look at the French!
Their rate of employment make capitalists blench!
The unions, bureaucracy, benefits, rules,
Show them to be, economically, fools!
Thus the mean-minded can act the pacesetter,
While the French way of life is demonstrably better.
Caring for sick people, helping the poor,
Are cruelly dismissed by the rich who want more.
You can swallow your hat, stand on it, doff it,
You don’t get a service unless we can profit.

So where are we now in this new paradigm?
I would argue one outcomes an increase in crime.
If there’s no safety net and no hope, well you feel it,
And if you can't earn it at least you can steal it.
I’d argue poor funding for state education
Is the start of decline for a prosperous nation.
Work pressure is greater, the hours of work longer,
The loyalty's gone, your self-interest’s stronger.
Why do you care if the company thrives?
There’s no more career, you’re a cat with nine lives.
To hell with the boss and his business, you’re thinking
And you live for your mates and the pub and the drinking.

The conventionally sick can still find a cure,
But God help the patient whose ills are obscure!
God help the middle-aged thrown out of work!
God help the indigent, crazy, berserk!
Pity the mother alone with four kids,
And the pension-less women and men on the skids.
God help the institutionalized old;
If you don’t have the cash then you’re out in the cold.

We used to believe we should all share and care,
But gradually we see what’s happening here,
(Un-protested by media who cannot be trusted)
The old Social Contract is terminally busted.
And creeping upon us the ultimate bungle:
A return to the biblical law of the jungle!
And here in the UK do "socialists care?
No! The biggest neo-(hah!) liberal is Blair.

October 2004