Government gives us that sinking feeling

PICTURE this: A completely competent government, capable of pre-empting where taxpayers’ money would logically be utilised best, not to mention being able to find the unstitched trouser pockets somehow managing to let government budgets slip through their

An ideal world, right? But a far cry from the realisation in Britain today.

There has been an issue in Rotherham that has come to a head recently, stemming purely from the government’s decision to make cuts to the NHS, directly affecting Rotherham Hospital...not to mention the incompetent computer system the hospital have had imposed on them.

Even as a young teen, I struggle to decide where the government’s common sense seems to have got lost in recent years.

At least the Labour Party actually had their priorities correct, putting the people before their ego-consuming image.

But then again they do say you’re either born with brains or common sense (or that’s what my mum used to inform me when I’d come out with a rather stupid comment) and it seems our coalition MPs weren’t first in line when the latter was being given out.

However, more to the point, surely with the growing population and increased immigration rates, it is in fact common sense that tells me and every other human apart from those with the power to take action, that this means we should be expanding our healthcare facilities, not cutting the NHS by £20 billion nationwide by 2015.

The government see this as a target, but I see it as an unnecessary farce. I could understand if the NHS budget had been raised and not made sufficient change.

But a recent BBC article stated: “The (NHS) budget is only rising by 0.1 per cent a year this parliament — the longest sustained period of virtually zero growth.”

I’m not naive, I know that for a country to function effectively, money needs to be cut in times of need from the most logical of places.

But this makes no sense to me, unless it is in fact just me that is missing the point here?

What is shocking me, and raising questions in a lot of Rotherham youth, is how have the current government managed to get their priorities so wrong?

And as if I wasn’t confused enough, a good friend of mine informed me a while ago of the headlines in the news that day, that I feel perfectly sums up where the coalition prioritise their spending.

The first: That necessary cuts are to be made to cancer treatment in the UK.

I thought: “Okay, if they’re necessary, as long as it will be given top priority when money is freed from elsewhere.”

The second: That the government has awarded a £1.2 billion submarine contract to BAE systems based in Scotland, for one submarine called HMS Audacious (Audacious having a dictionary definition of being “recklessly bold in defiance of convention, propriety, law, or the like; insolent, brazen”. (Rather ironic, don’t you think?)

The boat is number four of seven to be funded by Britain.

Fancy name...but I’m sorry, what? All this comes after the coalition’s declared plans for the army to be cut to 82,000 personnel by 2020.

The Treaty of Versailles signed in 1919 by the allies cut the German army to 100,000 personnel as a reparation for the war.

Our troops are fighting a war and still they are expected to amount to less than what was deemed a punishment nearly 100 years ago?

Yet our government will still invest another £1.5 billion into each of three more submarines due to our “balanced budget”.

Balanced? Was I hearing this right yet again? That’s a wasted £4.5 billion on sinking boxes!

I had to double take the information I had just received and question absolutely everything I ever thought I knew about government spending.

The government are willing to invest in a box that can sink, over the price of the lives of hundreds of thousands of humans who are diagnosed with cancer every year.

In 2009, the last accurate figures we have to go on given by Cancer Research UK, 320,467 people were diagnosed with cancer in the UK alone.

If figures are anywhere near that number in the past year, who are the government to even think of cutting the treatment that gives these people the best possible chance they have, when they’re putting money into sinking boxes?

The government could have at least attempted to keep these little bouts of information from running alongside each other as though they were of equal importance.

Maybe, if big corporations paid the relevant tax for their income, less radical decisions like this would be made.

It seems, just when the youth of today start gaining trust from the government, just like after the recent September/October conferences, they make us realise why we are so afraid to step into the “big wide world” all over again.

Francesca Edwards, Politics student, Wickersley Sixth Form