Nov 2 2011: A Considered and Not at All Unreasonable Musing on the Nature of Present Austerity Measures (November 2011)

I figured I might as well post this up here. It’s not the most highbrow thing I’ve ever written, but when the first (and, as things turned out, also last) stanzas popped into my head the other night, complete and from nowhere, exactly as they appear here, I think I got a bit carried away with the basic rhythm of it and knocked up a load of similar thoughts in the same metre. It took about 15 minutes to write the whole thing, another twenty (give or take) to edit it, and these facts probably show. If there’s a message here, beyond the obvious, it’s ‘stop calling what’s been going on ‘austerity’ because this flatters it’. Making a big show of cutting relatively tiny but extremely damaging amounts from some budgets while pissing away billions through the back doors of privatisations and things like PFI is not ‘austerity’ at all, and opposing cuts and attacks on the poor on these terms just plays right into the hands of those pretending it is. It’s more akin to someone lecturing the neighbours his actions are bankrupting about clipping tuppence-off coupons from magazines that cost a fiver while sneaking off to lose thousands every night at the roulette tables in their names. It’s idiocy not austerity.

A Considered and Not at All Unreasonable Musing on the Nature of Present Austerity Measures

When the shit-thick, crooked and rich inept
join forces with a wealthy Baronet
pray tell me, then, what will you get?
Austerity, that’s what.

When billions are wasted on PFI
and subsidies paid out to ply
those who’ll gain when it’s privatized?
That’s Austerity, that is.

When discredited credit-ratings firms
twist each and every elected arm
by threatening to downgrade the farm?
That’s Austerity, that is.

When corporations fill their sacks,
regulators don’t watch our backs
and lobbyists pay MPs in cash?
That’s Austerity, that is.

When libraries shut but money’s found
to put a foreigner in the ground
and keep bent lawyers close at hand?
That’s Austerity, that is.

When someone from the CBI
strips a workforce of its rights
then blames the need to globalize?
That’s Austerity, that is.

When blackmailers in old school ties
push down costs and jack up price
then gamble on commodities?
That’s Austerity, that is.

When you’ve planned to rinse the NHS
through associates’ consultancies,
denied then done it nonetheless:
That’s Austerity, that is.

When the odds are stacked against us all,
wages fall and fall and fall
and billionaires are making more?
That’s Austerity, that is.

When money goes to banks offshore
and we’re told it isn’t there
while living off raw grass and air?
That’s Austerity, that is.

When the money never circulates,
congeals behind electric gates
and isn’t taxed at any rate?
That’s Austerity, that is.

When the media brims with benefit claims
but never mentions private scams
or bothers doing any sums:
That’s Austerity, that is.

When reckoning seems near at hand,
or someone tries to take a stand
say: They’re being selfish (that’ll be sixty grand):
this is Austerity, this is.

When the shit-thick, crooked and rich inept
join forces with a wealthy Baronet
pray tell me, then, what will you get?
Austerity, that’s what.

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