“It’s not fair!” is a phrase I hear all too often at home, my young daughters being acutely sensitive to what is and isn’t fair.
‘The world isn’t a fair place, so get used to it,” I bark at them when I’ve had enough of their bickering.
“Well, that’s not right,” they respond in unison. At least, they agree on something.
At times I find myself envying their childlike ability to simplify complex issues and determine, quite categorically, what’s right and wrong, what’s fair and what’s not.
Take the newly announced UK budget for example.
From a child’s perspective, giving money to rich people and taking money away from those who don’t have much to begin with makes little sense.
“Why would you do something crazy mean like that?” my daughter exclaims.
“That’s just not right” her younger sister chimes in.
If only George Osborne had the moral backbone of a primary school kid.
According to an analysis this week by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Osborne’s new budget favours the richest 20% who’ll benefit from fresh tax cuts while an estimated 370,000 people with disabilities stand to lose an average of £3,500 each as Osborne makes further cuts to disability benefits.
The proposed £1.3bn cut to personal independence payments (PIP) could make independent living impossible for thousands of people with disabilities who depend on special aids to carry out everyday domestic tasks like going to the toilet and getting dressed.
Graeme Ellis, a disability rights campaigner and life-long Tory voter, is so disgusted by Osborne’s cuts that not only has he quit the party but he’s also shut down the website he’d been managing on behalf of the Conservative Disability Group.
Appearing on BBC Newsnight, Ellis accused the government of “robbing the vulnerable to pay the rich”. It sure looks like Osborne got the story of Robin Hood entirely wrong.
But seriously, the message of the 2016 budget is pretty clear: business matters a great deal but people’s lives not so much, especially not the lives of people with disabilities.
In hindsight, telling my kids to get used to living in a world that’s unfair wasn’t very good parenting, and for once I’m glad they didn’t listen to me.
Instead, they’ve been channelling one of their heroines, Roald Dahl’s Matilda, belting out songs from the Matilda the musical from morning till night. One in particular is very apt considering this week’s news:
Just because you find that life’s no fair it
Doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it
If you always take it on the chin and wear it
You might as well be saying
You think that it’s okay
And that’s not right!
And if it’s not right
You have to put it right!