The D-Day commemoration brought back events which, like most of my generation, I had buried. I was just 19 when the war started in 1939. I spent not only six years at war but six years in austerity after it. We all, at least, lost 12 years of our lives; at most, all of the rest of a life. We wanted to forget it and start our lives again.
After the war was over, we said that because everyone, from the dustman to the duke, had made sacrifices to win the war, everyone deserved a more equal chance in future. We would all help those who had suffered the unlucky throw of the dice.
The contrast between these memories and today's realities is shattering. Our good resolutions have not only turned, in Tory hands, to homelessness, beggars, unemployed and, for me, the likelihood of less health care, but worse, a contempt of and derision for, the disadvantaged.
I have a modest income, but I still want to pay income tax for a universal health service, education for my grandchildren, and I don't want a tax on essentials such as fuel, which hits the lowest incomes hardest.
The first reaction of Tories this morning is that I'm so stupid that they will be able to bribe me with income tax cuts to forget what they have done. If I can remember our high principles of 50 years ago, the memory of the last 15 years is no effort.
My son is the same age as Tony Blair. Surely those of our sons and daughters who are doing better than average, and who have not had to lose 12 years of their lives, do not begrudge a little more of their income to help the less fortunate. If they do, we have taught them badly indeed.
13 JuneReuse content