Michael Heseltine and Ken Loach go at it, head-to-head, on the impending cuts and their impact on the poor of the UK – the undeserving poor, a brutal concept from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, which mercifully died in the 20th century under the intellectual force and human values of the Webbs, Beveridge, and what used to be the People’s Party, Labour.
But the idea of the undeserving poor never died in Tory hearts, and now it has been insidious revised by Cameron - aided by the political Quislings that used to be the Liberal Democrats under Clegg – under the cloak of the nonsense about The Big Society.
Heseltine starts in his usual opening mode of calm reasonableness, but under the relentless, gentle force of argument from Ken Loach, descends rapidly into hectoring, aggressive name-calling.
Michael Heseltine will be remembered by posterity – if he is remembered at all – for brandishing the Mace in the Commons and for being an ally of Margaret Thatcher as she destroyed jobs, whole industries and communities leaving the way open for unbridled greed and self-interest in the 1980s, and paving the way for what Ken Loach accurately called Tories Light – New Labour under the Blair/Brown Gang.
Thatcher at least only fouled up Britain – Blair and Brown fouled up the world and are responsible for, at a minimum estimate, the deaths of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions.
Heseltine is probably the archetypal self-made Tory, as contrasted with the ancient land-owning class, a man described contemptuously by another Tory minister – Alan Clark - early in his career, as “a man who who bought his own furniture”. He made his money by property speculation, buying and selling hotels.
Loach is a highly-committed, crusading dramatist and filmmaker, with an unrivalled body of television and film work to his credit, including some of the most – perhaps the most – memorable and effective social documentaries of the 1960s. He never succumbed to the blandishments of Hollywood. He is a great artist, and will always be remembered for his work and his commitment to the poor and the most vulnerable in our society
Watching them debate, in a short, but riveting seven minutes, I saw all that is great and all that is contemptible in modern Britain, in its rotten political system, and its Establishment.
Heseltine said, in response to Loach’s simple, but devastatingly accurate observation that a tax of 5% on the top 10% of the wealthy would wipe out the deficit, that the ‘wealth creators’ would leave the UK and go elsewhere.
If only they would, including the bankers and speculators who got us into this mess.
For God’s sake, go go!
Let Scotland escape from the cynical, unequal UK before it is too late.