And the shitshow rolls on. Today, we have an immigration policy unveiled by the government that makes no sense, even on its own terms. They want say they want to prioritise for skill not salary, so that we can get social workers and health care professionals from abroad as needed. Okay, great. Except that salary is still going to be a benchmark and it will still be set too high for social workers and a lot of health care professionals to get visas. Yet do not fret, fair Britannia: Priti Patel was on the media this morning telling us to chill because apparently social workers will “obviously be valued”. So, for clarity, in spite of the system intentionally being set up in a way that will not allow the NHS to hire from abroad to fill certain key gaps because the salary bar is set too high to do so, the value of “value” will magically solve these problems. As usual, none of this has been highlighted by the political media who on one side are careful to cheer the government forward and on the other, want to talk about how intersectionality deals with questions of how hairdressers are a front for transphobia.
In the midst of all this fun, you might have missed this little news item: Tory MP Robert Halfon, who has had some decent ideas in his day and I don’t mean that sarcastically, has come up with a doozy of a terrible, awful idea that even in an age plagued with a glut of terrible, awful ideas manages to stand out as terrible and awful. He has suggested that we hold a nationwide referendum on the BBC licence fee. I’m not kidding. I know you’re now going “Stop making weird shit up, Nick, things are bad enough as is without you inventing weirder stuff. Satire is dead, don’t you know.” No, seriously, I even have to hand Halfon’s quote on the matter:
“They say that we own the BBC but we have no role in it. This would be about a democratisation of the BBC. To coin a phrase, it’s time for viewers to take back control.”
Oh. My. God. Yes, Robert because the last nationwide referendum we had worked out so bloody well. Really, to coin a phrase, brought the country together. I am now begging all MPs of all parties: stop trying to create more referendums. They are terrible, they are a shit way to do democracy, they should only ever be used in extremis and even then, with a great deal of thinking about whether a referendum is really necessary. Stop suggesting them! Now that the Tories have a comfy majority, the least I would have hoped is that we would see a return to good old fashioned representative democracy. You know, where the government actually decides things and then does them, as opposed to dithering over every difficult decision before wimping out and then holding a bleeding nationwide plebiscite on the matter.
Tories, listen: either keep the licence fee model that we have or get rid of it and go to a subscription model. I know which I’d prefer – the status quo – but I’m not in government, you lot are. Just make a decision and suffer the political consequences of it. And let’s not have any more referendums, please? On anything at all.