Sunday, 9 June 2013

Iain Banks, 1954-2013

The writer was somewhat opinionated.

So they're back (The axe falls on the poor, 21 October). The last time the Tories were in power I used to think of them as the hyena party, because they tended to pick on the most vulnerable members of the herd: the young, the weak, the old. Now, after flat-out lying about the inescapability of cuts and the reason we're in this mess, this bunch of upper-class landed louts, this cabinet of share-portfolioed millionaires, this gang of Greedists – along with their willing chums, the hopelessly deluded, now credibility-free Lib Dems – have returned to cut and butcher their way through our society again, picking on the young through picking on their parents, picking on the poor and the vulnerable, the disabled and disadvantaged, running down precisely those least able to help themselves, the very people any decent society ought to be doing most to help, while the bankers and the City boys sip their Cristal and drool over their upcoming bonuses. 
A little has changed; the grey vote has held off direct attacks on today's pensioners, but even that is temporary; the old too will miss the buses withdrawn from service and the police removed from the streets, feel ignored and cut off when their local library closes and the remaining post offices turn into charity shops; and the old will suffer most as a hyper-stressed NHS tries to cope with the trauma of yet another needless privatisation-inspired reorganisation. The hyenas that lope and crunch their way across the plains are blameless; just animals behaving as evolution has shaped them, quite free of morality, ethics or guilt. We might have expected better from our own species, but no; the snarling horrors have returned, and we'll rue the wasted years that let all three major parties swing so decisively to the right and present us with so little real choice at the last election. 
Iain Banks 
North Queensferry, Fife

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