Build Back Better is the new slogan of this government
Build Back Better sounds good. I hope we all can agree with it. The Prime Minister’s speech offering us a better future sounded good too. The trouble is that gave such little detail that we don’t know where we’re going ot how we will get there. Obviously, it would be foolhardy to set out an exact destination or a complete route-map. Events have a habit of interfering. This means we can all interpret the speech in our own way and might not be as agreed as we thought.
Build Back Better means building back greener
This might sound like a most unlikely plank in a Conservative platform. The Greens are another party and a minor one by some standards. Extinction Rebellion are derided as dangerous left wing anarchists. (Strictly, anarchists are neither left nor right, nor yet in the centre: they oppose government as a concept!) Suddenly we have a national icon (Sir David Attenborough) and a prince reminding us of the urgency of climate change and everyone’s on the bandwagon. Perhaps we all need to be?
Will we build back better and greener?
There are powerful commercial interests that will oppose any real change: oil, gas, fracking, air-travel all come to mind. Farming and construction might adapt, but I expect some rear-guard action. Apart from that, what about us? I can agree with all the aims of going greener, but when it affects me… Do I want to use my car less, to eat less meat, to take fewer and more local holidays? We’ve all got to make decisions and stick to them.
Build back better means fairer
We all want a fairer society, don’t we? One of the things this pandemic has highlighted is the inequality in our society. That’s about region, class and race. Boris says he wants to level up and accuses Labour of threatening to level down. OK if he can do it, but can we improve the lot of the worst off without taking something from the better off? We probably could in a time of growing prosperity, but we’re not there. If we’re going to see the cake shrink, we’ll have to take from the haves to give to the have-nots.
Let’s choose to build back better
I’ve written about change before. Now I have the Prime Minister on my side. Really? Anyway, I hope he is. For all the problems, let’s decide to come out of this pandemic better than we went in. Don’t let all the suffering have been for nothing. There are opportunities. We should take them. Then there will be unplanned changes, but they will be the subject of another post.