There is growing evidence that the Isle of Wight is being singled out by Government. The factual base would be testimony enough to provide the means for a counter to the isolation and attack on its integrity.
In recent history, monopolies have taken much out of the economy and the Government continues to draw disproportionate taxes. Since Vestas withdrew, Macquarie and Balfour Beatty have been prime examples. Yet the funding restrictions and funding grants, including Assisted Area Status, compared to Portsmouth and other places like Cornwall show the disproportional dealings with the island. We have no big city funding like others do. Singling out the Isle of Wight is because it has a concentration of working class people, on the lowest pay, higher unemployment, under-employed, and has the most deprived areas in the South. The grant cuts have not taken account of the specific difficulties of being an island. The consequence is that more has not been put into the local economy than has been taken out.
The railway is an example, where on the mainland is there such talk of their railway being taken away from them? They even go as far as to say, that the Island Line is an isolated case because it is on an island! The legal representatives of the Conservatives even use the isolation of the island, to say that it can be separated from the rest of Britain, and the Department of Transport say also that the existing regulations can be adapted!
The education assault, Academisation and Free-schools were disproportional to the Isle of Wight compared with education plans on the mainland. The restructuring and endless attacks on teaching and learning have caused major setbacks to educational development.
The intent to provide “beacon” or flagship Councils that assist privatisation and business models based upon localism and volunteerism are presented as “big society” successes contrary to the actuality of the situation. These models are presented as of national significance. It has applied to the privatisation schemes set in motion in the National Heath Service.
The intention is to starve the economy whilst at the same time promote the survival of the Isle of Wight as a model survivor of a resilient people who can add value out of the exploitation of their own resources. To do this would involve even greater Austerity. This is the neo-liberal “productivity” scam of the Government to make the people pay for the crisis, it is part of the offensive.
The devolution plans and outsourcing to private finance are also over zealous in their approach. The Link to Hampshire and destruction of the functions of the Isle of Wight Council have to be seen in this light.
The tactic is to attack piecemeal, weaken and attack one part to attack the whole.
An attack on one part of the British community is an attack on all. The strategy and tactics include singling out the Isle of Wight and use it as a springboard to attack all communities on the mainland and the South on particular. It isolates the strategic position of the Isle of Wight as an island, one that is resilient and should be broken in the Government’s view.
Appreciating this in context, means that it will be turned into its opposite as consciousness awakens and acts. It starts by people asking why us? What have we done? It ends with people saying, “not on your life!”. This situation can turn into its opposite by people demanding that the region of the Isle of Wight controls more in the decision-making process, that more is put into the local economy than is taken out. The people will not be broken, on the contrary they will unite and put the weight of their consciousness behind their action and they will counter this tactic. It is the start of the counter offensive.
Grasping the nettle of the integrity of the Isle of Wight as an entity, will lead to empowerment and the possibility to turn things around. It can be done and it must be done!