UNDAUNTED: I paid my water charges because I refuse to be bullied by populism

Steve Daunt outs himself as a dangerous neoliberal willing to pay his way in the world....

When we needed to, none of us turned up. Don’t deny it. Way back in 2009, we sat on our hands. Maybe we were just too shocked to get out on the streets, so instead we voted.

There’s no need to go over what happened next. Were promises made and broken? Yes. Were policies explained well? Of course not. Did we look for scapegoats? Of course we did.

I willingly paid, on behalf of my family, both the household charge and the water tax. I do not want a gold medal or a Blue Peter badge for that, but let me explain why I decided to pay.

This may shock people, but nothing in this world comes for free. There has been a chronic lack of investment in water in this country, which can be explained by lack of funding for local government. Again, this can be traced back to a populist decision to abolish local rates in 1977 without thinking far enough down the road to find something to replace them.

Undaunted has spent the past seven years showing how disability has dropped off the political agenda. I don’t need to be told that. I don’t need to be told about funding cuts, there have been massive hits to every area of spending.

But that doesn’t mean we throw our hands up and lash out at everything. That is just childishness, or worse, populism. I still paid my property tax and my water tax; I will not be bullied by populism.

I detest populism. I thought the crash would have cleaned it out of the system, but once we saw that the path to fiscal rectitude would be hard, we sought out easy solutions to problems we don’t actually have. 

This populism tells us we don’t need to pay anything, rather the mythical ‘rich’ will pick up the tab.

Come the revolution, we will have the perfect society. A 32 county worker’s playground where we can have anything we want.

Here’s the thing; one of the main parties who has been telling us not to pay doesn't even mention disability in their manifesto, so no AAA promise there. That same party also didn’t show up at Wednesday’s mental health debate.

For me, that came as little surprise. Disabled people are real people with real lives. They need parties to make real decisions on real policy issues. No grandstanding, just grown up decisions.

It’s the grandstanding that gets to me. It’s protest for protest's sake. Get people out on the street or half way up the hill, and somehow that’s all that we need. Problem solved. Bad things go away once we stamp our foot hard enough, shout "tax the rich!" three times, and then run around in circles.

I can already hear people screaming how "90% of those elected want to remove the water charge". Really? And how many actually want to govern? That would be hard work; they might have to make real decisions.

The sad thing is that mob rule now appears to be an effective political weapon. No, that is not an exaggeration. The even sadder thing is that seasoned politicians have fallen for it.

It is not a victory for democracy. The mob has spoken and they have won, but they still have no real policy, they still have no model that actually works.

And while we're celebrating that 'victory', remember there’s still a homeless crisis, a health system that's cracking at the seams, an urban-rural divide waiting to be exploited...the list goes on.

Those issues are being sidelined because we're too busy buying ourselves into a new boom while we refuse to pay taxes.

A great little country indeed.