It seems to have been said of every government that I can recall, however, and the gulf between 'the people' and 'the people in charge' seems to widen as time goes on. It seems to be a general trend across Europe, too.
There is a palpable sense in which the issues that concern the Prime Minister and his deputy arrive somewhere near the bottom of the 'to do' list scribbled at the back of the minds of most in the UK. Some decisions of course, are on the 'not to do' list for a sizeable proportion of UK citizens. The 'us and them' feeling that we have about our politicians won't have been helped by the publication of the Cabinet's incomes which comes to a grand total of about £70 million a year. For instance, as the cuts deepen and the State abandons the poor, disabled and sick and throw them back to the Church that always loved them - at a time in history when the Church in the UK doesn't have much actual cash - hand-wringing politicians who by most measurements are millionnaires aren't going to get a fantastic reception from your average joe.
When Cameron, Clegg and Osbourne tell us that they've got to make some terribly 'difficult decisions' and that 'we're all going to have to hunker down over this recession and tighten our purse strings' people could rightly think, 'Yes, I'll have to do that, but given that you're actually a millionnaire, so I'm not sure you'll really have to change much about your spending patterns.' Of course, it is terribly vulgar to operate a 'class war' against the Cabinet and we shouldn't give way to actually hating our politicians because of their vast wealth. It does mean, however, that when politicans tell us we're all going to have to 'dig deep for victory' that British people will know that while most Brits are digging something akin to a financial grave, our politicians will still be digging for diamonds and gold and finding plenty of it. Well, they won't find much gold actually, because Gordon Brown sold it. If they even cared to look, they wouldn't find the pensions Brits lost in the economic crash either.
And personally, I wouldn't mind that much if our politicans were really loaded and a significant proportion of UK citizens remained fairly skint but for the fact that both Clegg and Cameron and most of the Cabinet keep banging on about equality all the time. It's 'equality this' and 'equality that'. But how can these people talk of 'equality' when a significant portion of Brits are eeking out their existence in the value section of Asda on their way back to their two bed flat on a housing estate trying to feed four children, but the politicans themselves go home to a luxurious dwelling and order a delivery of the finest Rothschild wine available. Equality - sounds great, please may I have some? Inequality has been with us for a very long time and we've been promised it is here to stay but even if they cared to, how would our politicans - our elite - even begin to understand what life is like for people living outside of the realm of the rich and famous.
Perhaps it is not an award or contract bestowed by the British Government, but if you want to know how absurd things are in Britain today then you just have to look at who is sponsoring the paralympics in London this year. It's not Coca Cola, or Lucozade. It's Atos Healthcare - the American firm who were awarded the contract by the Labour Government to get long term sick, disabled and ill people off benefit and into work by methods which have been generally condemned as a little dubious. A great number of disabled people despise this company, yet in a bizarre PR move, Atos are sponsoring the Paralympics. The contract awarded to the company to get disabled people digging for victory is worth £100 million a year.
Blair made equality his mantra but his love for equality didn't stop him raking in astonishing amounts of money working for rapaciously capitalist companies after his destructive time in power. Nor did it stop him sending his kids to the best and most expensive schools while year after year, while State schools continue to churn out the highest proportion of illiterate and innumerate children in recent memory. Ah, but equality doesn't really mean what it used to mean. Proper socialists, mislead as they are, thought of inequality as an economic issue. Today's politicians believe that equality is a sexual issue or a gender issue because if equality were an economic issue then even Tony Blair may feel a little embarrassed by the fact that he is swimming in money. Do they really think that the electorate are so stupid or that we are so driven by our passions that we'll be happy not to be able to afford our gas bills because we'll be able to marry someone of the same-sex and have our unions blessed by the State and raised to the status of marriage?