Re: Good for Charlemont!
Sometimes, 'social' taxes and subsidy is the only fair way. Do you, for example, resent your taxes being given to schools and colleges, to educate children who couldn't afford to pay for their own education?
Or perhaps more difficult, is it right that the council pays for my children to get to school by bus, when if we lived a bit closer they could walk?
I'm not convinced that "fairness" is the right criterion here. Properly educating the next generation is probably the best investment any country can make in its future, so using taxes to pay for schools is to a large degree a "free market" approach, an investment with expected good future returns. It's why I'm completely opposed to the idea of tuition fees, or forcing 50% of people to go to university. Far better for taxes to fund appropriate training, be it academic or vocational.
The bus question, though, is simpler. If you've chosen to live beyond walking distance of a school, why should the other ratepayers have to pay to get your kids there? You take them, or pay for the bus (or buy them a bike, which is how I got to school). Obviously there are corner cases, such as when a school closes, but those are not common.
living in areas devastated by the Tories' policies towards the coal, steel, shipbuilding and other heavy industries by telling them to do as his father had done and 'get on [your] bike'
As noted by a previous comment, that was Tebbit, not Heseltine, I can't see Heseltine being so blunt, but even so it isn't unreasonable advice. Those industries couldn't continue as they were in the light of worldwide changes, the tories simply brought down the axe early rather than let them crash & have to pick up the pieces. Times change, and people have to be prepared to adapt, they cannot simply wait for "someone else" to hand out a solution. Take today's IT industry, where the move to cloud is killing traditional on-premises companies. I know plenty of people who had to get on that bike & look for a job elsewhere, or in a different industry. The days when people expected to farm the same field all their life are long gone.
In terms of living "off grid", I think it's also important to make a distinction between "essential" internet and "nice to have" internet. Just as we don't all live beside a motorway, we don't all need GBit/s fibre. For those parts of daily life where the internet is becoming indispensable even 1Mbit/s is adequate. I get 3Mbit/s at home, I can't stream HD video or do intensive gaming, but I can easily do my tax return & check my bank statement.
I don't expect my local village to build an opera house, or a shopping mall, just to get nice-to-have "mod cons", if I wanted those it would be up to me to move to a city. I do expect at least electricity and clean water, and pay (probably more than in nearby cities) to have both. It's my choice to live where I do, and I've chosen the trade-offs that work for me.