In respect to those of our people who are hardest hit by Premier Kathy Dunderdale's 2013 budget, I call attention to an excerpt from "The story of the Amulet" written by Edith Nesbitt in 1906 (available free online from Project Gutenberg).
"But how badly you keep your slaves. How wretched and poor and neglected they seem," she said, as the cab rattled along the Mile End Road.
"They aren't slaves; they're working-people," said Jane.
"Of course they're working. That's what slaves are. Don't you tell me. Do you suppose I don't know a slave's face when I see it? Why don't their masters see that they're better fed and better clothed? Tell me in three words."
No one answered. The wage-system of modern England is a little difficult to explain in three words even if you understand it - which the children didn't.
"You'll have a revolt of your slaves if you're not careful," said the Queen.
"Oh, no," said Cyril; "you see they have votes - that makes them safe not to revolt. It makes all the difference. Father told me so."
"What is this vote?" asked the Queen. "Is it a charm? What do they do with it?"
"I don't know," said the harassed Cyril; "it's just a vote, that's all! They don't do anything particular with it."
"I see" said the Queen, "a sort of plaything."