Monday, June 11, 2012
Taking The Great Out Of Britain
Over the years the content of this has become more impersonal. With the rise of social media, Twitter, and the ascent of the Internet, I've become acutely aware – both from experience and in theory – of the power of the internet. It never forgets. You're not allowed to make one mistake and hope that it fades away anymore. At any time a camera phone photograph of a teacher holding a glass of wine could be the moment that destroys a career. Twenty years of dedication and toil destroyed in a fraction of a second : not by the impolite action of the person, but by an unjustly outraged reaction of a parent who thinks that teachers should retreat when they leave work, and hide in a hermetically sealed bubble, never to allow alcohol to pass their lips, never to be seen in public, never to have sex or have fun or have anything other than endless, mindless, ginding servitude.
Over the years, as my job has changed and my role become more obviously influenced by the political and the social – and as my life suffered a number of external events that shook my world to the core – I've decided to say less on the Internet about the world I live in.
Over the years, my political views have not diluted or weakened, and remain fiercely strong and moral. Over the years, I still have faith in people that they – we – all of us – will rise to overcome the constant tide of selfism and shortsighted actions that risk every person alive. But as we know, historically, it is always easier to destroy than to create, and it is easier to dismantle the social and moral constructs that protect the powerless from the powerful.
I don't feel less politically, I feel more. I used to write about the inequalities of life under a Labour Government. Having grown up under Thatcher, who in her viciousness now seems to be merely an angry wasp compared to the brutality of Cameron's unthinking, thuggish Godzilla, I knew what it meant to live under a right wing Government. Now, it is not to say that I lean either left or right. If the Conservatives changed to a set of policies that I felt not just represented the will of the people, but also their wishes, I would vote for them. And yet, when Cameron got 36% it was a resounding victory of Labour. When Blair got 35% it was a knife-edge humiliation.
I despair of a country that seriously debates taking bus passes and heating from pensioners, yet waives Vodafone's £7,000,0000,000 tax bill.
I despair of a country that tells the terminally ill, the blind, the deaf, the disabled, and the crippled that they are only eligible for a meagre financial support of less than £100 a week, and that eligibility lasts for only 52 weeks, yet waives Vodafone's tax bill – a tax bill that would pay for 14,022,435 years of sickness benefit.
I despair of a country that forces a perfect storm of recalculated benefits onto a nation that means that whilst each change may, in isolation, appear harsh and not entirely fair, combines into a result that places the 2,500,000 unemployed in this country into a situation where the poorest in our country are victimised for the sheer gall of not being able to find a job when there the number of jobs available are several times the number of applicants, irrespective of their circumstances.
I despair of a country where, if you love someone not born in our country, you have to earn the national average salary to share your homeland with them. A country where if you have two children with this person, you have to earn £31,000 a year for you to have a family with the one you love. A country where, had these rules been implemented when I met the mother of my first child, our love would have been illegal – despite me having been in employment for ten years and having contributed over £30,000 in tax – and my son would have been never have been born.
I despair of a country where the Government says that the right to a family is not an “absolute right”, but conditional only if you aren't a criminal, or on if you earn enough money.
I despair of a country where if you are under 35 you are expected to either share a house with other adults, irrespective of your circumstances, or live with your parents.
I despair of a country where, in order to make the “benefit cap” of £26,000 per property – irrespective of how many people live there or their circumstances – one proposal is to pay the benefit, en bloc, to one person : to whom the rest of the family beg for handouts.
I despair of a country that thinks it's acceptable to put weapons on the roof of homes without asking permission. Your home is not a castle, but a missile silo.
I despair of a country where the poor are bussed to Margate and Walsall from London because councils do not want to house them. A country where judges rules that the policies that actually contravene human rights.
A country where you have to clap the Queen and be happy she has sat on the throne for 60 years. Where you have to suffer the indignity of metal detectors and hour long queues just to leave the station whilst trying to get to work because some sportsmen are running around a couple of miles down the road.
A country where you get called a “twat with his head so far up his arse he doesn't know his own name”, for daring the venture the opinion that the Royalty aren't the best thing that ever happened. I despair of a country where the front page is about a footballer snogging some girl who isn't his wife, and not the news that a person was judged “Fit for work” when they failed to turn up for a health assessment because they were in a coma.
I despair of a country that removes cashpoints so that Visa get its dirty hands into everything. I despair of a country that turns the hosting of the Olympics into an opportunity to make the world's biggest McDonalds. I despair of a country that thinks nothing of arresting people for the crime of possibly wanting to protest. I despair of a country that thinks its ok to stop anyone, anywhere for any reason. A country where the sick, ill, poor, terminally and chronically unwell kill themselves in empoverished desperation. A country which rewards profiteering landlords their greed by impoverishing the unemployed.
A country which forces, in slave labour, the unemployed to stand for 14 hours to guard the Queen without even being paid. A country that subsidises companies by providing free workers. A country that actively discriminates against those that don't have free workers. A country where there is no overtime anymore, because the unemployed benefit slaves will do it or lose their £56.25 a week.
A country which tars all those who haven't got a job as lazy, feckless, living the Tizer lifestyle of limited wealth, living it large on a bountiful £56.25 a week (about 30p an hour), and then brands all of them useless, worthless slobs. A country which thinks that in order to reduce the 0.5% of Sickness benefit claims that are fraudulent by punishing 39 sick people for every 1 fraudster. A mass, nationwide way of thrashing with a stick a classroom of kids in wheelchairs because one of them is lying.
This is not the England I grew up being proud of. This is a country I am ashamed of, and disgusted of. Britain – you can be great. Instead of pomp, circumstance, and flag waving bullshit, please Britain demonstrate that greatness, by looking after each other instead of trying to starve the terminally ill to a destitute death whilst allowing big business to steal billions from this country every year.
This country is run by cruel people. Incompetent people. I've been ruled by cruel people before. But these are different. They do not know what they are doing. Not just cruel, but unaware of the consequences of their policies. Changing their minds on thirty, forty policies when the facts gets in the way. This government does not consider the combined effect of multiple policies, and the domino effect of their policies. They triumph austerity that destroys the economy. This is economic suicide by a starvation diet that murders this countries economy
Papers talk of “Have we fallen out of love with shopping?” No. When 10% of the working population cannot get a job, is it any wonder the shops don't shift so much useless shit? People spend money they have on what they need first, then what they want. And if the shops sell what you want, and not what you need at prices you can afford, then the shops struggle. When you're on the dole, you don't think about buying shoes in Peacocks. You think about how you can juggle your screaming hunger and your cold children against the mortgage or the landlord who just put up the rent by 3% whilst your housing benefit just dropped by 40% in real terms because your landlord charges the average for your postcode (and not the maximum housing benefit of 30%-market-average).
Making a public sector post redundant, then paying for their housing benefit, their unemployment benefit, and finally making them work for a contractor on some workfare (and not paying them), is more expensive to society than keeping them employed. Pay them for work, and they can pay taxes, and for food, and for their homes. It's fragmented, isolated thinking that acts as if there were no consequences. A cruelty that defies logic or sense.
I've never lived in a country that has so little to do with me, and a media and politicial dialogue that is so far removed from my values, my ethics, my world. I'm not a radical : look after the least in society, for it could happen to you. Reward effort, and ensure those who suffer misfortune – especially through no fault of their own – are cared for. Try and look after the planet and the people around you to reduce unhappiness and suffering as much as you can. This isn't radical. It isn't storm-the-barricades. My morals are compassionate.
It feels as if I am trapped in a blazing building, whilst angry children have strapped me in a chair, and are setting fire to the curtains because they are cold. I despair of this country. If I gave every issue that concerns and infuriates me the time it deserved, I would never sleep, never work, never be a good parent. And it's all the fault of the poor, the workless, the absent parents, and the fault of the unemployed who should GO TO WORK GO TO WORK GO TO WORK, when there's no jobs. And if they do get a job, they're absent parents. You can't win. The game is stacked. This is asymettrical warfare, against the population. But I have faith in humanity. As long as we work to make this world the best place it can be, it will be better than any free market alone can provide.
This is why, in many ways, I don't discuss politics. There is too much wrong with this world. But rest assured if you're not angry about the state of the nation in 2012, and the incalculable price paid in human misery to serve imaginary masters of finance, then you're not paying enough attention. Britain is a cruel country, and one I am sadly ashamed of today. Make me proud again Britain. You have the power.
(graphics from My David Cameron)