I can see that this blog is not going to turn out as I’d hoped. It was going to be regularly filled with researched essays on the state of the world. As it is I can barely keep up with posting once a week on my fashion blog! But not to worry. Things might change, but for now I’m going to put up two links to articles I highly recommend you read.
And why, these two articles? Well, do you feel as I do that life for our children (this is in the UK, btw) is harder than it was when we were young? And this is not the cri de coeur of an aged old biddy thinking that things just ‘ain’t what they used to be.’ No, when I was moving into adulthood I expected to work and never once thought of unemployment because there were plenty of jobs to be had. And I expected to buy a house because, why ever not, if I earned enough. But today, buying a house is almost impossible in the south without help from parents. And if your child is in the public sector: a doctor, nurse, social worker or teacher their life is hell today. And if your child is in the service industry, do they have proper contracts or are they on zero hours? Public services seem to be destined for the private sector if they haven’t already been sold for a song and a few pence. There is also the suspicion for those on benefits, who are foreign, and heaven forfend that you be a working immigrant or worse, a refugee who is obviously a terrorist in disguise.
What is happening?
I commend you to read, first, James Meek’s article in the London Review of Books published 18 February 2016 ‘Robin Hood in a Time of Austerity’. Meek contends that the Robin Hood myth has been turned on its head. Robin Hood is no longer a Corbyn type robbing the rich through taxes to give to the poor a decent well-educated, healthy life through state provided services. No, Robin Hood is the government plundering the poor and selling off the network of services: health, education, water, electricity to support the rich. Because the real poor really do pay their taxes for these services, but the rich? And the state is an illusion, it is hollowed out. So you see a school but it will be run by a private firm very, very soon. You see a GP’s surgery and it seems the same and you still get your health care for now, free-at-the-point-of-access, but who really provides that care? Your public money is beginning to be, is already being poured into private corporations.
Meek’s article is a long read but worth it for clarifying how far this process has gone. Because everything you think is there to support the citizen is going, going, and nearly gone. Yes, these services are still there, but they are an illusion because private companies will run them within a cost envelope, and the prime beneficiary is the share holder and not as it once was; the customer, the client, the patient.
But there are still the questions: why have we let this happen; how has it happened; and why is this not challenged??? Yes, we’ve voted in a government that believes the state must be diminished, but why are we so acquiescent? Why do we accept this?
I contend that we are in a paradigm of thought and thinking that at certain levels goes unquestioned. And George Monbiot writing on the Guardian website argues that this is the work of Neolibralism. His article, also a long read, ‘Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems’ contends that all the crises we’ve been through, all the problems we are encountering, the thinking of our present government, all of this is rooted in an ideology that very few critically examine or understand, but it is an ideology that underpins the cutting of taxes, privatising public services, deregulating corporations and critically regulating us through fear, and especially fear of the ‘other’.
Do read both articles – they kind of explain, in far better prose than I am capable of, the current state of the UK.
Thanks for reading this
P.S. Remember all this may be very obvious – but I use this blog to i) order my thoughts and ii) to store these articles rather than losing them on Facebook or stacking up piles of journals.