The Tories say: “it’s tough times; you must accept what’s available. The world doesn’t owe you a living.”
That last part always offends me. Of course the world owes you a living – you were born into and onto this earth, how can you not be entitled to a stake and a share? Who are they to tell us otherwise? Why do we let these born to rule – people who have been owed everything and continually feel the most entitled among us – elites treat us this way?
If one must accept what’s available then surely that is a failure of government? The Tories protest that the state is a burden and must be reduced (i.e. sold off), but they are the state: that’s what government is. They by and large come from the state: that’s what the aristocracy is. The ruling elite who have all the advantages in life handed to them on a plate. So therefore their argument must be seen as either an admission of failure bordering on ineptitude perhaps even negligence, or an abrogation of responsibility. If the state cannot provide decent opportunities for the people, then something is drastically amiss.
So why must I accept what’s available – particularly when what’s available is no use to society at all. Dodgy and non-jobs on Universal Jobmatch, or pointless sales/admin nonsense from agencies (work that I do not feel remotely suited to, as I abhor all the shit): that’s the choice.
Why can’t I negotiate for and find something more useful. Why are we not structuring society around what needs to be done from a communal perspective, thereby building and integrating those communities. People working together in compassionate environments that value creativity and intellect; not a world dominated by ruthless ambition, profit, and selfishness. The Tories won’t even consider such a negotiation.
This is Thatcher’s legacy: save yourself, put walls between yourself and others and harden yourself to become callous and powerful. That is the world all around us and you don’t have to have been born during her reign to see it. As Owen Jones points out, you don’t need to have been born during the Blitz to know what life was like.
Thatcher was in many ways lucky – as well as ideologically motivated. The north sea oil revenue came online as she came into power. That money was the greatest opportunity for the government to put money aside for the proverbial rainy day tjhat has become all our tomorrows; 450 billion or so. She squandered it to buy votes through the sale of council property that was never replaced. The standard of living before she came to power was greater than it is now, never mind the oil shocks of the seventies that were, as the sub prime shocks of today, not the fault of Labour, even if New Labour were and still are a Thatcherite phenomenon.
People on the radio today moaning about the possibility of raising the age which people can enlist lament our ‘soft’ society. These are the people that would have no doubt lined the funeral march last week, doffing their caps to the woman that destroyed those ‘hard’ industries, replacing them with the service and financial industry of today.
If it is true that society is full of weedy wet liberal pinkos then it must have been Thatcher that made it so. Or would they argue that life down the pit was no tougher than life at the information seam in a call centre. Perhaps it was no tougher in the sense that the latter is soul destroying. Places where team leaders compete with each other for the favour of their masters by encouraging their members to work harder by tossing crème eggs at them like fish for performing seals.
That was a reference to a documentary inside a call centre where one particularly loathsome team leader used chocolate to ‘inspire’ his staff, rewarding them with an egg in return for saying an innocuous phrase during a call. What a waste of time and money; the bland erosion of the human soul.
And yet, as a rotten flower, the notion of ‘welfare dependency’ has blossomed from this muck. This is the laughable idea people are somehow made dependent by the state, even though people in and out of work need the same thing in a capitalist society: money –spending power, more accurately. A convenient excuse that allows the Tories to privatise the benefits system, which is surely their ultimate goal, already started with the Work Programme.
Among the ruins of our society laid low by the hammer fist of Thatcherite morality, people are left with nothing. They are forced to fight like hungry dogs for scraps thrown either carelessly or malevolently from the table of the masters and then chastised for having grown dependent. Animals will eat anything if they have to, so let’s call them animals. That way it becomes easier to separate the strivers from the shirkers. If you can’t find the wings to fly, then you deserve to fail – and don’t you dare to be dependent or different.