…..Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its predecessors.
These memorable words are from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and are not, I suggest, true – they are after all, given to Pozzo, who to me is a sort of controlling self-satisfied capitalist who, lest we forget, keeps the inappropriately named Lucky on a rope.
The self-satisfied are clearly happy with the ‘constant quantity’ idea and it seems to stop them from thinking too deeply or exploring any desire to change much of anything. Basically, it’s an excuse for complacency. Thus we get the Conservative idea that government is ‘sorry’ that it cannot help everyone.
I think this is partly at least, what Darren McGarvey is getting at when he asks:
“When it comes to social inequality in Britain, what if poor people aren’t the problem?”
Very often the poorest are blamed for contributing to their poverty, which is sometimes seen to be a result of poor lifestyle choices. It is viewed as inappropriate to offer assistance when, allegedly, it all gets ‘wasted’. Though as he says in his book ‘The Social Distance Between Us’ (which, remarkably, has had a recent outing on Radio 4) when poverty is grinding, making any ‘lifestyle choice’ is just not a thing.
When we know government uses the power of the state to create money to gets things done in order to meet its objectives, then it is completely scandalous that the quantity of tears is not reduced.
That is what we should all be voting for.
But it is not only just scandalous, it is also inevitably and entirely economically illiterate, as Jack Monroe so very powerfully pointed out in Thursday’s Guardian (I do recommend the entire article) which concludes:
…The 14.5 million people living in poverty in the UK today are ticking timebombs of increased toxic stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, CPTSD, cognitive difficulties, depression, gum disease, chronic fatigue, osteoporosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, arterial disease, mental illness, diabetes, hypertension, inflammation, autoimmune disorders, suicidal ideation and suicide.
Choosing to deny people the most basic of human needs for the sake of scraping a few quid off the bottom line today will end up costing us – as a society, as a country and as an economy – far more in the months and years to come. If this government cannot bring itself to repair the shreds of the deliberately decimated social safety net for the sake of empathy, decency and common humanity, it needs to be patched up for the sake of long-term economic recovery. And it needs to start today.
I can only agree.