Today, I got really fed up with the Current State of Things. And if it’s OK with you, I am going to have a little rant about it. What I also want are concrete suggestions about how I go about changing some of this…
I’m fed up with the narrative that casts any benefit recipient (except those ‘entitled’ to child benefit) as a scrounger. That says Disability Living Allowance is a drain on the public purse, when it’s the payment that allows people to live a full life. I’m fed up with a system that decides on a tick box list whether you’re fit for work or a scrounger, regardless of the fact there are very very few employers that would make the ‘reasonable adjustment’ needed for someone with, say, a mental health problem, when there are non-ill people out there also looking for work. And that says it’s not OK to be ill, and looked after. I’m fed up with hearing that food banks are expanding, because that means we are failing miserably both individually and collectively. And we are standing around watching people have their safety net removed, because job centre sanctions are enforced – sometimes for trivialities, by people who do not seem to understand what having no money is like. I don’t. I can pay my rent, I can go to the supermarket, make choices about what to buy, drink wine on a Monday. That makes me extremely fortunate. I’m fed up with people who do not understand that the bedroom tax is unfair and that £14 is a lot for some budgets. I’m fed up with zero-hour contracts and minimum wage jobs being seen as good enough. I’m fed up with contradictory noises – we should all be out working hard, but at the same time looking after our relatives?
I’m fed up with the phrase ‘affordable housing.’ We’d never talk about ‘affordable food’ like it was a good thing. I’m fed up with tenants being viewed as second class citizens. I’m fed up with housing benefit going to line private landlords’ pockets when the narrative suggests the claimants are raking it in.
I’m fed up with MPs denying cost of living increases to others whilst demanding more for themselves. They knew the pay rates when they stood for election, they should get over it. Live a bit more simply. Like the rest of us have to.
I’m fed up with a society that doesn’t care about taking more and more from the earth’s resources. We don’t need ‘green’ energy, they say, laughing at the tofu-eating environmentalists. We’ve got fracking! Take that jumper off, turn your thermostat up – we’ve got more gas to burn! But what happens after that’s run out? Why is no-one talking about investing in long term reductions of demand – making sure we have decently insulated houses with efficient heating systems, using solar or wind power where we can? Oh, that’s right. We just cut the green taxes that might have paid for that kind of stuff, rather than dent the foreign-owned energy companies’profits.
I’m fed up with our infrastructure being under the control of overseas states. As the Now Show put it – a socialist government is being funded by a communist regime to build us a nuclear power plant, so we can enjoy the free market. That same free market that means my train service is run by the Dutch government. Not to mention the utilities that are private-equity owned, taking money from the taxpayer to make rich people richer or fund investment by other states in *their* infrastructure.
I’m fed up with tax avoidance – and I am fed up with people not realising how privately-owned so many of our retailers are, and missing the point by focusing on one or two culprits.
I’m fed up with people’s need to buy more, consume more, to care about their shiny shoes, gadgets, clothes – when our consumerism locks other people into poverty. How long did people’s revulsion at the conditions the Bangladeshi workers were living with last? Or have we, 6 months on, forgotten – and sneaked back to the cheap clothes, no questions asked?
I’m fed up with a society that decides teachers needn’t bother learning how to be teachers, and under the guise of ‘choice’ siphons off money to private academies.
Actually I’m fed up with ALL the siphoning off of my tax money into private hands. I am a hard-working person – and I want to see my tax spent on things that make this country a better, fairer, cleaner, nicer, hopeful place – not a system that drives a further wedge between the haves and have-nots, whilst blaming the have-nots for their predicament.
Is the BBC biased? Probably. But not anti-Tory, not anti-right wing – not from where I’m standing. Where is the coverage of the sell-off of the NHS? Why does unelected UKIP get a voice when the Green Party doesn’t? But you know what? Despite that, despite the fact the Today programme makes me shout at the radio, I still love the BBC and its provision. I’d pay my £11 a month for R4 and its podcasts alone. It’s damned cheap when you compare it to almost any other major media provision.
I’m fed up with car drivers being prioritised over pedestrians and cyclists. I’m fed up with bus networks being pruned back, leaving those who rely on them isolated. I’m fed up with public transport being seen as an inconvenience to the freedom of the motorist – the idea that parking restrictions are a restriction on freedom only makes sense if you have never been stuck on a bus behind a stupidly parked car.
I’m fed up with libraries being closed by people who have no idea what happens in one.
I’m fed up with immigrant-bashing, rape culture, lads’ mags, the sexualisation of everything, the polarised debates about religion, discrimination, the ideology of the free market and…and…and… you know – that might be everything. For now. Until tomorrow, and the next announcement on the Today programme that makes me angry.