Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Them & Us

Sharpening the divide that has been evident for some years now (taking in the latter part of Labour's period in office), the ConDems' approach is as plain as can be. A litany of reports on the consequences of "austerity" has appeared over the last few weeks, some of which detail in stark terms what it means for those at the bottom ( ).
Even those who once considered themselves "safe" now realise that the term has a relative meaning ( ).
What it means for those who fall through the cracks was articulated through the quiet desperation of a supposedly "Middle England" family in an accompanying Observer piece ( ).
The local effects of the cuts are evident to many; the acres of wasteland & boarded-up retail units outside the city centre tell their own desolate tale, a grim continuation of a deindustrialisation process which intensified during the early 80s & hasn't abated. Its human cost in the city is an indictment of a failed system ( ) .
Parallels with the 80s are obvious, a phenomenon strengthened by the callousness & stupidity of Tory MPs who claim that the jobless can sing for their supper (it's OK to busk in Church Street now that BID have thrown in the towel) & toil for a pittance which makes the minimum wage look extravagant ( ).
All of which allows the elephant which has always been in the room to raise its trunk & shriek the walls down. I am referring to class. As in class divide. As in class warfare. However, contrary to the perennial cries from the mouths of the titled & tax-dodgers, that war has long been waged by those who think nothing of calling police officers "f***ing plebs" who should know their place ( ).
It's a philosophy & approach which has now begun to exact the grimmest of tolls from those earmarked as the new 21st century scapegoats ( ).
I make no apology for dwelling on this avalanche of gloom & injustice. This is Britain in 2012. This is the sobering reality.
So is there a ray of light in all this? Difficult to say. However, there are those who have cleverly & humorously sent up the double standards of this recession's architects. Take UK Uncut ( ) who continue to highlight the tax dodging dealings of the corporate crowd. A group of protesters, known as the Black Tie activists, recently gatecrashed a retirement do for HMRC boss Dave Hartnett at a splendid & sumptuous dinner in Oxford. Hartnett has seen to it that multinationals such as Vodafone & Goldman Sachs certainly aren't in the same boat as the rest of us; cosy, secretive deals have been agreed.  With an elegance befitting the occasion, the protesters presented Hartnett with a spoof award for services to tax dodging. The words uttered by a minion who eventually ejects them tell you everything you need to know about them & us ( ) .

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