Tuesday, 17 December 2019

We may well have Doomed Ourselves and our Children

Four days on from the general election result, the wounds are still tender, and with the depression and anxiety and shock, people are feeling disbelief at what we've lost. The stakes could not have been higher - we are facing an extinction threat.

One party - The Tories - chose to ignore the threat, to jeopardise future generations in favour of profit for the energy industry. The other party - Labour - was going to treat the threat with the urgency it deserved, invest in the green sector, install solar panels across the country, build wind farms, switch to electric buses, make homes carbon neutral, and create millions of jobs in the process. Not only could Britain have been world leaders in the green revolution, we could have given a huge boost to our economy. Instead, we sided with corporate greed. It defies belief, but here we are.

Let's look at things on a more personal level. Many people, both Labour activists and supporters, are telling me of struggles with mental health, and more concerningly of feeling suicidal. We're not talking about snowflakes feeling self-pity for not getting their own way here. We're talking about vulnerable people with disabilities, mental health issues, or serious illnesses who genuinely fear being left destitute, who tell me the Tory government is making life impossible, who felt Labour was their last hope of living a dignified life.

But it's not just the most vulnerable who are suffering, it's ordinary workers who are finding life impossible. My own family, like many this year, can only afford the most basic Christmas. My wife and I are struggling to keep up with needed repairs or replace broken appliances, let alone live what the privileged would call a normal life. We're skilled and experienced workers. My wife has a master's degree, yet we're both earning not much above minimum wage. In our local economy, any job above minimum wage is hard to find. Opportunities are few and far between, and God knows things never used to be so bad. High streets are closing up and down the country. Skilled jobs are vanishing in place of zero hours contracts. People have a choice between exploitation and subsistence living - or destitution and starvation. The situation is dire.

What's scary is my wife and I are likely among the higher earners in our area. We're both working full time - that in itself elevates us above many. The fact we haven't had to visit a foodbank (we've been close) means we're among the lucky ones. It's depressing to say that. It really is.

If Labour won the general election, their £10 minimum wage policy would have increased our earnings by £480 a month. That would have taken us from struggling to fairly comfortable - and that's all any of us would ask for. It's hardly unreasonable.

We have an economic system that favours billionaires who extract huge sums from our public services, and even more in tax payer subsidies, yet add nothing of value. National assets like our beloved NHS are being sold off, piece by piece. US pharmaceutical companies are set to increase drug prices in a post-Brexit trade deal. There is nothing in the Tory economy that is not for sale. Nothing that is free from exploitation. Everything has a price, including human beings.

We could have changed this. Britain could have built a society where we measure value in human terms, rather than monetary terms, yet we chose exploitation and inequality. And for what purpose? Was the nation's decision based on careful analysis of policy proposals? Of course not. People voted based on the lies of Tory Brexit and the largest and most grotesque smear campaign we've seen in this country.

Repeatedly we were told "Get Brexit done", the deal is "oven-ready", and the Tories will protect our rights and safety standards. Four days into the new government and the oven-ready Brexit deal which was the key reason for many to vote Tory has been shown to be a lie. They're already looking at No Deal Brexit and talking of sacrificing our rights and safety standards. It's galling that anyone believed a Prime Minister who is known to be a pathological liar.

So why did people abandon their critical faculties on the Brexit issue? Well, it might be something to do with the other obvious problem at the general election - the media hate campaign against Jeremy Corbyn. Billionaire press barons didn't fancy Corbyn's tax plans so they became propagandists for the Tory government and told outrageous lies about the most decent person ever to run for Prime Minister. This is not democracy.

Most unforgivable is how every week, the BBC made editorial "mistakes" which favoured the Tories and made Labour look bad. Whenever they were called out, they refused to take concerns seriously and poured scorn on their critics. That's appalling contempt for the public who pay their wages.

When organisations like the United Nations and British Medical Journal are accusing your government of human rights abuses and your media fail to adequately report this, you have a problem. We have children with pneumonia lying on hospital floors and destitute disabled people starving to death, for fuck's sake.

If the mainstream media highlighted the true situation in the UK, public opinion would have been different. But instead they claimed the leader of the opposition likes terrorists because he favours diplomacy over war. They mocked him up against the Kremlin and Photoshopped his hat to make it look Russian. They suggested a man who has fought racism his entire life is racist. The truth didn't matter as long as they got the intended result. We mock other countries for this level of "journalism", but BBC propaganda has gone to a level beyond anything you'll see on Al Jazeera or Russia Today.

The British public made a self-defeating voting decision, but it certainly wasn't an informed one. Indeed, the media and the Conservative Party did everything they could to eliminate the possibility of informed consent. The public were duped so the Tories could continue a theft which has seen £1 trillion vanish from the public purse in 9 years. And while I'm certain a time will come when people won't tolerate such outrage, we may well have no NHS left and no climate to save.

We may well have doomed ourselves and our children.

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