Sunday, 9 August 2015
The Past Is A Foreign Country.
There are many people in Britain today who will fail to recognise the above photograph. It is a ruined factory - a place where people used to go, make things and earn money. Young people who didn't have the aptitude to be a banker, a property speculator or diversity coordinator would get apprenticeships at such places, learn a trade and get a proper job at the end of it all. In 1979 Margaret Thatcher and her Tory henchmen decided that we didn't need manufacturing industry any more and that we could base our entire economy on banking and shopping. Apprenticeships in factories were replaced with training for a life of crime in banking and finance. The working class was essentially exported abroad to India and China where their votes don't count over here in Britain and the Tories looked forward to a new generation who would have no idea that an alternative to neoliberal economics was possible. And it worked. Even the Labour party, the traditional party of the working class, went along with this idea. The economic insanity of "trickle down" became orthodoxy and , in times of famine, it became normal to present the rich and greedy with ever-increasingly bigger meals. Those who didn't fit into this new world, the ill-educated, the sick, the disabled and the unemployed became "scroungers". Those who argued against it became "dinosaurs" or, as Liz Kendall recently put it, "a throwback to the past." That, apparently, would be a terrible thing. Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party, or heaven forefend, as Prime Minister would reverse all the "progress" of the last 30 years. Just imagine it. Ordinary people with full time well paid jobs. Hospitals well funded by the taxes paid by these people in full time well paid jobs. Entire industries such as gas, electricity, water and railways dedicated to creating public services instead of ripping off their customers. A society more equal in which the rich pay taxes as well. A society in which the sick and disabled are treated with a measure of dignity and the unemployed are helped back into real jobs that pay real money. Awful isn't it? "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."