You may have heard 2020 described as something of a turning point? That the lock-down really is a mixed blessing.
They’re right in a way. Many of us have spent more time with our children, refrained from using our cars, had some time for some serious thinking, perhaps decided our work-lives balances did not make sense. But this opportunity, if that is what it is, is made up of a number of components. Some of which I have listed below, with possible outcomes. You may think of others I have missed. Feel free to add in the comments
Many of us have a financial disaster hanging over our heads. Our jobs have us balancing on the brink for some time now . Some of these have dissolved or been reduced. Others lack the security of old. Austerity has completed what Thatcher began in the 80’s
When the post liberal, panglossian state stalls, it is usually the most vulnerable who get hit the hardest. Sure, opportunities arise, but before profit rates are threatened, workers tend to get made redundant. They face the uncertainty of unemployment, whilst government departments are slow to provide any meaningful support. In spite of promises made by government, both national and local, the reality is often very bleak. Many people are anxious, waiting for help which has so far not arrived. There is no choice but to let bills pile up, at the mercy of a government completely controlled by market mechanisms and totally removed from the concerns of ordinary people.
Is it not telling that the UK government’s chief economic adviser Patrick Valance holds over half a million pounds in shares in GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and is their president of Research and Development here– the company contracted to develop a Covid19 vaccine?
How our ruling classes take care of their own, not unlike the fuedal economy of old.
Keeping society running
The self-employed make up a large portion of the working population now, ever since Norman Tebbit told everyone to ‘get on their bike’ and what recently has become known as the gig economy. They are not so much as the proletariat but the ‘precariat’, now there is the removal of any sort of safety net, effectively bankrupted by Covid19. In many other countries, large volatile groups of precariously employed have proven to be quite easily recruited by political movements. It wouldn’t be the first time the calls of nationalism and patriotism fall on a receptive audience. The last time we had a global pandemic and accompanying depression was in the 1930’s.
We have seen how our frontline workers have been hurled into the inferno without the proper equipment or protection. Why would that change?
We have also discovered that it really is a skill to teach children. Many parents were near breaking point during school lockdown. Should we support more investment in education and lighter working conditions for a profession in which stress and burn-outs are rife?
Merely changing the system is not enough
What seems sure, is, we need much more than just reflection. A little thinking has never actually shifted society that much. It’s great we’ve all realized who the ‘essential workers’ are and that our families, friends and our countryside (but not the green lobby) are important, but before you know it, we’ll have 35 years of austerity ahead of us, the elite will persist in shielding their wealth, primarily from us. I can already hear them dusting off that old clincher: “We’re all in this together.” That usually means they’ll keep the wealth flowing upwards, if past behaviors are anything to go by.
What needs addressing?
What will happen to the legions of unemployed, businesses gone and a government, who have always told us to trust the market? What is the outlook? Will the unemployed, and indeed unemployable, be ‘bailed out’ by a universal basic income (UBI), a measure which has been pushed by progressive movements for some time now? Or will the government bail out the oligarchs and big business, those responsible for so much social degradation and now in trouble, on the brink of collapse. France and the Netherlands have already put billions of funding into KLM/Air France, assuming a return to business as usual. Where are the pledges to our health? To our well being?To the pensions? To our countryside (assuming it isn’t built on with high density housing and cycle lanes)?
What use is our reflections and thoughts of this? Can it be welded to the frustration and alienation so evidently felt by those who are being left behind by the system? Can they be molded into a force demanding change, perhaps even a revolution of some kind? That looks a more and more attractive option, given the extraordinary circumstances of the post liberal society which has ground to sheddering halt, ruled over by parasitic autocrats who can see no further than their profit margins.
It seems only natural that people distrust the government. The ‘war-on-terror’ was used by corporate, spin doctors, in justifying their ends. There was was the famous WeaponsOfMassDestruction (WMD) that was, allegedly, going to be exposed by Dr Kelly. (His death has never been satisfactorily explained.) The Million Strong March in London challenged the growing power of corporations in government who pushed for the war in Iraq, Afghanistan and later Libya. It was ignored.
The 2008 ‘credit crunch’ was no surprise to anyone. Austerity,which followed the crunch, it could quite easily be called the biggest theft in modern history. Vast ammounts of public wealth were transferred into private hands. The continued cutbacks, growing inequality, climate change, foreign wars and self-enrichment has created a climate of disenchantment. Our leaders are playing their own game and we are left disowned, disarmed and disconnected. Our elites speak the language of freedom, equality and democracy while our society disintegrates.
We had Wikileaks and Edward Snowden. What we all suspected was confirmed. The elite were dressing up its endeavours in modern Newspeak. Now they have put on trial one of the whistle-blowers, who was kept in the Bellmarsh top security prison. Elites very easily close ranks when their plans are exposed. Did you really believe Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide?
In the meantime, our leaders are cracking down on our historical liberties and freedoms, strengthening the executive powers of the state, I read today that the armed military are to move in wholesale to mandtorily test the whole of Liverpool city!
There is more on that story here
Under the excuse of your safety, measures are taken which will increase the powers of state surveillance and control. (Remember, It’s only a mask, its only for a week/month/ year, its only a vaccine, its only to keep you safe) Nothing survives like the temporary, they say.
I can only imagine more polarization. A return to ‘normality’ is simply no longer on the cards and the time for a real right wing accelerationist movement, not the faux conservative we have been offered so far, is now. It most certainly is now.
Images courtesy of Aykapog, Millennial Woes and Efry E respectively