Went to see Owen Jones on Wednesday night. He is amazing. A left wing journalist now author, he’s inspirational. And I knew I would get all harrumphy, and I am.
So here’s what I think.
- Let’s stop blaming poor people for being poor.
- Let’s stop blaming immigrants for taking our jobs (they’re not) or claiming benefits (they’re not).
- Let’s place the blame squarely where it belongs. With the bankers, the powerful wealthy, those who made huge mistakes (or even possibly committed fraud), and caused the recession.
- Rich people, when money is tighter, have to decide whether to sell the horses, the paddock, or possibly even their holiday home abroad.
- Poor people, when money is tighter, have to decide whether to eat or keep warm. Or whether to eat or catch the bus to work.
- The government, and the media is actively complicit in this, like to divide us up into groups, and then set us all against each other. That way they stay powerful. For example the phrase “workers and shirkers” implies that people at work don’t need to claim benefits, but people without jobs do. The greater part of benefits claimed is actually by people who are in work, but are so poorly paid that they still can’t afford to live.
- A proper living wage, properly enforced, would make a huge difference to this state of affairs.
- Immigrants are blamed because they are immigrants. It’s a visceral, tribal response to anybody who is different, or “other” from us. But we’re all people. We all need warmth, food, shelter, and somewhere to bring up our children. As long as we all obey the law of the land we live in, what’s the problem?
- And don’t even get me started on religion.