I was supposed to be getting some money from Universal Credit today and I have received the princely sum of £29. I stopped working on 30th March or rather the job ended, and because I received a week’s salary and a few days holiday pay the following week, I am only entitled to a grand total of £59 for this month, paid in 2 instalments of £29 today and £30 in a fortnight's time. I have been living off that last salary payment for the last month, it doesn't even matter that I had to pay a week’s rent out of it or that I had other bills to cover as well, it was received in my claim time so it counts. Strangely enough, if I had put in my UC claim the day after, it wouldn't have counted and I would have received more. So, I have £59 to live on for the next month and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all you Tory voters for helping to screw over not only me but the rest of the working classes, especially if you are working-class or from a working class background, you deserve special attention, you bunch of deluded snobs!
I was looking at a post on Facebook earlier today from Jo Brand on the crisis in the NHS. The NHS is being asset-stripped by the Tories and their friends and has been for many years going right back to the New Labour Tories and the bank crash of 2008 or rather the 'engineered financial crisis' (a blog for another day). This 'crisis' has been used as the excuse to dismantle the public sector and drive the poor and working-class into penury, low-waged unstable work and 3rd rate services. Someone on the post asked why the people of Britain were allowing this to happen and I replied - because the smug middle-classes turned their noses up to the working classes while they strived to join the upper classes. Because that is what happened.
The middle-classes turned their faces away when the pits were closed down and the miners thrown out of work. They didn't bother to look either when the factories were closed and more working-class jobs disappeared offshore. Britain was changing, we were told, from an industrial economy to a service economy, ‘it was the way of the world, there was ‘nothing you could do’ and the middle-classes bought it and stayed silent because it was only working-class jobs which were changing and that was of no interest to them.
When council housing was sold off, many of those former working-class bought cheap and then sold out to private landlords as they social-climbed their way to smug middle-classdom, convinced of their new superiority. No-one bothered to consider the long term view or how working-class communities would be affected, just grabbed the money and ran. Now, most of that housing stock is in the hands of private landlords who charge exorbitant rents for what are oftentimes, badly maintained properties. Those houses are easily identified in working-class areas; they're usually the most neglected and run-down. This is not just an English problem, here in NI where they railed for so long against the terrible actions and legacy of English landlords and how they treated the Irish (there are few around here who couldn't tell you the story of the Glenveigh evictions) they have shown that the smug middle-class Irish are every bit as avaricious and socially ambitious as their English counterparts. The rent on the council house I live in which is a standard 3 bed, is up to 80% more expensive under private landlords who are all local. Can't blame the 'foreigners' for that one!
Our middle-class business people are also every bit as bad as the Victorian English mill owners or rich Saudi's in how they treat their staff. Several locally-owned businesses will sack you if you try to join a union or start one in their factory. They won't tell you that, of course, they'll make it about something else and when you start work you can be on probation for up to a year so they can just get rid of you without having to give any explanation. They don't profit share or pay very well either, minimum wages as much as possible. At least, people now get a minimum wage, one of our local companies used to pay £1 an hour before the minimum wage was introduced and have threatened to get rid of all their older workers if the living wage is made compulsory.
Class division is just one of the reasons why 'they' get away with it because the elites with the help of a complicit media and the socially deluded, keep us divided against each other whether it's by race, skin-colour, religion, ethnic back-ground, national identity or any other item they can find; to keep us distracted and afraid. Then, while we're being distracted with stories of migrants getting money and jobs and houses, or scare stories around religious fanatics or other cultures, they can just keep on screwing us over because there is just so much to distract us with; celebrities, royal weddings, terrorists, celebrities, Putin, royalty, war, celebrities, Harry & Meaghan, more celebrities...
Meanwhile, down here in the working classes, the vacuum created by governments who have abdicated their political and social responsibility, combined with the complicit apathy and actions of the middle-classes, has been filled with greedy landlords, unstable employment, not to mention the drugs and gangs, the result of which is killing off the young and not just on the streets of London.
But now the middle-classes are starting to realise they have been screwed over too and the chances of their children being able to buy a home or having a well-paid steady job have disappeared into the ether. Today's proposal to give all 25 year old's £10,000 to help them on to the property ladder (but is really to stop them getting angry about how shit their prospects are and possibly start a revolution) is another sticking plaster on a cancerous tumour. If they were lucky enough to have even gone to university that would hardly cover their student loans! Realistically, a Tory government is never going to hand £10,000 to working-class children.
I just bet Janet is middle-class (See Universal Credit 1). As for Alex and his Universal Credit, maybe Alex needs the broadband to look for work because most jobs are online these days and if his local library has been closed because of 'austerity' he can't access those jobs. Maybe the fuel is petrol or diesel for his car so he can travel to interviews, not everywhere is accessible by public transport or maybe he just needs transport because he has young children.
I am debating keeping my broadband, it's £50 a month, I can just about manage it this month but if I'm not back in work before the end of May, it'll have to go. I was lucky, I thought I would be on UC for a while and friends had warned me I could be without money for 6 weeks so I had set some money by just in case. Good job I did, or I would be up shit creek without the proverbial paddle.
But as long as there are people with the same attitude as the Janet's of this world nothing will change. Those who look down their noses at the working-classes and people on benefits are just luckier, not better, luckier. Not everyone is born into loving, caring homes, not everyone is lucky or smart enough for University, not everyone has the advantage of good physical and mental health. It doesn't mean that because they didn't have those things that they should be treated as something less or that their lives should exist on the bare essentials and nothing else. Life is precarious, we all hang together by threads, and no-one knows what the next minute, hour or week may bring. It can be different and it can be better for everyone but there has to be a will to make it happen. But as long as we allow ourselves to be divided by religion, culture, money or social status then nothing will change. But history has shown us that certain conditions drive change, when those on the bottom reach the end of their tether and start a revolution or the middle-classes experience a shift in social consciousness, then change does happen, let's hope we don't have much longer to wait for it.