I’ve just read an interesting article in the Guardian, part of a series on the death of the American middle class. It’s true that I live in the UK and yet I have a horrid feeling that what happens in the US is echoed over here, however faintly. Johnson may not be Trump but he’s a pale posh-boy echo of him. He has more superficial charm than Trump (admittedly, so does cold mashed potato) but left to his own devices would probably make just as big a hash of things as 45.
The series of articles began in February before the virus got going; and it’s about the struggle artists have to make a living. Well so far, so what? I mean that’s always been the case, hasn’t it? You work hard, you do it because you must and a fortunate few of you make a living at it. Yet she contends the hardest thing over there is the shame. People are ashamed of not making a living because it seems to indicate that you’re not working hard enough. Hard work equals wealth. Ergo, if you’re poor you’re simply lazy.
Though it has a slightly different flavour over here, this ethic is also quite prevalent. It showed in Cameron’s rhetoric of ‘hard-working families’ and is behind every welfare ‘reform’. Pensioners are expendable and don’t let’s even mention the disabled. If you don’t contribute to the economy, you’re nothing.
This wonderful attitude is now influencing the ‘road map’ of recovery. The C19 figures have barely started to dip (and no-one knows the long-term outcome of this) before Johnson caves to the hawks in his party and starts announcing measures so waffly and contradictory that no-one can understand what he actually said. What he basically meant was ‘Yah, I know it’s – um, still out there and that’s terrible but some of us have to make money, so – er – just, you know, get back to work. But don’t use public transport.’
Idiot. I could be furious, but I’m all out of fury. I’m just sad.
Can we go and live in New Zealand please?