You’re out of touch my baby My poor old fashioned baby I said baby, baby, baby, you’re out of time ……..part of the lyrics of Chris Farlowe’s 1966 hit..and a perfect description of my mindset in 2013.
All the rest of this is going to be a generalisation which, if anyone ever reads it but me, is likely going to get up noses. Sorry about that, people.
As an early Baby Boomer, six months older than the NHS, I was brought up to believe, by Labour voting/activist parents, that the Welfare State, started before WWI and enhanced by the post WWII NHS, was a blessing for those in circumstances not of their own making and to be used for only as long as those circumstances pertained.
I was a child in the later days of rationing; I lived in the days when clothes were passed down through/across the generations until they became threadbare but they were not sold for money on ebay or handed over to sell in a shop staffed mostly by volunteers who work for nothing to ensure there will always be money to pay the salaries of the shop managers, office staff and high heid bummers of charities.and maybe…with a bit of luck and no expenses claims., some left to do the good the volunteers thought they were supporting.
l Iived in the days when neighbours, friends and families helped out with child-minding without expecting payment, though they did expect some reciprocity where necessary. In them days we did “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”. There was nobody getting rich in them days by charging for monetary profit to replace neighbours, friends and families re childminding..but then in them days there was no government who had latched on to informal child-minding set-ups as something to be legislated against and controlled in order to make profit for private companies.
I lived in the days when you gave stuff you no longer needed to people who needed it, and didn’t SELL it to them! I lived in the days when women had acquired equality under the law..and so we got child benefit for the first child, as well as all our subsequent children, and maternity benefits..and maternity pay if in employment…and maternity pay lasted then for a relatively short time in the scheme of thoroughly hacking off those who are obliged to cover for their absence. because Governments made replacement cover for their absence optional.and companies who pay wages don’t do optional if that reduces profit.
In my day feminists were fighting for equality under the law..which they got…..nowadays they are fighting to, and succeeding in, absolving women from having any responsibility for their actions. So nowadays you get a male and a female drunk..and only the female drunk gets a free pass to be a complete and utter arsehole!
I never wanted to live under a patriarchal society….but then, the only other thing which scares the crap out of me, as a woman, is the idea that we are getting to the stage of replacing the patriarchal crap with feminist matriarchal shite! If we can’t have equality both of us can agree is adequate for both our purposes…and that appears less and less possible as the feminists continue to find something they can whine about , I’d as soon go back to patriarchal, because men seem a lot less vituperative about women than feminists do about men.
The UK before Thatcher was generally a pretty decent place when comparing it with life now. Maybe everything didn’t work the same in all areas, but over the whole, the UK was a country with a Government which generally drew the line at dictation and rank stupidity and only legislated to correct perceived problems. The UK became absolute shite to live in when the problems perceived by Government were that a mixed economy, with a public sector they did not have the intelligence/ability to control was not working..and that capitalism was all and capitalism on the same lines as embraced by the USA was the ideal.
So then we got a drastic roll-back of everything which made the UK an almost decent place in which to live. We got ATOS and G4S and Serco and all those companies predicated on making money for the directors and shareholders with the treatment of joe punter becoming a useful money earning point, depending on the contract agreed (and we all know how really bad our brain-dead politicians are at drawing up contracts. Think the building of the Scottish Parliament..think the security for the Olympics……in fact.just think the Olympics and the swingeing costs over and above the theory presented to us originally.)
There is poverty of the kind that the Welfare State was originally set up to ameliorate…the poverty which meant that without the Welfare State input you had no income at all coming in to do anything to meet your very basic needs of life…and then there is being poor in your own mind, with your only point of reference being the level of unnecessary luxuries you can’t afford to fund. The latter is the relative poverty so beloved by Governments scratching for votes.
Maybe I have a weird mind..but is “relative poverty” and the basing on benefits for some (as in not for the single unemployed with homes or the single under 25 pariahs who don’t live with parents who could support them ) predicated on the concept that those who can’t afford to buy unnecessary consumer goods, like mobile phones, Wiis, PS3s etc are poor in the eyes of those who can afford them…..like our well off politicians (and all those who get a decent income from running/participating in quangos, focus groups etc) on the dime from our seemingly bottomless taxpayer pocket.
And is it only me who thinks that relative poverty is the benchmark.because our Governments are fixated on making sure that some (and only some) of us can afford to buy all the pointless but well advertised, and thus desired, crap that businesses have to sell so they can be assured of a profit to send out of the UK, or off-shore and manage to keep enough cash in their own pockets/bank accounts to enable them to donate large amounts of cash to the political parties to ensure they will continue to be favoured above the other 99% of the population?
I lived in the days when the Big Society, that Cameron is frantically trying to resurrect from the dead place to which Maggie Thatcher consigned it, really existed. I can see that aspiration being another big fail by the Coalition, along with reducing the UK debt levels, coming across the moral compass they appear to have mislaid and understanding that “we are all in this together” means sod all when the only ones being shafted are the poorest and/or most disadvantaged.