Another week and another attack on the poor and the unemployed by our elite ‘leaders’. That vile woman Edwina Currie reduces an unemployed woman, who could not make ends meet, to tears laying the blame for her poverty squarely at her own feet. The equally vile tory rich boy Cameron describes single mothers as ‘neighbours from hell’ and promises to bring to account those lazy dole claiming layabouts who choose to scrounge off the state.
They argue that this feckless class of the poor have only themselves to blame because they lack ‘aspiration’. According to the politicians there is no longer a class system in our country, merely two classes of people. The aspirational class and the non-aspirational class.
This creates a system of meritocracy. Those that become financially wealthy do so based on their own merits and the fact they are aspirational and those who are crushingly poor are so because they lack aspiration and choose to live in filth and claim benefits for life. So if you are poor, all you need is to be aspirational and hey ho, your life will improve and you will find yourself in the new ‘aspirational class’ (doublespeak for middle class).
This PR rebrand of all that is wrong in society is dangerous in the extreme. Firstly, it is purely a mechanism to shift the blame of our societies problems from government to the poor themselves. Secondly, it allows those from comfortable or privileged backgrounds to smugly believe that they got where they are solely on their own merits.
Take Cameron for example, for him to allude to the fact that he got where he is today based on his own merit is a blatant lie. Both he and his wife are related to royalty. Famously, when he was 12 he was flown by Concorde to the birthday of the billionaire grandson of John Paul Getty, where he sipped a glass of Dom Perignon 69. Pre university (Eton, of course) he worked for his grandfather as a parliamentary researcher and later his father pulled strings so he could work for a multinational company in Hong Kong.
When he decided to go into politics, the Conservative Central office received a phone call from Buckingham Palace endorsing the young Cameron and informing them that they were about to meet ‘a truly remarkable man’. Merit? Did he get where he is based on his own aspirations? No! He got his excellent education because his family is rich and he got his breaks because the connections his family has. I have yet to hear of Buckingham Palace endorsing a poor kid from Moss Side to a future employer.
We run a charity that promotes young people through music in a poorish area of Kent. I spend a lot of time with both the bands and the audience who are predominately 16 – 25 year olds, a demographic which has more than 50% unemployment locally. Week in and week out I hear these young people talk about trying to get work, comparing notes on who is hiring and who is not. I hear them describe their dreams about the better life they aspire to and what it is like to live with crushing poverty, I hear them, time and time again describe how hopeless their prospects for a better life seem. It is hard to describe how heart breaking it is to listen to them trying to find a way out.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that these young people aspire with every fiber of their being for a better life. The reality is however that the only work available to them, if they are very lucky, is the minimum wage fodder like supermarket stacking or working in fast food joints.
To lay the blame for their poverty at the feet of this disenfranchised generation is a vicious, disingenuous lie. These kids do not have wealthy families pulling strings for them to make their every wish come true; they are on their own. There are nowhere near enough jobs for them all and the jobs that are available to them are low paying prospect-less ones. They are trapped in a situation that was not their making but they pay the price.
Adding insult to injury, they find themselves blamed for their plight by classless (in the true sense of the word) multi millionaire politicians and the comfortable darling middle class.
So, we are shocked when these kids riot are we? I am shocked that they don’t riot every week.