Solidarity and understanding are two major components to recreating a better society. As it stands, we are easily divided by many things, one of them being wages. This has been highlighted in the media response to the strikes by the RMT in the last week. And it worked. Given that the strikes aren’t even solely about wages, it’s clear that the ‘wage’ can be used as a divisive issue causing discontent among some of the population as they react with how little they earn in comparison to the 60k a train driver earns. Is it the train drivers’ fault, if true? Of course not. This is a corrosive issue across all our society. We should also be focusing on and questioning the wages of politicians which currently stand at £84,144 https://www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/members/pay-mps/ and be happy that our contemporaries are making a good living.
A society can be judged on how it treats the worse off, the impoverished, those who truly need help. As it stands in the UK there are many now in full time employment who still have to go to food banks and apply for a top up benefit to get through the month. This is a clear indication of a society that is broken. A health care assistant in a hospital works a 12-hour shift in a day with 2×30 minute breaks helping patients, some in incredible pain whilst also having to deal with the deaths of other patients, a toll on their mental health. They earn less than someone who works in McDonalds. That is insanity. A newly qualified teacher will start at 25k – 32k depending on the location. A newly qualified Band 5 nurse earns £25,655 a year. The average Bin Man salary is around 20k. How do any of these professionals and others from areas of employment survive in United Kingdom at the moment? They struggle, particularly with the UK average house price at £327,712 https://www.zoopla.co.uk/house-prices/uk/ and the average rent now at almost a £1000 a month https://www.zoopla.co.uk/press/releases/average-uk-rents-approach-1000pcm-62-more-per-month-than-at-the-start-of-the-pandemic-as-increased-cost-of-living-squeezes-house/#:~:text=Wednesday%209th%20February%2C%202022%2C%20London,its%20quarterly%20Rental%20Market%20Report.
It is the role of government, once it has been voted in to ensure the population of the country are essentially taken care of, their health and education needs are met, and that the standard of living is suitable for all. They are our employees. Not our bosses. If you get into a taxi and the driver is drunk and reckless, crashes and finally almost drives you off a cliff, clearly, they aren’t the driver to hire and someone you don’t want to give authority to where your life is concerned. You would instantly stop the taxi, remove yourself, and not pay them. So why do we carry on with the governments that so clearly don’t have our interests at heart and instead are more interested in serving business and driving us off a cliff metaphorically? This is so evidently true just by the current state of play in the UK. Take a look around.
Every day I speak to people who tell me how their hours are getting longer, how their contracts have been rewritten to ensure higher profits for the bosses and in effect dismantle their benefits, how their wages no longer reflect the price of living and how they are struggling to make ends and heat their houses while energy companies are openly exploding with profits. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/may/12/trading-in-turbulent-market-helps-bp-and-shell-secure-record-profits How can this be? Because the people we have given the reins too, the people we have put in power to govern us are controlled by big businesses. It’s no secret that the Tories have received huge donations from major businesses. According to the Independent newspaper 25% of Tory party’s individual donations came from just 10 people. That shows a huge amount of control outside of the government on society. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-conservatives-rich-donors-b1898260.html Add to that, that most of the Tories in cabinet are extremely rich how could they ever begin to understand the plight, the world of the working class, or the precariat as they have become known. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precariat#:~:text=In%20sociology%20and%20economics%2C%20the,portmanteau%20merging%20precarious%20with%20proletariat.
With a plutocratic government in power, that is subservient to big business and essentially in their pocket where does this leave a struggling population? Surely the worst type of behaviour we can employ is to attack one another for it leaves those in power to carry on and keep running the show, free to carry on with business as usual, the old strategy of divide and rule. And it is here as I stated in the beginning that solidarity has the ability to change the shape of our societies and country. If we can stop fighting one another and understand what the real problem is, then we have a chance of making a change, of changing the direction of power. For instance, take the refugee/immigrant/asylum seeker situation. It only takes one article from a media organisation to ignite the hatred and for part of the population to start foaming at the mouth and stepping into their racist shoes. It’s a great winner for the politicians. A great way to divide. Priti Patel sending asylum seekers to Rwanda was the most recent example that garnered a huge reaction. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-61808120 But what we should be asking ourselves is why that person so desperate to risk their lives in a dinghy across the English Channel. Do we think they really want to risk everything for £40.85 each and a place to live through the Government’s Asylum support? Or maybe they are also victims of a global system that is affecting us all. We should be showing solidarity with them rather than listening to the vote seeking rhetoric of our politicians, for the system is attacking us all.
I see in the UK that we have three choices ahead of us:
1. We just keep attacking others we are manipulated into thinking are the enemy by the government and the media so big business can just carry on without any focus on them.
2. We stand up to our government and tell them to start doing their job properly. To start serving those who put them in power rather than serving big business.
3. We remove government and just let business rule, which is big businesses dream, but our true nightmare. Just cut out the middleman if they are of no use and move straight to laissez faire politics.
As John Dewey once wrote: Politics is the shadow cast on society by big business.
The only way we can make an effective change is through solidarity, understanding and questioning. Society is just built on ideas, and those ideas can be changed, modified, or removed anytime. It just takes solidarity.