Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Economically Unproductive People Don't Matter!

There is a General Election underway in the UK. The thing that strikes me most is how desperate everyone is (not least the two parties most likely to be involved in government) to be seen as the party of "working people". It seems that "working people" are where the votes are. There has been precious little to hear about the disabled, mentally ill or other disadvantaged groups. Everything seems geared to making "working people" happy with their lot.

This profoundly depresses me. This is why people, and sometimes I'm one of them, say that there is no genuine choice in the election. All the parties inhabit the same ideological ground. They are all fighting like pups for the same teat to suck on. They all want to appeal to the same section of society and harvest their votes. All this is deeply conservative (with a small 'c'). It seems that our greatest political minds have one idea of what life is about and its mapped out for all of us. You might call that the idea that we are all to be economically productive capitalist drones.

The message I'm getting loud and clear from all the policy back and forth is that economically unproductive people don't matter. They are seen as a burden, a problem, something that costs us (or probably "working people") money. So they are regarded as scroungers. People are encouraged to begrudge their existence, not least by the press barons who usually vote to the right. Their misfortune is regarded as their fault and their problem. After all, the whole ideology of "working people" is a very individualistic one. You are meant to succeed by your effort alone. And if you can't then that is your fault. And your problem.

So where are the people who ask what happens to the people who need a food bank to eat? Where are the people who ask what happens to the mentally ill person who cannot work because they are locked inside a prison of themselves? What about the people who suffer from crippling physical ailments? Any society is always going to have people like this within it. Does it say something fundamental about us in looking at how we regard and deal with such people? The only answer today's politics offers is that you become an economically productive capitalist drone too. But not everyone can.

The message I'm getting from this election is that most politicians just wish they would disappear. And some do. Because they die.

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