Friday, 12 October 2012

Right About Turn

Why is it that when things get tough, humanity takes a blinding swerve to the right, towards Conservatism? Is it through fear? A overwhelmingly urge to protect what is yours and damn the rest of them? Does the trait of self-sacrifice get chopped down like a rotting husk of bark and morph into a malignant sense of self-preservation?

We look here, at home, in the UK, where a bunch of careful quaffed, dandy rotters are busy dismantling one of the oldest and most vast universal healthcare schemes in the world, because it's apparently needing an injection of corporate competition... because, yes, healthcare is a competition supposedly, and if you are a bit poor then that ever expanding tumour in your belly can just sit there a little bit longer than if it was hanging about in some executive director from Ruislip. And, yes, apparently we need some third party behemoth of a company dictating and providing all our essential needs when their interest in patient care is somewhere on a list below the soup they provide in their office canteen. The NHS on the other is public, funded by us, accountable by us. Their vested interest is in us, the better they treat, the less we need to come back, the less money they spend having to treat repeated patients. Does the system need to be updated? Of course it bloody does, the fact that there is a postcode lottery on medications shows it does. Ageing populations, societal changes, dietary and lifestyles changes are all adding to their workload... but bringing in an third part from fucking Ginsters isn't going to provide the system with the changes required. 

Patient care and the healthcare of a nation is not up for fucking corporate sponsorship. Our health is not a 'brand.' The last thing I want is a system in the same line as the US, where people are declined life saving treatments from their insurance company because they failed to declare a wet fart they had three years previously, all in the name of PROFIT.
Yes, the US does provide good healthcare, but only to those who walk a very fine line, and there is no safety net beneath. To me, that is horrifying. 

We see austerity cuts, which  *talks out side of mouth* clearly aren't really working, to things like housing benefit and disability benefit, because the Conservative school of thought is that every one on benefits is a degenerate scrounger who is too busy watching Universal channel on Sky+ to go and seek a job.

I call bullshit. This constant chant of 'all benefit seekers are scroungers' is getting old and, not too mention, is wildly inaccurate. Now I can probably hear a few people scream that I am probably one of these benefit scroungers.... WRONG. I am in full time employment, and have spent all of three weeks of my 24 year life span on jobseekers allowance. My family are all full time employed, as are my friends. So no, this is not some cry from the victimised group, this is a grumble from a person who is sick of the vulnerable being shit on from a great height.

It would be wrong of me to say that the system is clean, that there are no scroungers, because that would be stupidly idiotic. I know somebody who, a few years ago was claiming jobseekers allowance but he couldn't afford his rent so took cash in hand jobs elsewhere. It does happen, but I don't think the fundamental problem is with the benefits... it's with the job sector as a whole.

As a country, we could be deemed to be a low-wage nation. Those at the bottom, the waiters, the shop assistants, the cleaners, all on minimum wage, barely scrape by and most of them subsidise their costs with housing benefit , council tax benefit, working tax credits etc. Many of these people could be better off if they just threw in the towel, and that is where the problem lies. It's not about REDUCING benefits so they are less of an incentive not to work, it's about raising wages so that they can cover the BASIC living requirements so people won't NEED to claim any benefits. A person on 24 hour a week contract on minimum wage can't even hope to cover everything (rent, bills, food, transport) to live and therein lies the problem. Though, you can see all the big companies throwing their arms in the air, wobbling their jowls and muttering that they wouldn't be able to afford it. 

We look to the US, who, after the vague return to sense through Obama after the Bush debacle, are now considering voting a billionaire machine man into the White House. A man who queried why there weren't windows in aeroplanes, who changes his stance on tax more times than he changes his skidded underwear. THIS man, could be the next President of the United States. There seems to be a strange vibe that comes from America, but this is probably because I'm an idiot European, that if you don't have thousands/millions of dollars in your bank account then you haven't been trying at life hard enough, that you haven't been paying your way, that because you haven't built a multi-million company from the million dollars in your dad's account you are somehow a drain on the country's resources, and you are a pathetic human being for doing so. 

Romney argues that Obama hasn't done enough to help America out of recession or to reduce the country's debt. Well apart from spending less than the previous four presidents, reducing unemployment and at least TRYING to to implement a form of universal healthcare....Hmm. Saying that Obama is nowhere near perfect , but Romney though... REALLY?

We look to Greece, where a neo-nazi party gained nearly 10% of votes in recent elections. Where racism and jingoism is once again on the rise against the backdrop of a crippled economy.

So what is then? What makes us do this? 

Well it seems as a species, when things get tight, difficult, the money starts to stagger in its flow, we close ranks. We huddle and build fortresses around ourselves and our personal possessions. We look outwardly for a cause, we cast a finger, pointing at the unknown quantity and deride them for our troubles. The immigrants, the disabled, the poor... yes, yes, it's all their fault. Many don't seem to bother to look at our own values and actions to see if it's there that we find the flaw. No, no, we'll just batter and demoralise those that we do not understand. 

Because humanity is a pompous beast, hiding a fear of looking at itself before launching into a war with those who have the audacity to need help and show any form of weakness. 

Monday, 16 April 2012

Things That Have Pissed Me Off This Week.

- Running out of spam
- People
- Cutting my finger with a bread knife
- People
- Holes in my shoe
- People

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Suppose He's Got a Pointed Stick...

A year. An entire year. One long stretch consisting of just a tiny increment over 12 months. That's how it has been since I graced this blog with my presence, and judging by the haughty way it has welcomed me back, with it's forever loading pages and spammy comments, I reckon that it may have quite enjoyed the rest and certainly doesn't want me disturbing its deep slumber.

I would like to say things have changed. They have to a certain extent. I have finally relieved myself of duties as my parents lodger, moving to a bland, overwhelmingly beige flat on the outskirts of the city. It's pleasant and at a reasonable price, and I have the bonus of not being woke up in the morning by a wavering groan and the booming flush of a toilet, which would haunt my dreams sleeping with my head next to the adjoining wall to the toilet in my parents house. I wish I could say that this has improved my tidying up skills; it hasn't. My clothes still make a beautiful floor-based mosaic of black, purple and blue, and my socks STILL SOMEHOW worm their way down the side of my bed and make nest against the wall. I may have moved, but I have brought some bad habits with me.

Apart from the heave ho to another suburb, very little has happened. It's like I've been on autopilot for the last two/three years, mooching and plodding around the city like a lobotomised turtle. Even my tits, usually such a reliable source of growth and movement, have been hanging, quite literally, in limbo.

I've moved, but only to the next patch of foggy indifference with extremely poor signage. I'm not really quite sure what I want to do at this moment in my life. My ambitions are either so ludicrous that I find myself laughing and pointing at my idiotic face in the mirror, its wobbly features hanging despondently, or they are as about as feasible as trying trying to cut wood with a rubber spoon.

Admittedly, money and time play a large part. If I am to progress or get further qualifications, I would have to leave my job and get another with more flexibility, but I have more of a chance finding gold in my shit than finding such a job in this climate. And if I were to get a different job it would have to cover the costs of living in the flat, and then I have to take into account that if I was going to do a possible part time course, I would have to also pay fees for that.

Would I have the money? Would I have the resources? Or would I have to go back to my parents (which I don't particularly want to do no matter how much I love my mam's lamp chops)? The job I would particularly love to do requires me to go back to college for one year, then back to University for another 3... which in today's money equates to about £120,000,000 or something like that.

Yes, I have savings, but that would get me about 15 bars of Diary Milk if the price of chocolate is anything to go by. And I'm already in a nice chunk of debt thanks to my wonderfully pointless first degree.

If I was to hazard a guess, I would say around 1/3 of the young people in my age group are in the same 'Wuthering Heights'-esque mess of situation, floundering upon a densely fogged hilltop, their coats flapping in the wind, their ipod headphone wafting across their shoulders, shouting and bellowing for help. "Jobs!", they cry. "Opportunity!", they weep. "Education!", they wail. "FUCKS SAKE!", they scream.

But I digress, because I am giving myself an ulcer.