I stumbled across this article, and it seems relevant considering Donald Trump has gone on record as saying: “My legacy has its roots in my father’s legacy”. The piece tells the story of how Woody Guthrie, a personal hero of mine, was raging against the Trump Empire way back when. Well worth a read!
There is a vast gap in the UK when it comes to health, as a recent study by National Statistics highlights. Unsurprisingly, affluent locations in the south of England are much better off than areas in the north, such as Manchester, Blackpool, Bradford, Birmingham, the North East & Lincolnshire etc.
Men in Kensington & Chelsea can expect 80.2 years of good health in their lifetime, while men in Salford can expect 46.3 years of good health (and, in reality, wouldn’t expect to live 80.2 years in total). Women in Westminster can expect 78.3 years of good health, while women in Birmingham can expect a paltry 46.1.
The reasons given in the article for this ‘sickness divide’ by Dr Ann Marie Connolly are ‘smoking’ and ‘lack of activity’. But this only scratches the surface. It is lifestyle as a whole that contributes to this sort of vast gap in health.
- Pollution (poor people can only afford to live downwind of industrial areas, and so have to breathe in crappy air on a daily basis. Not an ideal environment for exercising).
- Diet (the minimum wage cannot sustain a balanced, healthy diet)
- Working environment (breaking your back every day is bound to cause health issues. Also, when you get home after a horrible day at work, how likely are you to want to exercise or take time to cook a balanced meal?)
- Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs (the poor in society want escapism, and therefore turn to substances that can aid that).
- Stress (when you’re constantly worrying about feeding and housing your family you are going to experience mental/physical health issues).
- Education (in poor areas the schools aren’t as good, causing an endless cycle)
- Environment (it is fact that just being able to see a nice, green setting improves physical as well as mental health)
- The list could keep going on…
If the government was serious about investing in the North, and creating their ‘Northern Powerhouse’, these are basic discrepancies that they should be focussing on correcting instead of tokenistic HS2 railway plans that or neither here nor there.
On the Daily Mirror website, there is a section HERE where you can type in your postcode to find out how many years of good health you can expect. I can expect to live 77.3 years (62.4 of that being good health) … but I live on a bus route, so that’s assuming my road safety is up to scratch. Give it a go yourself!
This blog is inspired by the above piece, found on the BBC website, which asks the question “How Do I Know If I’m A Bully?” It’s an article aimed at young people, and is designed to make them look at themselves objectively and question whether or not they are having a negative impact on someone else’s happiness. Bullies don’t tend to see themselves as bullies because it’s such a negative label. They are also looking at events from a very particular perspective, and will therefore lack empathy.
Maybe David Cameron and the Conservative government should have a look at the article. It might encourage them to peer into the proverbial mirror so that they can get a glance at the reflection looking back at them.
According to the article, bullying behaviour can include “verbal abuse, such as name-calling and gossiping”. This week our Prime Minister, David Cameron, was caught on a live microphone saying “We just thought people in Yorkshire hated everyone else. We didn’t realise they hated each other so much.” You have to hear the recording to identify the venom in his tone when he said this. The PM says that it was “just a joke”, but a bully would say that, wouldn’t they?
Another indicator is “emotional abuse, such as threatening, intimidating or humiliating someone”. The Tories are acting very threateningly towards the working class by bringing in new legislation to restrict unions and industrial action, taking away people’s power to fight for a fair, safe working environment. And there are thousands of families that have had to go through the humiliation of using food banks because of the barbaric cuts that have been made during this reign of terror.
“Ignoring or isolating someone” is also on the list. The government has ignored the youth of the UK, and has isolated groups such as the unemployed and immigrants, often actively demonising them, and using psychological projection to place blame on them for all of the country’s troubles. This links into the next thing on the list of bullying behaviour: “Criticising or spreading rumours”. Of course, the Conservative government puts Rupert Murdouch’s evil media empire to work when it comes to much of this nasty business. Ask Jeremy Corbyn, who is lynched for something as little as wearing a tie “incorrectly” (while Cameron’s Yorkshire jibes are swept under the carpet).
Finally, the government should look at this one: “physical assaults, such as hitting or pushing”. The way the government is handling the NHS is the equivalent of physical assault. Sneaky hidden cuts, privatisation, and plans to make the public pay for healthcare will batter the British public black and blue. See THIS ARTICLE for more on that.
I think you’ll agree that, by these standards, the Conservative Government is a giant bully, strutting around the UK like it’s a supersize playground. Hopefully Jeremy Corbyn will turn out to be the hero this country needs to put the bullies in their place!
Ey up ducks. Thought I’d write abaat summat close to mi ‘art today. I sometimes have’ta watch mi’sen when am blabberin, cos me accent’s dead common, like. Whether it’s yorn or theirn or me’own, we all av one. But does it mek a difference, or amma just bein a mardy arse? Alrate?
I’ve always done well academically. I was the first person in my family to go to university, and I graduated with flying colours. I have always done what was asked of me in the education system, and I was always told, “If you do well in this test and that test, and keep working hard, you’ll end up with a good job.” It was a constant promise.
My qualifications are just pieces of paper to me now, and all the thugs I went to school with, who didn’t work hard, are in a better position than me because they started work sooner, dropping out of school at 16.
But since leaving university, I’ve had opportunities to get high-powered, well-paid jobs. For example, I was shortlisted to work as an Intelligence Officer for MI5 (ssshhhhhh, don’t tell anyone!). There are a few other interviews I’ve been invited to down south, based on my written application forms and online examinations. However, when I get there I’m usually surrounded by people speaking the Queen’s English, the same as the interviewer, and I feel out of place.
Maybe that’s my problem (although I didn’t get any of those good jobs, and I’m still stuck doing boring, repetitive work for the minimum wage, despite have more about me than 99% of rich bankers).
ITV did a programme about accent discrimination. Here is a quote from the reporter on that programme, from the ITV website:
“The most upsetting moment for me making this film was when some Middlesbrough children confessed to me that they were ashamed of their accents.
Shockingly, they told me they believed their accents would affect their life chances – for the worse.
“We sound right scruffy like,” said young one boy in his football kit. “Not like you: posh. We won’t be able to get proper jobs,” he told me.
Unfortunately – as our Tonight programme shows – he may be right.”
Maybe accent discrimination is just a small part of the bigger “Class Discrimination” issue this country has. After all, you can’t tell what class someone is through visuals. A black man could be from an upper class background (not statistically likely, but possible), as could a woman who gets a job interview. Denying the black man a job based on this alone would be racist. Denying the woman, sexist. But it wouldn’t be discriminatory based on class. When a person’s mouth opens, that’s the big giveaway. No one would mistake me for being upper-class.
The upper class hold all the positions of real power in the country, and they have been brought up amongst other upper class people, and their minds have been conditioned to believe that only the upper class can handle roles of importance. If it is acknowledged that there is a wealth of skill and knowledge in the lower classes, their livelihoods could be threatened.
Another quote from the above source:
“Our research not only shows that more than a quarter of Britons (28%) feel they have been discriminated against because of their regional accent but also, according to another batch of research by the law firm Peninsular, that 80% of employers admit to making discriminating decisions based on regional accents.”
Unfortunately there is no law against accent discrimination, and even if there was, it would be difficult to enforce. I just see this accent issue as part of a much bigger class gap issue, which is a mammoth obstacle to overcome in our society. The fact remains, for the majority of people, who you are and where you come from condemns you.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the weekly charts. Boy, have we got a show for you today! You’ve heard the rest, now hear the best. This is your top 10 countdown of how the poor stay poor, and how the rich get richer. Mind the gap, folks, or you’ll fall right through!
- Privileged in high-power positions
Yes, this one is an oldie but a goldie. Virtually all of society’s most sought after positions are occupied by people born into wealth and privilege. Politicians, masters of industry, actors, singers, bankers – you name it, the privileged have a monopoly on it!
War. Huh! What is it good for? Making lots of money! (Iraq). But then there’s total war, too, such as World War 2 when the common folk had to go into battle while the privileged gave them orders. But it was all to protect our way of life! Well, the privileged were doing well before the war, and the poor had it bad, and that’s how it has been afterwards and ever since. So that’s the way of life all the common folk were asked to protect. Sometimes I think it might be time to give those commoners a break….NAH.
- Cut Vital Public Services
Nee-naw nee-naw nee-naw. That’s the sound of an ambulance arriving 3-hours too late. The rich can pay for private healthcare, but the poor tend to rely on the NHS. But we can’t make this service too efficient because if the poor aren’t worrying about their health, then they may be trying to steal a slice of dosh from the rich.
Bankers (rhymes with wankers) storms in at #7. They take risks and the masses pay the price. The bank charges you a fee if your account balance drops below a certain level (yeah, cos that’s going to help my low bank balance), and they make you pay higher interest rates on loans because you haven’t got a summer house to put up as collateral. Expect this one to rocket up the charts in the coming weeks.
- Demonising the Welfare State
This is a zinger. Demonising the Welfare State (B-Side: Fuck Communism) is a new one, and expect it to linger in the charts for at least another 5 years. If the most vulnerable members of society are having a hard time, get everyone to turn against them. This distracts from the bankers (rhymes with wankers) and other Chosen Ones who are slowly killing the working class. That’s right-wing morality for ya!
- Withdraw Power
The poor cannot be allowed any sort of power. It is a threat to the rich, and their hedonistic way of life. The number one target? Unions. We can’t have the scum protesting and causing a disturbance because they feel they should be paid a fair wage.
- Expensive/Inaccessible High Education
Call us old fashioned, but us English believe that knowledge is only for the richest in society. Otherwise, how would they stay rich? We like the poor to be uneducated so they continue to make bad decisions. Besides, who’s going to clean all those mansions? (no mansion taxes to worry about now, chums).
Boo! Yes, this is David Cameron’s favourite tool. He wants to scare you into blaming others (immigrants, people on benefits), he wants to scare you about the economy (it’s fragile, but the Tories can fix it; we just need to destroy your lives in the process!), and he wants to make you believe that any positive change would end up destroying the world in the long run.
- Don’t tax the rich!!!!!!!!
For God’s sake, don’t tax the rich! They need as much money as possible so they can provide the scum with low-paid, exploitative jobs…so we can tax said scum. The perfect system for keeping the rich rich and the poor poor.
AND COMING IN AT NUMBER 1……SCRAPPING THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT
May God have mercy on us all.
The Conservatives are “the party of the working people” according to David Cameron. He said this in the same week that it was announced by his party that strike laws would be significantly changed to prevent working people from taking industrial action. We know that this Tory government has absolutely no regard for human rights (they plan to scrap the Human Rights Act), and this proves it further. Companies will be allowed to treat their workforce horrendously, and workers will be virtually powerless to fight back.
The new law will state that any strike affecting essential public services will require 40% of eligible union workers to back it, and there will have to be a turnout of at least 50% at the strike ballots.
It’s time to do some maths. Let’s say that our imaginary union has 100 members (because this makes the maths bit a lot easier for me). We are all members of this union, and we are being treated unfairly in our workplace. The wealthy people at the top don’t care and won’t listen to us. We decide to strike in order to make a positive change.
Our union holds a strike ballot. We rally around and get a big group of workers to vote. The votes are counted up, and the decision is unanimous. 100% of votes say YES, LET’S STRIKE! We cheer, but the cheers come prematurely. Only 49 people voted in the ballot. And despite every single one of the voters agreeing with strike action, this doesn’t meet the new 50% turnout criteria that will be put in place.
This is very hypocritical of the Tory government because if these new rules were to be applied to the General Election vote, the Tories would not be in power, and therefore wouldn’t be in a position to impose these voting conditions on unions. The mind boggles!
That’s not where the attack ends, though. Read this BBC article for further information on how the Tories plan to put restrictions on picketing, and how they want to lift restrictions on using agency workers to replace striking worker: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32702585
I’ll leave you with the words of the TUC general secretary:
“This is a government not so much on the side of hard working people, but Britain’s worst bosses – those who want their staff to be on zero-hours contracts, poverty pay and unable to effectively organise in a union so that they can do something about it,” said Frances O’Grady.
“The government’s proposals on union ballots will make legal strikes close to impossible. Union negotiators will be left with no more power than Oliver Twist when he asked for more.
“After five years of falling living standards, the prospects for decent pay rises have just got a whole lot worse.”
The current systems in place within our society do not work. They breed inequality, undermine democracy, and completely ignore important topics, such as the many environmental issues we face. We need change in a big way, but there are many obstacles in the way.
The main obstacle is ourselves. People are naturally resistant to change (ask anyone who works in HR). This probably stems back to instincts instilled in us when the world was a much more threatening place. Biologically, there is virtually no difference between us and cavemen. Born in the same environmental conditions, you and a caveman would be equals (the caveman would be a little bit hairier, granted). Cavemen had to live in a very specific way to survive in their world. Changes in their lifestyle could be fatal. Today, we still have that instinct that tells us, “if you are alive, you’re doing something right, so don’t change anything!”.
Just in case anyone’s reading this thinking “I’m using a computer – I’m way more advanced than a caveman!” – that’s due to accumulation of knowledge i.e. the people before us figuring things out and writing things down (which started with cavemen drawing on the cave walls). All I’m saying is, if you were dropped naked onto a desert island, how long would it take you to send an e-mail?
So, we are very cautious about disrupting the status quo, even if we can see, rationally, that we are being cheated. We feel secure when things stay the same.
There is also a well-established pecking order in our society, which provides another obstacle to reform. The powerful people at the top of the pecking order are constantly telling us that things are okay the way they are, and to change anything would be a big risk. But, of course, they would say that, wouldn’t they, because they’re benefiting from the systems in place.
The people at the top of the pecking order are the mass communicators too, so their voice is the loudest, and it resonates in our ears constantly. They tell us that the people who want reform are crazy, idealists, and troublemakers. The people benefiting from the systems in place are the minority, so they have to turn us against each other to maintain their position. They also have to make us believe that social reform is out of reach, an impossibility. But maybe it’s closer than we think.
The philosophy we live by doesn’t make sense. One person starves to death while another is born the Queen (two people who are both shaved cavemen). Since the philosophy doesn’t make sense, the supporters of the philosophy lose touch with reality or use their influence to suppress real-world issues. All we get are minor changes designed to appease the masses – we are seeing plenty of them in the run-up to the general election!
As it stands, we are not in control of our own lives; we are used by the ruling class. We need to pry our lives from the desperate grasp of the powerful in order to live in a fairer society.