Monday, 11 May 2015

"Keep Calm and Carry On" after the Election

I'm observing a number of interesting reactions to the outcome of the British General Election in May 2015.   The earth has clearly moved, for some. Many younger people seem silent, inside themselves, even meditating, unwilling to express their reactions and opinions. They are not chatting: chatter needs a certain shared perspective. No one is quite sure what the new perspective is and whether it is shared. Is the Left Wing falling out of fashion in this generation, unable to return to power for decades? No one is quite sure of the flavour of the Conservatism that replaces it, because previously it was mixed with Liberal Democracy. Will the future be endurable? Will we all need to emigrate? People seem to be biding their time, keeping their heads down, while they assess this 'new' country.

A few seem completely calm, true to the sensible Wartime advice “Keep Calm and Carry On”. Their worldview is essentially apolitical. Their identity comes from their main focus, such as their career, children, hobby, heaven, culture, art, or relationships.

Some are discussing new political approaches. I had an animated e-chat with about four people about co-operatives which can help working people out of poverty, as at the end of the 19th century. There were cooperatives which bought local farms to provide workers with cheaper milk and food. Then they built estates of affordable housing and founded symphony orchestras. They got their people into the professions. Someone soon objected “Today, they would be bought out by some multinational right at the start….”.

People do seem concerned about those on minimal fixed incomes, with rising bills. Should they fight for allotments to help those relying on food banks? Man cannot live on tinned food alone. What state benefits will be cut first?

There has also been some Greek-style, black hooded rioting in London, among those who forget that 'first past the post' democracy is not fully democratic for all. Vast swathes of population simply have to “put up with" whatever government they get.

There are also elderly pensioners, living in large houses, recovering from months of silent stress and distress. They had been living in fear of Labour, expecting they would have to pay “The Mansion Tax” or be obliged to move from their homes in their declining years. In fact, only those in top tax bracket would have had to pay it : the rest would have paid it when they moved but that message did not reach most of them. This misunderstanding caused real misery to pensioners, some of whom sat up for the whole of Election night, for this reason.

I am in the group that carries on, regardless of politics. Who rules Britain is not an essential component of my world view. I was on the receiving end of this society for many years, unable to get state benefits while struggling with a crippling, chronic illness. Changes of government make no difference to some groups. I know the darker side of modern society on my nerves. I know the feebleness, and even the callousness of the so-called Welfare State. I was long ago fully separated from the notion that the Welfare State is any kind of featherbed.   I have already put all my trust in God for He changeth not.

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