Thursday , 18 April 2024
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UK cost of living crisis

Photo by Artur Tumasjan on Unsplash

I wish I shared Andy Beckett’s optimism that people will not tolerate becoming poorer indefinitely (Britain once rioted over the price of bread. What would it take for us to confront greedflation today?, 28 April). Instead, I fear that Aldous Huxley was spot-on in his vision of a brave new world in which the masses are kept passive and constantly distracted by cheap thrills, soft drugs and an endless diet of trivia. More recently, Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death highlighted how the mass media has been used to provide constant puerile entertainment that distracts most of the population from serious matters of economics and politics.

Most of the British public is now kept in a political stupor by endless stories about celebrities, soaps, reality TV, the manufactured melodrama surrounding the royals and the blaming of “the other” for our myriad economic and social problems – whether that “other” be refugees and migrants, supposedly idle workers, single parents, “greedy” unions, welfare claimants or the so-called liberal elite.

And added to this is the successful manner in which the Tories and much of the press promote divide-and-rule to keep ordinary people blaming each other – the working v the unemployed, public sector v private sector, strivers v skivers, young people v baby boomers, etc.

It is tempting to focus on the immorality, greed or sheer gall of the profiteers who receive grossly enhanced incomes during a cost of living crisis. But what we need is a relentless exposure of the model of government that recent administrations are finally failing to conceal from the public.

Getting elected at all costs so that you can shovel taxpayers’ money towards your political friends and cronies while public services shrink does not make for good government. The awareness of the public that things are not working for them is rooted in day-to-day experiences, and this has to be the purchase point on which opposition politicians focus.

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