This originally started as a FB status, but has become so much more now… I can’t honestly keep it on my status now, and will be cross-posting this to all the relevent places. That said however, I can’t really change the start, but let’s roll with it. I understand you might not agree with what I have to say, but instead of outright disagreeing with it, please tell me why you disagree. I occasionally get things mixed up and will be more than happy to clarify, although I understand that people have expressed disagreement with my comments about people not voting not having “the right” to complain. Note that this is more to do with the situation in the UK right now, but parts may apply to your country. I have a tendenncy to ramble and repeat my points, but that’s how my mind works… hopefully it is coherant enough to be understood; any doubts, please just ask.
You know, given how poor some hourly rates are for where people live, I’m not surprised that people need benefits to supplement their income.
The sad thing is though that with the exception of the ‘bad examples’ you see in the paper, or occasionally hear about, those on benefits are truly getting persecuted, for simply choosing to live, and from that standpoint it’s absolutely sickening! I did some calculations for my average monthly wage, though admittedly I can’t actually do that properly, but the fact is that what I get paid in a month, for what I’m able to do at present (I’m trying to ease myself into a routine) varies from 30-130 quid short in a month. In this instance, those 2 figures I quoted at either end are literally what I’ll be short for next month (plus, there’s the fact my travel costs have tripled past what I would whilst on benefits).
Lastly, as I’m on a Zero Hour contract, my hours aren’t set, so technically, the average doesn’t exist… I’m just basically extrapolating from 2 months of work (both what I have done this month (and will do) and will do the next. When you really think about it, actually experiencing it from this end of the spectrum, you realise why a lot of people stay on benefits. Sure, you could cut them in order to “make work pay”, but then the issue is, how will it affect those already in jobs… will they get their current rate still, or will they get more or less? Either way, no matter how you look at it, whether you work and don’t earn enough from the job (which stands for ‘Just Over Broke’ btw) or simply claim benefits without working, life will get harder for you, especially when the government is insisting on marking everyone on benefits as scroungers!
I have to wonder though, since when in this country has it been okay to demonise people simply for trying to live? Do people have no heart any more? Are people now that greedy as to think that so long as their needs are sorted out, what happens to everyone else is irrelevant, as long as it doesn’t negatively affect them? People are becoming as short-sighted as this government is, standing idly by while these savage cuts are made, while people simply just trying make a living are being negatively affected, people that are otherwise law abiding citizens; people who have to take pay cuts in order to keep their jobs, people who have lost their jobs due to the current economic climate (which is dire, I might add), people who are clearly unable to work yet are being forced to breaking point by the government; people like you and me.
And in light of these cuts, the MPs don’t sit up and say “let us help our country and take a pay cut, just like other civil servants have had to!” No, instead they consider giving themselved (and maybe have even passed through) a 30% pay increase! How is it that we allow this?
How is it that we allow the government to invest the minimal amount (or even below) needed for this country to get back on its feet, thus stifling growth, and will making people worse off in 2015 than anyone ever was in the 2010 recession! How is that right?
How is it we allow the government to paint everyone on benefits (working or not, deserving or not) as scroungers, and telling them they must get a job, despite there being at least 2.5 million people out of work, and only around 500k jobs available? Better yet, what about those who are becoming unemployed due to redundancies made? It’s not only the high profile ones that make the news that are making them. This adds thousands more to the unemployed list, and also lessens the chances of anyone getting a job. It’s now at the stage where those who have a job (no matter how good or bad it is) are lucky to have one! The problem is though, not all of them pay enough, so we go back to the issue at the start.
The point is, we’re in a very vicious cycle here, and with each full revolution, things get progressively worse. This needs to be stopped, or we’re heading towards this ‘”Lost Decade” the papers have mentioned, which means it’ll take a very long time to recover. We all need to stand together and say to the government that we’re sick and tired of being treated like this, rather than just standing by and letting it all happen. This is what they call the Divide and Conquer approach; the bottom line is, no one is safe from the government cuts, and activities, unless you happen to be rich! I haven’t even mentioned what they’re trying to do to DLA or the NHS, but the point is, they’re trying to make it more difficult to live in this country.
I could go on and on like this in all honesty, but at the end of the day, things are happening that can be stopped, we just need to d something about it, even something as simple as signing and sharing an e-petition can help in a lot of cases, especially the ones that the Number 10 website; those that get enough signatures MUST be debated in Parliament! But, not only those petitions work, some of the ones on other sites work too; educating others about what is going on, and even educating yourself about the situation is important, read blog posts, newspaper articles and anything that discusses the current situation.
You may not do politics, but it is about time you started; politics is what this entire mess is about, and the more you distance yourself from it, the less chance you have to change the situation you are (and everyone else is) in. Look, I know you’re likely fed up with politics (at times, I am too)… but apathy towards politics is partly why we’re in this mess in the first place. If we all genuinely want to make this country better, we need to all be politically aware and make sure we make the right decisions; even a basic understanding of politics will help, because then you know what exactly you’re getting into when you vote, and honestly, you should be voting (at least where it matters).
If you didn’t (or don’t) vote, you have absolutely no right to complain about the situation we are in now. Sorry to break it to you, but it’s true. I voted at the last GE and I’ve been rather… vocal with my opinions as of late. Sure, the party I voted for didn’t win (that’s a discussion for another time), but at least I voted. By voting, you have basically ‘purchased’ a stake in the welfare of this country, and therefore have every right to complain about it going downhill. Now granted, I may not agree with your opinion (how would the world be if we all agreed?), but I accept you have one and strongly believe in it; that’s what tolerance is, that is accepting that people are different, have differnent ideas and different opinions, yet still accepting them as a person. Anyway, the bottom line is that in this day and age, it is possible to do life-changing things, simply by sitting down at your computer.
Now granted, not everything can be done this way, but some of the major things are promoting awareness (blogging or telling others, or sharing posts/articles) putting your signature to something or even funding a cause you believe in… changing the world can be that simple at times. Even still, if you want to gather for a protest or other cause, you can find like-minded souls in order to help facilitate that. We’re only as strong as we think we are, and if we think we are strong, and we come together with other strong people, we can use that combined strength to make things a better place. Admittedly, it is very possible for one person to make a difference, but at the same time, there is strength in numbers. And now, this doesn’t mean gather together to cause a riot… we had enough of that last year, but certainly, we need to come together to make things happen… let’s come together and try to make this country great once again.
And in some cases, all you need to do is spend a few minutes (or more if you can spare it) of your time doing it, fancy that… a few minutes of your time, and you can help improve life for yourself and many others.
Surely that is something worth being a part of?
Tags: Activism, Musings