I, like many, was horrified by the recent election result which brought another Conservative government to power. The day after the election someone asked me if I was disappointed. National Health Service gone. Affordable housing gone. Welfare gone. As far as I can tell austerity is an excuse to dismantle the welfare state, and I can’t believe people voted for the worst version of it. Too right I was disappointed.
The person who asked the question replied to my predictions with the ever-so slightly patronising “we’ll see”. This from someone who has never really had it tough. I don’t mean “can’t decide which holiday to go on” tough. I mean “can’t feed your kids” tough. How do I know they’ve never had it tough? I once overheard them, in a conversation about how hard it is to find somewhere to live in London, say “I just pick up the phone, tell them how much I earn, and they give me what I want”.
That’s not unusual, it presumes because others haven’t achieved financial success they’re weak or lazy. This attitude is all too common. It’s a soulless attitude that takes no account of personal circumstances, or the hardships most people go though just to survive. In short, it’s an egocentric view of the world, at the core of a model of rampant self-interest, this nation was infected with since Thatcher.
For me it’s an attitude implicit in the ever-so slightly patronising coverage of Jeremy Corbyn. I, like most people, had never heard of Jeremy Corbyn before the recent Labour leadership campaign, but I keep finding things that make me say “this guy is interesting”. He seems to be offering a genuine, straight talking, alternative to rampant self-interest at the core of the current social and political landscape, an attitude that puts the values and interests of the very few at the top of this vast pyramid scheme we call capitalism.
This is just a small example of what I mean when I say “the ever-so slightly patronising coverage of Jeremy Corbyn”.