Modern Britain

Modern Britain is a shitty place: you work all day, hardly see your partner, your kids or your home and you still might not have enough money to afford your rent, bills and food, never mind a holiday. The city streets are becoming de facto campsites for the homeless, Brexit gave bigots a great chance to air their racist views (I know, I know, not all Brexiters are racist, but I’d like to bet that most racists voted Brexit), the younger generation are being stuffed by the old, but they don’t have the energy to protest – instead they swallow anti-depressants and scarcely make a living in the gig economy.

Meanwhile in my little town and in the big city nearby, glossy mansions pop up and luxury flats are in development, shiny German cars (free from road tax despite their polluting diesel engines) pack the streets and swanky eateries are rammed. It’s like living in the 80’s again – but without the angry popular music and ranting right-on comedians.

The other differences are stark: back in the 1980’s my husband and I bought a house together: it was far cheaper than renting even with high interest rates, you could get a 100% mortgage and there was plenty of starter homes to buy. We shared the mortgage: but the bank manager wouldn’t let us borrow more than 3 times our joint income so it was manageable.

Nowadays I look in housing estate windows near us and I don’t see anything that a trainee nurse and a recent graduate just starting out in IT could afford to buy. And in any case how could they find the 10-20% deposit that banks now insist on? If you’re paying rent, buying food, keeping warm and getting to work, there’s not much left over to save. Especially now wages are permanently stagnant – and inflation is on the up again.

Todays young people have been royally screwed: student loans was the start of it, but their benefit entitlement is always in the cross hairs of governments wanting to move money from the poor to the rich – which pretty much describes any Tory incumbency.

And then along came Brexit, where old farts reminisced about a golden age without fancy foreign food and fancy dark-skinned foreigners and put a cross in the leave box. Which was a mighty fuck you to those under 30. There’s an argument that 70 or 80 year olds shouldn’t have been allowed to vote: they are involving themselves in a decision that might come to bitter fruition when they are good and dead.

I wonder how these older Tory voting, cheering-for-Brexit, property hoarding oldsters square their selfish “I’m all right Jack” attitude with the realities they see around them? Don’t they have grandchildren or children that struggle by without the gilt-edged pensions that they enjoy (but they voted away for everyone else), don’t they wonder why the kids they know and love can’t afford a home, barely afford a roof, can’t get on the property ladder (while they hug themselves in glee as their house price goes up)? Don’t they feel a whisper of guilt as they use the bus for free to get them home from the pub lunch, slightly tiddly, ¬†while a 17 year old counts out change to get to the Job Centre? Don’t they have any insight into why the local library is closed, the streets are full of dog shit, the parks are filthy and the high street is full of shops that are a whisker away from closing?

Nothing to do with them of course. They just exercised their democratic right to vote and used it to to protect their interests – and bugger everybody else. Vote Tory for a selfish, bigoted, uncaring, myopic, grasping Britain.