Hi, it’s Grey Greyvara, social conscience at the Gr8 Greenygrey, reporting on the G8 conference. Back in the ’80s I hoped that Britain and the world would become a socialist utopia; kind of like my human parallel Che Guevara in the ’50s. Then New Labour got power! After cool Brittania turned to bankrupt Britain, with the rich richer and poor poorer, and most communist countries like Russia and China going more capitalist, as well as socialist countries like Sweden, it’s made me think that ethical green capitalism is about the best we can work towards.
G8 Too Late To Set GB Straight?
Has the British working class become lazy, or is it a victim of globalisation? Many of the rich liberal elite running the country (like Piers Morgan before he thankfully left!) claim the British working-class has become lazy, and doesn’t want to work; that’s why they have to import foreign labour.
Most of the economic immigrants are probably harder workers than the British in Britain. When Marc Latham was working his way around the world he was more willing to work longer hours when working: when you’re in a worker-traveller community life revolves around work, and you want to save up for long periods of travelling.
British people working in Britain want to spend time with family or friends, or doing other things than work; as decades of fighting for freedom from serfdom and slavery has stopped them having to work all the hours they can to keep from starvation.
So foreign workers who are used to earning much less are probably going to be better and more willing workers than British workers, whose ancestors have been fighting for better and easier working conditions for generations.
Only last week the BBC’s Panorama current affairs programme had a documentary about builders and dockers being blacklisted from work for fighting for better working conditions in industries where dozens of people still die every year. Actor Ricky Tomlinson was on the breakfast news talking about it.
Mass immigration has seen an increase in cases of poor workplace quality in Britain; including sweat shops and even some cases of modern slavery.
I and most of the working-class in Britain mainly opposed mass immigration because we saw how it was turning back workers’-rights fought for over centuries; not because of racism or bigotry like Gordon Brown thought at the end of New Labour.
Why Can’t I Have a California Mansion?
I don’t blame most of the foreign workers who come to Britain. If the California government was giving out mansions and enough benefits to live comfortably on I’d probably be on the first available plane.
That might seem a crass comparison, but some immigrants to Britain have been housed in mansions, and received massive benefits to live comfortably.
Britain Needs Balance
Maybe some workers and unions were trying to hold the country to ransom, and were pushing it too far in the 1970s. I believe in unions and workers rights, but think it should be within the service of the people of the country.
The same as the executives and liberal elite should be rewarding themselves to what they’re worth, not filling up their own pockets from the country’s finances.
Since Thatcherism took power in the ’80s and has been continued by successive governments, including New Labour, the pendulum has swung too much towards the rich minority from the poor majority. The Conservatives-Liberals government has been no worse than New Labour overall, in my opinion. I prefer Cameron to Blair and Brown so far.
Britain Should Aim for Lake not Sea
After the mass immigration under New Labour the old British working class; those who’ve kept working to keep treading water; are likely to lose out twice, with the recent immigrants taking their place in line for poverty payouts, educational grants etc.
Mass immigration was promoted by New Labour as being good for the economy… before it all collapsed and they were exposed as having bankrupted the country with the bankers.
While mass immigration might have had some benefits for the economy it certainly wasn’t good for the welfare state, and the recent cutbacks and stress on the system are obviously because there’s been a massive increase in the amount of people claiming benefits.
Britain felt like a stormy sea under New Labour, with the murder of Lee Rigby the most recent tragedy from the waves created.
The leaders of our country should aim to make Britain more lake than sea: keeping it calm and quiet. The best way to do that is with controlled low immigration, the rich paying their share, and enough benefits for people who really need them to live on. The people can play their part by working whenever possible.
Maybe I’d feel different if I was younger, a rich boss or an immigrant wanting more people of my community (in multicultural rather than integrated Britain) to feel safer or stronger; but that’s the way I feel as I am in this point of time in my country of birth; it’s just my opinion, one of about 60 million under our government.
Death of a Salesman to The Call Centre
British socialists often cite the decline in industry as the reason for working-class communities deteriorating. While mines and steelworks didn’t look nice places to work, they did provide good pay and a communal identity.
Now, they have largely been replaced by the service industries. The BBC has a documentary about a call centre on at the moment, and it shows how the new industries look nicer places to work than the old industries, but they also have other stresses and generally don’t provide as much money and identity.
While the management seem nicer than decades ago, the workers have to call people and try and sell products they don’t usually believe in, meaning they don’t have the job satisfaction of providing something really worthwhile, like in the old coal and steel industries; or crafting their own specialty, like Marx’s pre-industrial self-employed workers.
Maybe the green industries will be the saviour for people and planet? To show that I don’t think green industries are all good, and in line with Greenygrey theory, I was reading yesterday in the Geographical how wind turbines can be deadly for birds.
Many of the people in the call centre documentary seem to be the modern versions of Willy Loman, protagonist of Arthur Miller’s 1949 play Death of a Salesman; one of the first critical commentaries on American consumer capitalism; at about the same time as our legendary travel correspondent Jack Wolfpac’s human parallel Jack Kerouac was escaping it On The Road.
I recently read Stephen King’s On Writing, where he said the choice between a brave new world and the shopping centre was made in the 1960s. Will we have a second chance?
In the ’80s I felt like Miller and Keroauc, but now I’m an older werewolf living in a country that has gone downhill for the working-class; a 9-5 regular job living in a nice suburban cloned detached house with a garden and picket fence doesn’t seem too bad.
In his middle-age, which turned into his last age, Kerouac felt as alienated and disillusioned with the counter-culture he’d helped create as Miller’s Loman did about the capitalist system he’d worked in; and my human parallel Che did about a lot of the communist revolution.
And 2500 years ago Socrates readily acquiesced with his own execution, thinking he’d done all he could challenging the egos of leaders who thought they and the societies they helped sustain were superior.