This week the news was buzzing with headlines that the UK was back to the pre-recession levels of financial prosperity and that our recovery was outstripping the world. Yes really.
The BBC newspapers gushed as they talked over the newspapers for the day, even smirking as Murdoch chip paper The Sun claimed it was its army of readers that helped save the UK and that we had all suffered along the way to ensure economic recovery, working longer hours for less pay in the process. When I look around however, I do not see a recovery, I see people struggling between pay checks, increased levels of homeless people, food banks and shutters down on a previously busy high street.
Do we really believe this to be true? If so, we must all be suffering some form of Stockholm Syndrome.
The term Stockholm Syndrome is most associated with Patty Hearst, a Californian newspaper heiress kidnapped by revolutionary militants in 1974. She appeared to develop sympathy with her captors and joined them in a robbery. She was eventually caught and received a prison sentence. Today it may well be used to describe the pacification with which the public seem to be accepting the austerity measures which have left 1 in 5 people in the UK being described as below the official poverty line and experiencing life as a daily struggle. We supposedly have the sixth largest economy and yet people in the UK are going to bed hungry, unable to break the cycle, now labelled the ‘working poor’. Now somehow in these times of Orwellian double think we have been patted on the back and congratulated for turning the country around and are expected to be grateful. How is it that we have become so conditioned that we adore our oppressors, so much so we are prepared to sit back and vote all over again for it in 2015?
The only people who have seen their fortunes changed for the better are the economic terrorists that created this recession in the first place, the bankers and their corrupt friends in politics.
Whilst we have lost swathes of public services to privatisation, had pay cuts & freezes, experienced pension robbery, lost homes, taken on zero hour contract work and rely on food banks – privates jets sales have increased… You couldn’t make it up! So next time the media thanks you for working longer hours for less pay, sacrificing your pensions, suffering pay freezes, inflation, gas price hikes etc – remember that the people who caused it are having a fracking jolly. Wealth bubbles up, it doesn’t trickle down.
We mostly seem to accept austerity as a necessity, with few really challenging it in any way. 50,000 people marched through London on June 21st to stand up against austerity but after the event there were more than double that using credit cards on Oxford Street, artificially stimulating the economy, moving from one shopping experience to the next. So long as we continue to shop and pay our taxes it must be assumed that they are happy for a minority to march. We need to cultivate and nurture a lifestyle of civil disobedience and resistance to the ongoing ideological austerity we are being torn apart with and break free from this Stockholm Syndrome. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose.