to continue on BE’s thread of yesterday with a view of a different C@W contributor…
With the UK, it is not the overall level of life, which is great (try travelling to non-first world countries, does the trick for me everytime!), but the BS re politics is related to the fact that the class gaps are much wider now than they were.
By way of example, my retired in laws live in a much nice house than I do, despite me earning in a year what they only ever did in about 5. This grates a little. My father in law, a sensible and numerate man, has saved more into his pension than I will ever manage, plus his went up in value whereas mine would be better in cash than with the rapacious fund managers.
Indeed, ‘nice’ places to live in the South East and London are now £1 million plus…even on a Prime Minister’s salary you are not having it. It is not all about jets, or coke and hookers (desirable though these may be) or even as I saw some nice Arab lady do before Xmas spending £700 in Hotel Chocolat on a whim. It is achieving something for the toil of labour and learning
It is just the ‘middle’ is dropping away and the achieving group accelerating away. Look at public schools, previously full of sons and daughters on accounts, doctors, lawyers. Now only very senior bankers, foreign billionaires and what are euphemistically known as ‘property developers’ can attend.
This is why over the past decade we see lots of nonsense about ‘Alarm Clock Britain’ (remember that!) or March of the Striving Makers etc and other such fatuous dog-whistling. The fact is the both blue collar and white collar classes have had a big downgrade over the past 30 years, in line with the Country. With the collapse in oil revenues this last few years, it is really coming home to roost in our national accounts too.
At the same time the world’s leading financial minds have had much success in attracting tax-evaders of all sorts to London and our cultural superpower excellence has acted as a huge magnet for the growing peoples’ of the world. Thus the Country appears to be full of both rich foreigners – which it is and a multitude of poor immigrants. No wonder the debate on immigration gets so complicated and tetchy.
We can see that the politicians, perhaps like ourselves, have no answer to these events or even ideas on what to do about it. Hence Labour having no policies at al and May insisting on more fatuous dog-whistling only yesterday.
The biggest point though is the whinge-fest above is just that. A whinge, there is little to stop people trying harder, taking risks, going for new jobs and trying new things. The animal spirit is needed for this and you see it in abundance in the Far East, socialism is killing it in UK and Europe. Perhaps with Brexit it can be re-kindled. Blaming the Government and everyone else for your own predicament gets you nowhere – reaching out yourself is the key.
Of course this problem is getting worse as technology means services will not need human labour either. At least blue collar people can build the robots and maintain them, white collar workers will suffer even more in the future and currently this is 80% of the UK economy. So a need for capitalism to be at the heart of what we do net to make sure it is successful transformation is key for the future.
It will be very interesting to see how it all turns out.