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The Causes of Revolution

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With a few Brexit gaps in the run up to Christmas, I’d like to look at some of the drivers behind the current hunger for political change and reform. This all started way before the 2008 financial crisis, but it’s what has happened since 2008 that has been most telling. The appetite for reform has a number of roots, including but not exclusively

  • Increasing inequality
  • Living standards down
  • People excluded from decision making
  • Decline of working class power
  • Globalism / AI causing disempowerment
  • Cultural loss – damage to cultural identity

A couple of graphs from a recent ONS report -

Take a look at the clusters for the C1,C2,D&E cohorts – APT&C and downwards. You can see a bar at about £30k – £570 a week – and perhaps a little surprisingly, two key cohorts for working-class advancement, skilled trades and factory workers, trapped between the £20k and £30k bands. Neither is the Professional category to which I belong doing so well – in terms of pay at least. Those most at risk of displacement or redundancy by AI are not obvious; robots can carry out knee surgery, but can’t cook a curry. However, just as many Professional jobs are at risk as factory jobs. 

Now look at what’s happened to the Median Wage adjusted for inflation since 2008 – the median wage is just on about £30k / £570 a week in 2018, but worth quite a bit less than the median wage in 2008.

I haven’t got the US equivalents, but I suspect they follow the same lines. 

And what have the trillions in QE thrown into the battle since 2008 achieved for the greater part of our people? Nothing. Instead we have seen strong growth in GDP, in asset values, stocks and the most hurtful news to hit the headlines – the wealth of the top 1%. The mass of our people on £570 a week before tax – with tax levels at over 34% of GDP being at their highest in 40 years – simply cannot comprehend the boss of Persimmon ‘deserving’ a bonus of £75m for the year. It’s not even as if he’s built that many houses, or even built them to an acceptable standard. 

I really can’t blame anyone for feeling angry, frustrated, used or abused. And our political class had better turn their attention to the people who make up the ‘median’ – and that doesn’t mean more vacuous insincere platitudes from the privileged metropolitan elites.

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