Unstoppable waves of migrants, overcrowding, displaced workers
uncontrollable crime, an alienated youth culture without hope and "one of the most divided and unequal ... countries in Europe", ---is this portrait of contemporary Britain a picture of our own future?
Let the British Poor Eat Cake
Wendy Kellett has a vision of what is to come. And it is a nightmare.
Speaking of her native land, the United Kingdom, she writes that:
“This is now one of the most divided and unequal-and overcrowded-countries in Europe. Unemployment amongst the young is rising; poverty amongst childless adults of working age is rising; immigration continues unabated-driving down wages at the bottom. The real value of incomes has fallen steadily in the past couple of decades, primarily affecting those with the least. Property values have soared, driven by speculation, a deregulated financial sector and increasing pressure on land from development and population growth.
The ‘toffs’ have no idea, or no concern, for what the less fortunate are experiencing. (They will find out, sooner or later.) Their attitude was typified by the chief executive of the Barclay group, Bob (deep-pockets-my-bonus-is-bigger-than-yours) Diamond when he defended the remuneration culture of the UK financial sector before the Commons Treasury Select Committee on bank bonuses. Diamond declared that ‘There was a period of remorse and apology; that period needs to be over.’ I must have missed the remorse and the apology. Diamond rejected the demands of MPs that he forgo his 2010 bonus, which could amount to $8 million.
So it’s business as usual for the greedsters, able to continue unabashed-- courtesy of the publicly funded rescue package---all gain, no pain. The pain is borne by the young, the unemployed, the sick, the disabled, the impoverished, the homeless and the millions of workers who are seeing the value of their wages plummet.”
An Archipelago Of Rich Enclaves In A Sea Of Crime And Poverty
The UK has become what John Kenneth Galbraith said of America, a nation where “private affluence co-exists with public squalor”. By 2015, she predicts, we will see a UK where
“Rising inequality, matched by population growth, will exacerbate the divide between rich and poor and a demoralised and resentful public will be increasingly numbed by diversions like sporting events, celebrity television and political messages which skilfully demonise the poor and needy. Entrepreneurial types will no doubt turn in ever greater numbers to drug dealing, people smuggling and black market supply of now-unaffordable goods beyond the reach of many. Mass migration from Africa and the Middle East will continue , driven by climate change, poverty and population growth. The rich will continue to move into gated enclaves and religious groups will fill the gaps left by vapourised public services : I suspect that ,increasingly, we shall see whole areas dominated by different faith groups.”
Canadian Youth Alienated And Embittered
I replied that this unfolding tragedy sounds very much like what is occurring in North America.
“Sounds a lot like Canada. The United States is even worse. The gap between rich and poor has grown dramatically since the 80s. Now Canadian cities are being to resemble American cities as they were 20 years ago. We have a social safety net that they don't, but the level of services are dropping like a stone. What Galbraith said of America is now true of Canada. The working class has been pauperized, caught in a squeeze play between the outsourcing of good-paying manufacturing jobs and the "in-sourcing" of cheap imported labour which has driven down the wages of displaced blue collar workers and their children, who must compete for the McJobs of a growing low-wage service sector.
Many of these kids have degrees and are trying to work off student debts in the five figures flipping burgers or selling cars for chump change while politicians bemoan the plight of immigrants with degrees who can’t find employment relevant to their field of study. No wonder that so many young people are still living with their parents. The more removed the wealthy become from the masses, the less empathy they have. But incivility, hostility, rudeness, and hostility are bubbling up among the young. In the 60s our fault was our naive idealism. Theirs is their unapologetic cynicism. On the CBC today, I heard the testimony of a bus driver who saw five black female teens on his bus threaten an elderly white lady because she was "looking at them". This kind of incident was unknown in Canada in my time. But it is common now. People are alienated and angry and they are lashing out at the wrong targets.”
The Lost Generation
Wendy also observes the same youth alienation in the United Kingdom.
“I see blank ,sullen incivility on the faces of many of the young : disturbing but explainable. They are fed a diet of, to quote REM : 'shiny, happy people' on the telly, who are famous for being famous, and whose fatuous remarks beggar belief. I suspect that the young know, perhaps subliminally, that they have no stake in the present and no expectations of the future : nihilism; anomie and disengagement are the result.”
It is clear that what we are witnessing--- in the so-called affluent societies---- is the emergence of a Lost Generation----alienated, hostile and withdrawn---immersed in a digital technology that has become both their defining trademark and their sanctuary from a world beyond their control. We are witnessing a systems collapse and the unravelling of Euro-American civilization. As Yeats said in his epic poem, “The Second Coming”, the centre cannot hold.
January 26, 2011
The Second Coming
TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?