26th of August 2022
An ordinary person trying to make sense of the world…
Lately it feels like nothing works anymore and the fabric of society is disintegrating… Is this what a civilisation in decline looks like? The end of the world as we know it? It started with the war in Syria and the refugee crisis, which had an impact on Brexit: many people voted for it because they wanted to “keep refugees out” – the photo of queues of refugees was very influential, as was Boris’ lie about saving the NHS 350 million a week.
Since the Tories took power they have slowly destroyed the NHS, social services, mental health services, community services, the police, the education system, etc through deep budgetary cuts. They have been pulling the threads that make the fabric of society apart.
When covid happened the government threw money at the problem, wasting huge amounts, through knee-jerk reactions and funding of wasteful, pointless ventures. The Furlough scheme was the only sensible measure, along with the vaccine initiative (which was inspired my Matt Hancock watching a movie – Contagion, he had no historical/medical knowledge).
As we got through covid, inflation started to rise, after years of extremely low interest rates. Initially, with a shortage of goods and workforce. Not enough delivery drivers for food & goods, not enough seasonal workers, not enough staff at airports, fuel shortages… The justice system, ground to a halt with lowest rape convictions ever, now it is a shadow of its former adequately efficient self. Ambulances and NHS waiting times are at their highest ever. There are not enough dentists, doctors, social workers, seasonal workers, service industry staff…
Society is very polarised in almost every issue. The online world is a festering pool of hatred and misunderstandings, where a small, loud minority, blows everything out of proportion. The controversy and hatred spill toxically into the wider society. Most people feel afraid to say what they think or feel in public. Women are afraid of going out alone. Children haven’t been allowed to go out alone in a long time, so their childhood is spent at screens or being taken to organised play. Men feel ostracised. Unsurprisingly, there’s a mental health epidemic. No one feels comfortable or accepted in society anymore.
February 24th 2022 and, officially, the war in Ukraine starts. It had been going on since 2014 but Europe turned a blind eye, due to its fuel dependence on Russia, especially Germany.
Ordinary citizens suddenly became very aware of Ukraine’s vital importance in grain supplies to many poorer countries, and how millions of tons could be lost, which could result in many deaths from starvation around the world.
Surprisingly, cash strapped UK has plenty of military resources to send to Ukraine. Boris was and is very keen to show support, one suspects not for noble, humanitarian reasons. Similarly for the US. War is a great money maker for a select few. For the rest of us it’s the ultimate in human horror.
And I haven’t even started thinking about the climate crisis this morning… Because there’s not much I can think anymore. I was very aware of it back in the 80s. The years since then have been like watching a very slow, but unstoppable, car crash. Now we are witnessing a seesaw of burning and flooding. Droughts and deluges.
I don’t know if it’s because I”m getting old – but the UK – a place that once upon a time felt saner, safer and fairer feels like a rickety boat, adrift in a very stormy sea…
I can’t run as fast I used to, but I can still run. I can’t learn as fast as I used to, but I can still learn… There’s always hope for humanity.
EDIT: 30 Sept 2022
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, Liz Truss became Prime Minister of the UK and, and along with Kwasi Kwarteng, unleashed a mini-budget that destabilised the economy so badly it risks forcing people selling their homes and pensions being lost!