Paul Mason, the former special needs music teacher and IT magazine editor and now Newsnight’s economics editor – a man with more hinterland than Perth in Western Australia – wrote an excellent article in the Guardian this week about the plight of graduates in 2012.
Under the article was posted the following comment by someone identifying him/herself as “isthisnameanygood“
Now I don’t know if this is original or cut and pasted from somewhere else, but that doesn’t matter.
Since I was told in the 1980′s to get a private pension as the state option was going to be allowed to wither on the vine; since being sold an endowment mortgage at that time based on ridiculous “loadsamoney” interest rates which would buy two houses at the end of 25 years and which eventually failed to pay for even one; having witnessed the sale of national utilities such as the railways, electricity and gas to the private sector; having paid off my teenage daughters debt after HSBC refused her an extra £500 overdraft but offered her an extra £1,000 credit card limit at twice the interest rate; having been invited to “annual reviews” by my bank which were nothing more than a sales pitch for insurance which would increase my borrowing and probably never pay out; and now, watching as one after another, our institutions plough into the motorway pile-up which is our financial, regulatory and political system, – I think what “isthisnameanygood” says is spot on.
“For over 30 years, the British people have been the victims of a giant swindle, a swindle supported by all the major parties, a swindle based upon a lie. The lie that if we encouraged the rich to create wealth, then the whole country would benefit. Since 1980, our governments have done all they could to help them. They privatised every state industry, they lowered the top rates of tax, they allowed tax avoidance/evasion, they encouraged non-dom residency, they lowered corporate tax rates, they de-regulated, they crippled the unions, they subsidised low pay via the welfare system and they even bailed out the banks.
The result? All they have achieved is a vast transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.
We fell for this fraud because they deluded us into believing that we’d never had it so good. It was bullshit. Peoples lifestyles were fuelled by easy credit and an unsustainable housing bubble. Credit, twinned with inflating house prices, funded the illusion of prosperity for decades. However, with the collapse of the giant Ponzi scheme that was the financial markets, this façade has now been shattered.
Nearly all of us are deep in shit. Average household debt now stands at nearly £60,000. Total personal debt stands at over £1.5 Trillion, a figure which will only increase as a whole generation leaves University/college already heavily in debt. Through debt, they have allowed us to own homes, they have allowed us to own cars, they have allowed us to go on holiday.
This myth of prosperity is illustrated by the sobering fact that If the Government enacted a law today, that all personnel debt, all mortgages, car loans etc. had to be paid off within the next month, millions would be homeless, millions would lose their cars, millions would be penniless. 90% of us would be bankrupt.
Let that sink in, amid the realisation of how badly we have been shafted..
This is where Neo-liberalism, supported by every successive Government since Thatcher, has brought us. Massive debt and worsening living standards for the many, immense wealth for the few. But these greedy bastards still want more. They keep taking, and like fools, we keep giving. The ruling elite already have our land, gas, electricity, railways and water. They already own our politicians, our media and our Police. But it’s never enough. They are now coming for our pensions, our NHS, our roads, our schools and our green spaces.
Under the pretext of ‘austerity’, they are making it easier to sack us, making us work longer hours for less pay, forcing our kids to work for nothing, raising the retirement age whilst cutting our pensions and weakening our health and safety laws. They have begun a systematic assault on the sick, the poor and the disabled, slashing welfare budgets, forcing people off benefits and removing every support structure a civilised society should provide.
But the rich? They avoid paying billions in taxes, and hide billions more away in tax havens, despite that we keep cutting their tax rates. Their pay is now hundreds of times more than their workers. Executive pay has increased by 49% in the last year alone. That one fact tells you all you need to know about who is in this ‘all together’. The very people who have gained the most from the last 30 years are immune to the mess they have created, the very people who have gained the least are paying the biggest price. Frankly, it’s obscene.
For years, we have had to listen to their lies, the lies that we’d never had it so good, the lies that capitalism is the only way to create wealth, the lies that private sector is so efficient, the lies that we have to tax the rich less to encourage ‘entrepreneurs’ and the lies that we need these people to give us jobs. And now we have the lies about the country being bankrupt, the lies about ‘austerity’, the lies about ‘welfare scroungers’ and ‘benefit cheats’ and the lie that ‘we are all in this together’.
They keep telling us these lies because they believe we are all idiots, and will fall for any shit they feed us. And most of the time, they are right. We do.
But not always.
To paraphrase Lloyd George whilst talking about the Great War:
‘If the people really knew the truth about what was happening, it would be ended tomorrow, but they must never know.’
Well, eventually, people will know, and when the truth dawns on them, that 99% of us are in this all together, whilst 1% are only in it for themselves, we can begin to put an end to this nightmare of a society that we have allowed them to create at our expense.”
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