Thursday, 11 April 2013

No Middle Class Anarchy

I am no middle class anarchist. I don't have the energy. I don't have that wilful disposition. Frankly, I don't have the time. I can't afford to get arrested at a peaceful protest gone wrong. I'm 28, I have a lot of life to live in front of me. When the anarchists start their revolution, I'll support their cause, but I won't risk my liberty or my future employment prospects by becoming embroiled in a loud demo. I'm not often meek, but I'll be the one silently protesting in my living room, spreading the word. Writing, talking and hoping for a better future.

Because all I can do is write and talk about the anger and deep seated despair at the status quo. It is an anger which causes my hiatus hernia to throb daily at the moment, an anger which stops me falling asleep. I just can't stop thinking.

I should probably just quit reading the paper. It's making me bitter. But I cannot be without news, whether good or bad. I can't live without knowing what is going on in the world.

I have never felt so impotent, so weak. Sometimes I get so mad that I pull out my dusty old soapbox and rant at my wife for an hour. She is very patient. How can I move forward?

I sense that this recession and this austerity will last well into my middle age. We will be hard pressed to afford the two kids, two cars and three bedrooms of our parents generation, hell we'll be lucky if we can afford to have any children at all.

I could weep.

I would love to become an MP. I feel like I could do a better job. I feel like I would use my expenses fairly and that I could live on £60,000/year without needing to charge the taxpayer for my lunch. I feel like I could create laws which force companies to pay their way. I feel like I would be able to make work pay without hurting our oldest, youngest, poorest... our most vulnerable.

Sometimes I feel so frustrated that my brain starts to leak out of my ears.

It's easy to look back with rose tinted glasses, but I remember my childhood in intimate detail. I remember walking down high streets with independent shops taking up every window, not boarded up buildings. I remember the sense of community following the Manchester Bomb, not discord, scowls and divide and rule splitting society. I remember spending Saturday nights watching family friendly television shows, not lowest common denominator titillation.

We're now a country which feeds its children chocolate for breakfast and then wonders why they weigh as many stones as their age. A first world country which throws away tonnes of food every year and yet needs a growing network of food banks to feed its children. A country where the only shops thriving on the high street are pawn brokers, payday lenders and bookies.

Can anybody give me any ideas about how we can fix things? Is it even possible? We can't go backwards. I can't go backwards. How would I cope without my dozens of channels with nothing on, without my unrestricted internet access and my 24 hour mobile connectivity? I never leave the flat without my mobile. I even watch television on my Kindle in the bath. Is it any wonder I spend my evenings with my shiny distractions? I am newly Civil Partnered and incredibly happy with my life and my wife, but I can't help looking around me at the shattered remains of a once beautiful, active, healthy, community driven country.

How can we stand up for ourselves when our leaders are happily watching the country fall to pieces?

Answers on a postcard...

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