Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back to the 1980s

So, we are nearly two months into the new ConDem government, and it is every bit as depressing as I feared it would be. My overwhelming sensation is of a return to the 1980s, the decade in which I learnt about politics. David Peace on Newsnight a few weeks ago (pitted against the appalling Lynne Franks) echoed my thoughts, when he said that "a battle is upon us and maybe... the struggle and the sacrifice of people [like] the miners in 84/85 might yet prove to be an inspiration in the battles to come - because there will be a need now to protect every hospital, every school, every benefit and every pension that this country has."[04:08+] However, more depressingly, the follow up point he made is that in the 1980s, the resources working class communities had for resilience through the dark times (communal infrastructures, a strong moral economy, organisations like unions and tenants groups) no longer exist, having been eviscerated after a quarter century of class war from above.

I listened to that again this week, as I slowly absorbed Osborne's "emergency" budget, with its mix of ideologically driven follies (the "free" schools) and grim austerity. Among the blog posts that best convey my thoughts are this one by Paul Sagar and this one by David Osler.


jams o donnell said...

At least Thatcher dien't have the bloody chek to write to public sector workers to ask us how to shaft ourselves even further.

Daniel Zylbersztajn said...

I am more optimistic - 1. The public workers are still organised well, 2 everyone else has the internet and mobiles. Let's get organised!

Daniel Zylbersztajn said...

ps facebook is part of the netowrking for spreading the word, so comeone switch the book on, maybe as Bob from Brockley?

bob said...

I am not optimistic. Internet networks have enormous potential, but do not do the things face to face networks do and they certainly don't have the reach that older working class self-help institutions had. They are no substitute for, for instance, being able to accost your Labour councillor at the bar of the social club, or having a tenant rep who will keep calling up the housing office until your issue is dealt with.

As for Facebook, I'm scared that if I go there I'll never come back!!