Ripples

The new issue 7 of the Wolfian now out which contains a little piece I wrote about democracy in the UK under the Tories.

The editor has this to say about it

Violett Dragonlady writes a stinging criticism of the democratic system in the UK and how the Tories are manipulating the law for their own advantage in every way they can find.

Not just my article though lots of viewpoints on differing themes to read through and only 99 pence on digital.

Anyway the article below is the second I ever wrote and it appeared in  issue 4 of the Wolfian. Which is available for FREE download.

RIPPLES

ripple

I’m a geek and proud, sci fi, fantasy my favourite comic as a kid was 2000 AD. Strontium Dog was my preferred character as opposed to Judge Dredd, perhaps at the tender age of seven I thought him too political all law and order and boring stuff. Being a geek of course I’m a Whovian – a Dr Who Fan to the uninitiated. In a recent episode ‘The Girl Who Died’ The Doctor said about ripples can become Tidal Waves, he was of course referring to what changes have been made in the past, while only seeming a ripple at the time can cause an immense impact on events in the future. Tidal Waves or Tsunami’s can be started by an earthquake in the depths of an ocean and while at the site there may only be a few ripples by the time it gets to shallower water it can be a hundred feet high.

I guess it could be similar to the sudden wave of political awareness that not only I but many others are discovering. The recession in 2008 and bailing out the bankers was the start of the economical earthquake that started the ripples. By 2010 the tide had started to turn and the wave got closer and closer. The coalition government introduced ‘austerity measures’, cutting the welfare bill, not funding the NHS, freezing public sector workers pay, selling off public assets to ‘friends’ who made an instant profit while at the same time taking more and more money from those who could least afford it.

Despite many protests and public outcries the Conservative party were still elected in 2015 to the complete shock and dismay of many. No longer were they constrained by the leash of the Liberal Democrats (as long as that leash was anyway) but free to clamp down harder on the sick, the part time workers, the stay at home mums and public sector workers. Between 2010 and 2015 the tidal wave hit, of course the wealthy were safe in their fortified castles high up on the hills while the workers homes and livelihoods perished. The wealthy still felt at risk however and needed the meagre amount the poor had to shore up their walls, all the while trying to convince people that it was ok as the excess would be more than enough for them.

And some believed them, they believed that they would be cared for, believed the propaganda thrown at them by the conservatives, believed the scaremongering from the biased newspapers and television programs. Some believed the immigration scare tactics and voted UKIP, the SNP in Scotland in the wake of the devolution vote garnered so much support and gained more seats than they’d ever had before. The Liberal Democrats were the unfortunate fall guys for the previous coalition government failures and were decimated in the votes.

Not being schooled in politics or economics I can only refer to the Vulcan in me and many of the things that are happening are illogical.

Take Workfare and the Job market for example. The government want everyone in work, and ‘claim’ they have created more jobs and that there are less unemployed people now but Mr Spock keeps whispering in my ear ‘how’? The logical side of me doesn’t believe it is possible and here is why.

Technology

I like many Geeks enjoy my gadgets, my smartphone, internet, remote controls etc. I am also aware however that due to advances in technology many things which were labour intensive have now been automated. No longer does the farmer need to employ people to help bring in the harvest, milk the cows, typing pools are a thing of the past as people no longer need a secretary they just send emails themselves.

I do realise that the new technology has created some new jobs but not as many as have been lost.

Technology has also aided our health, new medicines, techniques for operations has not only improved our life quality but also quantity. The population is increasing, not just here but worldwide and therefore I find it hard to believe that there are less unemployed now than before. There aren’t many ‘natural’ vacancies from someone retiring any more as they are healthier and not only that but the government has changed the retirement age so people HAVE to work longer unless they have a private pension.

There are fewer apprenticeships these days, cheap imports have taken away the need for craftsmen, people can’t enlist in the military due to all the cuts. Many, many moons ago I worked (as a civilian) for the MOD alongside some serving military. Now most of the sites I worked in have been closed, the military housing estate I lived in as the stepdaughter of a serving soldier has been all sold off.

Insurance brokers rarely have high street offices anymore as 90% have closed and all there are now are call centres, which are often, inconveniently abroad and barely understandable when you get through after pressing a multitude of options.

Single parents of a child over five years old have to attempt to find work now, if you have children yourself you might know how difficult it is to find work during school times and care for the holidays. Not only that but employers realise that employing a single parent means they often need to take time off unexpectedly due to illness, school closures, insect days. Yes I know they are supposed to be inset days but my experience is that the kids were at home bugging the parents. Not great for job prospects and it contributes to the lack of parental control and increasing problems of juvenile crime. I remember people looking down on me for working and not being a stay at home mother.

So with all this technology and changes factories are closing, high streets are full of chain stores, coffee shops and payday loan companies. What happens to the 59 year old who is laid off from the job he has worked in for over 40 years? Well first of all he manages to get a ‘temporary’ position on minimum wage for a company. After the temporary period is up he is laid off again. The jobless centre then orders him to work at the SAME firm doing the SAME job just to get unemployment benefit. And they call this workFAIR???

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/03/dwp-benefits-electrician-work-placement-labour.

And then there was the case of the university graduate who was forced to work for JSA at Poundland filling shelves and made to stop doing the voluntary work she was doing which would have given her the experience to get a job in the field she studied for.

While I feel that the idea of workfare is a good one, possibly even a great one it isn’t being managed FAIRLY. Jobcentre workers tell people if they don’t go on a placement they will be sanctioned and have no money, companies (somewhat understandably) are getting free labour which brings their overheads down and profits up, the government benefit by being able to say there are more people in employment. What I feel should happen is that a person tells the jobcentre what they have and haven’t done and what they’d like to do going forward. The jobcentre then tries to get them a placement at a company in the field they would like to have future employment in, they get paid at the minimum/living wage, the government then pays the firm who have employed them amount of the benefit allowance so the firm doesn’t bear all the cost of employing them. That’s my theory anyway, I realise they’d need to create the red tape for people to jump through but isn’t that what politicians are good at?

I’m not sure what these zero contract hours are all about though apart from the fact people don’t know from one day to the next if they’ll be earning enough to be able to eat let alone pay the bills. I can kind of understand from an employer’s point of view that staffing needs are variable depending on the order received but isn’t that what Temping agencies used to do? Are these zero contract hours a way for companies to have people on standby and a way for the government to ‘massage’ the figures so it looks like more are employed.

Things look like they are set to get worse though. The government is pushing forward for a high speed rail network/link, and have signed a contract with CHINA for the steel. The exact same time they do this, steel works in the North of our once wonderful country are being closed down resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs. This is really illogical captain, for a start what are the real needs for a rail link like this? The way technology is going people won’t need to commute as much as they’ll be able to have holographic conferences. I found an article about it when I was doing my OU course http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/will-we-need-hs2-of-course-not-in-20-years-well-have-holograms-says-ed-milibands-new-business-8717735.html.

Another thing the government have done is signed a contract with the Chinese to build nuclear power stations here. Not only will they import all the materials but also the ‘workers’ to build it. What about our guys here, all the newly unemployed from the steel industry who may be grateful for a job. It also really saddens me to see that our ‘greenest government ever’ is choosing the nuclear option while firms involved in green energy such as solar power.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/19/revealed-many-more-solar-firms-face-closure-if-government-cuts-go-ahead.

This is in addition to the ‘fracking’ going on despite all the geological and environmental risks and destruction of the habitat of many endangered species. But then I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised, as this is by the same people who enjoy chasing an animal to the point of exhaustion and then watch it being torn apart by a pack of hounds and call it ‘sport’.

But then I’m not the only one who thinks like this, many people are finding out via social media as I found out recently. A friend of mine shared a story about child poverty and said it couldn’t be real could it? So me being me jumped in and said it was only the tip of the iceberg. She was SHOCKED after I pointed her in the direction of many other reports and she wasn’t the only one, someone on her friend list had absolutely no idea it was going on and another knew some but assumed everyone knew.

It just goes to show that one person can make a difference, by sharing with these three people what I had discovered educated them, and if they tell three people each, and those three tell three more. Well you can see where I’m going with this can’t you.

wave

It’s now more of a wave than a ripple.

 

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Ripples

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