Sunday, 18 June 2017

Times they are a changing

The binary outcome of neoliberalism

The uncertainty and sense of continuous decline that has been the mood in the UK resulting from 7 years of austerity, Brexit and wage stagnation has been challenged by the recent general election and other events far more swiftly than I could ever imagine. There is a palpable sense that 'enough is enough'. It's just that Mrs May's phrase about terrorism has been turned on her government or, more precisely, the values that have guided her government's abject failure to recognise the reduction in the standard of living for those dependent on public services. The impact of austerity finally has come home to roost, as have the gross inequalities that have soaked the poor to sustain the rich.

Add the seismic fall out from the Grenfell Tower fire to the mix and we have the ingredients for a perfect storm of political change. The fires of neo-liberal economic forces released by Thatcher and tolerated or encouraged by every subsequent prime minister have almost burnt out. Osborne and Cameron used austerity to destroy and devalue public services and to reduce regulation and standards. The shocking outcome of Grenfell Tower reminds the public that regulation is there to protect citizens and is not just red tape as government ministers have been fond of telling us.

The importance of communities in coping with tragedies has been emphasised by their unremitted support for the victims of the fire. People of all faiths, ethnicities and status have worked side by side whilst both local and central government have failed to provide leadership or meet their obligations to legislate and implement regulations. The people have shown that there is more that unites them than divides them. This is taken for granted by most of the younger generation but has extended across all age ranges.

Importantly and maybe for the first time, social media has trounced the media moguls in shifting public opinion.

So we have lift off. Where it will take us is the great unknown but at last, the shackles of unfairness in wealth, taxation, rights, respect and representative democracy will no longer be tolerated. Let's make sure that the UK develops a codified constitution that provides a contract between politicians, business and citizens. It must value equality, co-operation and community across local and global stages. The time is also ripe for local governance to be enshrined in the constitution and no longer subject to the vagaries and whims of parliament.

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