It is incredible to me that in the UK a large proportion of people (not just the most vulnerable or lowest-earning) are now in a situation where you can’t easily drive a car, see a doctor, see a dentist, turn the heating on, get an ambulance in an emergency or use any other public services, let alone much more high-level things like owning a house (which has always culturally been spoken about as if it’s a normal thing); and yet things are going on mostly as normal, although the tipping point (politically) appears to be approaching quickly. My own day-to-day existence of hanging on and scraping through is more and more becoming a microcosm of the state of the country.
But the turning point won’t be driven by the population or mass mobilisation. I’m doing what I can to talk about these things, but I’ve been doing that since 2016 when I started reading Private Eye and understanding the depths and form in which corruption is occurring. The sheer level of calculation and long-term deceit that goes on in their minds and behind the scenes. It’s a whole psychology you have to come to terms with and learn. There isn’t much real journalism left but it does exist. Private Eye really helps to keep me sane, too.
Even without that knowledge, since 2010 we’ve had outwardly comic-book style villains in charge. People who exude smugness and dishonesty and frankly cruelty. It’s just that it has taken this long to iterate through cycles of leadership changes to the point where their behaviour takes a form that most people can recognise, actions so blatant that the usual language of politics is irrelevant— it’s prime ministers having parties during lockdowns, having public tantrums and literally claiming the sky is not blue on camera and doubling down on it.
It had to devolve to a point where it became this blatant to reach the public consensus we now have at least. Yet still the attitude is just to hold on, survive day-to-day. It’s an incredibly bizarre and surreal situation. Almost each time the prime minister speaks the value of the pound goes down. The dysfunction is that immediate now. I even set up a tracker on my phone!
Thankfully we are at least still a democracy and thankfully the nation is uniting behind a genuinely optimistic vision from an opposing party, and thankfully a general election seems imminent. The next election will be historical.