If you’ve read any of the mainstream media in recent days, or glanced through the news feeds in your social networks, it wouldn’t take much to feel that the end of the world as we know it is imminent.
It really is hard to talk about the sorry state of affairs in which we find ourselves in the UK – economically, politically, socially – without sounding like the most awful doomster and sensationalist.
Yet, you cannot ignore the reality we see all around us, succinctly captured in a tweet by Gary Lineker.
At the heart of things in Gary’s succinct reality is the brewing groundswell of a grassroots movement called Enough Is Enough that posted five demands to tackle the present crisis. We’ve heard this all before (tax the rich, make a real public sector pay rise), yet there’s something quite different about this campaign. Yes, it’s supported mainly by a collection of trade unions, but the demands are not widely seen as being made by idle strikers wanting handouts or greedy unions following a political agenda.
This is a huge difference from what history shows as the typical structure of such union / employer / government confrontations of the recent past, eg, the Winter of Discontent in the late 1970s where class structures and political ideology played major roles.
Maybe there is growing resonance among the middle classes of England that the current political system with the Conservatives the continuous party of government for well over a decade now is just not working (something the working class has long believed), facing only a limp political opposition. Politicians ignoring rules they set for eveyone else. Fat cats in the utility and oil industries making millions while everyone else pays through the nose for their gas, electricity and petrol.
There are strikes everywhere – even the barristers are downing their quills in an all-out strike. People choosing between eating or heating. Rising prices every single day everywhere you look (inflation currently 10.1% and predicted to reach 18% in a few months). Crumbling infrastructures and avoided responsibilities as Green Party leader Caroline Lucas notes.
Is there no end in sight to any of this shitshow?
So enough is, well, enough. But what’s the tipping point to translate resonance and five demands into action that makes a real difference? What’s the actual plan? Who will execute on it? And when? The Establishment can’t do it, say the Enough is Enough campaign: “We can’t rely on the establishment to solve our problems. It’s up to us in every workplace and every community.”
In episode 60 of The Small Data Forum monthly podcast for August, published on Monday, Thomas, Sam, and I take on the tricky task of discussing “something must be done.” I think we have done not a bad job in a lively discussion with some trenchant debate on what that ‘something’ must or might be.
As ever, Thomas has eloquently penned the show notes for this episode from which you can absorb a wider perspective on things surrounding this country’s present predicament.
Listen to episode 60:
Our next epsisode will be live face-to-face when the three of us get together in London. For the first time we’re recording in a professional studio on September 8 with the show planned to be published on Monday September 12. That’s just a few days after the Conservatives choose their new leader and the country then has a new Prime Minister courtesy of the 160K members of the Conservative Party only. A hugely undemocratic and unrepresentative act, we argue.
Let us know how you see things. After all, the show must go on.