Things are likely going to get a bit tougher
So those of you that have been following me for a while will have noticed a few things I’ve mentioned. One, I grew up in poverty for the most of my childhood (and hell, a large part of my adult life), and Two, I’m not a fan of the Tories. It affects people, growing up that poor, and we are gonna be sadly seeing a whole lot more of that social issue.
Today’s blog post is gonna address a bit of that. If you don’t like what I’m saying, or you disagree with it, or think I’m a dick, then cool! Start a blog and call me an idiot or something, have fun.
We’re in a bit of a “perfect storm” of shit at the moment in the UK, caused by a Government that explicitly doesn’t give a fuck about poor people. I grant you, COVID, Brexit and now the horrific war in Ukraine are going to cause these problems to get worse, but if our Government were inclined to manage the situation in any meaningful way then I think things would be working out better. I’m also going to add here that Brexit was a fucking stupid decision because, y’know, Brexit was a fucking stupid decision.
Things are going to get tough. It doesn’t take an Orangutan-themed spore shuffler to tell you that though, does it? Things are going to get tough for a lot of people out there, and there are going to be a lot of difficult childhoods. Most of these issues are going to affect the poorest amongst us the most, and they’re also going to push a lot of other people that might’ve just been keeping their heads above water into poverty. Even Martin Lewis is saying that there’s no further wiggle room for people to get their bills down, and that the Government needs to meaningfully intervene, and they just fucking don’t because it doesn’t affect them.
Where I live in Cornwall, there’s already a huge housing crisis caused by Airbnbs not being regulated in any way (so it’s much easier for a landlord to earn far more with far less regulation than it would be if they rented their property out to people that actually wanted to live there). People who are being evicted are unable to find anywhere sensibly priced to rent due to this shortage, and there is no social housing because surprise surprise it hasn’t been built in sufficient numbers to meet demand since the big Tory selloff in the 80’s. In Cornwall, these people are being told they will have to relocate to temporary accommodation in Wales, causing families where the mum and dad aren’t together to have to make the rough decision as to where their kids end up staying. This is clearly a fucking awful state of affairs on it’s own. Rents are expensive everywhere thanks to this housing market fuckery, and unless you’ve got a family member willing to throw you £30k+ (or you still live at home and can save heavily), then you’re in a lose/lose situation.
Our Glorious Overlords said that Brexit would lead to cheaper food but yeah once again that was just a really blatant lie like the magical NHS money. Food prices are going up at a crazy rate, and this has a lot of knock on effects. Schools are reportedly having to reduce what they’re providing for kids due to soaring bills, and again, this is going to affect the poor kids the most, because that might be the only hot meal they get all day. Foodbank use is likely to hit another record high, kids are already going hungry, parents are already skipping meals, and this is going to stretch those resources even further. My local MP (and I pray every day he wakes up with a suspicious cough that rapidly gets worse) has suggested that people just need to start buying own-brand foods! Yes I’m sure they haven’t thought of that, George, you fucking husk, they’ve all been eating Waitrose caviar three meals a day up to this point, maybe they can cut down to Prosecco in their packed lunches rather than Champagne to save a quid or two.
If you are hungry, please try and get in touch with the services that let you access your local foodbank, and if you can’t do that, then consider the viewpoint that it’s not morally wrong to steal from supermarkets. Supermarkets such as Tesco pay their staff so little that they have to have their wages subsidised by Working Tax Credits, which means your taxes have gone into supporting Tesco make record profits (there are a suspicious amount of record profits getting made by these big companies when they don’t seem to be able to afford to pay their staff). A friend of mine who is struggling financially has started scanning a lot of food items through as Onions on the ol’ self checkouts. Your morality is your own, but I don’t see the issue there. Obviously don’t go shoplifting from little places, only fucking huge billion-pound profit businesses.
Whooooo motherfucker have you seen those gas and electric bills? People are now supposedly shutting their own electric off and living without it because even if you cut your usage right down, there’s still a standing charge to pay. Fire Stations are having to warn people not to just start burning things in their houses if they don’t have a fireplace. I swear to fucking God that if you tried to write a story like this even five years ago it would seem far-fetched. Petrol/Diesel bills are through the roof. Again, this is going to push a lot of people into inescapable poverty. Obviously, fuel companies are… hang the fuck on? Posting record profits?! Honestly, we’re being taken for a fucking ride here. A very expensive ride.
All of that and the mental health services are fucked!
So this would likely be a time when people would need to be reaching out for various support services, but in completely normal news for this version of reality, the Tories have gutted funding for that kind of thing, so people who are struggling are going to be finding it hard to reach any kind of meaningful help. Fun fact! I used to volunteer for the Samaritans for a short period maybe a decade ago, and we had lots of people ringing us as their GPs were referring them to our free service because there literally wasn’t anything else they could do. There were so few paid services for them to turn to that they had to lean on a free service staffed by volunteers. What a country!
What can I do?
Great question. What can you do? I dunno. This is kinda the “good news” part of this post though, because there’s a million ways you can make people’s lives a bit better. Anything you do that helps take the edge off someone else’s bad day is you succeeding as a decent human.
The first, most obvious, but hardest, is money. If you’re in a spot where you can throw a few quid to your local foodbank, do it. Pick up a few extra tins of something in your local shop and donate it. Fuck, even do that thing people have advocated online where you just don’t scan the shit you’re gonna donate to the foodbank, and then drop it into the foodbank collection trolley (it’s not technically shoplifting as it’s not leaving the store with you).
If you can’t afford to do that (and I expect this is the case for a lot of people), see if you can volunteer somewhere that’s doing some good in your local community. There’s lots of options out there, and they’ll all help to smooth out the shittiest bits of another human’s existence. Samaritans? Sure. Foodbank? Yup. Community Orchards? Yes mate. Anything and everything.
Ain’t got the time for volunteering? Again, I get it. Could well be that you’re having to work multiple jobs just to keep your own lights on and food on the table and if that’s the case then cool. You can’t pour from an empty glass – you need to make sure you’re okay first, and there’s no shame in that.
I’m fully expecting to be bumping into people who are quite frankly losing their shit in the coming years, and so personally I’m going to try and cut everyone a lot more slack, and try and be a bit more understanding.
If there’s one takeaway from reading this let it be this part!
Whoever you are, know that you’re valued by someone. If you’re struggling, please try and reach out to Shelter, or the Samaritans, or Man Down, or a mate, or family, or anyone. There might be some means of making your struggle a little lighter that you haven’t noticed, and maybe they can help get you in touch with the right people. I’ve had some help from Shelter and Samaritans myself in the past, and in both cases it helped enough.
If you’re in a good spot personally, and you’re able to help others a bit, even a tiny bit, then do it, in whatever form that takes. There are a lot of people who are going to need support, and you could be a part of making someone’s life a little more bearable. Also don’t vote Tory.