Warning: Political Ranting to follow!
My Twitter stream is still populated mainly by UK friends and businesses. As we still have no TV, they, the BBC news website and the iplayer are my only sources of world current affairs. Even so, it makes depressing, (and in the case of Twitter, amusingly sarcastic) reading.
I spoke to my parents via a Google hangout at the weekend, we were talking about selling our house (still no hope on that front), and sorting out extensions to our visas and work permits (I know it seems like we’ve only just got here, but the first ones took nearly five months to process! If the same happens, we’d better start reapplying as soon as possible!!). The Parents were not exactly very positive about the UK. The housing market is apparently getting worse and worse. We bought our house in 2004, we have 17 years left on our mortgage(!!) and now the only offers we’re getting from buyers are a full THIRTY THOUSAND POUNDS LESS than what we paid 8 years ago. It’s not even a horrible house, its a 2 bed semi with a garden (and a SAUNA!), it’s just in a region that always has been severely economically deprived, and is only getting more so. The only people who can afford to buy a house in the UK nowadays, are not the sort of people who want to buy in the North-East.
Dad reports that whole towns in their area are just shutting down, only charity shops, kebab shops and Poundland left in some places – and of course, those pariahs of modern Britain, the pawnbrokers, the Cash-For-Gold places and the payday loans shops. Incredibly depressing. A job was advertised for the manager of a charity shop, and had 45 applicants. This says a lot.
Meanwhile, letters and tweets from my wonderful, talented, personable, intelligent, responsible, creative and reliable friends are also filled with negativity – the depression and loss of confidence caused by years of frustrating unemployment. The Daily Mail ran the story recently of a girl who committed suicide after receiving her 200th job rejection letter. I know I started my own business in 2009 because I couldn’t face the soul-destroying post-university unemployment AGAIN, but by the sounds of it, it has got even worse since then.
And now, Twitter, and the online version of Newsnight inform me that there has been a Cabinet reshuffle. The most telling tweet?
New cabinet composition: 4/29 women, 29/29 white, 19/29 attended Oxford or Cambridge. Monocultural Britain.
Jeremy Hunt, who’s only really positive contribution during his time as Culture secretary was to provide us all with a new bit of Cockney rhyming slang, who utterly ballsed up with Murdoch and BSkyB, and who tried to block the NHS celebrations at the Olympics opening ceremony is now Health Minister. This means he gets out of dealing with the fall out of the Leveson inquiry AND Andrew Lansley avoids implementing the NHS policies he was universally loathed for dreaming up. Worse still, former employment minister Chris Grayling from DWP – that’s right, the Department of Wankers and Penpushers whose bureaucratic nightmares have resulting in such a failing in the welfare system that 200,000 people were forced to use the Food Bank last year despite half of them actually being in work (according to Newsnight!)- and the man who brought in ATOS, the company that terrorizes the disabled and mentally ill and who famously deemed a partially paralysed woman ‘fit for work’ is now Justice secretary. That is an irony far too bitter for me.
Even worse, George Osborne is still Chancellor. He wasn’t really likely to be moved, but this (from Twitter) did amuse me: Apparently, Osborne was booed by 80,000 people when he attended the Paralympics medal ceremony. Why 80,000 people? Because the stadium doesn’t hold any more.
I can summarise thusly:
The UK is truly fucked.
My Mum said, “don’t even think about coming back!” – I assume that wasn’t an insult. Don’t worry, we won’t.
Meanwhile, there was an article in the Canadian Globe and Mail about student tuition fees costing a whole $5000 a year here, and how students are protesting in Quebec….. Quelle Horreur!
Even Canadians get negative sometimes. Here’s some comedic relief: