Britain is in a low pay crisis, the post-Fordist, de-unionised economy is not paying enough for people to consume the goods produced by capitalism, causing an economic crisis, which capitalists use as an opportunity to lower wages, which means people are even less able to purchase the goods produced by capitalism which in turn means… well you get the picture. The always excellent Zoe Williams writes well on the subject here.
In dry academic terms this means economic downturns and the financiers opening up the cheap debt floodgates to finance a false economy based on housing.
In the real world experiences of real people this means parents having to explain to their kids why they might have to go hungry a few times this week because the washing machine’s fucked and despite mummy working two jobs she can’t afford to fix it and feed them on her two wage packets.
I only start with this rather bleak evocation of Britain in 2013 – the Britain of foodbanks and the homeless living in caves – to describe why I’m going to be so fucking angry about and so fucking nasty to the people involved in #BrightonLitterBlitz.
To recap on those who don’t know what’s happening down in Brighton can read an article on the BBC website here.
Essentially the council is cutting wages for people who collect the city’s refuse. These are people who could be described as, in the words of reptilian overlord/enormous bellend/reptilian bellend George Osborne, “the shift worker, leaving home in the dark hours of the early morning”. Hard-working people getting utterly fucked over.
So what is the response of some on the soft-left to this? They have decided to utterly undermine the strike with the #BrightonLitterBlitz hashtag designed to encourage legions of people who are quite liberal but think racist, colonial apologist Boris Johnson is “a bit of a laugh” to do unpaid work collecting Brighton’s litter.
Let me be clear on this. Doing the jobs of those who are on strike is called “scabbing”or “blacklegging” or “being the lead singer of The Charlatans”. Think about it, would you want to be accused of being any of those things?
Whilst you should never cross a picket line it is perhaps possible to understand why some might do it. Strike funds run out, partners struggle to keep the family’s finances together, savings get dangerously low, you want to send your son to ballet school as you think he has prodigal gift. I know the last one can definitely happen as I saw it on a documentary.
I am not defending strikebreakers here, merely talking about how the bastards at the top know how to play worker against worker to defeat strike action.
Yet the crazy (by which I of course mean massively fucking cuntish) thing about these strikebreakers is that they aim to work for free.
Even the filth from the Met’ who acted as Maggie’s thugs during the miner’s strike were getting paid. They were vicious, violent class traitors, but they weren’t so cretinous as to be pro bono class traitors. They had SPMM – Scargill Paid My Mortgage – badges. What are the #BrightonLitterBlitz tossers going to have on their badges? Kitcat Gave Me An Enormous Hard-On About What An Excellent Sell Out Fuck I Truly Am. They’d need massive badges for a start!
It is amazing the willingness of young people to go out and give their all for the establishment – possibly lizards? certainly shits – in this country. Whether they’re setting up twitter accounts pretending to be our unelected head of state, chortling at another “hilariously non-PC” (what we’re apparently calling racism now) quote from Prince Philip or buying all manner of utter shit with war time slogans on. The last one is particularly apt I feel, I doubt a single person involved with this display of utter shitehawkery doesn’t own at least one Keep Calm And Carry On mug. In fact the best way to describe the #BrightonLitterBlitz crew is as a bunch of Keep Calm And Carry On mugs.
When the Luddite’s smashed looms the people hid them; today they’d probably re-tweet the wanted posters, no doubt with earnest appeals for information of their own. If a group of Chartist demonstrators showed up in Manchester to voice their demands for a fully democratic society the government wouldn’t even have to send troops to violently put down the uprising, #ClearUpPeterloo would be trending within the hour and a bunch of fresh-faced nobcheddars would be on hand to supress those brave men demanding working-class suffrage. Not that if we had twitter then there would even have been such an event, the left would probably find itself tweeting, “Castelreagh more like CastelGAY”, and crossing their fingers they might get five favourites.
Yet we can’t really despair too much that for most of today’s youth organised labour seems wholly irrelevant. Most of our press is fiercely anti-union. We have some of the most repressive anti-union laws in any developed democracy. We have Ed Miliband telling anybody that will listen how wrong industrial action is, with Ed Balls at his side. The double act looking like Wallace and Gromit as directed by Elia Kazhan, or a Claymation produced to amuse Tebbit during his lucid periods.
In this sort of climate maybe people don’t understand why you should never cross a picket line, why you should always support workers over bosses, why the other side’s fighting a class war so you should too!
Or maybe most people today still do, and these people are just a particularly slavishly obedient, furlock tucking bunch of Birkenstock-wearing shitgibbons. It’s in the balance.