In a BBC film about expensive hotels the manager of the Corinthia in London mentioned a client who, when he flew, would buy a first-class ticket for his pet gerbil. Meanwhile, The National Education Union reports that a boy turned up to school wearing his trousers back to front, in order to hide the holes in the knees.
Food banks, 320,000 homeless and increasing by 4% a year, child poverty at record levels, suicides brought about by benefit sanctions and Universal Credit, zero hour contracts leaving working people destitute, racism and hatred used against the sick and disabled, Grenfell fire enquiry buried with the victims, fracking protestors jailed as 'terrorists', knighthoods 'sold' to Tory donors. No doubt the reader can add to this list.
All of this in a society where Oxfam tells us, “the richest one percent of the population now owns more than 20 times more wealth than the poorest 20 percent of the population owns between them.”
In a recent article in The Guardian Aditya Chakraborrty visited Pontypool in South Wales, at the centre of a region once dominated by coal mines and steel mills. " 'Here it's dead now,' said Neil, 'because they took what they wanted,' “They” meant Westminster, London, the rich. 'Thatcher smashed the unions. Boosh! We’re out of here. Boosh! They’ve moved on.” Raised in a Labour family, Neil now considered all politicians “liars”. And in the EU referendum, he let them know."
With all this in mind we have the Brexit / Remain debate and the massive defeat for Theresa May's Brexit deal vote. Will she resign? Will there be a new 'People's vote' on Brexit? Will there be a general election?
I have no idea, but the last of these is unlikely. Much of the debate over Brexit has been carried out by the political and media establishment with nervous over-the-shoulder glances at Jeremy Corbyn. A Corbyn-led government would see the end of the neo-lliberal agenda, a reversal of austerity policies. A political assault on the privileged and wealthy.
'The truth is,' Corbyn said last week in Wakefield, ' the real divide in our country is not between those who voted to Remain in the EU and those who voted to Leave. It is between the many – who do the work, who create the wealth and pay their taxes, and the few – who set the rules, who reap the rewards and so often dodge taxes.'