Thursday, 23 November 2017

Is Rebecca Pow really so out-of-touch that she thinks people are better off than ever?

When the Tory MP Rebecca Pow intervened in John McDonnell's parliamentary speech to make the ridiculous assertion that "people have more money than ever" McDonnell replied in a very polite manner.

He calmly pointed out the horrifying fact that there are 4 million kids growing up in poverty in the United Kingdom, and the majority of them actually come from working families.

That the working poor make up the majority of people living in poverty in austerity Britain should be common knowledge, but thanks to the complicity of the mainstream media, uncomfortable facts like this are barely mentioned outside of left-wing independent media sites and in the slew of damning reports on the sheer scale of the problem from the likes of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Child Poverty Action Group and the Resolution Foundation.

It doesn't matter how much we try to raise awareness of child poverty and in-work poverty, there's always some wealthy insulated Tory around to pretend that things are fantastic, and that we've actually "never had it so good".

The problem for Rebecca Pow is that the Tory budget is full of explicit admissions that Tory austerity dogma is failing Britain, and failing British workers.

Aside from the downgrades in the UK economic growth forecasts, deficit reduction, and productivity, there's also a damning admission that the (already record-breaking) squeeze on UK workers' wages is set to continue into the next decade.

This means that the real value of workers' wages is not going to return to 2007 levels until early 2025.

That's an astounding 17 year period of zero real terms wage growth.

That's a generation of workers who have had their earning potential cruelly and deliberately blighted for the most productive years of their careers as a result of ruinous Tory austerity dogma.

Instead of progressing up the pay scale like previous generations did, millions have been trapped in low-pay insecure work without a decent pay rise in years, meaning they're actually worse off now in real terms than they were a decade ago.

It doesn't matter how many jokes and jolly japes the Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond padded out his "banter budget" with, the economic prognosis for the UK is absolutely dire, especially for ordinary working people.

The really sad thing is that millions of working people are so immune to reality that they'll actually believe the likes of Rebecca Pow and the right-wing propaganda merchants when they tell them that the Tories are doing a fantastic job and that they've never had it so good.

They'll forget all about the fact they haven't had a real pay rise in years; their nephew being exploited in the fake self-employment gig economy while their boss hides all the profits in tax havens; their niece on a dead end zero hours contract bringing her daughter up in grinding poverty; their mother being denied the social care she paid for with a whole lifetime of National Insurance contributions; the ever-worsening chaos in their local hospital; their neighbour forced to go through humiliation after humiliation to obtain the disability benefits they deserve ... because they keep on reading what a spiffing job the Tories are doing of running the economy in the pages of the S*n/Daily Mail/Express/Telegraph.

People like this will never read about how Philip Hammond's "banter budget" extends the Tory wage squeeze to 17 years, the dire state of the UK productivity crisis, or the soaring rates of child poverty and in-work poverty, because the Tory party rely on the ignorance of the masses to get away with what they do, and the right-wing press dutifully foster ignorance by not giving these vitally important issues anything like the coverage they deserve.

Until ordinary working people stop reading the right-wing propaganda rags, and stop uncritically believing Tory politicians when they defy reality by claiming that people have more money than ever, it's difficult to see how things can actually get better.

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