Thursday 16 February 2012

The Good Old Days

The Grauniad's stance on the news that Jobseekers are being 'encouraged' to work for their allowance is predictable. "Where will it all end?" their readers cringingly ask, not an un-wrung hand amongst them.

Yesterday, on Twitter I suggested that the word 'breadline' is bandied about as if there really was such a thing in Britain today. Well, today, I look to the future. Here, in an extract from an interview published in The Guardian 16th February 2087, you can clearly see the damage being wrought...

"Strikers threaten families like us."

Jean is a typical young mother, struggling to cope with ever-increasing demands on her income. She is a fashionably trim eighteen stone and always makes an effort to present herself well, but times are getting hard. Jean tells of a terrifying encounter in the car park at her local Asco superstore:

"So, there I was, puffing and panting, trying to get my shopping into the hover car and would anybody help me? No. And I'll tell you why - the lazy, skinny little bastards that Asco employ are only interested in one thing - prising as much of my money off me as possible. I mean, it's not like I'm wealthy is it? They just watched me struggling and I think I saw one of them laughing... or it might have been a cough - so many of them are diseased aren't they? They should just be grateful they have jobs, I mean the state just can't afford to support them; they have to pay their way, innit?

I do my bit. I try, anyway. I always buy the best cuts and I don't skimp on the trimmings... and I don't bother with that scrimping and saving that some whinge about. I'm a member of a health spa - fat lot of good that does me, as I never go, but it does help to move money round the economy doesn't it? Every little helps. I even take one of my holidays in England these days, just to help, you know? We do go abroad, yes, 'cos you have to get away from the hell of it all, don'tcha? We tried Scotland once, though. Big mistake. 'Orrible. All them beggars and slums and stuff.

Anyway, what was that? The gym thing? Oh yeah, the government decided that with my condition it would help me lead a better life, but it wouldn't be no good, really.  I have a low metabolism. My homoeopath told me and she don't come cheap, so she must be right, right? And that's just one more expense, I mean, what with the aromatherapy and the acupuncture as well, it all adds up. I'm no stranger to cutting back, I can tell you - I had to cancel my daily personalised horoscope subscription. I cried that day; just like it said.

I like, blame Mrs Thatcher. My great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather told me. Well, it was all her fault, really, the breakdown in society. I mean, it stands to sense doesn't it? Before she come along, everyone was happy doing their bit for The Unions, gawd bless them. (Jean crosses herself) But she started that war, you know, with the young people - the minors - and then all hell broke loose. It was never the same afterwards and it wa'n't worth it anymore.

I mean, back then,you worked for the unions and they promised to pay you what you were worth, whether you were worth it or not. A fair deal. They even made the government employ twice as many people as they needed sometimes, but she ruined all that. And look where it's come to! It's come to this! (By this, Jean means the bustling activity of the supermarket.)

I mean I can hardly bear to look at them, they're like, like... insects! I can hardly say their name - those 'workers' - ungrateful bastards. They make my flesh crawl. Last time we needed to put up taxes to keep the country fed they threatened to go out on strike. Strike! It's always "me, me, me" with them. They only threatened, mind, because they know the police are allowed to shoot on sight at civil disorders. Can you believe the cheek of it? If I had to work, I'm sure I wouldn't begrudge 80% of my wages to help us poor people, struggling to get by on benefits."

Our interview closes with a last word from the beleaguered Jean:

"I have to get off. I have an aerobics class I'm not going to go to."


Sometimes I'm accused of being out of touch with the thoughts of upright, decent, socialist members of society. It's good to know that, on Twitter, I can find as many right-thinking friends as I like! Here's what one Tweeter posted this morning - follow her and be saved!

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