Monday, 22 January 2018
You all have something
So there you are, you have reached the age of majority and now you have to decide which path you will take. Actually, it is highly likely that your future road has already been determined and the first steps already taken. Did you have a paper round, or a Saturday job; or did you have both? Are you destined for the world of work and all the promises it holds? Are you eager to work hard, learn, progress and grow and seek success? We all know what kind of insufferable know-it-all you are, then.
Or have you already embarked on the ship of state, set sail for destinations predetermined and ready for others to decide your future course? Are you already inured to the tedium of daily life punctuated by bouts of hedonistic frenzy, fuelled on cheap booze, smuggled fags and the recreational drugs of your choice and pocket? Do you dream of being on a reality TV show, or winning X-Factor... or, preferably the National Lottery, which takes far less effort?
Obviously, if you are on the great work treadmill you are busily rationing your pleasures, squirrelling away as much as you can for a deposit on a home of your own. Of course, once you get that mortgage you will have to stay in work forever repaying it and all the advances you will need to take on in order to improve the shithole you bought in a shitty part of town. There will be plenty of times it doesn’t seem worth it, especially when you look at people around you who are still in social housing.
Oh yes, you sneer at the mugs, working for a living, as they disturb your mornings with their engines idling as they clear their windscreens of ice. Idiots, going out in the cold to work ungodly hours. They probably have to put into a pension pot, too, unlike you, sitting pretty atop a small treasure hoard of benefits for life. They even have to take time off from work, possibly unpaid, to go to the doctors, whereas all you have to do is pause daytime TV while you hop in a taxi to the surgery a few hundred yards away. And as for having kids...
You have to plan, you have to choose – which one of you packs in work, which one of you stays at home? How many children can you even afford? Decisions, decisions; what about schools? No more expensive holidays. Make the car last another few years. Graft and grind, graft and grind. Taxes going up? You’ll just have to work harder. Get that promotion, climb that greasy pole. Buy a bigger house nearer a better school and knuckle down to investing heavily in your new family.
What do you mean, my kids have been in trouble? It’s the teachers’ job to keep them in line, although good luck to ya; the little bastards run us ragged at home. And anyway it’s no wonder they’re like that. Have you seen the conditions we have to live in? Not fit for animals. Had the Housing Association out ten times in the last month to fix stuff we broke. Sometimes we had to wait days an’ all. Be glad when the bloody kids are off our hands and in their own council houses, although they give ‘em all to immigrants now. Bloody government should do something.
And you both end up the same. Both of you have somewhere to live, both of you have a pension enough to get by on. One through a lifetime of entitlement, the other through a lifetime of effort; which was most satisfying? The worker may not appear any more well off than the other guy; he may even have foregone some of the pleasures the other guy enjoyed. But, as they say, think of the children. One has nothing to pass on; his kids start at square one. The other has at least a tangible asset to hand down, along with a lifetime of observed work ethic.
Depending on others for your living makes you a serf (although at least serfs worked). You have no means to improve your lot. As a way of life this is somewhat beneath the standards of human dignity for those in the west, who have opportunity at their feet. Besides others genuinely need the state largesse which you consume. You want to improve welfare? Start by taking yourself out of it; if not completely, then a bit at a time. You may not make it in a generation, but give your next generation the chance. Forget about the haves and the have-nots; you all have something to pass on - make it count.