Liz Truss recently complained about a lack of ‘graft’ displayed by British workers, and it seems that, if she becomes prime minister, she may select Jacob Rees-Mogg as the Secretary of State for Levelling Up. At a time when millions of industrious citizens are confronting unearned poverty, Truss is confident that they will be happy to be insulted and patronised by those whose main distinguishing feature, in addition to their power and privilege, is their unearned income.
Despite populist attempts to divide the population on the usual issues of class and race, and the new issue of gender identity, it’s becoming clear that the emerging divide in British society is between those who expect to earn their income and those who don’t. Those who don’t include not only those with inherited wealth and power (some of whom benefit society by philanthropy) but also those who ‘earn’ stock income and bonuses far beyond their need, as directors and shareholders of major corporations. The biggest Insult to the working population is it they should be expected to pay for the profiteering of the energy companies.
The rising anger against these political and executive centres of power and wealth is in part because of their lack of social responsibility. Over the last few weeks, we have all felt the Earth heating up. Yet politicians and corporations continue to behave as the only issues that matter are short term ends of the election and the bottom line.
People’s anger is palpable. Every day we hear threats of new industrial action. Yet government regulation of the unions over the last 30 years makes it very difficult to organise a general strike. However, this new division of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ transcends previous class and income barriers. From bin-men to barristers, numerous groups are claiming that enough is enough. Indeed, ‘Enough is Enough’ and ‘Don’t Pay UK’ are names of organisations that comprise thousands of protestors whose only common identity is outrage at the unfairness of civil life. Six years after Brexit, government speaks of malnutrition and hypothermia as if they are the natural but unfortunate side-effects of the greed and profiteering they hold as central to their philosophy. ‘I’ll cut taxes,’ promises Liz Truss, appealing to her Tory ‘base’. But we’re all working class now.