Wishful Unthinking

On a stall in the town centre the other day, a young Pakistani fellah came up to sign a petition demanding the renationalisation of the steel industry and proclaiming support for the sacked Corus workers. After a bit of banter, he said the following;

“…you know what the problem with this country is mate” (a familiar preface to what will invariable be something ridiculously unenlightening)… “…what it is, yeah, is all these Afghanis and Kosovans… coming over here, yeah, not working, just claiming benefit… “

On another stall, a young East Asian fellah came up to us… he came up to and gave us a piece of his mind, admonishing us for our opposition to freedom of speech… he did have a point, in a way; we had anti-BNP slogans on a placard and were gathering signatures on an anti-BNP petition… I personally hate doing things even mention BNP because the mainstream media gives them enough coverage without me helping out too…

…but this guy’s beef was simple enough… he was saying that it was shocking how the indigenous, white population were not having their concerns listened to because they were considered racist… every voice should be heard and if real grievances should be addressed…

In a presentation on the cooperative movement, the merits of multi-skilled workers and balanced job complexes were outlined as means of increasing worker participation by distributing mundane and empowering tasks equally amongst the workforce…

In the discussion that followed a middle aged steel worker outlined his opposition to the idea that workers should be multi-skilled on the grounds that a modern theme amongst employers today was to make individual employees ‘multi-task’ by carrying out the duties of several employees thereby allowing the company to shed workers… streamlining…

I was once watching TV News with a couple of mates and that story that pops up now and then was rolled out: Prisoners have it so good in jail that many choose to commit offences once released because being inside is preferable to freedom…

…of course me being the ‘right-on’ truthsayer that I am said something obscene to the TV screen, by way of opposition to the story. My friends, however, then said that I was wrong… that prison is a place where criminals, those bad guys in society, are placed as punishment and conditions and access to facilities should reflect that…

It is all too easy to be depressed about these wee tales… Good people hold these opinions… opposition to social change (in the widest terms possible) have roots in the most unlikely of places… and a common retort I hear, and I have been guilty of uttering myself in the past, is that the world is fucked because human nature dictates that people are apathetic just shitty to each other at best… that all attempts to ‘do anything’ is hopeless… nothing changes…

But I think it suits (educated, non-racist, law-abiding) people to think like this… it is nice to think that jobs are scarce and becoming scarcer because companies are 'struggling' in the current 'economic climate', that anyone who says something racist is ignorant, that criminals are depraved hooligans, that terrorists are deluded nihilists, that work is only what we are paid to do... It is nice because there is nothing that can be done about these problems and so fuck the world...

…Women can vote, homosexuals can do what they want with their cocks, education is free until the age of 16, if you hurt yourself an ambulance will take you to hospital where doctors and nurses will work to heal you for free, if your home catches fires a fire engine will come to limit the damage and not a penny will change hands…

Yeah… nothing changes…

… if fucking only…

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