8 years of austerity have turned the UK into a bleak Victorian dystopia, where pensioners without electricity die from fires ignited by their candles

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/28/cyberdickensians.html


A peek into the future our government wants for us, too.


What are you going to do, though, vote for Labour?!?

I’m pretty sure that’s impossible.


The current Labour leadership under Corbyn could actually make one heck of a difference. Their position is very far from Cameron, even from Blair’s New Labour. They might pull off a victory in the next election.




I’ve got nothing against Labour, I was more mocking the fact that Labour seems to be presented as some kind of impossibility by the media in the UK. Like there is no choice but to vote for the Tories.

I was pleased to see a new series of Frankie Boyle’s New World Order just started with the first proposition being, “In four years Labour will lose the last ever UK general election.”


Hmmm, as an inhabitant of Britain’s second city (the one that’s been hit by the largest budget cuts), I’ve got to say, this view of the UK looks to be about as accurate as Trump’s claims that my city is a no go area for Whites and exists under Sharia Law. That is to say, kind of hyperbolic.


Roger That!!


that kid is definitely going to grow up hating reason and logic.


But true at the margins. People ARE losing their lives unnecessarily due to govt cuts. People ARE killing themselves because disability support is withdrawn. Disabled people are being denied their rightful benefits because they missed an appointment because the office they were summoned to had no dsabled access. I could go on, and on. Papasan is correct. This has nothing about what we can afford, and everything to do with what the Tories think we ought to afford so lower taxes (which, mysteriously have hardly happened) can leave people free to spend their own money. Trouble is it only applies to those who have disposable income. and nobody can provide for their own health costs individually, it being so much more efficient to pool resources. The Tories would like to stop all that pooling (community funding, social goods, etc) so the haves can have more and the have-nots can go hang.



Class war indeed. And the dumb fucks keep voting for their enemies. They believe the aggressive PR pumped out by the likes of the Daily Mail. I despair.


I recently watched this movie. It does a good job of illustrating what can happen to someone caught in the bureaucratic machinery. Ken Loach, of course.


Um, hello? Assuming you are a US citizen . . . England has become us, sadly.


Yes, I’ve seen it too – powerful, wrenching.

(Just saw his Wind that Shakes the Barley. I’ve seen a lot of his work, but these two really stood out for me.)


So KL says, the state should take the carpenter’s money and give it to someone else.

How does that help the carpenter?

The only solution Ken has is to go out and screw someone else out of their money, and to do that with no consent and the use of violence if needed

I’m not; I live in Denmark … my statement was deliberately convoluted. But the very same trends are in play here & even though it’s not as bad as in the UK yet, it’s easy to linearly extrapolate the consequences of the ongoing neoliberal reforms and austerity measures, especially as the UK seems to be just five years ahead.

Like they were saying: “People sleeping in the streets? We want more of those, too!” And so it goes, they slash housing benefits and various kinds of support for single parents etc., and the end result is more children in poverty and more average people ending up in the street, so the rest of us can fear their fate & know our place.


Maybe. Labour is going to need multiple wins and a much sturdier backbone than they’ve shown so far. Yeah, sure, that’s just crap you say when you treat politics like sports, like it’s a zero-sum game. However, politics is not a zero-sum game and those eight years of austerity, in addition to creating a lot more poor people have also shifted a great deal of power to rich and their allies. Not only are the poor poorer but they are politically weaker than they were 8 years ago. The left is going to be fighting entrenched banking and real estate interests, as well as huge slices of the defense and security industries that have benefited from the privatization of government functions, and numerous well-funded long-thinking conservative institutions.

Will eight steady years of left victories at the polls get us back to, oh, 2010? Maybe. 8 years of Obama was not able to turn back 8 years of Bush, not even close. The English left is going to need something like 20 years of steady victories, twenty years of repairing government and schools and socials services and redistributing power out of the banks and the very, very rich and into the hands of the lower classes. Sigh. The Progressive Era in the US might be the closest historical situation. It’s going to take lots and lots of non-governmental institutions focuses on changing the structure of English democracy, lots of committed people, lots of work and a lot of luck for England to get out of the current bleak Victoria dystopia.


Yeah, the key difference between “austerity” and Dickens is that, in Victorian times the horrible poverty was a legacy of the past, whereas now, it’s something certain people have chosen to reintroduce. And because it’s a conscious choice, the optics have been managed much better.

If you belong to a demographic with a lot of Tory voters, you simply won’t see the effects of austerity, and that is very much by design. It’s targeted at places you don’t go to, and people you don’t mix with. In big cities it’s harder to hide – even Richmond-dwelling bankers can’t help but notice the increase in homeless people in the West End, although they can avoid considering the iceberg of which that is the tip – but if you live in some twee Cotswolds village, the poorer 75% of society could starve to death and the only thing you’d notice is a small reduction in your tax bill.

This is why the Tories have always worked so hard to get people out of council housing, out of schools that accept anyone, and out of public-sector jobs where you don’t get to pick and choose the sorts of people you deal with. (And, obviously, out of unions). You don’t create Tory voters by persuading people not to care; you create Tory voters by making it so they don’t see the victims in the first place.


I’m not saying that the Tories are not biologically predisposed to be total arseholes; simply that the picture drawn by the reporter is exaggerated. Plus the government letting or even encouraging people to die isn’t an entirely Tory policy. “New Labour” did its share. I’m really hoping we get an actual Socialist Government in power in my life time. One which places saving lives over taking them.