There is definitely something in the air at the moment, whether full blown revolution is around the corner I’m not quite sure, but at the very least I feel the curse of apathy is starting to lift. I first sensed it (ironic as it now seems) in the build up to the last general election, the fact that result looked close and therefore your vote mattered, combined with the Liberal Democrats appearing like a genuine alternative (irony x2!) seemed to enthuse us all more than I’d seen before. Of course your enthusiasm for the Liberal’s income tax policy for low earners has been moderated by Cameroon and then annihilated by the tuition fee u-turn, which has in itself trampled on the green shoots of re-engagement with conventional electoral politics.
A May 2010 popping of ‘Voting Virginity’ has evolved into a willingness to hit the streets, and even camp on them. I didn’t see much evidence of political thought in Augusts’ riots, more an opportunistic chance to get a free tv, but it has to be acknowledged as part of the pattern of increased anger, frustration and violence. Ultimately you don’t risk arrest (perhaps the problem was it didn’t seem a risk after seeing how easy it was) if you already have a nice tv and trainers.
I sense the masses are reaching our limits, refusing to accept our lot and becoming emboldened to fight back. Quite possibly the gap between the haves and have not’s is bigger than ever, more than that it’s more IN YOUR FACE than ever.
In 1857, unless you worked for Lord Wat-his-face as his butler or something you didn’t see his wealth that much, it wasn’t flaunted in your face for all to see. We know they are rich and we are poor and in 2011 we can’t get away from it, it’s in our magazines, on our TVs and all over our social media. We also know more about the level of ‘desert’, I don’t hear many people moaning about Richard Branson, he is seen (rightly or wrongly) as having earned his money. But from reality tv stars to the bankers to the expense-scandal-politicians there are significant numbers of people in our face with money which we don’t feel they deserve, indeed in many cases we feel they’ve stolen that money from us. Knowing we’re facing harder times is tough, simultaneously seeing undeserving individuals profit creates an exponential growth in the level of ‘annoyance-o-meter’.
Less well off ourselves
Higher levels of awareness of those who have more than us (and we don’t think deserve it)
And maybe even revolution.
Happy Baby Jesus Fest, may 2012 bring the change you seek and society needs.