A hand to mouth existence and Cameron’s “culture of entitlement”

27_may_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,098

Wednesday 27 May 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

However you look at it and whatever you believe we are only short term tenants of this world, no rent is demanded, and ownership is a ridiculous construct of human arrogance.

The Earth gives extravagantly to us in wonderful abundance, yet, in a very short time, it has been used extravagantly, its abundance abused. Industry and corporations have not behaved like farmers, husbanding the Earth’s resources, but rather have chosen to milk it of every resource in the name of profit. We live in a country in which all the land is owned, some owners being richly rewarded in benefits merely for owning land, whilst the majority have access to land through sufferance or are even charged a fee just to visit the countryside and nature.

I used to work with youngsters who had never seen a cow or sheep for whom the countryside was an entirely alien and sometimes frightening place. These were youngsters who had never had a holiday, knowing only the grind of town and industrial life and the daily toil in graceless grey factories, as ugly as sin, such was my own introduction to the world of work.

As a young man battling with crippling depression, I was so unaware and ignorant I didn’t even know there was anything wrong with me. I recall one day when I had to leave work because of a migraine and my last memory was of throwing up at the bus stop. My return to awareness was in finding myself in my brothers arms, my arms pinned to my sides as he restrained me from beating my head against our bedroom wall.

Battling with mental illness was, in equal part, a battle to understand life, the discovery of nature, of actually ‘seeing’ it and waking up to it for the first time in my thirties. It was also a battle to find my self, long buried in a working class world without aspiration, hope or of anything other than the endless treadmill of work that paid so little all I could see was my slavish life stretching out in front of me working hand to mouth, such was the imposed worth of my labour.

I was sacked from the factory because the first bus always made me ten minutes late clocking on, for which I was docked pay, but that wasn’t good enough. I remember the manager asking me why I didn’t buy a moped or something and me naively asking him, ‘With what?’ Back in 2012 you had the effrontery to describe your attack on the welfare system as ending a “culture of entitlement”. A word like ‘entitlement’ belongs to the privileged, not the poor and coming from you it is an insult and a mockery of working class struggle about which you know absolutely nothing. We are what we’ve always been to the privileged, just another resource to be owned and exploited for profit and greed.



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