The Establishment Urinates on the Electorate. Again.

August 13, 2013 at 6:21 pm

The Government today announced another rise in ‘Regulated’ Rail Fares, and it won’t be the last either with further hikes built in already for 2014 and 2015. The stage is set then for Rail Fares to become a bit of a battleground for the main parties in Election 2015. Expect to see the three main parties include ‘Price-Freeze’ promises in their Manifestos, not price cuts (obviously), and expect to see the winner(s) break the promises. Also expect UKIP to team up with a nice British make-up company to announce a Foundation Shade-based ticket-pricing system, whereby the darker your skin tone, the more you pay – unless you buy a one way ticket on the Eurostar to Brussels or Paris of course.

Seriously though, much is being made of another inflation-busting price rise of 4.1% which is pretty hard to swallow, particularly as that’s just an average. Some fares will actually rise by up to 9.1%. That’s an astronomical rise considering the average wage in the UK rose by just 1.4% in 2012. I just don’t see how any Government could justify increasing fares by so much, I understand that there’s a huge national debt and a burgeoning budget deficit to be brought under control, but it could be argued that the majority of these rises will simply end up in the pockets of shareholders.

Rail companies come out in force promising more punctual trains, less delays and improved services but it just doesn’t feel like this is happening. I travelled on a train from Manchester to Bolton (final destination of Blackpool) during the week at 5pm. Around this time, masses of commuters filter out of the city heading for their homes in the relative quiet of Lancastrian towns and villages. I got on at Oxford Road, the stop after the main station at Piccadilly and there were at least 50 passengers waiting for the train. It was seven minutes late by the time it appeared around the bend with just two carriages. Most of the seats on board were already full and we could see that the gangways were also full. Bear in mind, there were another two stations within the City where commuters board before we move out into the suburbs and away from the City.

I know it’s a terribly British thing to do to complain about things half-heartedly and be self-deprecating and faux-grumpy about it. I also appreciate that rail fares in a ‘Developed’ nation such as Britain really are small-fry compared to some of the other concerns that exist around the globe, and perhaps that’s why we half-jokingly complain about our lot, but perhaps that’s also the very reason why successive governments don’t really give a damn about real-life issues that affect real-life people. Times are tough in Britain. Employers don’t want to pay us more, and at the same time expect their customers to pay more. Simple mathematics dictates this to be unsustainable for people living on or below the average wage. How can we expect to be paid less yet pay more?

This government, and the opposition too, are simply taking the p*ss out of the electorate. And quite frankly, we deserve to be taken the p*ss out of because we’re so stupid for sitting by doing nothing except pass our vote every four or five years. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to fall into that a caricature of a stereotype, the British person too stiff-upper-lipped to actually complain about something. We should get up and do something about it. But there’s something in that. We’re a nation that rarely does take collective action, the last major collective action was ‘Stop the War’ prior to Tony Blair steering us into an illegal war and before that who knows – Poll Tax?!

But why? Perhaps our ‘civilisation’ is a little more Orwellian than we’d care to admit, and not because of the recent spate of allegations against Intelligence Agencies spying on ordinary citizens. No, because anybody daring enough to actually think differently is ridiculed, mocked, oppressed or ignored. Their basic premise of an idea is mercilessly torn apart by agenda-driven media hacks, internet trolls or even broadcasters out for a cheap laugh.

I even think the so-called Arab Spring revolutions are being used as a bit of a tool to make us question whether collective action really works. The situation in Egypt is quite frankly bizarre to a complete outsider looking in. Huge amounts of people invested lots of time and energy fighting against a corrupt, autocratic government. Lives were lost in the pursuit of freedom and democracy, before finally the tyrant gave in. Elections are held shortly after, with the Muslim Brotherhood just shading it. Less than a year later further demonstrations are held because the new Prime Minister isn’t very good, so the Military stage a coup, insert the guy who lost the election as PM and promise more elections later on.

Obviously it’s more complex than that and there’s a lot more detail to go into, but this is the view that someone with just a passing interest will have. At the time of the initial revolution, many people in the west wondered what it’d be like if we had the same amount of people over here take such action against our own governments. The retort to that dream is simply ‘Look at them now’. Again it’s simplistic, it’s wrong and it’s defeatist, but it’s another reason for people to just lie down and let the tanks roll over them. Why bother? All that’ll happen is we’ll waste our time and nothing will change.

This is the British attitude, and before we can defeat our hideous government, we have to beat that.