A Different World
I look on as the events of Davos unfolds, as if it were a different world to the one I know, I am familiar with, I recognise or can relate to. You know something is different when Rolex and Rolls Royce are sponsoring various meetings and discussion, little get togethers that will have a significant effect on the world I do recognise. My world, the one familiar to the majority I suspect, is one where there is a struggle to make ends meet, when we are challenged each week by rising food prices or shrinking packet sizes for the same money as before, where 12 fish-fingers are now 10. My world is one where you suffer from extreme anticipatory anxiety waiting for the inevitable dreaded snap of the letterbox cover as the fuel bill floats to the doormat with surprising lightness, disguising that it contains a bill so large that if it were an animal it would be an elephant for sure, trampling down our bank balance to zero. My world is one where you have to fight for everything you get, fight not to be victimised for having a disability from the very state that was set up to support people just like me, families just like mine. My world is one where you get up despite how you are feeling and go to work, as does your spouse and your child, who still lives at home as they cannot afford a home of their own. My world is one salaries are stagnant and have been for a number of years yet the rich get richer, the bills rise as fast as a rocket and the whole blinking cost of living should be renamed the ‘cost just surviving’.
So my world seems a little different to those visiting the world economic forum in Davos, the security protected and chauffer driven bullet proof limo transported top 0.001% of the world’s wealthiest 1%. I also think that Prime Minister Cameron must have taken up residence in another country, as he clearly stated at Davos that we (by the word ‘we’ I think he meant the people of his new country) are experiencing a rise in salaries and an easing of financial pressures. Yes Mr Cameron had decided to announce to the world that in his new country people could feel an easing of the recession and were benefiting from this, all feeling the benefit. As I have said he must have taken up residence in another country as he sure as hell was not talking about the country and economic reality I reside in or that of the vast majority of UK residents. Does he really think that the average person in the street, i.e. the Working Class, woke up today and suddenly felt better, this mass lifting of mood so significant that he had to tell the whole world how we were now feeling, or was this the millionaire equivalent of bragging to your mates, your fellow peers at Davos? Perhaps he wanted to show-off to the other Euro PM’s and brag how well we’re all doing now – what an utter twerp.
So there is the predictable backlash was unleashed and went on all day like a storm raging back and forth from one political party to the other, Labour producing their figures to prove it was nonsense (like most of needed it proving, we believed it was rubbish the moment we heard it), then Tories countering, with the Lib Dems being remarkably quiet. All day this has gone on and it is totally pointless for these parties to be raging against each other like two out of shape men fighting for the same parking space, without realising that the space isn’t available. The ‘space’ of course being our perception of how we are doing in relation to the recession, the red team saying how badly off we are and remain so, whilst the blue have convinced themselves that everything is on the up. So we are in the middle, we remember how the red team were the architects of the recession that crashed into our lives like a bulldozer in 2008 and is still increase the levels of poverty, this process being spread like wildfire by the blue team and their policies, convincing themselves they are doing a wonderful job and that the working class are so very grateful for their pestilence. Then there is the complicit orange of the Lib Dems that have supported the blue team for 3 years or more of dismantling the welfare state and going back on their pre-coalition promises. This is of course as the majority of us struggle and cannot imagine a world that those attending Davos live in.
- The unimaginably rich;
- The current account holders that own the bank;
- The mega wealthy who count their self-worth in billions, in more bedrooms then they could ever use, in more cars than a dozen chauffeurs could drive;
- The elite of the elite class;
- The political power brokers that make even Prime Ministers nervous;
- The self-proclaimed economic guru’s;
- The global changers able to influence the health or infrastructures of entire Continents out of their own financial pockets;
When I said this was the 0.001% of the top 1% I really wasn’t being flippant, Davos was a gathering of the Bill Gates, the Richard Branson’s who own their own islands (!), am sure you get the picture. Along with them were the Prime Ministers on a day out (or two) mingling and ingratiating themselves to these mountains of money movers and shakers. Of course there were cohorts of press all wanting in to scoop the latest sound bite and to increase the incredible egos (as if that were possible) of these egocentric, narcissistic, more than just mere mortals, with every click and flash of the paparazzi cameras.
This was truly a gathering of the most powerful people in our know galaxy and the opulence was overflowing just to underline the fact that Davos was the gathering of the mighty mega minds. Us mere working class, even middle class, cannot imagine the opulence that was lavishly splurged out in a never ending parade of Champaign quaffing, Caviar eating, silver service indulgences where even a humble ‘nibble’ would be more than the cost of a week’s shopping for the ‘average’ person. It’s hard for me to describe the wealth and power that was centred within this Davos event, protected behind a security net costing millions, mainly because I am not part of this world. Even Prince Andrew was in on the act being a trade ambassador for the UK, mind you his Mum is one of the wealthiest women in the world so I suppose when you have such connections it is inevitable one of the family would attend. So what brought these untouchables together in the cold of Davos?
The event is billed as discussing global issues, finding solutions to continental problems such as the level of starvation and disease in many parts of Africa, which it seems to me Bill Gates is making an impact on all on his own, yet the homeless in America is on the increase. Each time these people that consider themselves as being the top of a very large 6 billion strong pile of people meet they set a theme, and this is the entire reason for my blog this week. You see it stuck in my throat when I heard what the theme was and incensed me beyond all point of reason or rational thought. These fattest of all the fat-cats were focussing on INEQUALITY, I wanted to throw a cup at the TV! These people wouldn’t know inequality if it rushed up to them, screamed “I’m inequality!” and then passed out from starvation in front of them wearing a t-shirt stating “I’m inequality” in big and bold lettering, with flashing neon lights blinking away. What on earth does David Cameron know about inequality, or Bill Gates, Prince Andrew, Nick Clegg, and the world’s wealthiest people. How can they possibly understand what true inequality is like, did one of their servants on minimum wage and struggling tell them about it. Just seems like the ultimate irony to me, the wealthiest trying to say they understand about those who are truly embedded in the effects of inequality.
What do these people know of starvation, homelessness, financial hardship even though you are working? Let’s just take the UK as I don’t presume to say I know and clearly understand the true issues facing Central Africa or the slums of India, the rural parts of China, etc. In the UK alone the number of homeless are on the rise, between April and December last year over 500,000 people needed to access 400 food banks, which are still increasing due to need. There is an estimated 13 million people in poverty and for the first time the majority are those working, mainly because the level of people on minimum wage, on zero hours contracts has never been greater. More people are working harder, for longer, for less money than ever before, and the vast majority would say they are feeling a sense of being in a cost of living crisis, where they see prices rising yet wages stagnant. There is a huge swathe of the voting population that are trapped in low pay, minimum wage run economy that definitely don’t see the so called green shoots of a recovering economy the Chancellor and his sycophants keep harping about. The statics, which the elite are so often kicking around after manipulating them to reinforce their arguments, show that this winter, in this country that is one of the wealthiest in the world, will see about 26,000 people die from fuel poverty related circumstances over winter. If this was 26,000 of the above elite politically and wealth wise, dying of a resolvable and avoidable issue each year then you can bet a year’s minimum wage that a solution would be found in days.
So what right do these self-appointed champions of inequality really know about the issues that come under this ‘inequality’ heading, I mean really understand because they have actually struggled to put food on the table, or pay heating bills? I don’t see any of them unable to use public transport because one is in a wheelchair or refused expensive cancer treating medication because you are thought too old. The irony is shameful and utterly ridiculous that these people whose watches are over 3 times the average salary would understand inequality in any meaningful way is simply offensive!
And one last thought about the Coalition at Davos, the Tories and “we’re all in this together” (as long as you are a millionaire of course), a time of austerity for ‘all’ of us? How much did it cost to have all the Politicians, their aids, the Civil Servants, the Government’s Media crew, the security people, Prince Andrew and his entourage, flights, hotels, cars, entertainment, expenses, etc. attend Davos? Couldn’t the same have been achieved without all these expenses, which must have run into the millions of pounds, if a company is struggling with balancing its books, as this is what the Tories keep talking about, they don’t send people on expensive conferences racking up enormous expenditure. Haven’t they heard of Skype? Lead by example or get out of power and give us all a break.
Yours most sincerely
Smiling Cat Ventures (www.smilingcatventures.org)
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