This post, a short one, as been prompted by a bitter personal experience one that I’m sure others will be able to relate to. As a rule us plebs haven’t being having a great time of things for a while now. Our conditions have been under attack long before the financial crisis and the recession. We’ve been getting deeper in debt, finding it harder to keep stable employment that pays a living wage and afford decent housing for years now. We’ve always had each other though, in fact whether we realise it or not all we’ve ever had is each other. Friends and family, they belong to the same class as we do as a rule. When you’re in trouble you turn to your friends and family and they turn to you. It’s class solidarity even if it isn’t expressed in those terms. You look after your mates and they look after you. It’s human.
After more than 4 years of dire economic circumstances though that friends and family safety net has been torn to shreds. We really are all in it together, in the shit.
A close friend after redundancy forced a job change and a period of serious (although not life threatening) illness is in a financial mess. Facing eviction, stressed about Christmas (they have two children) and still recovering from illness they’re going through what looks to me to be a mental breakdown. The acute pressure is money, not thousands of pounds, a few hundred quid would relieve it until the new year, give them chance to get perspective and find their feet. A few years ago, it wouldn’t have been a problem. At least one of us in their circle of friends would have been flush, a couple of weeks pulling extra shifts on the taxis and flogging that guitar that I never learnt to play on ebay would have done it. Today those extra shifts are already being worked as a matter of course to make up the shortfall in what’s been a 20% hourly wage cut in 4 years and the guitar is already long gone. We’re all in the same boat. It’s not that chucking a mate a few hundred quid would be difficult, the money isn’t there to chuck. I’ve never known this before, everyone is skint, everyone is struggling to just get by and fearful about the future. It’s the new norm, not the exception.
If I’m right, that many people will be able to relate to this, and me and my friends aren’t a particularly feckless bunch the question is. How long can it go on for? How much of this kind of pressure can we take?