Monday, 29 November 2010

Pivo: resources - everything (pretty much)

Unless you've been living in a cave or only have access to American network stations for news about the rest of the world, you'll know that the UK government, like many across Europe, is currently making cuts in the aftermath of the recent economic crisis. Here, the answer proposed by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition is focused on completely dismantling the British welfare state.

Obviously, any cuts in social spending affect poor people disproportionately. But what is especially insulting is that an entire generation of young people is being forced to pay the price for stupid risks taken by rich people their parent's and grandparent's age.

Part of the system created by earlier, now-comfortably-off generations is a completely unregulated housing market. Property owners are in a position not so dissimilar from that of feudal landlords, charging tenants whatever they want, with rent collected by a new breed of tax collectors, the millions of estate agents getting rich off the misfortune of many people not being wealthy enough to buy their own property. 

And now tenants are facing further punishment. Housing benefit (ie rent assistance), says the government, is too costly. But instead of regulating the rent landlords can charge, the proposals are to put a cap on housing benefit, and thus potentially force unemployed people out of their homes.

On top of this the government aims to redefine homelessness so fewer people are entitled to help in the first place.

This government came into power with the mantra of "We're all in this together" (this being the economic shit). Clearly some of us are in it a lot deeper, though.

The government is also proposing cutting Education Maintenance Allowance (a benefit that helps poor and working class young people afford the books and transport to complete their pre-university/college education) plus tripling university tuition fees for those who manage to make it that far.

But unlike their parents and grandparents, young people have decided that they aren't going to just sit and watch things fall apart around them. The last couple of weeks have seen a major demonstration of university students in London and a nation-wide walkout from schools and colleges, with more planned.

Across the country, students have picketed and occupied their university's administrative buildings. At the University of East London, the students are working in solidarity with the cleaning staff to demand that they earn a living wage as well as resisting cuts and rising tuition fees. 

It may look like this little girl is facing an impossible task to get over that wall and indeed, it would be if she had to try to do it on her own. For the first time in generations though, it looks like there may be enough people (young and old) unwilling to accept that the government has a mandate to actively or passively ruin the lives of the people they are supposed to represent. What we can hope for is that rather than future generations having to climb up to the same height, the walls will come down altogether. 

Pasted up on Wilton Way, across from the Hackney Council Housing Office.


urbanmonk said...

Hey love your stuff! We share some common themes, me thinks. Nice to come across a kindred blogger:)

lindsaydraws said...

Hi urbanmonk. Thanks for the nice comment. I like the street art you are doing as well. I love the idea of painting the surface you are going to wheat paste on beforehand. It's totally brazen!