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Mid-week moan | Times are a changing

SANDWELL VALLEY 047

Do you remember hand carts? People used to sell flowers from hand carts years ago. They often grew the flowers in their gardens and they made a living out of selling them.

Do you remember those shops in the front rooms of terraced houses. The woman would run the shop, keep house and bring up 8 kids while dad went out to work. Do you remember Stan Ogden in Coronation Street, he had a hand cart to carry his window cleaning ladders around.

I don’t watch Coronation Street anymore, some of the actors are so old, I’m frightened they’ll keel over before the end of the episode. I remember Ken when he was an over-educated young oik.

Those were the days. No housing benefit in those days. No council tax benefit either, because there was no bloody council tax. There were a few jobs around years ago. You could get a job with British Steel, British Gas, or go into industry. A job on the post was better than walking the streets. After the war they built cheap housing; lots of it. Where I live they used German prisoners of war to build houses. There was a sort of can do attitude then, after all they won the war against the odds. I suppose after that, building homes for people to live in seemed easy. We even helped Germany rebuild. Rents were cheap and included rates and even water and sewage. The town hall was Victorian, but it seemed to work. Now we have a bloody Civic Centre, it’s miles away and traffic around here moves so slowly. The average speed on normal roads is about 15 MPH, you have to keep going over humps and stopping at traffic lights. The pony express would be bloody quicker.

We seem to be going backwards sometimes. Pawn brokers seem to be coming back and that other modern day evil, the pay-day loan. Credit cards with obscene interest rates are bad enough, but 3,000% on a pay-day loan? The railways were once run by all separate companies and then they were all British Rail and now they are all separate companies again with far fewer lines and far fewer trains. They keep trying to bring back toll roads. How long before we start putting people in straight jackets and consigning them to the lunatic asylum? Many of the privatised prisons are like lunatic asylums anyway.

The government can’t afford the interest on the national debt. Who do we owe all the money to? We managed with a national debt after World War II and got Britain back to work by building council houses.

Do you remember that song, “Who wants to be a millionaire?” Being a millionaire was something years ago, now the rich think that’s just comfortable. They want to be bloody billionaires now. They are not only greedy now, they just can’t get enough money and they don’t know what to do with it all. That’s why they buy government bonds. It’s not just the super-rich that are greedy for money and power. It’s also the judges, lawyers, bureaucrats, civil servants, consultants and even some top doctors. They all want mansions, expensive cars and all the status symbols, but above all they want power. But are they happy? Do they even know how to enjoy a summers day?

Maybe we need to return to basics. Bring back hand carts and brew houses, corner shops and decent fish and chips. We need new homes, proper homes that are secure that no one, not even government, can force people to leave. We need to bring back compassion for our fellow human beings. None of this crap about charity begins at home or the divide and conquer doctrine of skivers and strivers. There are people who get so depressed that they do stay in bed until midday with the curtains closed. They need mental health services, not an appointment with some officious little prat with no experience of life at Job-centre plus. We need care in the community, not fascism. This is the 21st century, a technological age. People aren’t counting on their fingers any more we have calculators and computers. Technology can create wealth. It provides us with the means to record and distribute entertainment. It adds up our shopping bill in the supermarket, it keeps tabs on our bank accounts, it makes our cars work, it allows us to communicate. Don’t listen to the morons who think that wealth is only created by humans, they want humans who will be subservient to them, doffing their caps and begging for the right to exist.

That is social elitism in it’s worse form and it appears to be taught in our most prestigious universities.

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