Posted by HSMP Forum at 5/4/2013 11:51 PM |
There have been many changes recently, more so since the last elections.
UK has been ever changing. Some 6 years back there were fewer people in trains in London and more likelihood of passengers being able to find a seat to sit. All that has now changed, there are huge crowds everywhere and a reduced council / government involvement when it comes to maintaining public places and extending facilities. Pollution of all kinds, whether it is noise, smell and wastes, is ever increasing. Worst of all is the rents are shooting up like there is no tomorrow and the travel fares are even more expensive.
However, salaries have not gone up for the working class and employee rights are on a decline. The government seem to believe that to make people work harder the rich should be rewarded such as the bankers with bonuses and the poor should be paid less.
Britain is more divided today. Changes in the political line of thinking can have serious ramifications. The chancellor and the government are attempting to divide the society by categorising people in the country as either strivers or shirkers.
Today, you are considered as a striver if you are working and paying taxes but if things do not work your way and you lose your job in this difficult economic climate, then you are branded a shirker who lives on benefits, unwanted in the society, an enemy of the state, who is destined to be looked down and castigated. You will be the one who is accused of putting on the curtains to sleep indoors without trying or intending to find any job irrespective of whether it is suitable to your qualifications or experience. The great political rich expects you to work shelving the stacks of some store like Poundland which will claim to give you an opportunity to gain some sort of weird professional experience without paying a penny, something you will not wish even for your enemies.
But there is no choice here, not anymore, as the government thinks you need to pay for the benefits you claim in some kind and even if it is slavery then so be it.
Exploitation and abuse of jobseekers and employees is ever growing. Employers are applying unfair terms to employment of graduates (to even those with some experience) by making them work for free in the initial few months in the name of unpaid but competitive internships, which are similar to Quidditch classes. These employers at times promise jobseekers a purported contract on a later date if they are up to the employer’s arbitrary set standards. HM Revenue & Customs has recently started investigating some of these employers.
Employees have much lesser legal rights now to fight against such injustice. An employee who joined employment after April 2012 and is unfairly dismissed cannot sue an employer if he / she had worked for less than two years, which used to be one year until April 2012. Further, from April 2013, the collective consultation period for large scale redundancies have been reduced to 45 days from 90.
In addition, there are plans in place to discourage Employment Tribunal claims itself; there is a new fee structure proposed for Employment Tribunal claims and ranges from approximately £ 250 for issuing a claim to £ 950 for a hearing.
Some people will not hesitate to support the parties implementing these plans, perceiving it as a matter of personal opportunism. Affluent people would not mind supporting parties who are closet racists or xenophobic as long as these parties ensure their interests and save them from heavy tax burdens. They do not care that it comes at the cost of making the poorest in the society pay for their miseries and their disadvantaged position in the society. It was once said, if you have one cow you vote for the labour but when you have two cows you vote for the conservatives but this has no relevance in the current day.
If you think the changes are outcome of who is governing the country alone then you may be wrong. Political parties have no significant policy differences anymore and there is only narcissism of small differences. Political ideology is compromised for the sake of vote bank politics and the ideology keeps changing with an eye on power, similar to a business trying to desperately sell its products to the consumers. There is heavy discounting, undercutting and schemes to lure the consumers, even though you may have not asked for, but you will still be surprised with a buy 1 and get 1 free coalition partner.
Whatever seems popular is immediately adopted and becomes policy of a political party. Every time the Home Secretary disgorges her hate filled policies and we see the labour party’s Shadow Home Secretary trying to better her. While leaving everyone to ponder, what does each of these parties stand for?
What is the point in having a different party? There is no party which speaks for the weaker sections of the society, since it is not in vogue anymore. It is all about winning the elections and principles do not matter. They are easily changed to best fit the majority perception.
In these difficult times, the country needs political parties (and individuals) who can keep their principles above any sort of power hungry and inconsistent behaviour pattern. Ideologies and principles above any sort of vote bank politics is need of the hour.
Author: Amit Kapadia
Amit is the Executive Director of the HSMP Forum. He campaigns against issues such as – unfairness, inequality and abuse of human rights.
Twitter @ amit_kapadia