Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Out delivering Labour Party leaflets this morning; I used to enjoy doing it, and canvassing as well, but these days it all seems to be something of a chore. The council estates are dispiriting places; there doesn't really appear to be any sense of community in them, and a lot of areas have become dumping-grounds for problem families, whose troubles get worse because of where they live, and so the cycle continues. The problems in these estates aren't just social, they're existential. The vast majority of the people who live there are good, decent folk who seem to be stuck in a rut, just like their parents, and they feel (rightly or wrongly) that nothing ever gets done for them. Some of them may be on drugs, have messy personal lives, and generally just can't be arsed, but I guess the same thing could be said of some of the well-heeled customers that I serve in the shop where I work - and who can be a lot more ruder and intolerant than the people I was leafleting this morning.
I blame Thatcher for all this - her Alright Jack philosophy undermined society (which she said didn't exist anyway), while her council house sell-off was the biggest social blunder imaginable. Now we're reaping the whirlwind with run-down, dead-end estates and moribund ghettos of the aspiration-free underclass. If there was any justice in the world, she should be made to live out her days on Birkbeck Road, just to see for herself the almighty mess she was responsible for.

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