In the last few weeks, Marks & Spencer have reported half-year pre-tax profits of £348.8m, up from £306.7m last year. Meanwhile, Barclays total profits for the third quarter were £1.27 billion, Primark’s annual operating profits for the year to September had risen 26% to £341 million and the partly state-owned Lloyds ploughed back into profit in the first six months of the year, flipping a £4 billion loss with a £1.6 billion profit, yet still needed to cut 420 jobs, apparently. These are just a handful of examples plucked from recent news reports.
At the same time, people are queuing up overnight to buy computer games and consoles (because the public can always afford idiot distractions) and yet vital services are being cut and we are making moves towards an education system based on money over ability, which will be the most socially divisive and destructive policy of any government in recent history as it restores and embeds the sense of class divide.
It strikes me that the current recession doesn’t seem to be hitting everybody quite equally; although we are, of course, all in this together. Still, with all the cutbacks in education and transportation, maybe staying at home and playing on consoles will be the only viable option for many of us.
Incidentally, while people are discussing the various pros and cons of forcing the unemployed to do unpaid work for their benefits, it might be worth remembering what shaky ground we all seem to be on at the moment in terms of secure employment.
I once considered doing voluntary service overseas in a third world country. Now I think I’ll just stay here and wait.