We died, we are all dying and we have no future. After the last war, I thought humanity would take the next steps in to a brighter future. I was wrong, we are dying. Death becomes us. Note my emphasis on ‘we’, the ‘I’ as in individual will no doubt sur …

James Martin UK, Labour analysis

Spirit of 45

We died, we are all dying and we have no future. After the last war, I thought humanity would take the next steps in to a brighter future. I was wrong, we are dying. Death becomes us.

Note my emphasis on ‘we’, the ‘I’ as in individual will no doubt survive. I’m going to argue this simply because we are descending back from the post-war consensus that sought for the idea for society to look after society, a land fit for heroes. This is my idea of great ‘we’ (and no not like that). The pre-war consensus on the other hand was that of person versus person, survival of the fittest, Darwinist economics – at its most savage. The poor died whilst ‘I’ (individuals) profited. In 1945 we won.

You may have heard that there was a referendum over the future of the United Kingdom recently. If you haven’t then, err hmm. Well, Scotland voted on whether or not its destiny was to continue with the rest of the UK or to forge itself again as an independent nation. 45% of voters supported independence. Like many people, I stayed up most of the night to find out which country I would find myself in. As a Cumbrian in Scotland at the time, it got me thinking though, how bad does it have to get before we consider breaking up a country? Did that ‘Spirit of 45’ become the ‘Spirit of 45%?’, has that even entered common thought? From 1945 to 45%, can ‘we’ ever win over ‘I’?

Our hard fought rights have been besieged since their birth. Our welfare state, nationalised industry and NHS were born out of war. Out of that war, their birth was rocky but the mother (society) nurtured them through to adulthood. On reaching adulthood, the war started again, this time not with bullets or guns, but private interest and greed – Born from war, our welfare state was under siege. It has been under attack since 1979.

Rail, Energy, Air, Steel, Coal and much more have fallen throughout this war, the NHS is the only remaining fort, that fort is reinforced by the public who are mostly unaware of the strangulating war of attrition by private enterprise and political self-interest that is choking our health service. Once the NHS has fallen, we have the trade unions left to defend us. After that, the ‘spirit’ of 45 will be something investigated by Most Haunted, ‘I’m sensing the presence of Clem Attlee and Nye Bevan.’

At present 93 NHS contracts per day are being passed to private and private insurance firms, no mainstream media source has reported on this fact. Yet during the Scottish Independence debates, this was something argued against the ruling Tory government. In fact the exposure of the degradation of our rights was something argued by those not just in Scotland, but also in Northern England. Listening to those on the street (as you do), the feeling was that the North of England would prefer to join an independent Scotland or go it alone themselves. Yet there is no recent history of nationalism in Northern England. What should scare us all is that the NHS is being privatised at all. This siege is done by stealth. People can’t see it, its underground, shadowy, the foundations of our wall are crumbling.

For me, this is blindingly obvious (on a good day), bloody obvious (on a bad one). To my mind, a great bulk of the country realises that we have all been robbed. We have been under siege for so long now that we have gotten used to having to scrimp just to get by. We accept a 0%, a 1% pay rise as if this is reasonable. War time spirit, siege mentality. Meanwhile inflation is launched at us over the battlements like the ballistic in an economic war in against workers. 0% is not acceptable, we need to snap out of this. This siege mentality is truly damaging. So long as we accept the so-called growth that invading parties throw at us, as long as we accept statistics without looking at our reality – the walls breached, the 1945 soup kitchens are back, self-imposed rationing, the utter helplessness of living – we have only a master and servant relationship ahead of us.

I suppose when we look at that spirit of 45, whether it is from a post war or post-independence perspective, the one thing that becomes clear is that we as workers deserve better than this. In each of ourselves is that socialist like instinct to look after our most vulnerable. When the state makes this prohibitive, we naturally want to create a state that understands and shares our socialist instinct.

We should always vote for those that represent our values, or the closest to them. When we don’t, we shouldn’t be too surprised we are in the situation we are in.

So how can the ‘we’ triumph of the ‘I’? For me the starting point is simple. Get out and vote. Get out and vote for those that represent your values. Never rely on that old adage that your should ‘hold your nose and vote for xxxxxx’. Don’t be tactical. Vote for us, vote for the ‘we’ whomever that is. We really need you right now. Don’t watch the mainstream media for a month, if you crave the news then follow USi or obtain the news from social media. You will soon realise, if you didn’t already, that food banks, austerity and privatisation are not necessary.

I have found the Achilles heel of those that wish to privatise our lives. They expect that we will all put up with it. The ‘Master and Servant Acts’ were once a thing, they want them back. They don’t expect us to do anything differently, just deferentially. War-time rationing of 1945 is the modern food bank or the £1 shop. The machine mill is now the machine call centre on a minimum wage. We gained some rights in 1945 and yet we are silently slipping back in to the pre-war consensus. Remember, the forces that oppress us now didn’t expect us to vote a socialist government in 1945. People voted for to those that represented their values, I vouch for this as a psephologist. So I have to say, pro or against independence, a child or student of Attlee – remember this. Use the power of your vote. Its one of the last things to be taken away from us.

“Despair is typical of those who do not understand the causes of evil, see no way out, and are incapable of struggle.” – Lenin


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James Martin

Socialist. @UnitetheUNION National Tutor. Historian, Psephologist and Astrophysicist. Regular contributor to @USiLive.

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