Why the UK is in crisis

I get so angry and frustrated seeing post after post on social media about the cost of living crisis here in the UK in 2022. The posts are often desperately sad with people saying they are dreading any more price rises. It fills them with anxiety and worry sometimes to the point of having to take antidepressants or relying on drugs, alcohol or other unhealthy coping strategies like using food or shopping to deal with the stress of everyday living.

The British Medical Journal say that “the surge in prices over recent months has created a cost of living crisis that’s harming people’s mental health.” As a therapist myself, I can clearly see this. The McPin Foundation says “Collective action is essential to ensure that the situation does not get worse for people experiencing financial hardship and mental health problems.”

The mums groups I’m in chat about all the things they will have to cut down on to try and manage the family budget – things like their kids sports or dance clubs, their weekly shop and their heating. Some people are skipping meals to make ends meet and others are even considering making a stand by refusing to pay their bills.

One of the reasons this issue makes me so frustrated is the disconnection between what is happening in people’s everyday lives and the bigger picture. I totally emphasise with why that would be – but the reason I am writing this is to say there is a way out of this! WE have the power to change the way we live. We need to take a stand and say it’s unacceptable for people to suffer like this – in the 5th richest country in the world in 2022.

So here it is – this ‘cost of living crisis’ is happening ‘to us’ because of the Conservative government that was elected – by us ! If you did not vote in the General Election in 2019 as one third of the British population didn’t – then by default you chose to allow 44% of the other two thirds of the population to elect a Conservative government. It makes no sense to say “I’m not really into politics” because if you choose to live in a human society, someone needs to govern it and the political system exists as a way to choose the people we want as our leaders.

This Conservative government has negligently and some say purposefully let our precious NHS get into such a state that there are now barely any dentists available. Our lying Prime Minister Johnson and his cronies have cut benefits and watched while our teachers have been forced to take on second jobs and feed their children using food banks!

Over a decade of austerity measures resulting in the rich getting richer and us, well us ordinary folk having to just put up with it. Maybe now enough is enough as the new campaign says. Over 50 rallies are planned across the UK as unions, community groups, renters associations and political groups come together to demand change. I’ll be watching this group very closely and updating you on here if we have a rally in Exeter.

And lastly – don’t forget women like your mother and grandmother were imprisoned and force fed, beaten up and worse until we finally won the right for all women to vote, less than 100 years ago – in 1928. Yet so many of us women still do not think it’s important to vote or to take our children to the polling station and show them how important it is to use this precious hard-fought vote.

Supporting our youth climate strikers

My 17 year old daughter has been attending youth climate strikes since they started here in Exeter in February and I’ve been to a few too and next week – on September 20th, we will be attending the largest one so far in the city. Over 2000 people are expected to attend. My son is almost 14 and has asked to come to this one – his first. Here’s the letter I’ve just sent to his school and here’s the event link if you want to know more https://www.facebook.com/events/474105210047920

 

Dear (Headteacher)

We give my permission for our child – to not attend school on Friday 20th September; in order to attend the Youth Strike 4 Climate (Global Climate Strike) protest taking place across the UK and many other countries on that day. You might be aware that there are over 106 countries taking part in this historic event across all the continents of the globe. This is the link to the Exeter protest expecting over 2000 people – the largest ever climate protest in this city https://www.facebook.com/events/474105210047920
We are aware of UK law that permits parents to only give permission for their child to miss school on medical grounds or in a few other cases, one of which is under “exceptional circumstances”.
Our view is that having only 11 years left to cut CO2 emissions by 50%, as per the latest UN IPCC report, are terrible and exceptional circumstances to find ourselves in. The news of late of wildfires burning in the precious Amazon and the Artic, plus our ice-caps and glaciers melting much faster than expected and insect numbers plummetting are all signs we need to heed and act upon. Therefore we will be attending this event with our son and give him full permission to protest against our government’s inaction.
We hope attending this demonstration will help our son to feel empowered and learn about standing up for what is right in this world, something I know is embedded in the philosophy of the school our son chose to attend. Attending this protest is part of active civic engagement which is a core part of every school curriculum. As the climate catastrophe is going to affect our children more than us, it is so important we support them in this kind of action.
We respect his decision to attend this protest and I hope you will support him too.
Kindest wishes
Sharon & Dan Pavey