I need to tell you something. And it’s really important. You’re fucked. Hopefully I can guide you to how to unfuck yourself. Maybe.
But you are so fucked that it’s hard to explain just how fucked you are. Unless you’re stinking rich, or leaving the country for somewhere better, you’re fucked.
How fucked? Depends. If you’re really healthy, with good genes and a good lifestyle you’re probably actually only a bit fucked.
Elderly? Well, if you’re lucky you’ll die before you realise quite how fucked you are.
Young? Yep, fucked.
Working age? Fucked. Really fucked.
Nearing retirement? Oh yes, it’ll fuck you the most. I’m certain of that.
I’m not fucked, I just got a new BMW, moved into a bigger house, have two kids and life is grrrrreat!
You bought the BMW on lease right? And you have a mortgage? Yeah. Fucked.
Stop trying to scare me. I’m not fucked, I have a nice job!
Sure. And you’re fucked. Probably.
OK, you’re going to have to explain why.
You’re fear-mongering. Shut up.
Nope. But I’ll explain why shortly. I mean, Brexit doesn’t mean you’re doomed to death in a massive fireball or anything. It just means you’re fucked. Not dead. And fucked can mean many things. In this case it means your options, potential and future are going to be worse than they could have been. That could mean a lot of things, of course. You’re still going to be better off than that Ugandan subsistence farmer with six children to feed. But are you going to be better off than without Brexit? Well, that depends.
OK. I’ll be fine. I’m young and I just got promoted to call centre team lead!
Great! That’s important work. You make £25k a year and you’re feeling pretty good, right? Except you’re still renting, because your parents, bless them, didn’t have great jobs and although they have a mortgage that’s nearly paid off it’s always been a bit of a struggle.
You shouldn’t be that fucked, right? After all, you’ve fended off the off-shoring revolution and stayed in work and even got a promotion to team lead.
But here’s a shock for you. Your wages will hardly rise in post Brexit Britain. I mean, they’ll go up. Of course they will. Quite a lot, probably. It’s that the purchasing power won’t go up much. But you’ll find that that house purchase just still seems to be hard to get, and the car you can buy never seems to get better, and my oh my have you seen the price of oranges lately? Tinned fruit suddenly seems more appealing again.
Because of the UK’s now worsening dependency ratio.
Remember how bad the seventies seemed? And how good the eighties felt? Then the bit of a recession we had in the early nineties? Then how good the noughties felt for many of us?
Notice how it’s worsening at the moment and has been since the banking crisis of 2008? And how people seem to be struggling more, with rising foodbanks? Yep? Basically, a growing dependency ratio is a Bad Thing. It means that for every worker you have more people to support each year. And that has to be paid for. So a dependency ratio of 50% means each worker supports 1 equivalent dependent – that’s children, pensioners, the unemployed and the people of leisure.
If the dependency ratio grows to 60%, that doesn’t sound like such a climb, but it actually means that for every worker you now have 1.5 people in the country dependent on you.
Now look at the UK’s population pyramid:
See how there’s a bump in the 45-54 age range? So in about fifteen years, all those people will be retired. And there are too few young people to pay for them.
So unless the post-Brexit plan is to bring in a lot more people from lower cost countries and pay them as little as possible, then a big chunk of your day’s work is going to go on paying for dependents – either through topping up your employer’s underfunded pension scheme, or increased taxes and national insurance.
And of course, you face having to compete for work against those low cost workers, if that’s the hidden post-Brexit plan that nobody is talking about openly. Who knows eh? Either way, you’re fucked. Yep. Boris fucked you with his NHS promises.
Actually, I was kidding. I’m 68 and get a nice defined benefits pension scheme. I’m alright!
Heh. Yeah, and a big majority of your friends voted for Brexit too, right? Nicely cushioned from the problems of losing your job if there’s resulting problems in manufacturing, logistics and financial services.
Anyway, you deserve your pension because you worked hard and paid for it!
Hmmm… that’s not the case. Imagine investing in a well, in order to supply water to a town, but it turns out a chemical plant poisoned the land with arsenic. That well needs to be productive in order to pay back the investment cost, and if it isn’t productive, you lose it. If the investment you made in the UK economy through your pension scheme can’t stay productive, then your pension is worth less. Surely it’s all index linked and protected? Well, a country run by cynical people can easily enact laws to break that index linking and break those protections. And it’ll be too late for you. They’ve gained power. And they’ll get the support they need to “make difficult decisions” because the only other option is for either rich and cynical people to become less rich, or for them to ignore their promises to control immigration and actually increase it a lot more. Neo-liberals generally love a bit of unrestricted immigration, and Farage and the right of the Conservative Party are definitely neo-liberals.
The reality is, your pension comes from the work and contributions of today’s people. If there are fewer of them, they work less and contribute less.
Will the Brexit dividend of lots of free trade agreements with the rest of the world sort this out? Well, maybe. But you’re 68, and in the words of Rees-Mogg, it could take fifty years for this to pan out. So you’ll be reaping the benefits on your 118th birthday.
If you supported Nigel Farage and he gets some sort of power over us, or influences other rich, cynical bastards, then you have a problem. Because he’s only really in it for the money. You can tell by the subtle hints he gives when talking about his allowances.
Basically, you’re fucked.
OK. I’m starting to get it. So how do we unfuck ourselves?
Later today we’ll have a good idea of how the EU Parliamentary elections have gone. We’ll know which UK party did the best. It’ll probably be the Brexit Party, if we believe all the polls in the run up to the vote.
This means some pretty awful people will be representing us in the European Parliament. This will terrify both Labour and the Conservatives, two parties that believe in their divine right to rule the country. Both parties which have delivering Brexit as policy.
There are five substantial pro-EU parties in that graphic up above. Liberal Democrats, Greens, Change UK, SNP, and Plaid Cymru. They all have trying to stay in the EU as primary policy. However, some faithful remainers are sticking with Labour and the Conservatives, because even though they’re remainers, it’s not the most important thing in their life.
Meanwhile, the turnout rate may be as low as 40%. That means three out of five of you fuckers didn’t bother to vote.
It then comes down to who’s the most motivated to go out and vote. The demographics of remainers means that they mostly work or are studying and in the middle of exams. That is a massive disincentive. For Brexiters many of the keenest are not working, and not studying.
History is decided by those who turn up.
I suspect, very much, that you’re fucked. Because although maybe you turned up, many people who are sensible and dislike what Brexit will do to them didn’t really bother.
Maybe Corbyn will save us?
No. He’s pissed off Scotland and a lot of Remainers by supporting Brexit. No really, he did. No ardent remainer would have themselves photographed like this.
Also, try telling that to the workers at the Honda plant in Swindon. And no, it’s not diesels – that plant mostly does not make diesel cars.
Of course, the picture above has enough constructive ambiguity to make people say “Aaah, well that’s not the case, he’s just saying Brexit mustn’t cause jobs to be lost.”
Sorry, but this is one public schoolboy, advised by other public schoolboys, that possibly doesn’t have your best interests at heart. It’s not like he learned his politics through hard graft on the shop floor, defending the rights of colleagues facing
You’re not helping me feel better, sounds like unfucking myself should have started before the election?
Yes, frankly. That’s exactly what should have happened. It should have happened about three years ago, really, just after the referendum. Or even better, a few years before that. But never mind. I didn’t bother until just after the referendum either. Lesson learned. We didn’t turn up, did we? Ukippers did. Farage did. We mocked him in our memes but failed to actually do what’s necessary. Because what’s necessary is rather boring and requires real time and effort rather than pressing “share” on your Facebook feeds so that your friends who share similar values can all enjoy a joke together.
But that’s not unfucking yourself.
There’s a truth about how elections are won. It’s worked in the past and it’ll work in the future. It’s in three very simple steps. It’s not exciting. It’s not about going on marches (though they feel great, I recommend them) and it’s not about Facebook. I mean OK, actually it is. Social media posts, arguing with people and so on all matter. But at the end, you’re going to have to accept some really boring things as part of this. Here are the three magic steps, in particular when you’re not sitting on piles of cash:
- Find lots of people who believe the same stuff as you and would consider either joining or volunteering for one of the five pro-Remain, progressive and open minded parties that isn’t seeped with posh public school boys who chose politics because they weren’t much good at anything else other than blagging and sounding convincing to their crowds.
- Identify all the people who share your values and beliefs in your ward or constituency. You do this by canvassing. You literally knock on their door and ask them. And you need to not assume that because one person believes one thing, the rest of the household believes the same.
- During elections, you then remind those people, and only those people, to go out and vote for your party or your referendum option.
- I said three magic steps. That was it. Now you hopefully start to win.
There’s a lot of detail above that’s skipped out. Canvassing requires organisers, people willing to work with data, committees to work out what to do with donations and how to spend them properly and, most of all, time. You can do 5-10 houses per hour. A constituency has around 50,000 houses. That’s a lot of door-knocking. So step 1 really is about building up a team. Work fast on this. Just approach people. Look at people arguing for your side on Facebook or Twitter who live locally and simply approach them. It’s not too hard.
So you have a choice. Join or call up a local pro-EU party and get stuck in, or accept that you could well be 15% worse off as a result of Brexit in some years. As I said above, you’ll still be better off than a subsistence farmer in Africa, but given that Brexit is basically a neo-liberal wet dream for people like Farage, Rees-Mogg, Johnson and Dyson you can kind of guarantee that the costs won’t be fairly distributed.
Right now, the Brexiters have all the energy and are well funded. They don’t have the people to knock on doorsteps, but they have the mass media of papers read by people who go out and vote. Older people often read the Mail, Express, Sun, Times and Telegraph. All run by people keen on Brexit, although The Times somehow doesn’t go full on mad for it. That means this is an unequal battle. They have the media. So we need the people.
Join. Activate. Unfuck yourself. Got it.
Yep. You got it. Even if it’s just one hour a month, a few hundred of you in your area of 100,000 voters could make an amazing difference.