Deep in the quagmire Inflation, food shortages, energy crisis… After Brexit, the new crown and the closure of the city, the UK in 2022 is deeply mired in the quagmire.
When it comes to England, you may think of Wilde’s words “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
” , How many people have the energy to look up at the stars?
After Brexit, the new crown and the closure of the city, the UK in 2022 is in a deep quagmire – inflation, food shortages, energy crisis… Followed by high bills in the hands of residents, and surprise at prices when shopping in supermarkets .
In a foreign country, how to explore the subtle context of Britain? How do you view the lives of ordinary people? 2022 is the 12th year that writer moved to the UK. Previously, she was a journalist and a documentary filmmaker; after that, she was a “London drifter” and an immigrant.
broke into the Labour Party, joined the food bank, and in the first scene asked about the reasons for Brexit, deindustrialization, the oil crisis… The middle-income level fell behind economic growth, and prices soared; at the same time, there was a “no right to speak” generation.
The refugee crisis, the European referendum, the fact that the pro-Brexit faction is labeled as a “racist”, how do these international news hotspots relate to us in China today?
“When the person you face becomes real, concrete, and multi-faceted like a prism, any kind of label is rude.”
As a non-fiction work—living in low-rent housing, visiting second-hand stores, and entering country social clubs… observes British society, people’s livelihood and culture from the perspective of his real life in the UK. Her eyes touch on a series of social issues such as family, pension, medical care, etc., thus reflecting on the impact of globalization and revealing the truth behind global monopoly capitalism.
The word “anxiety” is mentioned four times by her in “The Texture of Poverty”. What causes anxiety in a foreign country? How to overcome it?
”The colorful fudge in those jars seemed to soothe her anxiety. She grabbed a handful of fudge, and without hesitation, shoved them into her coat pocket.”
– “Anxiety” here is Describe an everyday state of Alzheimer’s disease.
”The anxiety that “everything seems to have been lost, even the native culture and national welfare”.”
- Here, “anxiety” is the British Brexiteers’ fear of social welfare being divided up by immigrants, and native culture or national welfare . A worry that will fade away.
”In the first two years of my arrival in the UK, especially the days I was floating in London, I was almost eaten up by this anxiety. The upper body was hollow, and the rest of my legs were like fallen leaves, drifting in the wind.”
—— Here, “anxiety” is a state of anxiety as a newcomer to a foreign land, not knowing how to integrate into the local society.
”Every small object: the smell of canned food, the smell of soap, the smell of straw paper… constitutes the material life of a certain period. This life is full of scarcity and anxiety, but also contains a touch of warmth and hope.”
——The last “anxiety” occurred during the epidemic period. Nearby residents delivered food and goods to low-income people in need, thus alleviating their inner anxiety.
As for the question that worries the most at present, “I am learning English writing. Although I have received support from the National Writing Center in the United Kingdom, it is still far from my native language level, so there will be some anxiety from time to time!”
our distance from poverty
in the UK, the poor are not the main culprit of poverty, but its product. George Orwell said: “Dust is the most snobby. When you are well-dressed, it shy away, and when you are in rags, it swoops from all directions.”
For Britain, confusion is first about survival : In an old capitalist society where the clockwork keeps failing and can only keep running, how can people who cannot keep up with the speed live with dignity? “Many tragedies in my life are probably caused by poverty. For example, I don’t want to put more butter, and the baked cake looks like toast; for example, I don’t dare to pick expensive boyfriends, and they are all “Ode to the Nightingale” and so on. Paperback version; another example is always unable to make up the mind to buy an electric toothbrush, as a result, a filling, the whole net worth is dedicated to the dentist, which is equivalent to five electric toothbrushes plus a French meal in Notting Hill, London… ”
Everything about being a human being , when everything from health to dignity can be up for sale, the reality of the United Kingdom gives another answer.
”The Texture of Poverty” focuses on the “new poor” who are unable to engage in production or participate in consumption – the older British middle class who have fully enjoyed the national welfare policy, and believe in the five mottos of “diligence, perseverance, thrift, prudence, and self-reliance” However, “high-priced rental slaves”, “working poverty”, “chronic unemployment” and “houseless elderly” are the basic social reality faced by the lower and middle classes in the UK. In today’s ageing society and the intensification of the gap between the rich and the poor, how can middle-class families who have left the welfare system maintain a decent life?
”I feel that although the world is full of injustice, nature is fair. The breeze that swept across the fields did not suddenly rude me because of my skin color and class.” When the reporter interviewed, he talked about the poverty of the modern British countryside.
Why choose to live in the countryside? The reason why I choose to live in the countryside is that I love the rural scenery and customs of the United Kingdom. It has a very beautiful and warm side.
As the international financial and commercial center of the British big city, the rent is very expensive, and the Conservative government The poor households had to be moved as far as possible to the suburbs or villages far from the city, which gave birth to some poverty in rural England.
Since the implementation of democratic socialism after the war, Britain has established a set of public emergency policies in which taxes and benefits correspond to each other. Taxpayers must pay income tax starting at 25% in order to receive unemployment benefits in the event of a disability, illness or layoff. Not only unemployment benefits, according to the legislation, the government also provides housing subsidies for each poor person’s special situation.
Large British cities, such as London, originally had many “government low-rent housing” that belonged to public property, and the poor could live in them only by paying a very low monthly rent. These houses were built according to the two-bedroom, four-person three-bedroom specifications, which later became the legal housing standard in the UK today, and many of these houses are in prime urban locations.
Since the Thatcher era, the United Kingdom has been privatizing public resources. Government low-rent housing has either been sold at a low price and turned into private properties, or bought by private landlords and put into the rental market to become profit-making houses, with very high rents.
A small number of newly built low-rent housing cannot keep up with the rigid demand, and there are long queues of people waiting to be resettled. Therefore, the National Housing Distribution Administration has to send people who have waited too long to the countryside. Nonetheless, renting a two-bedroom house in rural England costs at least around £850 a month, and this money, when the applicant has no source of income, is paid by the government out of taxpayer levies.
The UK welfare standard is that the unemployment allowance is £409.89/month for single people over the age of 25, £594.04/month for couples (common-law partners), and £341.92/month for disabled children. For 35 hours of care a week, you can also get an additional care allowance of £162.92/month. In addition, add a housing allowance ranging from £700-800: rent and subsistence allowance for a couple, two children, up to more than £1,200 a month.
Why are people starving? Because many times, applicants wait up to five weeks to receive the money. Many people have no savings, and they run out of food within five weeks. Most of the people who came to the food bank to receive emergency food supplies suffered the above-mentioned tragic situation. Many British intellectuals and reformers believe the five-week waiting period is too long. Over the years, these people have put a lot of energy into writing to parliament, eager to change the issue.
In addition, the consumption in the UK is very high, with 120 pounds of electric heating, 100 pounds of gasoline, 50 pounds of Internet access and TV, 20 pounds of water bills, etc. about 300 pounds. After each month, there is almost no unemployment allowance left. In case of home appliances or cars that need to be repaired (the UK does not have the advantage of low labor, labor is extremely expensive, and a toilet costs at least 80-200 pounds before tax), so the phenomenon of “no money to buy food, not enough to eat” appeared.
”Fortunately, the British countryside has always been the land of the rich and the rich. Most of the manor houses and the rich and middle-class are in the middle class. Therefore, when the government resettled hundreds of poor families, the local people generally did not object. Instead, various rescue groups were established.”