Living in Wongaland
The Black Country isn’t really known for it’s beauty, but even here we have little pockets of what appears to be countryside at first glance. In reality it’s the remnants of our industrial past and nature is repossessing it. I don’t think the new HS 2 rail line will become a thing of beauty in years to come. It will destroy a lot of beauty.
We do have to balance our need to grow food, keep warm and have shelter with our need to protect the environment. The government seems hell belt on just the exploitation of nature and people. With millions of people unable to afford the necessities of life and resorting to payday loans, is it time for a change of thinking? John Prescott thinks that Ed Miliband isn’t getting his message across or providing leadership. In reality he isn’t coming up with alternative ideas based on fairness and common sense. A cap on benefits, Mr Miliband? Which Einstein came up with that idea?
One of the big problems that led to our current crisis was housing. We have an housing shortage and a baby boom. Accept that and do something about it. No don’t send vans through the streets with placards saying illegals go home; only a moron would do that. We do need to curb immigration though, even the stupid people agree with that. We also need to curb the population and stop encouraging people to have more children. If we don’t curb the population, we will eventually end up with a one child per family policy, like China.
We do need more affordable housing, there have been too many people chasing too few homes and forcing up prices. Councils have responded by pushing up rents so they can empire build. We need to reclaim brown field sites and build homes. It would seem that, like China, we will have to build upwards. In China, people living in apartments have their apartments demolished and the builder will build new ones. They get a new apartment free and the builder makes his money by building higher and making money on the extra apartments. Innovation in a communist country! What next?
We tried building high rise apartments in the 1960’s and they were a disaster, but only because they were badly designed. If they were built with energy efficiency in mind and made modern and spacious; they would be popular with many people.
We need to keep warm in winter and our energy needs are another problem. The government wants to do this fracking for gas. It seems to be a success in America, but there are concerns. My main concern is the people promoting it in this country are Bullington Boys who would sell their soul to the devil for an extra quid. We need research to see if it’s safe. Maybe on the coast they can drill under the sea and that could give us a new supply of gas. We need to stop using gas to generate electricity. There are other ways, we should give the Severn barrage scheme more consideration and schemes for storing energy too. I don’t like the idea of fracking, but I don’t like nuclear or the damage to wild life a Severn barrage would cause. I don’t like wind farms or coal fired power stations, but we have to keep warm in winter without turning to Wonga when a energy bill drops through the letterbox. We need some way of producing energy and we need more control over energy companies and more research. Maybe we could go back to coppicing woodland and have some homes heated with wood burning stoves? It is certainly a problem with a diverse range of possible answers.
A home to live in and energy to keep warm. Is it enough? We also need water to drink and that gets more and more expensive. It’s so profitable that overseas investors are buying up our water companies. They say they have to raise charges to invest in new infrastructure. If they need more investment for infrastructure, they should ask their investors for it, not their customers. Instead of the pension funds putting their money into Wonga, maybe they could put it into water…
Have you seen the price of potatoes? Food is another essential that has been spiralling in price and squeezing low income families. We can’t control the weather, which has effected food prices, but we can ensure there is competition and that food is cheap relative to the price of other goods. It seems the essentials are expensive now and the luxuries are cheap. Who does that benefit?
After many people have paid out for a home to live in, energy to keep it warm, food to eat, water to drink and other essentials there is little or no money left to enjoy life with. They then turn to their credit card, loans and the desperate turn to payday loan companies like Wonga with their nice upfront and friendly TV adverts. They might have interest rates of 3,000%, but at least they have no hidden charges like the banks or hidden taxes like the government. You don’t have to pay a quid every half an hour to use their car park either. We live in Wongaland, a Victorian-like society where payday loans have replaced the pawn brokers. London and the financial sector provides for the rich and the industrial north languishes. Half the children who receive private education end up at a top university like Oxford or Cambridge and then go on to a career in politics or the civil service, never having known the real world of payday loans and poverty.
What do you think? Do you use payday loans? Do you know what it feels like to be really hungry? Please share you thoughts in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter for updates.
- Britain has ‘Alice in Wongaland’ economy (telegraph.co.uk)
- UK cannot sustain ‘Wongaland’ economy, says expert (theweek.co.uk)
- New direction needed to lead us out of Wongaland (guardian.co.uk)
- No, this is not the road to recovery. It’s the road to Wongaland | Ann Pettifor (theguardian.com)