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For a week now, the world has been talking about Extinction Rebellion and its efforts to force governments to act on climate change. While this goes on, the effects of austerity that even the United Nations condemned, continue to push people over the edge. Despite this, there’s no action to force the government change their ways.
What Extinction Rebellion have done to raise awareness is amazing. Climate change will undoubtedly affect everyone more and more unless something changes. I have no issue with the cause.
What I find staggering, is the lack of action to stop the effects of austerity.
14 million people in the United Kingdom are in poverty, foodbank use is increasing weekly and the number of rough sleepers dying on the streets is also up.
This isn’t new either. Over the last 12 months there’s barely been a week without a story detailing how Tory policies are pushing people to their limit both financially and mentally.
The tabloids have a poverty porn story almost daily, outling how done poor soul is struggling to cope or worse couldn’t cope.
There’s no denying people are outraged at some of the details that have been emerging. They’ll let it be known online in the comments section. But that’s as far as it goes.
Some groups like Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) do take to the streets but numbers are limited.
You won’t see mass disruption because of the 120,000 deaths linked to austerity. Nor will people risk arrest because disabled people are suffering from hostile government policies.
Hundreds of thousands also took to the streets calling for a People’s Vote (PV). They came from across the UK and beyond. You won’t hear about someone flying in to protest about the rise in survival sex because of Universal Credit.
Why No Outrage About Austerity?
The reason you won’t see the streets alive with chants of save the people is because we have a “I’m alright Jack” problem.
Poverty and disability are uncomfortable topics for some. Many don’t feel they’re affected so while they’re saddened by the situation, it’s not worthy of their time.
What they don’t realise is they ARE affected.
Our NHS is crumbling before us, police are stretched past breaking point and fire services across the country are facing cuts.
This puts us all at risk. That’s before you factor in how they’d be hit if they had an unexpected job loss or an accident causing disability.
We have teachers bringing in toilet paper because schools can’t afford it and still nothing happens.
It’s a disgrace when you stop and think about it.
The UK used to look after its vulnerable. Not anymore. Neo-liberal governments abandoned them long ago in favour of profits a d now the people have.
For those asking why those affected aren’t taking action I’ll say this;
For starters, they can barely afford a bus fare so travelling is out straight away.
For obvious reasons, those with disabilities can’t just pop to London to protest either.
If someone is on Universal Credit they have to be job searching every waking moment or lose what little money they have.
All in all, those directly affected need help. They need people to act on their behalf. That’s what a civilised society should do; stand up for its most vulnerable.
So while I applaud Extinction Rebellion for their actions, I feel frankly disgusted about the lack of action to tackle austerity and its effects.