I was in London yesterday. Not for fun or spending money, not really for work, well not paid work but to get out of the house and feel vaguely human whilst trying to plan for a future that I have no idea when it may arrive.
Heading back to Tottenham Court Road Station I came across this sign which made me laugh in that 2020 tragic-comedic way that we would never have imagined a year ago. A poor unfortunate cafe owner trying to lure spending customers into parting with their hard-earned furlough cash.
I should have felt sorry for them and to a degree I did but I was also hugely jealous which I admit is not a very nice thing to feel. I thought to myself how nice it must have been to be forced to close for months and be given government support up to 80% of my salary and even now with obvious problems, they are still able to trade. They still have customers, even if only a fraction of what they once had.
There are many of us at ExcludedUK who have gone months and months without any income or government support. I myself am just days away from completing my 9th month and I can confirm I know the father of misery is Rishi Sunak. In fact if I hadn’t have been excluded that very sign would have been enough to make me go in and support the struggling business. The thing is, being Excluded by the government also means you’re excluded from society and unable to support myself, let alone anyone else.
The media is full of stories at the moment of local lockdowns which have just started off or are threatening too and everyone from the media to local MPs are making a big deal of people facing poverty for 2-3 weeks if they don’t receive any government support or indeed the furlough money goes down to 60% rather than its current 80%.
For those involved it is of course terrible, in normal times having to cope with a viral epidemic and coping with just two thirds of your salary must be awful and yet it is something so many of us can only aspire to.
What would you do with 60% earnings for 2-3 weeks? Me, I’d pay some outstanding bills from April and if I wanted to shut out the world for a bit and pretend everything is ok, I might sit with the lights on in the evening rather than to mostly sit in the dark to save a few precious pounds or maybe even increase the heating from the 17 degrees it is mostly at these days.
Incredibly newspapers, radio and television stations are obsessing about 2 week shutdowns and the resulting poverty. Labour MPs are making a huge issue of it and rightfully so and yet the silence about the 3 million #ExcludedUK who passed the 2 week without help 7 or 8 months ago.
Look at Robbie Moore MP below, to an extent doing his job and helping people but only those who are currently in the news and only those who are already doing far better than most in ExcludedUK. He and every MP and every media outlet should be leading on us as last year happened for Extinction Rebellion last year for example.
The world might be going on for most people as they make a fuss about not being able to plan for Christmas or see family or friends in quite the same way as before. I can only think how nice life must be to be upset about not going to a pub or eat out for 2-3 weeks as I sit in the bathroom watching rain seep in through the bathroom roof which I can’t afford to repair in yet another one of those endless days of Shielding alone without any government help whatsoever.