As almost everyone reading this will know. I’m of of 3 million in the UK who has gone through the entirety of the Coronavirus epidemic with not a single penny of help even though in my case, it is both illegal for me to work and I’m recommended to stay at home alone (shielding) due to health reasons.
Around a month ago I had an idea of compiling accounts of other members who are similarly excluded from any help and support (ExcludedUK) so that whatever the government says and senior Labour figures ignore, we won’t be airbrushed out of history. And so £xcluded Voices was born.
Within a week 150 accounts had flooded in to my inbox from people in all walks of life, all of them entirely tragic and heartbreaking and totally avoidable if only the government AND the people of the country cared about others.
£xcluded Voices is in a way, the book the government don’t want you to read and I’m hoping that in a few years or even decades time, the events in this book will be read and studied in much the same way that people today read letters from WW1 soldiers, Suffragettes or in other parts of the world, civil rights leaders.
I love history and I love social history; both come up in my books and especially my tours so in a way this seemed like the perfect book for me to write.
Most discriminations that we have in this world are relics of prejudices and biases centuries or even millennia old. Slowly but surely these are being both eliminated legally and whittled away culturally and politically. We are fortunate to live in a land and a time where being treated negatively because of our sex, race, age, beliefs (if any) or any impairments is increasingly legally and morally wrong.
In the spring of 2020 as the world fell under the horrors of Covid 19 and life as we know it came to an and, hopefully only temporarily so, the British government announced what they would like to call an “Unprecedented” series of support packages when understandably, if belatedly it was mandated the society had to hunker down. The announced support was very generous to many, though not world-beating or in any measure the best.
Billionaire Chancellor Rishi Sunak famously announced that “No-one will be left behind… or without hope”. And why would anyone be left behind? Who on earth would deliberately choose to abandon anyone in the worst health pandemic in the country for over a century?
And yet that is exactly what proceeded to happen and the government decided to something almost without parallel and initiate a new form of official discrimination. 3 million people, possibly more, were told they were criminals, fraudsters, too difficult to help. In a time when it with be rightfully abhorrent to discriminate against 3 million people due to their sex or race, religious beliefs or any other number of long-since taboo factors, the government went out of its way to discriminate against people solely due to their chosen, entirely legal and in my case, actually encouraged by the government, method of earning a living.
Imagine going through the entire pandemic with all the worries of ill-health, death, worries for the future but on top of that be unable and often legally not allowed to work but not receiving any government support whatsoever whilst repeatedly throughout 2020 and into 2021 the very same groups the compose the majority of society were helped time after time after time.
If such a series of events were to happen in a far-off country there would be widespread outrage and condemnation by government and opposition alike and yet here we are, over a year later since the first virus cases hit the U.K. and nothing has changed.
The government narrative would like you to believe that everyone has been helped. Billionaire Chancellor Rishi Sunak famously announced that “No-one will be left behind… or without hope”. Yet the 3 million members of the club that no-one wants to join, say differently.
It’s not what the government would want you to know or indeed large sections of the media and even Sir Keir Starmer gives it less attention than I give to the weather forecasts in Timbuktu. It is the story of ever worsening, poverty, debt, homelessness, discrimination, persecution and suicides. £xcluded Voices is a compilation of accounts of what may well be the last great state act of deliberate discrimination and it’s told by the normal, every day people that were once known as ‘the back-bone of the economy’.
Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak, Oliver Dowden and many more might label us as fraudsters or even deny our existence but history will tell a different story. One day people will look back at this less-known but deliberately enacted government policy disaster of the Coronavirus epidemic and wonder how it could happen in the 3rd decade of 21st Century Britain. It is to the eternal shame of everyone who decided to ruin 3 million lives and those others who were so well supported by the state but chose to look the other way.
Last but not least, if you’re an Apple freak then Secret Gardens of the City of London will shortly be out on the Apple Store / iBooks along with other top retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords and more.