I, Daniel Blake

I watched I, Daniel Blake last night and I cried like a baby. I cried for all the people who are suffering the effects of austerity. I cried with anger that it is the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable who are suffering most. I cried with frustration that our government has managed to privatise, bureacratise, and managerialise all our state systems so that they confuse and exclude and serve only the wealthy. I cried for the benefit system, for the NHS, for our education system, for older people being abused in care-homes, for those who experience mental health issues and can’t get enough support, and I cried for everyday normal working people who cannot afford proper housing, or child-care, or a holiday, and whose working lives have become so stressful they haven’t even got time to do anything about it. I cried about Brexit (again), I cried about racism, I cried about the role of our mass media in perpetuating negative stereotypes and blame the victim mentalities!

I cried because sociologists have been working to understand these scenarios for over a hundred years. We understand that lack of properly-paid work leads to alienation from life, friends and family. We know that the iron cage of bureaucracy leads to obfuscation of exploitation. We understand the desire to blame others for our problems without being able to properly identify the structural causes. But no one listens, so what is the point?

Today we will hear from Mark Carney about the state of the economy, as if economic recovery is the only thing that matters. But at what cost?

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