All the election manifestos are now out, and it’s clear the Liberal Democrats, along with the Conservatives, want to maintain the course of our current economic model: neoliberalism. This economic model has resulted in income disparity unseen since the 1920’s. The difference between the poorest and the richest earners has grown exponentially.
Since 2010 it has got even worse with the working class being left to struggle on and suffer the consequences of politically imposed austerity. This economic model not only thins out public services, which mainly the working classes rely on, but it also affects our mental health and wellbeing. This has been proven by recent epidemiological research by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in their book The Inner level. More unequal societies have higher rates of mental health problems, materialistic outlooks and individualistic attitudes across all the social classes.
Our mental health is being affected by our economy because of precarious work contracts, stagnant pay, target driven work and the chase of profit. We are expected to be available all the time for work, be a hard worker without flaws, whilst being open to our colleagues. 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamt of having my work email on my phone, now I couldn’t live without it.
Capitalism is dying and it’s taking us with it
Our lifestyles have become inward looking and ever more individualistic. Status anxiety, where we are in the social pecking order, is riddled into our egos. Before even getting to know someone, we ask what they do for a living, or where they live, to measure their worth against our own. Instead we should be asking about their hobbies and what they think about EastEnders in 2019. Furthermore, we are forced to take full personal responsibility of any inequalities in the system that may go against us. Parents divorced? Get over it. Abused as a kid? Get over it. Neglected emotionally by your parents? Grow up snowflake. And, should we choose to fight any inequalities we are sneered at for giving a shit.
There is an increase in the number of people renting homes, personal debt and the amount in-work poor. These people’s dreams have been turned into unachievable goals. I’m not talking about becoming an influencer or a millionaire but the likes of owning your own home or going to university. For many these dreams will never be. Conservatism and Liberalism preach freedom to do what you want, yet their financial system has imposed the opposite on many.
Do they really want change?
The Liberal Democrats manifesto shows how desperately out of ideas they are when it comes to maintaining our current economic model. Offering loans to people so they can afford a deposit to rent a house. So, not only will you pay the landlord’s mortgage in the form of rent, but you will also pay the government at the same time. At least you will be free to starve in your own house (except it won’t be yours, not even the deposit). Then there is the absurd idea that they can just reverse the EU referendum result; it is both juvenile and undemocratic. Which I thought was their argument against the Leave campaign? The Liberal Democrats are as deceptive as the Leave campaign were in the EU referendum. Promising things they know that they never have to deliver just to win votes.
Then there is the Conservative manifesto. Simpler messages are trendy in a world of short attention spans and newsfeeds. However, their manifesto has taken the word simple to new levels with enlarged pictures and a big font. They would have been better off claiming Corbyn had nationalised their homework rather than handing in this detail-lite document. The Conservatives have made a play for Brexit being the only issue this election, to win Labour will have to change the narrative like they did back in 2017. Only one thing seems to be against them, they are not campaigning against Theresa May this time. Dominic Cummings seems to have Johnson and Rees-Mogg both on short leashes. After Rees-Moggs comments about Grenfell, it’s no wonder they want to keep him away from the microphones.
This isn’t it
It is not a coincidence are economical model is worsening and our mental health struggling. With record high numbers of prescriptions for antidepressants and the growing market for self-care and mindfulness, you need not be a Buddhist monk to see that the two are connected. They are convincing you to look inward, that ‘this is how it has to be’. That there is no change. Well there is real change if we want it. We don’t have to live with this, we can make a change. We can be happier—this isn’t it.
Although Johnson’s article in the Telegraph shows us how our current PM thinks people should work to fend off mental health issues. We should just carry on as normal and Brexit will make everything better. Trust him he was educated at seton don’t you know? Johnson is trying to sound like Churchill but ends up sounding like crappy self-help book you see in Reading service station’s bargain book bin. Don’t buy it.
Whilst Brexit remains the main issue of this election, everyone will remain the losers. If we do not change this economic model, inside or outside the European Union, then we will continue down the hole of neoliberalism and our mental health will suffer.
That said, if the NHS traded off with Trump as Labour is saying it will be, then I don’t know who is going to be left to pick up the pieces. Soon enough we will get to a place where market reform and mindfulness will not change our situation.
Britain hasn’t changed because of immigrants, the unruly young, snowflakes or because people don’t work hard enough. It has changed because we let it. The only party offering real change to the economy, an answer the Brexit question and can improve our collective wellbeing is Labour.
Vote Labour for real change. Vote Tory or Lib Dem for more of the same.