As many others did I watched Sir Kier Starmers conference speech in anticipation… Maybe he’ll recognise the plight of unemployed, disabled and ill people. Sadly I was disappointed, his whole speech revolved around the word ‘work’ and how good it is to work.
Heres a word count of the words that he used in his speech yesterday. He mentioned the the word ‘work’ a massive 69 times, ‘care’26 times, equality 3 times, ‘security’ 6 times ‘dad 11 times, mum 17 times and ‘tool’ 6 times.
From this we can be safe to say that the main focus for him was work and how good it supposedly is for you. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. It’s much like the speeches that we heard from the conservatives that resulted in the suffering and deaths of thousands.
It’s not as simple as that though, work isn’t some kind of liberating utopia that frees both mind and body leaving you with a sense of self achievement. I do accept that certain careers such as nursing, caring and healthcare work can give people a massive feeling of achievement there are stresses that come with them.
Low pay, high rents, high childcare costs and other costs that come along with our culture of low paid, undervalued work end up taking any sense of self achievement away.
Myself like Starmer can look back upon our parents hard work but it’s much like a tale of two cities. My father worked hard for little or no thanks and without basic safety equipment. He was forced to work night shifts which prevented him from spending much time with his children and when he did he was grumpy because he was tired.
My mother had several jobs, none of them gave her any sense of achievement and all of them were very low paid. As a child it was awful seeing them become so stressed by their situation.
I was and still are proud of them, but their situations made me want to fight for more than they had. I can’t look back and say that it was inspirational because it wasn’t.
Coming back to the present day…. Most people in low paid jobs have to claim an extra benefit such as Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit to be able to feed themselves and their families. Their wages being so low that they can’t survive on them alone.
It was very disappointing to hear that Starmer is apparently refusing to support a £15 a hour minimum wage increase for workers despite him agreeing with this previously. At the same time Starmer knows that we live in a low wage economy that inevitably leads to poverty. Luckily Labour Party members voted in favour of it even though its not binding.
In summary work does not fulfil the average person and nor will it until working conditions, low pay extortionate childcare costs and high rents are dealt with. Instead it causes stress, poverty and everything that comes along with this.Homelessness is increasing amongst working people as well as the unemployed.
People try their best to better their situations but the current system prevents them from doing so. A £15 a hour pay rise would help this but the whole system needs to change before it can benefit most people to a noticeable degree.
Feel good speeches are good on the day, words are said that some wanted to hear but when you leave out the basic needs of people, ignoring disabled people and those on legacy benefits. They aren’t going to see anything that would change the lives of those that need the changes the most.
It’s greatly important that everyones voices are heard not just working people. It’s insulting to those that are unable to work and it leaves them politically homeless with no where to turn for help.
Deeds not words are needed and the inclusion of everyone despite disability, illness and age. It’s needed more than it ever was before and Starmer must act to address as soon as he possibly can.
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