Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year

Another year ends. In Cornwall, for many 2011 has been a gruelling, exhausting time. Job prospects and real wages continue to drop away. Housing supplies are ever-reducing, though I see in estate agents' windows a few second homes being flogged off in St Ives or St Agnes: very helpful. Cornish folk are strong, and many live in real communities which try to look after everyone. Yet even in these close-knit societies people seem near to unravelling.

More and more I encounter a weary resignation, a battered worn-out acceptance of the next affliction or sacrifice demanded. Food and fuel price increases; public services constricting; small businesses starved of cash; the waste and disappointment of the young unemployed; elderly folk too frightened to put an extra bar on the fire. Cliche? Not any more.

Just recently it’s been the expense, for many the worry of Christmas. And all the time, cruel advertising pounds out the same message: buy stuff you clods, and be quick about it.

We’re about to enter the fourth year of recession, without an end even remotely in sight. Banks continue to prosper, everyone else is on their uppers. This is the Britain of Cameron and Clegg; it’s unbelievably harsh. I don’t know about you, but I’m almost out of Dunkirk spirit.

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