Thursday, 12 October 2017

A Different Universe

I look at the great Miners' Hall in Durham, and, like so many things up here, it strikes me as a standing contradiction of the theory that a rich and robust intellectual, cultural and political life is impossible in a context of very demanding day jobs, and requires something like the Universal Basic Income instead.

Just as the Greens need to be asked the Yes-No question, "Do you regret the defeat of the miners in 1985?", so do proponents of the Universal Basic Income in general, both in relation to the miners, and in relation to Thatcherism and deindustrialisation more broadly.

And yet, here we are. It is not as many of us would wish, but what else is there? Universal Credit? Merely to ask that question answers it.

Coal will come back, because it is there, and because, therefore, everyone will eventually come back round to the common sense of using it rather than depending on a few windmills, and on the oil and gas of any and everywhere.

Despite the best efforts of the people who have done nothing but manage other people's poverty for 32 years and counting, some of us remain committed to bringing Volkswagen's production for the British market to County Durham after Brexit, working both with the unions and with all the non-Labour sections of the County Council (the Labour Group must lie, so to speak, in the bed that it has made), and in the process safeguarding the Durham Miners' Hall and the Durham Miners' Gala.

Oh, well, the Universal Basic Income would not, of course, be a disincentive to getting a job if you still happened to believe in such things. And even the people who chose to live on nothing else would still need electricity, and the use of their own or the community's motor vehicles, all thankfully outside the EU's Single Market and Customs Union.

Although people do sometimes speak to me as if I had been in the thick of it, even I was a small child during the Miners' Strike. It was a long time ago, in, more or less, a galaxy far, far away.

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