Thursday, February 12, 2009
Over at Spiked Online is a fascinating book review by Neil Davenport of Austerity Britain: 1945-51, by David Kynaston. The last paragraph should be enough to show you why I recommend it:
The best thing about Austerity Britain is that Kynaston provides the winning arguments for having the exact opposite of austerity. By exposing the suffering, the degradation and the desperation of the majority of people in the mid- to-late 1940s, Kynaston also helps to expose the poisonous mindset of today’s austerity cheerleaders. Who in his right mind would want anyone to return to ration-era Britain? As Kynaston reminds us: ‘Britain in 1945. No supermarkets, no motorways, no teabags, no sliced bread, no frozen food, no flavoured crisps, no vinyl, no CDs, no computers, no mobile phones, no Pill, no trainers, no Starbucks.’ If they had their way, environmentalists and well-to-do commentators would make sure that the vast majority of people didn’t enjoy access to any of these comforts, either. This is why, as millions of people fear for their jobs and livelihoods, they are hoping that the worst recession in 30 years will do that job for them. If you want to know why they are wrong, and morally warped, read this book about the last time austerity ruled Britain, when it did not liberate us or make us more spiritual, but rather punished, degraded and alienated working people across the country. [bold added]Read the whole thing, and remember it the next time some you hear some hippie or some fundie -- or some fundie hippie -- gushing about how "good" our economic crisis could be for everyone.
This post was composed in advance and scheduled for publication at 5:00 A.M. on February 12, 2009.