Feb 20th, 2020
I’d be the first to admit that there have been many beneficial changes in society over the last 30 years (I wouldn’t be without my iPhone or Surface for example), but to me there is something very badly going wrong now.
When I was in my early 20s I lived in Brighton with my then husband (way before I met R). This would have been in 1986. I was a junior civil servant in Customs and Excise, and he worked in a shop. Between us we made what I would describe as a low to medium level income.
But here is the thing – we were not greatly well off, but we lived in a nice two bedroom flat overlooking Brighton pavilion with a balcony and a mezzanine floor in the master bedroom. We went out for drinks at the weekends, we had takeaways, we went out to nightclubs, shopped for clothes, bought games, entertained our friends for dinner, and generally had a good time in the way you want to at that age. We also both smoked at the time. I can’t say we were left with a huge amount of savings at the end of the month, but we were certainly never in the situation where we were going to food banks or getting in to debt with loan sharks.
So looking at the news, it seems that a junior civil servant now has to work an extra 17 hours stacking shelves in Poundland after their normal hours to make ends meet. I’m at a loss to understand this because Brighton was one of the most expensive places in the country and we lived very nicely on the income we had. OK – it wasn’t London, but it wasn’t that much cheaper, and if you had wanted to it was perfectly possible to commute to London every day (my Boss’s wife did).
So what on earth has gone wrong? I’m not sure whether to attribute these news articles to all the false alarms the media seem to generate these days, or whether there actually has been a genuine change in circumstances.
Either way, I would make two points. If people don’t like paying London rents they should move out (Glasgow anyone where there are loads of jobs and rents are massively lower?), and these pernicious zero hour contracts should be outlawed.