Written By: - Date published: 10:54 am, July 25th, 2013 - 87 comments
Categories: accountability, class war, climate change, democracy under attack, john key, poverty, same old national, slippery, spin, Spying, uk politics, unemployment, welfare, workers' rights - Tags: inequality
The majority of New Zealanders are facing a very uncertain future:
in a world of peak everything, where there is:
an ongoing decline in easy access to energy resources
exponential growth in population to unsustainable proportions
climate change and instability
an on-going crisis in the capitalist system based on unsustainable bubbles and addiction to “growth”
and so much more ….
And to make matters worse, at such a time New Zealand has,
a government that cares more for the haves than the have-nots
a government that is consistently dismantling democracy (state surveillance, GCSB legislation, abuse of parliamentary urgency)
a government that is removing workers rights and turns its back on workers health and safety (eg continuing deaths of forestry workers)
a government that cuts taxes for the well-off and demonises those already struggling to live on benefits in a world of diminishing job opportunities
a government that is making life harder for the disabled, those for long term injuries and health problems
a government that favours big oil and big tobacco, while gutting the RMA
…. the list goes on….
And at a time when so many controversial political issues are playing out, the NZ MSM has dutifully followed the lead of Britain’s MSM, fueled by the long death of its aristocratic privilege and class divisions.
I’ve mostly dodged the MSM coverage of this royal circus, but an article came to my notice this morning about the useless pennies thrown to the peasants as the royal party continues, filtered through today’s diversionary celebrity culture that foregrounds images of the “youth” and (culturally-defined) “beauty”.
This article by Emily Harle on Left Foot Forward, refers to the sop thrown to babies born on the same day as the (potentially) future king (4.24pm on 22 July 2013 in the UK and, I estimate, 11 hours later in NZ – 3.24am 23 July 2013 – correct me if I am wrong), Harle writes:
Though their names, weights and times of birth were not announced to the world’s media, just over 2,000 other children in the UK have one thing in common with the new Prince: their date of birth. These children will each be given a silver penny by the Royal Mail, recognising their historical link to the baby that will one day be king.
For most of these children, this is where the similarities end.
Harle then goes on to lay out the vast differences between the have and have-not circumstances of these children’s birth, and how, based on evidence of social research, these children’s lives will differ:
Of the 2,000 children who share the Prince’s birthday, 130 will go to private schools, 438will attend schools that ‘require improvement’ and 102 will go to schools that are failing. Of these 102 children at least 66 will not achieve the five A*-C GCSEs seen as increasingly necessary for proceeding in education or finding a job that pays enough.
For most of these children the barriers will not be their lack of ambition, hard work or interest. It will be the external factors that work against them from an early age such as having nowhere safe to do their homework: 226 children of the 2,000 will live in overcrowded, temporary or run down housing and eleven will be homeless.
A shocking 540 children will live in poverty, with 290 of this group experiencing poverty despite having one parent that works. 5 of the 8 children who die before their first birthdays will most likely come from this group. Poor housing and low quality healthcare will play a significant role in this.
Thirteen of the children sharing the Prince’s birthday will be taken into care during their childhood. They will be looked after by around five different sets of carers and nine of them will leave school with no qualifications. These thirteen children will be more likely to receive a criminal record than go to university.
Of the royal baby’s 2,000 buddies, 120 will have a disability and 40 of them will have difficulty accessing the services, support and activities that their able-bodied friends will take for granted. At least 25 of the 2,000 children will be young carers who look after ill or disabled family members. Two of these children will provide more than 50 hours of care each week.
And Harle continues, spelling out the vast inequalities of the UK: a society far from the meritocracy that “neoliberal” propaganda implies.
New Zealand is not that much different, either in its growing inequalities or in having a current that works for the haves at the expense of the have-nots.
And in NZ, while our power and wealth worshiping PM gushes about the new prince being a future king of NZ, the New Zealand children born within the same 48 hours of the royal baby won’t even get a patronising silver penny. In fact, NZ’s PM and MSM is more focused on NZ giving the wealthy prince an unnecessary gift, as reported on Stuff:
Prime Minister John Key has offered his congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the arrival of their baby.
”I think New Zealanders will be celebrating with the happy couple and it’s great to see the birth of a future king of New Zealand so we wish them all the very best. It will be an exciting time for them.”
Meanwhile, many in the NZ MSM attempt to sideline, distort and divert from the evidence of the impact of inequalities and related government policies in NZ, as explained by Anthony Robins here. The evidence of inequalities and their impact in NZ are in Max Rushbrooke’s book, Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis.