In The Deep Midwinter

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Nope! It isn’t Christmas, but then I don’t expect the folks having to ration their heating this season because of the price hikes, by the six big energy companies, will know the difference, they certainly won’t feel it. Reasons to be offended by these price hikes? Well, how about the fact that in the midst of a slow and barely discernible economic recovery, people need all the help they can get and massive bills for simply keeping themselves warm enough to stay alive simply aren’t helpful. Then of course there’s the idea that you can judge the decency of a society by the way it treats it’s elder statesmen (and women), according to the statistics, at least six million people will die this winter, because of complications arising from the fact that their homes will have been insufficiently heated. What does that say about us as a post-industrialist society? That we judge the elderly in much the same way as we did when we were an industrialist society, that once your economic usefulness ceases, we’re not altogether concerned as a society about how you die (see the NHS for further reference), or where you die (a cold & decidedly inhospitable home).

Then of course there’s the steadily growing and thoroughly discomfiting belief that there is no merit to be had in honesty, and in displaying the kind of commonplace decency that used to be a hallmark of ‘unbroken’ Britain. Why help struggling mothers and their toddlers through revolving doors without being paid for the priviledge? Better still why not demand a pay hike on the fourth or fifth time you find yourself obliged to do it? After all isn’t that effectively what the energy companies have done? Proclaimed their god-given right to increase our fuel bills in exchange for accepting the green levies that are meant to enable our society to leave behind a world that future generations will be able to comfortably inhabit?

Is there a park with unopened gates nearby you? Or better still a library that hasn’t (yet) been closed? It might perhaps be an idea to go along and purchase all the books they’re throwing out (before the local council finds itself obliged to close them, courtesy of austerity), and use those to keep yourself warm during the winter. I feel certain that any minute now the government will create a website full of creative ideas for the use of ‘alternative’ fuels that the energy companies don’t as yet have control of.

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