They rescued the banks but will let the steel industry go to the wall. They are now trying to put shackles on the BBC so that their friends in commercial television can make money. Beware if you are disabled, they will take away all the help you get from benefits. With education, they plan to turn all schools into academies so hat their friends can run the trusts and make money.
This question is explored in my novel set in the 1980's
Two brothers are at home on holiday much to the delight of their mother. It is the first time they have been at home on holiday together for several years. Their father is the union convener at the local shipyard and he leads the men out on strike against the proposed redundancies in the shipyard. This starts at the same time as the brothers arrive home.Though on the surface both brothers support their father, underneath the surface there simmers the stew of disagreement. Mark, the elder brother, is fresh from several months at sea as a ship's officer. He refuses to compromise his upwardly mobile lifestyle or his friends for the sake of family harmony. He lives for the moment and grabs any opportunity for happiness. Jim, freshly graduated from university, supports his father passionately and without question.Can the brothers find a way to compromise their positions and fulfil their mother's wish for a happy few weeks or will their anger boil over into open conflict and the threat of family breakup?
From the novel, Mark comes face to face with the hatred he has innocently stirred by his attitude.
" After putting his car away in the garage, Mark blinked as he closed the doors in an effort to see clearly in the darkness of the courtyard after being blinded from the lights from inside the garage. Off to one side he could make out the glow of the lights reflecting along the passageway leading to the road but all around it was very dark. He gingerly stepped away from the doors and set out carefully towards the lights when something pushed him in the back. Stumbling forward, he desperately tried to regain his balance but his shins came up against something hard and he was pitched forward onto his face. Footsteps crunched on the surface of the courtyard and he instinctively rolled to one side while attempting to regain his feet. He had half succeeded in getting to his feet when a boot with a hard toecap caught his chest and he crashed down again.
This time he could not stop a gasp of pain but he still reacted by flinging himself into a ball and coming to his feet in one crouching movement. His breath was rasping in his throat but he strained his ears to hear any sounds as his eyes searched the gloom for a sight of his attackers. Hearing a sound from his left, he moved quickly ignoring the agony which exploded in his chest and swung his fist, feeling his knuckles split as he made contact with somebody's temple. There was a grunt of pain but Mark had no time to savour his triumph.
He was sent sprawling once again by a push in the back, rolling over once more as he hit the ground. This time his defensive manoeuvre was to no avail. Kicks rained down on him from all directions until pain was shooting through his body. He tried to grapple with the feet that were kicking him and even managed to up end one of his attackers. He could feel the blood running down his face, one of his eyes was rapidly closing and there was an unbearable pain in his chest. Trying to protect his head he curled up into a ball but this only exposed his back. With an effort of will that left him weak and vulnerable, he again straightened and lashed out. A voice he recognised said, " That's enough. I hope that teaches him not to abandon his friends ". Boots crunched across the tarmac and the kicking stopped. Mark just had enough energy to lift his head and he made out two figures as they passed into the light from the street and vanished round the corner.
" Bob and Bugsy," he thought as he collapsed onto the ground.
Mark lay for a long time, semi savouring the pain which flowed in waves through his body, drinking the blood that dripped into his mouth but unable to move. He could not face the inevitable increase in pain that any movement brought, so he lay where he had fallen curled into a ball like a baby in a mother’s womb. The hurt fogged his brain with a red mist, filled his ears with a whimpering sound and prevented him from thinking clearly. It was the cold from the courtyard surface seeping through his clothes, the excruciating agony caused by his shivering that made him consider moving.
Concentrating his thoughts, he fought against the anticipation of the torture to come, ignoring the voice that told him hysterically to lie still, and forced himself to sit up. Slowly, shutting out the screaming of his body, he made his brain ignore the pain and fought to control his muscles. From a sitting position, he heaved himself to his feet and began staggering towards the lights. A fog blurred the buildings on each side of the passageway, a scarlet mist made the walls alternately recede and rush towards him until they vanished completely. Mark had no idea if he was going in the right direction or even if he was moving until the rough surface of a brick wall hit him in the face.
Luckily, Mark was progressing so slowly, he stopped instantly though the pain this caused in his body was such that he might as well have walked into a solid object a full speed. Throwing out his hands, he tried to hold onto the wall, tried to maintain his upright position and to get his breathing working again. As though he was taking part in a slow motion sequence of a movie, his hands slid down the wall and with a supreme effort of will he managed to turn round until he found himself sitting with his back to the wall. Slumping down in this way, Mark found a position where the pain was almost bearable. Every time he moved without taking care, the pain came coursing back along his raw nerve ends and seemed to explode in his mind. His breathing was coming in short gasps but try as he might he could not stop the pitiful noise this caused.
The time passed as Mark lay slumped against the wall and the pain receded into a dull ache while he did not move. He tried to focus on something, anything to take his mind of the attractive idea of letting go and sinking into unconsciousness. Every time steps passed along the road at the end of the passage or a car approached, hope blossomed in his breast only to flutter away once more when the footsteps passed by without turning into the courtyard. Without much conviction, he told himself over and over again that somebody was bound to come along and find him lying there.
Nobody came and he started to mentally rehearse walking back to the house unaided. In his mind he got up from where he lay crumpled against the wall, walked to the passage, turned left passed the shops, crossed the road leading to the playing fields, passed the yard gates and on to the front door of his house. He imagined himself splashing water over his face to wash away the blood, climbing the stairs and sinking into the comfort of his bed to sleep away the pain. It all seemed so simple. All he had to do was get to his feet and walk. Every time he convinced himself he was ready, the process of standing left him screaming in agony and he would subside back against the wall.
Why? he asked himself over and over again between attempts to rise. Why did they do this to me? The answer when it came unbidden to his thoughts, was straight forward but gave him no comfort. What else can I expect? he asked himself again. People like Bob and Bugsy have been let down by us all. They are sent out into the world half educated, sent out into the world, fodder for other men's ambitions. They are never consulted but are expected to obediently follow the instructions given to them by other people. It is not their place to question the policy laid down by either governments or managements or even unions. When times are easy, they are thrown crumbs of prosperity to keep them happy but when times become hard, they are expected to make all the sacrifices. They are required only to do what they are told. They are not required to think, to question or to form their own opinions. The problem is they do think, they do have opinions and they do question. Unable to articulate their thoughts in the language of the educated, they have great difficulty in getting their message across to the public, to get their voices heard above the well constructed speeches of others. In argument after argument, they are beaten down, not because their case is bad but because their limited vocabulary makes them sound ignorant when compared with the articulate speech of their opponents. Seeing this they turn inwards on themselves, attempting to overcome their disabilities by collective action but even this makes them prey to the articulate middle class advocates of the class struggle who use the very collective strength of the working class as a platform for middle class power. What we have done, Mark concentrated on this point, is give them the framework for participation without the means to really participate. The result is that pressure for change builds up in their society, unrelieved by any safety valve, until the lid blows off their self control. Violence is then the only answer, usually only words but sometimes by action. The very structure of society means that most of their violence has little real focus other than the protest march, the threatening picket line and only occasionally attacks on society itself. If they can manage to fit their managers, shareholders and companies into such a framework, they can channel their violence at these institutions but even then they usually stick to an unwritten set of rules.
But me, what are they to make of me? Mark asked himself. To many of them I am that most despised of people, somebody who appears to have changed sides. I am easy to ignore when I am away, only seen on rare occasions when I am on leave. Suddenly the outbreak of the strike has drawn me into their game but apparently playing with the other side. Not able to articulate their disgust in the face of my logical talk, the only thing they have left is to beat me up to show me their feelings.
Leaning against the wall fighting to overcome the pain, Mark found the logic of his argument obvious and he was unable to blame them too much for his condition. Because he had convinced himself of the truth, he did not cry vengeance on their heads but only felt pity for their motives.
For the umpteenth time that night, Mark gathered his wandering thoughts and focused on the journey home. Again he traced the path to his house and estimated the effort needed to walk that far. Pulling together all the scattered threads of his person, Mark concentrated on standing and walking towards the lights. His vision was blurred, one eye completely closed but he managed to lever himself upright using the wall for support. A voice moaned in his ear and urged him to sit down again but he ignored this and refused to listen. Bending forward in a kind of stuttering shuffle he set off, in this way mitigating the effect of the pain in his body. He did not think but placed one foot in front of the other and staggered off down the street.
He met nobody on the way and by the time he got home, his whole body felt as though it was being pounded apart by giant hammers. The blood that had stopped flowing while he was slumped against the wall was now once more dripping into his mouth and one side of his lip felt as though it was stretched over a tennis ball. His head throbbed and his chest was on fire. He had great difficulty finding the lock with his key and when the door opened, he fell into the hall."
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