How the Daily Mail Scored a UK Uncut Own Goal
Our very own Adam Ramsay stars in the Daily Mail today. I’d recommend clicking on the link. The more hits they get, the more likely they are to print more of these stories. It’s a great example of how the Daily Mail’s desire to publish scurrilous stories undermines their message. The article contains at its heart an ambivalence about wealth and power that undermines the Daily Mail’s criticism of UK Uncut.
I imagine what the Mail is trying to say is that UK Uncut protesters are not genuinely hurt by government cuts, they’re protest tourists. UK Uncut protesters are, claims the Mail, elements from outside, people who don’t understand Britain’s middle classes – because they are students, or because come from wealthy backgrounds. If they had to work for a living they’d understand that massive cuts to public services are a good thing.
But while that message is implicit in their story, what’s much clearer is that there is a massive coalition opposing cuts. From those whose family have owned property since the 13th century, through to the thousands of other UK Uncut protesters from more modest backgrounds – people right across society can see that cuts will damage everyone. By highlighting Adam’s family, the Mail show just how widespread opposition to cuts is.
Opposition to cuts is so widespread because the impact will be so widespread. Far from benefiting the middle classes the cuts will do substantial damage to everyone in Britain, apart from the spectacularly wealthy – multi-millionaires. It’s not just because more children from middle class families will have to pay £9000 a year fees for their children to go to University, or the loss of child benefit and Working Families Tax Credits. The brilliant Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett that equal societies are better at almost everything. Cuts will make Britain more unequal. And that inequality will make life worse for us all.
UK Uncut’s campaign highlights the problem of tax avoidance. We’ve targeted businesses owned and run by people who’ve avoided very substantial amounts of tax. Fortnum and Mason is owned by Whittington Investments, which dodged £40m in tax. That’s £40m that could be used to provide EMA for more students, to invest in care for the elderly, or to support homeless services – things this government says it has to cut. But instead it’s being used to line the pockets of the already very wealthy.
Having a proper day care for our older people, properly educating our young people and caring for the most vulnerable are things that benefit us all. A society that spends money on its shared future is better than one that gives money to the rich to spend on themselves. The Government’s cuts aim to slash spending on our shared future, and give it to the rich. It’s in the interests of almost everyone, even the descendants of Baronets, to make sure that we create a good society, not a greed society.
So thanks, for once, to the Daily Mail for highlighting just how much of Britain will be damaged by the cuts. Thanks again to the Mail for showing that you don’t have to be in receipt of benefits to see the positive impact a more equal society can have. And thanks to the Mail for showing that almost everyone will be worse off due to the government’s cuts agenda.