Left and right defined the 20th century. What’s next?

Once upon a time, housing policy was about building houses. The NHS had something to do with treating the sick. Schools were places where we sent our children to be educated. Social care supported society’s most vulnerable members. And social security was about guaranteeing an income for those who had no other means. In the 21st century, they won’t be talking about decent housing anymore, but about decent behaviour and decent neighbourhoods. The sick, in a throwback to the morality of the workhouse, will be divided into the deserving and undeserving of treatment. And the education system will be more interested in the contents of children’s stomachs than their minds. Social services will finally come to the conclusion that we’re all vulnerable now. And the social security system will be deemed unsustainable and prone to “timebombs,” as the working population gets sicker and older by the day. Despite this, the authorities will continue to claim to be improving “outcomes” and promoting our “wellbeing” despite our refusal to be officially “happy.” And we in turn will be rendered mute by an impenetrably empty rhetoric generated by a vacuous managerial political culture devoid of anything that might engage those it reluctantly courts only when it absolutely has to. And yet everybody will be urged to become “active” citizens.



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