Jamie Henson

The UK is turning into the US. And it shouldn't be.

May 8th, 2015

Now, let me just start in saying that as far as politics go, I’m not exactly a passionate activist - I’m not going to pretend to be one all of a sudden as news of the recent election rolls off the press. But, here’s my two cents on the matter (or one penny via the current exchange rate).

The United Kingdom worries me.

Or, at least, not primarily because of the outcome of the recent election (it was awful on almost every front, whilst not entirely unexpected), but the mindset of a good chunk of the population.

Rising or falling any distance through the social ‘ranks’ in England is hard. It has its grounds in centuries-old civil and political infrastructure, and law. There is a class system. Always has been, and always will be whilst we remain a constitutional monarchy. If you’re born as a part of the working or the middle class, then unless you’re an outlier, you’ll die as a part of the working or the middle class. By the same token, if you’re born into acres of land and a fast-track to Eton, then there you shall remain.

The British social structure is a collection of insoluble liquids in a tall, vertically-tapering beaker, with each liquid unable to mix with the others. Give it a good stir and globules can break off from their respective plateaus and fly all over the place, up or down or side to side, but they will never truly mix - despite the distance they’ve travelled. Eventually, given time, the system will revert to its original state.

All people in early/mid adulthood are the blobs flying all over the beaker - trying to find their place in the scheme of things, and trying to mix in somewhere. I’m a blob currently a bit further from my origin.

The USA is simultaneously the most beautiful, and the ugliest country I have ever been to. It is constitutionally unburdened by the class system that is so engrained into the traditional fibres of British living, but at the same time it lacks the sensibilities or the common sense that makes Britain, in my view, a healthier place to live. Or at least, Britain at the moment. I can’t speak for how it’ll be in five years time.

Speaking objectively, the Conservatives have good and bad points. Labour aren’t the universally sparkling alternative, here and armed with a power-washer to scrub any blue-tinted stains from parliamentary seats. Their historic dismantling yesterday boldly showed (on Game of Thrones “Red Wedding” proportions) that they lacked conviction in demonstrating this. But every step the Conservatives take makes the UK more like the US. And I hate that. I don’t want to see the UK become this country.

USA works for the Americans. Here, money directly equates to power. With enough funding, and a US birth certificate, you could be President. You could do pretty much anything. Freedom: great. In a sandbox, this is actually the case, and the UK would comparatively be seen as antiquated and oppressive. But the reality doesn’t follow.

For America, the previously-mentioned beaker example contains not different layers of insoluble liquids that hold on to a rigid structure, but millions of tiny particles of sediment in one vast solution. Depending on their density (with the amount of money, education etc. inversely proportional to physical density), some float to the top, and others don’t. There is no layering here: if you sink to the bottom, there you lie. San Francisco is a big culprit of this. There is extreme wealth and staggering poverty within one snap of a camera’s lens.

Now, mix together the two beaker examples, and what do you get? A volatile mess. Where the lower layers sink to the bottom, and the upper layers rise to the top. The middle is caught in a vacuum, and disperses into dilution. People constrained by class, in a society where money shouts the loudest.

What worries me is not necessarily the Conservatives themselves, but the willingness of people to opt-in for this path. To focus on the here and now and not consider where all this is going. When everything’s sold off, what then?

I’m nowhere near politically knowledgeable enough to go into heavy detail on particular policies and such. I’m just commenting on what I am seeing, comparing where I am to where I came from, and looking at where that place is going. And right now, I don’t like it.