Let’s declare war on Jeremy Kyle and his idle-bashers
The apathy of many of those Kyle denounces is driven more by the hopelessness and inhumanity of modern work than idleness
I say a war needs to be declared on Kyle and those of his faux-furious ilk who have grown filthy-rich and famous from the ritual humiliation and exploitation of the very people they admonish.
Many of those sidling up to Cameron and co in supporting the austerity cuts display a shocking ignorance of the conditions of such “idleness” (I can’t use that word without feeling like a dusty old schoolmistress), as well as the societal limitations that stand in the way of overcoming what is less an idleness and more a deeply entrenched apathy.
One great man who was anything but idle and who spent his life helping workers would certainly not have agreed with Kyle. That man was Jimmy Reid, to whom thousands yesterday bade farewell. He staged the famous 1971-72 work-in at Upper Clyde shipyards that forced the Conservatives to halt their closure. The right to work demanded by Reid et al, however, is not incongruent with championing those same people Kyle rages against. Reid, drawing on the core sociological concept of alienation, called at the same time for humanity around the issue of work. It is something Nina Power recently called for – a whole revision of the nature of work.
My own father, an Irish immigrant, worked as a manual labourer for 35 years. His work ethic was exemplary. Unfortunately, his sense of self-worth was nonexistent. He died in 2007, two weeks after his 59th birthday. Throughout all those years of hard work he had one holiday. He could afford little else and, to be fair, his work ethic was such that he never really understood the concept of holidays.
In his children he instilled, to various degrees, the same. I began to question it in my 20s when I discovered that, even if I earned well above the average salary, I was still not going to get the things that society continues to tell us are the markers of success – a proper home, a holiday abroad once a year… nothing too extravagant!
I suspect that many of the “idle”, mired in alienation, realise this and are literally hope-less. Studies have also shown that minimum-wage lifestyles are of no advantage, certainly not to one’s health.
People like Kyle need to be rebuked at every opportunity – for their ignorance and their self-satisfied attempts to curry favour with those in power. There needs to be a war declared on the idle-bashers – a war of education, of driving the message that no one should spend their entire life working in jobs that just pay the bills, but, far worse, cripple their self-esteem, spirit and humanity.