I see all over Facebook that Councillor Josh Beynon is getting the crap kicked out of him again. This time it’s because he put an appeal out for the Penally camp residents. Predictably, the comments range from, send the buggers back, all the way to, nuke ‘em. Meanwhile, In the left corner, we have the “bleeding hearts” calling the naysayers thick. It’s all go in Pembs, let me tell you.
Sleepy seaside Pembrokeshire. Home of Tenby, Pembroke Castle and the Preseli hills where the Bluestones at Stonehenge came from. Quiet drives, lovely scenery, cliffs, wild sea, calm beaches, bustling little towns, it has it all. Holidaymakers have been coming here forever. People have been coming here to retire forever. It’s so bloody nice. But underneath, this fissure runs that makes the San Andreas Fault look like a split hair. The division in the county is so vast that it’s almost impossible to comprehend. It’s not just the boys at penally that have kicked this off. It was like this during Brexit too.
One thing strikes me here. If you look at the comments on both sides, all you’re really seeing is fear. Everyone knows that stuff is somehow off. But no one can work out what’s happening. The angry ones who hate the Penally residents see “them” being given more than they themselves get. They see charity being given to other people. They wonder where the charity is for them or for their families. That fear manifests as anger, and you see the rough language which people use to express that anger. These are people that haven’t really caught up that you can’t laugh at Friends anymore. They’re wondering what all this liberal thinking is about.
The liberal thinkers all see that everything has gone to shit. They in general have a bit more resources than the ones previously mentioned. Not always, but a lot of the time. Perhaps have better jobs, nicer homes, a bit of disposable income, a bit of time, a spare bedroom. They have the time to be sympathetic. They feel that as they have enough, or more than enough they can afford to give a bit more. They pride themselves on the fact that they’re educated, and that they can see this human tragedy unfolding when other less educated people cannot. They follow politics a bit. They know a bit about the history of not only the war in Iraq, but of Imperialist rule in general. They know a bit about how America and us like to go round duffing up other countries and nicking all their sweets. They follow finance markets and see the effect of wars around the globe. They’re concerned about climate change as well as their own investments. They care about the world. They have time to. The luxury to.
On the other hand, the less “educated”, the ones who work a million hours a week or are bringing up kids alone, who aren’t really paying attention, because they don’t have the time, or the inclination. Because they’re struggling, all they see is their struggle being ignored, while others get help. Others that they’ve been told they should hate because they fight our boys abroad. The boys that joined the army because they couldn’t get a job at home and wanted a good salary and future. Who wanted to be trained in something but there’s no training available anymore and to get into college requires more GCSEs than you’re inspired to ever take.
I hate to say it, but it all seems a bit class based to me. The proles have had enough, and the ones a bit more well off have also had enough, but they see the situation from opposite ends of the spectrum, and therefore come up with completely different opinions and solutions.
Ultimately, though, if you look closely, the things that bother them, are the things that bother the other ones too. They’re just affected in a different way. The sense of injustice felt by kind people, who are doing ok, and want to help others do ok, people like Josh Beynon, who works from the heart and with kindness, see a solution in collecting items that the guys in Penally will need, which certainly improves their immediate conditions. It’s not that he doesn’t care about his own. But in this instance, these are the guys he’s choosing to help. The people who are angry with him for this, are only angry, because they would really like someone to come and do the same for them, but they don’t feel seen in the same way. This is because it’s assumed in our society that people should not want hand-outs, or need hand-outs. So they feel guilt at their situation, because they do. If these people who are angry at Josh had enough for themselves, and their families were safe, with enough for themselves too, and they felt accomplished in their lives, and happier with their lot in general, they’d find more room in themselves to feel sympathetic to the plight of others.
It’s not that they’re mean or selfish, and they certainly feel sympathy and empathy for their own kind whom they see in such positions, because they are a tribe and a crew and a group and human nature is thus, to feel that way, to look after their own. Their kin. But if they looked a little deeper, they would see that the same system that keeps them poor, and struggling and lost, the same system that takes their pensions, treats its own citizens poorly, is the same system that bombs these other people from their homes and countries. While imperialist billionaires profiteer by starting and continuing their endless wars, the people at the bottom are left to pay.
War ensues afresh. They turn us against our fellows from another country, and then for their next trick, they turn the locals against each other. All the while, everyone, on every side, completely missing the point that it’s the failures of a Capitalist system that are to blame, not other people.
If a bunch of horses are in a big field, with lots of grass, and lots of space, and they’re all satiated and full, you won’t get any problems at all from those happy, fulfilled horses. The minute you make the food scarce, get everyone hungry, and then you introduce some nice hay, at that point you’re gonna have yourselves some problems. Those horses will fight tooth and nail for that hay, all believing that their need is the greater, all wanting to be top of the tree, head horse, the one that gets the food.
If you create scarcity, you create problems. Our society has created scarcity and now we’re all horses fighting over resources. Why is there a housing shortage? Why are there food banks? Why are there people freezing on the streets? Why is our mental health problem bigger than it’s ever been? Why do we have homeless veterans? It’s not because of refugees. They’re here for all the same reasons that we’re in need. We’re the sixth richest country in the world. We shouldn’t be fighting over who is the most entitled to get help. It shouldn’t even be a question.
We shouldn’t need to rehome all the refugees from countries we’ve bombed. We shouldn’t have to do Children in freaking Need. We shouldn’t have to have food banks and homeless shelters. We shouldn’t need charity and people collecting clothes for the needy. Josh Beynon shouldn’t have to be out and about, giving up his time to help people, just to be told he’s helping the wrong people. We’re all the right people. Our governments should be helping us. But they’re not.
Josh isn’t your enemy. Your government is. Pick on them.