The first part of this book could be dismissed as nostalgia, but I think that would be short-sighted. Dennis Glover revisits his childhood, working-class suburb of Doveton and compares its past prosperity to its present day poverty. He uses this comparison as an example of the broader nation. The experience of Doveton isn’t limited to one small town.
Glover makes it clear that economic changes and “progress” since the 1980s haven’t been as positive as we are led to believe. Economic growth is relative and depends what frame it is viewed through.
Overall a nation may be booming – but what is more important, the creation of wealth or the way created wealth is distributed?
Glover shows that in the national pursuit of “increased productivity” and economic growth, an increasing number are being pushed aside, left as unwilling sacrifices to those pursuits, and are being left out of the sharing of the nation’s (allegedly increasing) wealth,
A statement like: “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” can easily be dismissed as clichéd, but Glover shows the reality behind that statement where people who would have once been part of relatively well-off working class families, have now been left with no opportunity of getting secure employment, while others “profit” from the savings made through disposing of an “expensive” workforce.
Members of the one time working class are accused of not wanting to work, and yet the reality is usually a matter of there being no opportunity to work.
As a kind of postscript to the comments I’ve made about Glover’s book, last night I saw a story on the TV news about the future of local Technical Colleges. Apparently the Government is looking at closing the colleges and making their courses accessible online only. This gives them even more assets to sell off (the real estate etc) and also gives them “savings” on teaching and administrative staff formerly employed on each campus.