Of Walking Abortion

manicstreetpreacher hopes he’ll be forgiven for spitting his dummy out for a brief moment.

I knew that someday I was going to die.  And I knew before I died, two things would happen to me.  That number one, I would regret my entire life.  And number two, I would want to live my life over again.

– Hubert Selby Jnr in an interview sampled at the beginning of “Of Walking Abortion”, Manic Street Preachers, The Holy Bible.

The following is the extract of a comment by Edmund Standing on his post about Rage Against The Machine winning the UK Christmas Number One:

I hate the middle class SWP pseudo-revolutionaries who have lived a nice life thanks to capitalism – and most often their parents’ bank accounts – then wank on about class struggle, the proletariat, Marx, Guevara, etc.

RATM are posterboys for that kind of shit.  Would they want to live in a ‘revolutionary’ Communist State?  In their minds I think yes.  Doubtful if it became a reality.

I don’t pretend to be some working class hero – I know I’m not. I don’t pretend to want to live in some Communist ‘utopia’ – I don’t want to.

I believe in social justice and a capitalist society that is more fair.  My pay is frankly a disgrace for the work I do (I mean my ‘real world’ work, not writing on the internet), but I’m not going to start pretending to be part of a revolutionary cadre and droning on about Marx.  I’m especially not going to think ‘fuck you I won’t do what you tell me’ is anything but stroppy teenage sentiment.

I just hate the fact that a whole load of Facebook junkies are feeling all smug for sticking a group of people who promote an ideology that resulted in the death of millions at the number one spot for Christmas.

This is my response, which I was originally going to post in direct reply to Standing, but I thought it was unfair to scar his blog with such a self righteous whine from a white middle class boy:

My pay is frankly a disgrace for the work I do

So is mine!  I probably get paid nearly twice as much as Standing, but I’ve had to spend tens of thousands in obtaining my qualifications with a university degree and a postgraduate professional skills diploma (£8K for what was a nine month course, plus living expenses while being out of work!).

I’m 27 years old.  I’ve recently qualified as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.  And thanks to the recession and my former employers being a load of ungrateful, callous, twats, I’ve had to up sticks and move to the sticks because it was the only place in the country where I could get a job.  It’s about 250 miles and a nine hour coach trip home to see friends and family.

I’m renting a room in a shared house with a thirty-something electrician who has already bought and sold his own houses, runs a Land Rover and goes on holiday abroad about five times a year.

I can’t even afford to run a car and will have to inherit a lot of money or sell internal organs before I can get on the property ladder.

I had a horrible epiphany in the gym a few weeks ago that I am a product of Blair’s Britain: this buy-now-pay-back-whenever culture that has caused the credit crunch.

I feel that I was mis-sold my higher education.  “They” all said that you had to have a university education to get anywhere in the world.  “They” all said that your earning potential skyrockets if you have a degree that you’ll be able to pay it back no problem.

“They” also said that you had to have few months travelling on your CV, so I racked up £3K on a credit card during my gap year.

No one realises quite what a burden debt is until you have to start paying it back.  I now envy some of my former school colleagues who went straight into work after finishing their A Levels or even GCSEs and now have their own houses and cars.  Perhaps their earning potential is not as high as mine, but the difference is easily made up by them not having hundreds of pounds coming out of their bank accounts paying off student debts.

And don’t even get me started on the 750 quid that Gordon Brown steals from my pay cheque every month to fund his colleague’s expenses claims, red tape for doctors, teachers and policemen and allowing the NEETs to have as many children as they want free of charge.

I do at least have a private pension which is 5% of my salary after tax of course, and will then be taxed further.

Borrowing money makes you a slave to The Man.  The first loan I took out was my student loan for university when I was 18.  I accumulated £11,000 over three years to go towards my university tuition fees (another unwelcome invention of the Blair government) and some of my living costs.  The remainder was funded by taking crap summer jobs like waiting on tables and packing boxes in factories 8 – 12 hours at a time.  That debt didn’t seem to matter because I didn’t have to start paying it back until I was earning over £15,000 per annum.

I then borrowed £5,000 at the start of 2004 to buy a car because I needed one in order to commute to a new job in a location that was inaccessible to public transport.  I had worked hard during my third year at university and obtained a 2:1 overall when it looked like I would have to make do with a Desmond Tutu.  I felt that I had deserved it.  I actually left the job after less than a week after a run-in with another member of staff who is probably the most evil and disgusting person I have every met in my life.  The firm were a bunch of cowboys working for the dregs of society at any rate.  I was better off without them and found a job with a much more respectable firm shortly afterwards.

But the car loan met I was tied to The Man for good and stayed in jobs I did not enjoy simply because I needed money to keep up the repayments.

Being a male under 25 years old, car insurance was a rip off.  The car, a V-reg 1.0 litre Vauxhall Corsa was a bag of shite.  It would have been ok for a housewife to go to the shops a few times a week.  Practically every service and MOT something had gone on it that needed replacing for hundreds of pounds.  Not enough to send it to the knackers yard though.  And again, thanks to Blair and Brown, the petrol costs were obscene thanks to all the fuel duty lumped on it.

I was trying to save up for a gap year abroad.  I would have been able to travel around the world five star more than once on the amount I wasted on that horrible bucket of bolts.

I did my Legal Practice Course at The Factory of Law which entailed borrowing another £12,000.  I was rather hoping that it would be a re-run of university, except this time I would do it the way that I wanted to do it.  I would have a proper work/life balance and I would score top marks throughout the year.  My fellow-students would be mature and professional and I would have much in common with them.

It didn’t work out like that.

The tutors at the Factory did not care a hoot about you.  You were there to fill a seat, pay your fees and get through the course as quickly as possible.  I dubbed it the “Factory” of Law because they sat you on a conveyor belt, opened up your cranium and poured as much legal information as humanly possibly within 9 months and moved you on.  I was appalled by the attitude of my fellow-students.  It was the first time since leaving secondary school that I had to put up with snide comments about my dulcet English tones.  There were a few good individuals there, as long as you went out of your way to find them.

During the Legal Practice Course I acquired a training contract with a firm, but it was not due to start for a year after finishing the course.  I went travelling to New Zealand and Australia.  I had some good times.  I came home with a lot of impressive photos of snow capped peaks and red oceans of scrub.  I also had to face some of the worst shit that I have ever happened to me in my life.  Was it worth the expense and the tribulation?  The jury is still out.

Now, just over two years away from thirty I have realised that you are nobody to your employers.  A number on a balance sheet.  Someone for them to exploit.  A slave to the system.  Working for your retirement (if I can even save up enough of a decent pension before I’m 70) and then I won’t have to work anymore.   That is what the education system prepares you for; not to excel, not to stand  on your own two feet.  All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.

Little people in little houses
Like maggots small blind and worthless
The massacred innocents’ blood stains us all

Who’s responsible – you fucking are
Who’s responsible – you fucking are
Who’s responsible – you fucking are
Who’s responsible – you fucking are
Who’s responsible

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One Response to “Of Walking Abortion”

  1. Oliver Lea Says:

    “I feel that I was mis-sold my higher education. “They” all said that you had to have a university education to get anywhere in the world. “They” all said that your earning potential skyrockets if you have a degree that you’ll be able to pay it back no problem.”

    It’s very true. Education isn’t a get-into-wealth free card. My brother-in-law has a degree-in-Law (see what I did there?) but, because he doesn’t know the right people, he’s worked his backside off as an assistant manager in Waterstones since graduating.

    I certainly won’t be funnelling my kids into uni unless they really feel the calling to go, and have a strong idea of what vocational aptitudes they have.

    The biggest lie of society is that we should all just “follow our dreams” and do what we want to do. So people pursue a dream of doing a degree in Media and becoming a successful movie director, but instead end up pulling pints.

    I had a dream of designing computer games as a teenager, and had an aptitude for programming, so I went for it. I left after two years after realising I wasn’t enough of a geek. Perhaps the small mercy is that to date I’ve never earned enough to have to pay back my student loan. Not looking like it’ll happen any time soon either.

    At almost 29, I’m only just now realising what my REAL aptitudes and passions are, but with a mortgage to pay, car and van to run, wife and kids to clothe and feed (the majority of it paid for by unbelieveably generous in-laws), pursuing them is not an option.

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