Austerity is a lie

Thanks to Stu Henderson for making this video.

Photo by Phil Carter at Wath Festival 2017

We don’t live in a time of austerity, we live in one of the richest countries in the world. We are surrounded by affluence. Every suburb of every town has its mansions and new builds, every marina is groaning with yachts and pleasure boats, every city centre is resplendent with billion pound office blocks boasting flourishing businesses, every town centre is studded with expensive coffee houses run by corporate chains who wallow in their tax free status. Our government is full of millionaire property owners claiming expenses for second and third homes; footballers and pop and movie stars live in unimaginable luxury. Television celebrates the cult of the overnight star and the instant millionaire lottery winner.

Austerity is a lie, it’s the way the government justifies the constant shift of money, power, property and resources to the corporations, to the banks, the foreign landlords and investors, the chemical companies, and themselves. The only austerity is that which our own government impose upon us for the sake of greed and power. We don’t live in an age of austerity – the most expensive rental property in London will cost you £90,000 a week – we live in an age of arrogant greed and gross inequality.

I wrote this song Faraway People after finding the Hephaestus site which was a long list of all the people up until the end of 2014 who had died directly as a result of austerity measures, cuts to their benefits by ATOS or because of the bedroom tax. The names are real and just a tiny few of the many who have suffered.

I recorded it for my new album, and since the Grenfell Towers fire I add this verse when singing it live:

They cut the police & they cut down the firemen
With the money they save they fill their own urns
The corporates thrive & their friends rise to power
While the food banks increase & the tower block burns

Mike Davies says The big picture is important, but sometimes you only get there via the small details. None of the names have been changed to protect the guilty, some you may recognise, others not, but all those mentioned in the lyrics have died as a direct result of the government’s cuts to incapacity benefit. They are the faraway people, but they could be your neighbour. They could be your family. They could be you.”


Faraway People the album will be released on 28th July 2017.

Reg Meuross Singer Songwriter Storyteller