Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Odious feudalism

One of the most odious features of feudalism was the idea that the peasants - virtual slaves, bound to the land and forced to work by constant threat of force - should love their lord, to the extent that they should regularly perform extra work for him for free (a practice known as "boon days"). Sadly, it seems that Britain's great royal wank this weekend has revived that attitude:

A group of long-term unemployed jobseekers were bussed into London to work as unpaid stewards during the diamond jubilee celebrations and told to sleep under London Bridge before working on the river pageant.

Up to 30 jobseekers and another 50 people on apprentice wages were taken to London by coach from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth as part of the government's Work Programme.

Two jobseekers, who did not want to be identified in case they lost their benefits, said they had to camp under London Bridge the night before the pageant. They told the Guardian they had to change into security gear in public, had no access to toilets for 24 hours, and were taken to a swampy campsite outside London after working a 14-hour shift in the pouring rain on the banks of the Thames on Sunday.

The security company who "hired" them of course thinks they should be grateful to be given such a fantastic opportunity to work long hours in degrading and unsanitary conditions for free. It's apparently just "the nature of the business". But you can bet they weren't sleeping under bridges or getting changed in public. Likewise, you can bet that they were paid for their work, rather than being forced to do it for free. But then, they're not peasants...