By Lucette Davies

As COP26 is occupying so many minds right now, the slogan “System Change, not Climate Change” is one most people have probably heard. So why system change? What do we mean by that?

System change is the factor that unites so many campaigners. Because whether it is the environment, health, inequality, housing, employment or education you care about it is system change that is needed.

Perhaps that sounds radical, extreme, impossible or dangerous but, the facts are there for all to see. It is the political and economic system upon which our country, and many others, operate that is failing the people. It is capitalism.

Capatalism involves prioritising the creation of capital or profit and we have been told that would be good for our society. We were told competition would drive up quality and drive down prices. Instead the world has seen the creation of a few large conglomerates with consumers getting little choice and politicians being scared to touch them.

Wages have been falling, GDP has stagnated, consumer choice is limited and tax avoidance/ evasion has escalated. We see a revolving door of politicians who assist large corporations while in office who then get an extremely well paid job with them afterwards.

There are just 100 corporations globally who are responsible for 71% of greenhouse gas emissions. In the UK poverty is driven up by the low wages often paid by the largest wealthiest corporations. Hunger is driven upwards by the prices in our supermarkets like Tesco whose pre-tax profits rose to £551m in the first half of 2020. Our population is largely uninformed about what is happening politically as just six billionaires have majority voting shares in most UK newspapers.

The banking sector is notoriously corrupt and holds responsibility for the 2008 global financial crisis. It was the greed of bankers who desperate for bigger bonuses lent money irresponsibly that caused all the havoc that was unleashed on the world from 2008 onwards. But of you have a society built on the creation of capital then greed has to be seen as a by-product.

We place value on people with money, on goods that are expensive, on schools that cost a fortune and on those employed in high powered jobs. But it is people with the most money who leave others with less than they need. It is the people in power who are failing to use that power for the benefit of others. The schools that cost a fortune are turning out young people who often go on to keeping this system that fails us all going.

We need to change our sense of values. We need to recognise who it is who will champion our rights. To develop a new system based on prioritising the needs of society rather than the creation of capital would be socialism. But for many the concept of socialism has been dirtied by the propaganda and lies told by those with a vested interest in capitalism.

We all need this now more than ever. But we do need to recognise that we can’t sit back and hope those in power will provide this. They have a vested interest in not doing so. It is down to us.

Lucette Davies – Opinion