It’s my turn on the BlogTour Cull by Tanvir Bush. It’s a dystopian satire with futuristic ideas fixed in realism with both politically and socially relevant topics.
About the Author
Dr Tanvir Bush is a novelist, photographer and filmmaker. Born in London, she lived and worked in Lusaka, Zambia, where she set up the Willie Mwale Film Foundation, working with minority communities and people affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Her feature documentary Choka! – Get Lost! was nominated for the Pare Lorenz Award for social activism in film in 2001. She returned to UK to study and write her first novel, Witch Girl, which was published in 2015. She is an associate lecturer in creative writing at Bath Spa University. She is based in Wiltshire with her guide dog and research assistant, Grace.
About the book
In a near-future Britain, the furore over the welfare state has reached fever pitch. A combination of state propaganda and aggressive austerity has divided the nation along poisonous lines: on one side, so-called freeloaders, crips and fakes; on the other, The Hard Working British Taxpayer.
The government has introduced the Care and Protect Bill, ostensibly to to relieve the economic burden of the disabled, elderly and vulnerable on society by opening residential care homes where they will be looked after by medical professionals.
But Alex – visually impaired and categorised as one of the dole-scrounging underclass – has stumbled across a troubling link between the disappearance of several homeless people and the extension of Grassybanks, her local care home… Helped by her guide dog, Chris, this discovery sets her on a path that leads all the way to the corrupt heart of government
It’s supposed to be satire, but sadly a lot of this is already a reality in the UK, after the privatisation of certain systems in charge of the care and assessment of the more vulnerable in our society. Bush takes it one step further into a nightmare of organised disposal of the weaker individuals or those who need support.
One of the more amusing elements of the story is the character of Chris, who in his own way is quite opinionated and contributes to the story in a way Alex is unable to. He is there to support her as she is tested emotionally and physically, as she becomes increasingly frustrated and suspicious of the system.
The book 1984 described the Big Brother construct our society would eventually evolve into, Cull accurately depicts the threat of privatisation to the most vulnerable in today’s society. This dystopian satire takes the disposable attitude of the Nazi regime for instance, the disposal of the vulnerable, least productive, physically and mentally impaired, and the undesirables, and combines this ideology with a futuristic setting. In fact some of the implemented laws are very similar to certain aspects of government driven health and social care ‘solutions’ which are already in place. In which case it is less futuristic and it’s more of a ‘as it is taking place as we read this’ scenario.
Unfortunately this is only one of the negatives of privatisation, and indeed this dangerously reckless and opportunistic profit-mongering of our health and social care systems has been found to be grossly negligent towards its clients – those who are in greatest need of support. The UN have iterated their 2016 report citing systematic violations of the rights of disabled people in the UK. The system is set-up to make people fail and/or be sanctioned, which leaves them in a vulnerable position. Subsequent deaths, attempts at suicide and suicides of people, who have to endure the biased and unfair procedures and assessments by untrained individuals, have been linked to said systems.
It’s a dystopian satire with futuristic ideas fixed in realism with both politically and socially relevant topics. Kudos to the author for shining a light on this particularly cruel injustice by wrapping it up in a clever little plot.
Published January 24th 2019 by Unbound