What Does a 17th Century English Poem Have to Say About a 21st Century Cost of Living Crisis?

“The Thief and the Goose” is a satirical poem written in the 17th century that uses humour and wit to comment on the corruption and injustices of the UK legal system. The poem highlights the injustice and inequality that was brought about by the Enclosure Laws that were first passed by the UK Parliament in the mid 17th century. Enclosure Acts transferred around a fifth of the total land area to private landowners, making the rich even richer. Enclosure was also a catalyst for mass migration from rural to urban communities, forcing people into the factories of the Industrial Revolution. Factories which were owned by the same ruling class who benefited from the theft of the land from the very people who they then profited from. This is a simple example of a political system that is run by the elite, for the elite at the expense of the many. Fast forward almost 300 years and things haven’t changed. Parliament still works for the super rich and all of the major UK political parties are fully wedded to the politics of privatisation and policies that channel huge amounts of public money into the offshore bank accounts of an ever growing number of billionaires.