The Potemkin village and post Christian morality.

Grigory Potemkin, the favourite lover of the Russian Empress Catharine the Great built ‘prefabricated’ villages for the Empress Catharine to stay in on her travels. The idea was she would be impressed with the quality of the housing and people (also drafted in from the Potemkin equivalent of central casting) and would think that old Grigory had done a good job developing the area.

Now then, given that they were lovers and she was no fool, there is a suspicion that she knew and he knew she knew, and apparently she kept changing the route to make things more difficult and give him another challenge to overcome.

But whether it happened or not, the idea of sprucing the place up for inspection, drafting handsome and pretty people in for the photographs, and generally making sure that there is nobody there to rock the boat is a well practiced one.

A nice current example is occurring in Baku where there is going to be a motor race and the eyes of the world will be on the city. Given that the eyes of the world include the world’s TV cameras, an effort is being made to spruce the place up. Even fine examples of Soviet Brutalism can be transformed into something much nicer with the addition of Styrofoam mouldings and cornices. A few balconies never go amiss, although Styrofoam isn’t in the list of recommended materials for them.





This does raise interesting possibilities. Obviously some of the buildings do look better for the treatment, but the treatment is only temporary. I haven’t a clue how long Styrofoam will last out there. But when it inevitably starts falling off, will the inhabitants miss it, and even contemplate having it re-done? Or perhaps have it re-done with a different design, perhaps mock Corinthian columns, or Gothic tracery, or perhaps some of the fantastic blues you get in Samarkand. Has a whole new industry been inadvertently created? It would be a happy irony if the income generated by the Styrofoam architecture industry exceeded that contributed to the economy by the motor racing.

But the thing about the Potemkin village is that it tells you who is important. For Potemkin, there was only one person who mattered and who had to be impressed and that was the Empress. One woman, one vote, and only one vote mattered. Obviously the peasantry didn’t matter, the fact they could see the man behind the curtain was irrelevant.

It’s the same with Baku. The audience that matters is not the local people; it’s the TV cameras of the world. Whether it’s a political gesture to show what a wonderful place it is under the current government or a cunning attempt to lure tourists because it’s a wonderful place to visit I don’t know.

But all in all, the creator of the Potemkin village knows her market. She has set her stall out to target one particular sector of the ‘electorate’ and to convince them of what she or he has to say.

What is embarrassing is when somebody makes a great effort to target their audience only to discover their audience is utterly uninterested. All that does is proves how out of touch the perpetrator of the scheme is.

A fine example of this is the current ‘scandal’ over Culture Secretary John Whittingdale. For non-UK residents he is a single man who had a six months relationship with a woman he met over the internet. It turns out that she’s a sex-worker. He claims he didn’t know and on the assumption that meant she wasn’t invoicing him, fair enough.

Interestingly the newspapers knew about it but largely ignored it as a non-story. ‘Single man has relationship with single woman’ isn’t news. Apparently the relationship collapsed when a journalist quietly phoned Mr Whittingdale and told him about his girlfriend’s day job.

But the story gets interesting. In the UK we have a pro-privacy lobby group called Hacked Off. They were apparently furious that Whittingdale’s relationship with this woman was not exposed and in a BBC Newsnight interview said newspapers had an ‘obligation’ to tell the story.

Read that sentence again. Please note I didn’t make this story up. I write fantasy and SF, there are rules about suspension of disbelief that reality obviously doesn’t feel obliged to follow!

The suspicion is that because Whittingdale is the one who could decide about reforms for the BBC under charter renewal, the BBC jumped at this chance to start a scandal which would cause Whittingdale to resign, with the hope that his successor would be more nervous about upsetting the BBC.


But stop and think about it. However you frame it the story is still ‘Single man has relationship with single woman.’

Unless of course you’re seeing things through the prism of the teaching of St Paul where he says in 1 Corinthians “Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, ‘The two shall be one flesh.”

Here Paul is only following Christ who said ““Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”


But what the BBC forgot in its enthusiasm for a good scandal is that in the UK we are a post Christian society. Most people seem to feel than monogamy is a good thing, and most people would frown on a husband or wife having an affair. But in a post Christian society who cares about a single man having a relationship with a single woman to whom he is not married?


It’s rather amusing to think that the trendy intellectual types at the BBC have got so out of touch with the rest of society that they haven’t realised how the world has changed. Even more ironically it has changed in the direction that a lot of them were pushing for. But it does make it considerably harder to blackmail ministers.

Certainly Grigory Potemkin would never have allowed himself to get so out of touch. That could have been why he was the favourite lover of the Russian Empress Catharine (as opposed to just ‘a lover’.)
And with this shocking revelation, Aunty BBC has doubtless thrown her skirts over her head and rushed hysterically from the room.


Yes, it has been a quiet day today, only a set of triplets last night, two sets of twins this morning and another set of twins this afternoon.

In a post Christian society does the devil still make work for idle hands?



Yet more observations on rural life. We have cattle, environmentalists, a plethora of new thinking as Defra plunges into the new world but more importantly we still have our Loyal Border Collie, Sal. She is joined in a starring role by Billy, the newly arrived farm cat. As well as this we have diversification opportunities for those wishing to serve niche markets, living in the past, and the secret of perfect hair.

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51 thoughts on “The Potemkin village and post Christian morality.

  1. Sue Vincent April 14, 2016 at 2:59 pm Reply

    Have you ever read ‘I am Lucifer’ by Clyde B Classon? It would probably answer that last question…

    • jwebster2 April 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm Reply

      Never read of it but it looks interesting 🙂

      • Sue Vincent April 14, 2016 at 3:58 pm

        A bit dated now, but well worth a read.

  2. The Story Reading Ape April 14, 2016 at 3:08 pm Reply

    Well said Jim – the members of Hacked Off and Auntie BBC must have reached the bottom of the same barrel and found it empty apart from a thin (almost transparent) film of stupidity and decided to use THEIR freshly laundered linen to wipe it, then hang it on the public washing line and declare it belonged to someone else 😄😄😄

    • jwebster2 April 14, 2016 at 3:51 pm Reply

      I’m surprised that the BBC and Hacked Off are so sexist that they feel that sex-workers cannot have ordinary relationships 🙂

  3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 15, 2016 at 2:06 pm Reply

    When the, uh, undesirable relationship came out, was there an attempt to cover it up with public money? To blackmail important people with it? Does the politician advocate for one thing but do another? Those are the more important questions. And they have to do with more than sex.

    Post-Christian is a relative thing; not everyone is as blasè about morality as everyone else. Some people think a married politician with children is having the same difficulties in life – balance of work and home life – as they are, and are unhappy to hear about the excuses.

    And then the media blow up anything to epic proportions…

    It’s a new world. In that, I’m not sure it is a better world. But I can’t do anything about it except not let it influence me.

    • jwebster2 April 15, 2016 at 2:55 pm Reply

      Well actually, given that the BBC is effectively funded by public money, they were using public money to blackmail a public figure 🙂 As far as I know the politician in question has shown no particular enthusiasm for lecturing the rest of us on morality, I think he’s divorced but I don’t think that it was a ‘spectacular’ divorce.

      Personally I am afraid I find myself sitting on the sidelines commenting to the ‘oh so right on’ people at the BBC etc, “Well you wanted a post-Christian country, now you’ve got it. I hope you’re enjoying it.”

      Apparently the UK is the most secular country in Europe, even though some of the others are more formally secular. Seriously we’re getting priests coming here from Africa, from the various missionary orders, and when they leave Africa their superiors shake their heads and tell them that the UK is the worlds toughest mission field and they’d do far more good going pretty much anywhere else.
      For those of us left who still regard ourselves trying to follow Christ the level of ignorance about Christianity comes as a repeated shock. I was talking to somebody who was in school and asked a class of 11 year olds what Easter celebrated. One kid thought it might be the birth of Jesus, the rest just assumed chocolate and chickens. That’s one reason I wrote the blog

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 15, 2016 at 3:23 pm

        I liked your Easter post.

        The level of ignorance is impressive. One of the people I corresponded with on Wattpad is a young English writer – who hadn’t heard of the Book of Job in the Old Testament.

        When you assume a certain Judeo-Christian background (not necessarily practice) in your readers, it is startling.

        Of my main characters, one is a practicing Catholic woman, one a brought-up Catholic Irishman, and the third a completely secular woman brought up with a vague Protestant background. I wanted variety.

      • jwebster2 April 15, 2016 at 5:27 pm

        One of the advantages of the fantasy writer is that if you want, you merely have to allude vaguely to religions 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 15, 2016 at 7:27 pm

        I can’t remember much of any theology in Tolkien.

        I’ve seen it well handled – and can’t remember the name of the story or the writer, darn it. It’s another facet of humanity (alienity?) to explore, ignore, or take for granted in the background if you choose.

      • jwebster2 April 15, 2016 at 7:52 pm

        Apparently there are those who see in the LotR a lot of Christian Allegory. Rather more subtle than that of CS Lewis but then they were friends

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 15, 2016 at 8:02 pm

        Quite subtle; I don’t remember much specific except possibly for the resurrection of Gandalf and an identification of Sauron as complete evil, partially banished. The hobbits had no religious ceremonies; the elves and humans didn’t; and the ghost black riders have no direct parallel unless you want to call them fallen angels – but they were supposedly human kings originally.

        So not a lot. I don’t see much allegory beyond good and evil opposed.

        There is a lot of magic – ‘powers’ somehow built into a ring? Staffs that give off lightning bolts. Orcs grown in a vat.

        Kind of like Star Wars. Force just there (no individual creator), usable for good or evil. Calms the religious impulse without expecting much of the participants – perfect for a secular world. Just not very satisfying to thinkers, and with little hope beyond the present life.

        Entertaining. Enjoyable. Feel-good.

        Am I getting too far off track? Cut off discussion.

      • jwebster2 April 15, 2016 at 8:10 pm

        not sure about the details. The idea of the journey was apparently important.
        Tolkien himself said the war of the ring was NOT an allegory for WW2. His comment was that had it been, the Dark Tower would have been occupied rather than overthrown

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 15, 2016 at 10:51 pm

        It is definitely a mythological quest story, one where the journey ends well, though some pay an inordinate price.

      • jwebster2 April 16, 2016 at 6:25 am

        I think that’s where the allegory lies, but I wonder if it’s something people see rather than something the author intended 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 15, 2016 at 3:25 pm

        Also, I didn’t realize the UK was the worst in Europe. I was thinking more of the empty cathedrals in Paris.

      • jwebster2 April 15, 2016 at 5:28 pm

        We have the situation here were young couples bringing their child forward for baptism struggle to find friends who are baptised who can stand as God parents.

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 15, 2016 at 7:24 pm

        That is sad; the godparent relationship is a good one for the kid – someone to flee to when their parents are being totally unreasonable during the kid’s teen years.

        And not having someone you know well as godparent to your child means they probably won’t stay in touch.

        I sing in the Princeton U. tiny Catholic choir for Sunday Mass; every year we have a group of college students who are welcomed into the church at the Easter Vigil – this year there were 8. Some baptized, some just the remaining sacraments. It is lovely – and every year there are between 5 and 10.

      • jwebster2 April 15, 2016 at 7:51 pm

        I’ve attended Baptisms held in Eucharist services where of the entire party, only the parents and one elderly aunt actually went forward for communion
        But on the other hand we’re losing those who turned up out of habit and are gaining those who are seeking

  4. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 16, 2016 at 9:34 pm Reply

    I hope so; people need more in their lives than the latest iPhone. And they need to think more about the other people in our world, the ones who can’t afford iPhones. For some, it comes when they have children; for others, too late – when they are in church for a funeral.

    It saves a lot of time not to have to go to church on Sunday – or to go watch your children play soccer because that’s when the tournaments are organized, on weekends. You can fit one more scheduled activity in – or rest from your week.

    • jwebster2 April 17, 2016 at 5:51 am Reply

      funerals are when you see some peoples’ world collapse. As a church warden you help at a lot and I remember being told of one where it was a successful 40 something who’d died.
      A pretty pointless stupid accident, not an illness. If anything his own ‘fault.’
      But the rest of the congregation were in total shock. They were a generation who ‘had it all’ and suddenly all they could see was the box at the front

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 17, 2016 at 6:51 am

        We’re used to solving problems, no realizing that they’re completely over and unsolvable. It is a shock.

        We’re older parents – had our kids late. We’re trying to get ourselves into a retirement community – but still have a daughter at home with a sleep disorder that is finally being dealt with. She needs a home until she’s on her own! Especially with something that makes it impossible for her to work. Finally found a specialist…

        But I can’t make progress until this is over, and I feel as if I am in suspended animation. Hope we’re still coherent enough to make the choices and plans – most people wait too long, and then their children have to make the decisions.

      • jwebster2 April 17, 2016 at 8:10 am

        Moving into retirement communities is rare in the UK, but is being contemplated. But yes, there can be a sense of unfinished work that needs doing before you can move on.

        On an entirely different topic, you asked about the ‘cover up’ etc over Whittingdale

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 18, 2016 at 5:30 am

        One of the main reasons for moving into these communities is that, once you’re in, you are supposed to get medical care for life – without all the paperwork, I hope.

        It’s the paperwork that is making us want out of here. Between fighting the roofers, and getting appliances fixed; lawn and garden maintenance and snow removal; I just want it to be someone else’s responsibility to deal with it – and I want a swimming pool.

        And dinner every night.

        And a list of vetted people who do odd jobs for your unit – because they’re around all the time, they are very reasonably prices.

        My time for writing – a tiny proportion of my day with my brain actually working – is being eaten away at by chores anyone could do.

        And I don’t want my kids having to deal with finding a place to put mom and dad because mom and dad didn’t go their own choosing – England is small, but the US is vast, and my kids are already scattered: San Francisco, Texas, and the last one doesn’t know where, but somewhere in the Southwest… We can’t be burdening them.

      • jwebster2 April 18, 2016 at 6:44 am

        Most people over here die at home (or at least in hospital or a hospice having their final illness treated.) Indeed there is a ‘Hospice at Home’ charity that helps people die at home. It’s interesting that two similar cultures should diverge on such things.
        With regard to distance, in the UK we measure travel in time as much as miles. Remember there are only four states in the USA with a population density higher than the entire UK (New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut)
        England is just slightly less densely populated than New Jersey, so travel is complicated 😦

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 18, 2016 at 3:17 pm

        I’ve been there once – years ago. And have watched some TV shows which show a bit of the traffic and talk about it.

        As for dying at ‘home’ – that’s fine, but dementia gets 50% of the people who live to 85, and they are not served well at home with intermittent caretakers, and can be very hard for a spouse or children to help.

        The CCRCs keep you in your own home/unit as long as possible. Then there is Assisted Living on the same campus, and a Nursing Home ditto, if necessary – so your spouse can be near even if you’re in the Memory Unit.

        The longer you are independent, the better, but when you need help you don’t have to disrupt your whole life and move. That’s the plan, anyway.

        Lots of questions to ask when we visit.

      • jwebster2 April 18, 2016 at 4:05 pm

        I suppose that because of our health care system, it’s not so important to have the medical care on-site.
        Effectively a lot of people will live on their own until they’re no longer really capable and will then go into a home.Here it’s complicated because if you do go into a home, effectively your house will be sold to pay for it,

        Here, the full cost of care for someone with dementia is £34,000 a year, (down in the South East it’ll be over £50,000) The figures were accurate two years ago

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 18, 2016 at 7:49 pm

        From ‘their home’ to ‘a nursing home’ is a big change.

        I’m not advocating any particular solution to the problem of caring for older folk – I don’t have the data or the interest. But from watching how my parents were cared for by my four sisters (in Mexico, Mother is still with us, but not) and my in-laws here in New Jersey, spouse and I have decided that our best option is to not be responsible for a house, and to make a choice to where we would like to live our senior years while the choice is still ours. Too many people don’t make any decisions – and then someone else, their kids or the state, has to do it for them.

        We are lucky enough to be able to afford a choice (not everyone is), and seriously considering these places and their facilities, inhabitants, staff, etc.. We’ve been to a couple of them, read information from more, and are planning to do something sooner rather than later, lest poor spouse end up caring for me as FIL did for MIL (it was a horror). FIL is now moved into an apartment and his house sold, sweet MIL is in heaven, and I am NOT going through what she went through to ‘stay at home.’ With the best of intentions, it was a disaster.

        I can see handwriting on the wall – I am getting less mobile. Maybe I can get better in a place that has exercise facilities for older people easily accessible; at home it’s not going well.

        Everyone’s case is different, but the prime time for doing what you want is earlier than most people realize: when you need it is too late to plan, and you take what you get.

      • jwebster2 April 18, 2016 at 9:53 pm

        You have to plan. But then I know one daughter who told me, ‘We’ll find Dad dead in a cattle shed.’ Given he’s eighty and still farming after a fashion she’s probably right and he’ll be happiest.
        It’s what you can cope with. I’ve never lived within 300 yards of anybody else and so the idea of living next door to somebody fills me with horror. But that’s my irrational dislike rather than the idea being a bad one 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 18, 2016 at 11:09 pm

        That’s because Dad is ‘still farming’ – and able to.

        My horror is the thought that I’d lie there, hurt, cold, in pain for days before someone found me.

        With MIL, the part I use to comfort myself is that she wanted to remain at home.

        I would – if that meant maintaining independence, and doing things my way, and non-interference by idiots. But it doesn’t. I can’t maintain my own independence, I can’t do things I want to do, and I know it.

        All I can look forward to is trouble finding someone to come in and do the things I can’t function without – unreliable caretakers and uncaring ones are my greatest fear.

        Being ill for a long time warps you; this is not what I planned, back when I was young and thought all you needed was hard work and a good attitude, and your body would be there for you. I envy those who still believe that, but I also need to take reality into account.

        My irrational dislikes are different from yours.

      • jwebster2 April 19, 2016 at 5:48 am

        Oh they’re no more or less rational and they’re no more or less right. What one person needs and what’s right for them can be entirely different to what somebody else needs. I always feel that a large part of decency lies in the ability to recognise this and not try and order everybody to be the same for the convenience of others 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 19, 2016 at 5:17 pm

        Agreed. And children sometimes jump the gun – they want things tidied up earlier than Mom and Dad want to move.

        But if Mom and Dad are assuming ‘the kids will take care of us when the time comes,’ they have abdicated their responsibilities.

        If they assume they will stay hale and hearty in their own home and then keel over, conveniently for them, 10 minutes before someone comes to visit (so the appropriate authorities can be notified before it gets too messy), they are not facing reality.

        We had no desire to tell the elders what to do, but they didn’t plan, and SIL was overwhelmed with helping (ie, doing everything). It has been a lot of work for her because FIL insisted in calling the shots – when he clearly shouldn’t be.

        I can’t help – I rarely leave the house as it is. We’re too far away for husband to help more than occasionally, so the entire burden fell on her. Husband helped by listening for hours when she called!

      • jwebster2 April 19, 2016 at 9:47 pm

        A person I know is having immense problems, her husband is considerably older than her, but because of the age gap, the doctors just patch him up and send him back out. He really ought to be in hospital never mind a home.
        Another friend of mine looking after her father finally got help, but only by collapsing herself so her GP told the hospital that they’d have to take one or the other and if they wasted too much time they’d be taking both.
        Problem is sense of duty, but also sheer lack of cash. We’ve largely got the health service side dealt with, but the sheer cost of retirement/residential care is pretty much beyond the pocket of those who need it

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 20, 2016 at 1:10 am

        Same here – and I’m thinking those who are caring for them now – and will need care themselves later – aren’t earning enough to put money away for THEIR retirement, so the cycle perpetuates.

        And solving problems piecemeal isn’t fair – but takes care of the squeaky wheel, and ignores the quiet ones.

        There is enough – but not the way we’re spending it.

      • jwebster2 April 20, 2016 at 5:49 am

        I suspect there is no limit to the amount you can spend on the NHS. In my life time spending on the NHS in the UK has gone from 3% of GDP to 8% of GDP. There’s an interesting webpage on it for the UK
        Given that pensions are also up about 8% of GDP and a lot of pensioners also get other benefits we’re starting to see the debate that, actually, pensioners are getting too large a slice of the cake. It’s a debate that is starting to to hot up a little, aggravated by the fact that in the UK at least, a higher proportion of pensioners vote, so elected governments are in the habit of spending on them to ‘buy’ their vote (or at least not cutting spending on them)

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 20, 2016 at 6:13 am

        It’s easy to promise people, “If you work hard, and give us this money for pensions/healthcare, we’ll take care of you forty years in the future and until you die.”

        It’s hard to keep that promise, and the people who need to keep it are not the same ones that made it.

        A significant proportion of Americans have NO money saved – and depend entirely on their Social Security checks and Medicare, but that check depends on how much money you earned, so there is disparity built in all the way along.

        The truth is that under any system, some people benefit more than others. If there is a human system, humans will find a way to scam it.

        I guess I’d ask if your pensioners were living high off the hog on what they get.

        You mentioned previously the cost of caring for people, and I’ve heard comments on the UK Kindle group about the difficulties of getting care for parents, and the case you mentioned, an older spouse.

        A friend of mine’s spouse was 20 years older than she was, had no insurance, and used up the value of their house in his final illness – leaving her at 55 with nothing. She has trained as a nurse – and is just starting her first nursing job at an age when many people are retiring. She will have to work – even though she and her husband ran a small business for many years.

        All you can do is to take care of yourself and your family, think ahead as much as possible, and hope you make it, but you can’t guarantee anything.

        And I’ve found out that you can’t even count on yourself being healthy – I never planned to become disabled; I was going to be one of those who work their whole life and then go hiking in the mountains when they retire.

      • jwebster2 April 20, 2016 at 6:55 am

        I suspect that in the UK a for those people who have ‘savings’ a large proportion of the savings is in the their home.
        This has the advantage that if they ‘downsize’ and move to a smaller home they’ll have capital released. (Which when I stop to think about it is much the same as your idea of moving into a community because the idea is that when people downsize they look for a house which is handy for buses, hospitals, children etc)
        I’m not sure what proportion of the population don’t have meaningful savings. Some of this is that unless you have a fair amount of savings, you might as well not have any because if you have more that so much squirrelled away, you won’t get a lot of benefits.
        So people at the lower end find it’s not worth saving anyway

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 20, 2016 at 1:40 pm

        Downsizing is a big decision – and takes a lot of work. If you wait until you’re too old to be able to do all the steps, from cleaning out the attics and basements to saving the valuable photos and papers to finding the right place to spend the rest of your life, you will either get scammed – or need a lot of help from the offspring if you have them!

        That’s the part we hope to avoid laying on our children: we had them late, and they’re barely getting themselves established.

        I want to travel, visit the many places and communities there are, pick one with the kind of amenities that will make my life easier, not have a decision made for us because of a crisis.

        Also, here these communities have health requirements for people moving in – you can’t already have dementia, for example, however mild, because that skews the economic model from ‘might need memory care some day’ to ‘WILL need it soon,’ and removes it from an insurable risk spread over a pool of residents to a certainty. It wouldn’t be a viable system if people went into it only when they knew they would need it.

        So many models to consider, so many things to think about, so many choices.

        ‘Squirrelled away’ benefits give you control – if you depend on the state and luck, your final living place may be an understaffed and underfunded nightmare.

      • jwebster2 April 21, 2016 at 5:55 am

        Because both my Parents lived all their married life in this house and both died here (when I got married we just ‘split’ the house leaving a common staircase) we’ve still not really cleared away all their stuff yet.

        I think in this country people have realised the danger of relying on the state, but one response has been to tighten the inspection regime. The entire staff of one care home are in court for neglect.

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 21, 2016 at 1:48 pm

        Your parents were very lucky to live with you and be able to stay in their home. Even when additional help has to be brought in, this is the ideal for many people: supervision by caring family members, even in nursing homes that care, is key to them getting the best outcome. People want having their family around.

        Once that supervision is lacking, or sporadic, though, you’re depending on ‘the kindness of strangers,’ and problems creep up. Tired aides take care of what they can, and are sharp with the residents. Actual physical care can be so bad that the residents develop bedsores – which are notoriously hard to get rid of, and incredibly painful.

        It takes an hour to feed my mother. If she did not have 24 hour in home care, can you imagine anyone with a long list of duties taking the time?

        Residents who never have visitors are much easier to ignore than those whose children come three times a week ‘to have lunch with Dad’ and complain loudly if he’s still wearing the same clothes. Etc., etc., etc.

        But spouse and I have KNOWN, with certainty, that our children would scatter to the winds, following jobs, from the moment we had them. We did, and the professional class in the States all do. It’s a big country, jobs are not located in suburbia, and the houses don’t have room. So it behooves us to make decisions we can live with, knowing they will do the best they can, and that they will probably not be close. Face reality – or it will consume you.

      • jwebster2 April 21, 2016 at 3:09 pm

        Because I farm the same farm as my parents, I was never going to scatter. But my sister is more than a two hour drive away. So yes we got it easy.
        We did get careers in to help, you’re assessed and get so many hours and you can buy more if you want.

        But yes, if you’re in a care home you want a daughter with high standards coming in daily to keep standards up.

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 21, 2016 at 8:43 pm

        “You’re assessed and get so many hours,” sounds lovely – and can buy more if you want. Where does the help come from? Are their income limitations? Can people living in remote locations get it?

        And who makes the decision someone has to go into a home? And who pays for that?

        Don’t need details – just questions I’d ask if I were living where you are. And the answers would affect planning.

        A daughter with high standards coming in daily is lovely – but it is a burden on the daughter, isn’t it? My sisters (4) supervise my Mother’s 24 hour care in the home of one of them (with Daddy before he died – except his memory was pretty good up to the end) – and I admire them for doing such a good job. Mexico City is a gigantic traffic mess – and each of them tries to go a day a week.

      • jwebster2 April 21, 2016 at 9:19 pm

        Local government handles the assessment, they hold the budget for that sort of career. I’m not sure what the income limitations are, I don’t think they’re too strict. Remote areas doesn’t matter too much (But in England nowhere is remote by US standards).
        By and large most people go into a home after being hospitalised. Social services, family and the individual are take part in a discussion. Here the person’s savings to play a very large part. If they have none (or very little) then they go into a local authority home (there might or might not be much choice.) If they have savings and they’re paying then they can choose but again there may not be a lot of choice because if the home is full, it’s full.
        With regards daughters, what people forget is that it’s often her husband (somebody’s son) who is doing child care and covering for his wife.
        In our case my wife and I helped with my parents, my sister is helping with her husband’s parents.

        There are people who don’t pull their weight, I know one chap who was sole career for his mother, and she told people that no daughter could have been better. In some cases it’s the son who moved furthest from home, in others he just cannot cope

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 18, 2016 at 5:35 am

        I assume once these stories ‘break,’ the regular press does some real reporting – I don’t like the idea that Chinese billionaires are essentially using their (possibly ill-gotten) gains to fight democracy. Wouldn’t want to live under Chinese governments.

      • jwebster2 April 18, 2016 at 6:45 am

        In this case the real reporting involved working out who was pulling the strings 🙂 So yes. You can see why ‘Hacked off’ hate the free press

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 18, 2016 at 3:11 pm

        And why totalitarian governments don’t have free presses. They take official organs of the state’s propaganda, and call them ‘Truth’ (Pravda).
        I have hopes for China – some day. They may not be able to gain the benefits of the internet and avoid the (to them) inconvenient bits forever. In the same way we’re stuck with porn, they may be stuck with informed users.

      • jwebster2 April 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm

        The Chinese are interesting, they’ve never really had the concept of the rights of the individual, but that may change

  5. hanleygreen May 19, 2016 at 7:58 am Reply

    I watched a ‘discussion’ on BBC the other night where the ringmaster/interviewer kept interrupting a Tory Councilor because he, the Councilor disagreed with the prime minister (Tory).
    The good Tory Councilor also disagreed with the BBC interviewer, so we had the unusual sight of a left wing interviewer supporting a right wing prime minister against a Tory dissident.
    The subject, leaving the European state so that we could stop the Germans from interfering with British laws and freedoms.
    But that’s happened twice in the last 100 years but this time the government solution is to give in.

  6. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 23, 2021 at 10:15 pm Reply

    Thanks for reposting this – I had forgotten what a long conversation we had. BEFORE our move to the CCRC in California. I have stored the link.

    • jwebster2 April 24, 2021 at 4:40 am Reply

      yes it’s a different world ago now 🙂

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