I don’t watch telly any more. At least that way I don’t see the faces of the sanctimonious as they tell us what’s good for us and how we should behave.
But believe it or not, I’m worried about this country and the way it’s going. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing and is becoming entrenched.
For example we have people with job security, index linked pensions and the right to retire at sixty, writing rules to tell people with nothing who’ve turned up late to an interview that they’re sanctioned and aren’t going to get anything to live on for the next two weeks.
Now this isn’t the work of tory scum, this is the work of the state, of people who frankly don’t care and have no compassion and who are as likely to vote Libdem, UKIP or Labour as they are Tory.
Why these people do this is beyond me. The same hole in the ground beckons, whether they’re a modestly respectable junior civil servant or a drunk on the street. The modest respectability might keep you out of the hole for another ten or fifteen years, but it’s still waiting for you.
What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?
And then I was listening to somebody talk. They were talking about helping refugees settle in this country. When the possibility of the refugees being housed in a certain area was raised, the answer was an immediate ‘No’; because frankly the area wasn’t fit for people to live in. This I can understand. If you have people whose lives have been shattered, then you need somewhere for them to live where they can feel secure. In which case why were they using the same area to dump our poor? After all if it’s not fit for people to make their homes in, it’s not fit, full stop!
I was listening to somebody else talking about how government was making things difficult for a particular group of migrants. The rules were always changing; decisions taken were arbitrary and made no obvious sense. The person telling me was shocked. I had to gently explain to them that this is how government always treats the poor, but as a bright middle class person it wasn’t what she was used to. The migrants were being treated like lower class natives of the country.
I’ve talked to all sorts of people, and we have, at the bottom of the heap a lot of people who have chaotic lives. Some of them have mental illness, diagnosed or undiagnosed. Some of them are not particularly bright; some of them have other issues. They cannot cope with complicated systems. In reality they never could and they never will. I know men in middle age who know they will never be more than semi-skilled.
So what’s needed? A big injection of money? More Mental Health workers? Better education?
Well all of them might help a bit, but I’m old enough and cynical enough to know that’s not going to happen. There might be a token scheme in London.
What we really need is simple, it’s compassion. And that’s the tricky thing to organise isn’t it. We talk about our ‘caring services.’ No, we don’t have caring services; we have ‘administrative provision.’ The bureaucracy, the system doesn’t care. Only individual people care, take the time to ensure that justice is done rather than merely following the rules.
So we need more people with compassion. Tough call that one.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?