48OE Blog  
Nov 15

Written by: 48OE Admin
15/11/2012 17:54  RssIcon

I admit I have a Victor Meldrew gene in me. On occasions I am accused, quite erroneously in my opinion, of being a grumpy old man. However I have become increasingly incensed by the media approach to most news.

I push politics to one side but not without saying that I saw the best political cartoon ever in the Times at the time of the US Election. It showed a voter with his ballot paper confronted with two boxes in which to put it. One was marked Not Romney and the other Not Obama. This seems to be the way of the world!

Everyone of political persuasion including the media can tell me what they, and by implication what I, do not want. Any lone individual that actually tries to hold a banner above the parapet with a constructive idea is immediately shot down. Critical pundits that never have to take a decision abound. I believe there to be more of them than lawyers. It is so easy and fashionable to pontificate and criticise that there are very few doers or leaders any more.

News journalists are some of the worst culprits. Rather than reporting the facts they now wish to make the news. Investigative journalism is good at exposing wrong. Why this translates into getting two experts at either end of the spectrum to shoot down every idea is something I simply do not understand. Many radio shows in particular seem to set out to be controversial and attract extremists.

A phrase always springs to my mind “Two contrasting ideas are not necessarily mutually exclusive”. Both can, and should, exist. It may be desirable for more healthcare but we do have to live within our means. Protesters in Greece, Spain and Portugal may all want more but where do they imagine the money comes from? Society seems to be full of demands, wants and rights:- what happened to contribution and responsibility?

An old mentor once advised that I should always put myself in the other person’s shoes and look at the problem from their perspective. “If you screw them you will only do it once and they will be looking at the first opportunity to screw you back”, was his parting shot.

The self-righteousness with which everyone crusades is not attractive. It means that Mr Reasonable dare not show his face. Self destruction in the name of right is becoming a global pattern. I hold no flag for either side in the following examples but they demonstrate well how compassion or morals are not on the agenda.

We abused the banking system by borrowing more and more and living beyond our means; and now not just individuals but whole countries are suffering. Materialism was the name of the game. We did not complain then about the bankers and the money they made available. Today, Bankers are vilified as the cause of all evil. It is true to say most are not bad people but honest workers. It is only a small handful at the very top that had egos with only views and time for their next bonus.
Our country is in a terrible financial state but our politicians are not big enough to work together and find good solutions. It is very plain to me that we have to live within our means but many public sector industries do not think it is fair that we all share the pain. I was shocked to see that Public Sector workers are still today getting higher wage increases than the Private Sector. How can anyone think that those earning over £50K need child allowance or that millionaires need winter fuel allowance? Where is Mr Reasonable? There are poor and there are needy but lets also admit that there are too many wanting handouts without any real requirement for them.

When I see Ciaran, a young guy suffering from cerebral palsy, riding a bike to raise funds for Children in Need on The One Show I know how lucky I am and how much more I can give. One of his colleagues Darren also 17, is partially sighted but I have never seen him without a smile on his face.  When I see retiring bankers and civil servants on six figure pensions, my heart goes out to the young guys and girls on their rickshaw raising funds, not for their own needs but to help others.

Crimes against children must be investigated but not by persecuting individuals based on Twitter. There appear to be far too many individuals who want to posture on band wagons. This applies to celebrities and politicians who seen to abuse modern technology the most.

I admire most the unsung heroes who daily help others in so many different ways and seek no publicity as a result. The work they do is reward enough. If every now and again we all applied the reasonable man test to our own behaviour we might see others in a new light.

Last night I watched a DIY SOS Special for Children in Need. Over 300 volunteers helped rebuild a Day Centre and Play Ground for special needs children and their families. It was a stunning project and will change lives for hundreds of people. At the end of the show the host related a story when he asked a local builder, who had given several thousand pounds to the project by way of his staff and materials, “Why did you give so much?”. His reply was quite sublime “I drive by here quite regularly and I will think every time that I helped build that”.

So go on! - take a ride on the Clapham Omnibus and try seeing the world as that Reasonable Man. You might surprise yourself and more importantly others as well.