48OE Blog  
Aug 12

Written by: 48OE Admin
12/08/2011 09:48  RssIcon

Sorry for a more serious blog, but I watched a stunning contrast of life in our times this week. The first was a TV make-over of a single parent’s home that was in very great need of renovation. To add to the difficulty of the situation the mother was fighting to get her son the education he needed. He was diagnosed as being on the Autistic Spectrum and required a school environment of understanding and support. His mother had spent several years battling with the authorities to give him the best possible shot at life. Both she and her son were special people. They urgently needed help and the SOS television show with Nick Knowles came to their rescue.

I can never hope to convey the emotion I felt when watching this programme. The support the local tradesmen gave was magnificent and to see the tears in all their eyes when the project was completed said it all - as did the sheer joy and excitement on the young son’s face as he realised the house and his shed had been transformed into a beautiful modern living space! It was quite poignant how small things made him so very happy. He and his mother were wonderful people and we could all learn from them.

By contrast I then watched the news and witnessed the senseless destruction of communities and the rampant theft and robbery in town centres. I was sickened even further when I saw how my country was being portrayed on the rest of the world’s television. I feel so strongly about these selfish individuals but equally mad at the myriad of commentators who profess to know all the answers and who are quick to put the blame at someone else’s door. We are all to blame - we created the world we live in. We did this to ourselves. Not a popular theory I admit.

I hear the reasons paraded - it is poverty, young single parents, no jobs for the young, nothing for them to do! Give me a break! I’ll wager that a strong majority of all those committing crimes have mobile phones and a games console. Most likely they now have the latest version courtesy of their local retailer. These are not poverty stricken people. Look at the refugee camps in Africa to see poverty.

This is such a complex problem and I certainly do not know the answers. However, I think that there is truth in the idea that our society is riven with consumerism. I believe in hard work for success, but morally cannot justify the vast fortunes some in the banking and associated financial services earn. I also feel very uneasy at how some executives justify their spending and excesses. It appears to me that power and money corrupts in the majority of cases. Individuals forget they cannot cheat death and cannot take anything with them.

Why do so many business magnates fight to the death to prove they were right? They have millions why not just retire and use their fortunes for good? How many houses do they need and how much food and wine can they consume? In common they all want to hang on to power.  Prime Ministers, Presidents, CEOs, Gang Leaders and Despots all have the same blind faith. Very few leave selfless legacies. My worry is, would I be the same in their position?

Society has failed to curb these excesses and then we wonder why the events on our tv screens unfold. The usual suspects blame the politicians and the police and even the budget cuts that we all have to face. I have listened too many times to people saying don’t cut my budget, it is vital. When do we all realise we cannot spend more than we earn? I am not making a political statement when I agree we must make cuts. It is the only sensible thing to do.  Civil Servants have not been living in the real world. We cannot all have excellent protected pensions. Daily Telegraph readers must take on board we are not seeking to invade anyone and that cuts are necessary across our defence budget. This does not make us weak quite the contrary it shows how strong we are at facing up to the reality.

When can we have a mature discussion about the Holy Grail, the NHS? As science and drugs progress we cannot afford free health care for all. It is being rationed now and it will get worse. This is a debate no politician wants to engage in because we cannot all have everything replaced and live for ever.

There is no doubt our society in Britain has lost the values of family and community in many areas, but that should not cloud right from wrong. Crowd behaviour will be studied by professors in seats of learning but I am not sure we will gain in understanding of collective theft and anarchy. There is a theory that we are all corrupt it just depends on the temptation put in our way. My mother has a mantra that it is better to give than receive. When I was young I thought she was mad. Now I am older I know exactly what she means. We no longer see behind a person's appearance, their watch, their shoes, their house and car. It is their outside appearance of wealth and celebrity that attracts our mindless adoration and envy.

If we all looked into one another’s souls we might see a different world. I am pleased I live in a rural community where some old fashioned values still exist. I can’t truly answer 'Why did this all happen?' I do know that David Cameron alone is not in a position to solve it - so why blame him? The police seem dammed if they do and damned if they don’t. 

There is a line from a pop song now made famous by the comedy show Miranda – 'What have you done today to make you feel proud?'. Well everyone who worked with Nick Knowles on his recent show did an enormous amount and should feel very proud. I am not sure how the rioters and looters of the last few days will feel but it will not be proud. If we each did one thing every day to make us feel proud, how much better the world might be.