“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi
Although I don’t consider Great Britain to be a nation, this quote surely does apply to it. How can Britain continue to call itself great when it allows its government to treat the weakest members of our society the way it does. The current situation is merely the tip of the mountain the Tories wish to push our people down.
“…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. “ ~ Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey
We have spent decades getting our weakest people out of institutions and living with support in the heart of our communities. The Tories and the ‘would be’ Tories will not be happy till we have opened up these Victorian asylums and put everyone who embarrasses them back behind those walls.
A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.
~Samuel Johnson, Boswell: Life of Johnson
For the people who have had the misfortune to be made redundant, you have had your cards marked too. As far as I am aware the poor houses have all been torn down or converted into luxury flats but I am sure there will be some run down town and city centre industrial buildings that can possibly be used.
Apologies if this all seems a bit facetious and negative this week, but that is what the news I read is doing to me at the moment. I was horrified to read in last weekend’s newspapers that staff at the Department of Work and Pensions have been instructed on how to deal with members of the public who have phoned up to seek advice and mention that they are suicidal or self harming. First reaction, they don’t get paid enough in call centres to deal with this situation. Secondly, what about those who are too devastated and worn down to think to mention that it’s not worth going on?
People, not just politicians, who have always lived in the comfortable part of society really do need a reality check. To have half the week still to get through, not a penny in your pocket, no rainy day fund, no emergency rations in the food cupboard is not funny. To have this happen week after week is humiliating and debilitating. The continuing embarrassment of having to make up reasons as to why your children cannot participate in things their school friends are doing has an effect on your self confidence and eventually on your mental health. Anyone reading this would think I am talking about the unemployed here, sadly it is also families in work who find themselves in these positions too.
Doing a stupid reality show or a documentary where you live on a benefit for a week does nothing to address this situation. You want to live for a couple of years in a home where barely the minimum wage is being earned. You want to experience the washing machine breaking down in the same month as the cooker did. Do you go to a loan company? You can’t afford the repayments because that will use up a huge chunk of the money you have coming in, but how else are you going to be able to be clean and feed the kids? Try spending a lifetime of being in that situation and see what that does for your moral.
There will always be an unbalance in society. Not everyone can be in the type of job where people are willing to pay big bucks for you to do what you do. We do need to narrow the growing gap though between those who struggle to earn the minimum or working wage and those who can name their price. Having worked in the public sector I was always told what my job was worth. I believe in private companies you can tell them at your review what you believe you are worth. Fair enough to an extent, but I often wonder if people’s egos tell them they are worth more than they really are.
I am not a politician. I have no training or background in creating jobs, keeping people off welfare, but there are people out there and in government who tell me they do. Well, it’s about time they started addressing a fairer society for all instead of burying their heads in their affluent lifestyles and creating an era that is heading towards another Victorian value Britain.