Britain 2017. What’s missing is Empathy

I’ve been thinking about the awful state of Britain at the moment. Why are we in such a sad state of affairs? I read a headline this morning – ‘Broken Britain’ – and it struck such a dreadfully sad chord with me.

On Friday I watched a video of our PM, Theresa May, being interviewed about the appalling fire at Grenfell Tower on Tuesday night this week. She was asked again and again about the victims of the fire and why nothing was yet in place to help the survivors. She avoided giving any direct answers. In fact, she basically ignored the questions and just kept reiterating what she wanted to say. It was an eight min interview, but to be honest it might as well have been one minute because all she just kept doing was repeating herself.

What I was staggered at was the total lack of compassion she showed, there was, sadly, zero empathy for the loved ones, the friends, the neighbours of those involved and for the people who had so horrifically lost their lives. Her words sounded hollow. Right adjectives but spoken with no conviction. At times you would have thought she was reading a shopping list for all the emotion in what she was saying. There was no sincerity whatsoever.

Today I was reading statements from various Tory MPs regarding cuts to fire services and their opinions on health and safety within buildings. I was also looking at their voting records. It was obvious they all share a common thread. No empathy for anyone. I do wonder what there motives are for pursuing a career in public service. It certainly doesn’t seem to be to uphold the needs of their electorate, more to do with what they can get out of the system for themselves.

By complete contrast I saw a video of Jeremy Corbyn meeting the victims at Grenfell Tower. It was natural for him to put his arm around someone in distress. If you read his voting record he has consistently voted for the interests of the ordinary people. One of his fellow MP’s, Owen Smith, who had previously lost a leadership challenge against him, was recently asked whether it was Jeremy or Labour’s policies that were so popular, he said: “It has to be both. I don’t know what Jeremy’s got but if we could bottle it and drink it we’d all be doing very well.”

I know what Jeremy has, he has a passion to make the world a better place. He tirelessly works to help and support normal people, but most of all, above everything else, he has genuine compassion, understanding and empathy.

If throughout our country there could be a real sense of compassion there would never be children going hungry, no-one would ever consider risking our National Health Service, everyone would want the elderly looked after. Housing would be a priority. There would be support for the disabled and vulnerable.

Who can go to work as a public servant and vote against the needs of ordinary people? We often hear people asking MP’s who have voted in their own interests ‘How do you sleep at night?’ The problem is that the people asking that question have empathy. They care about other people. The councillors/MPs who only vote for their own gains do not care. They can’t possibly. What they seriously lack is even the slightest compassion, an ounce of empathy for those in need.

Foundations for a good life

When will our conservative government realise just how nigh-on impossible it is to build yourself a life without having solid foundations in place?

By foundations I mean the basic building blocks of society that are there within every community for every single citizen. A home, education, health service, quality utilities, well funded public services. A life in which you feel safe, feel supported and encouraged to be the best you can be. To have the opportunities to learn skills and achieve your ambitions. No matter where you were born, who your parents are, the colour of your skin, your mental or physical abilities, you should have the same opportunities.

You cannot hope to build a successful country without meeting the foundational needs of the people first. This is such an obvious route to success, but one that has been largely ignored and undermined by the conservatives.

The government waffle on about building a country for business, for expanding exports into new markets, foreign affairs, about dealing with Brexit etc etc, and yet they are ignoring the major social problems right under their noses. These are the issues they need to address first. Don’t the government get it? It’s like they are trying to do a university degree in pure and applied mathematics but they haven’t yet learnt their basic sums!

Try asking them a simple question and it’s virtually impossible to get a straight answer. They appear to think that a condescending sound-bite will keep you down, keep you in your place. Enough! There is no more time for this type of rule.

One of the main problems I can see that needs overcoming is the constant brainwashing of people by the media. People are gullible. Most never look and explore beyond the headlines. They don’t probe, they don’t research. They do as they are told, accept the information given and head bowed down get on with their daily grind. They cannot see there is a massively different way we could be living. It really doesn’t have to be like this.

The lies we are told, again and again are the utter betrayal of common decency. There appears to be no room for honesty. Whilst the ordinary person often struggles to get by the very wealthy are continually skimming off the top.

To build a truly great society, to live a life worth living, we MUST insist that our basic needs are met. From that we can grow and flourish. We can become a great nation. We can become part of a wonderful community that pulls together, that supports those in need, that encourages everyone to succeed.

I believe that unless changes come, and soon, there really will be a revolution. The ordinary guy in the street has had enough. Whilst the Tories strip the assets of the country and uphold the insidious belief that they know what they are doing there is an increasing awareness that all is not as it should be. Fortunately we have a different way of reaching out to people now. Increasingly the newspapers are not the only way of learning the news. Word quickly spreads through the internet, through social media, of the great injustices within our country.

The young are not as easily brainwashed as the more mature, they lead very different lives and they receive alternative information. News black-outs don’t work when social media has already plastered the actual events all over the internet.

It’s not going to be easy. Changes rarely are. There is however a new feeling of hope that is spreading, an underlying army of decent people who are pulling this all together. That is the word – together – there is not a stronger word. Together we can stand, shoulder to shoulder, shouting from the roof tops, questioning those in power, bringing about real changes.

Let’s start building a wonderful life. Let’s start with the foundations and build on that. We must not, must never be complacent.

Explain the difference between socialism,communism and anarchy!

Back in 2014 ….. Well yesterday was day one of ‘blog a day’. I thought it was a bit of a tough call, trying to come up with a blog about naming a currency. However, today, wow, the guys at WordPress have surpassed themselves.

Some kind soul decided that nothing would be better than to confound us daily bloggers with this wonderful exciting topic: Explain the difference between socialism, communism and anarchy.

My first thought was can it get any more difficult or dull? Which saddo is behind these daily blog ideas? But, the more I pondered on this, the more I came to realise that I’m quite a politically minded woman with some fairly strong views.

It’s difficult to be objective about different political ideologies when I have only ever lived my life in a capitalist society. I can look up socialism, communism and anarchy on the net. But, does it really give a true interpretation of life under their rules? I suspect not.

I live in a capitalist country, and if you look up capitalism it sounds pretty good. It is supposed to be a ruling system that encourages an individuals economic growth. From that growth the idea is that we individuals can enjoy enormous freedom in all areas of our lives. But, how true is that statement? How many people truly have the opportunity to enhance their lives just through their own volition? I have lived for well over 50 years and I know very few people who have been in a position to use their talents to make major improvements in their lives, or the lives of their families. I know I am generalizing, but, it appears to me that those in power tend to have had the best opportunities from the very beginning of their lives. I find it is rare that someone from a disadvantaged background has exactly the same opportunities as one from n privileged one.

One of my friends and I have often discussed our society. We both feel a great sadness when we realise that at its core tends to be an overwhelming desire for more and more materialistic trappings, more consumerism, more consumption, rather than working towards a fairer society which looks after its more vulnerable.

It seems crazy to me that someone who chooses a career of care, for example, nursing, is paid far far less than those in the public eye. Here in the UK we have ambulance drivers and firemen who cannot afford to buy the most basic homes for their families. These are people who work tirelessly to help others. If you look at our celebrity culture in the west, it appears that anyone who can sing, act, or kick a ball around a football field, can earn vast amounts of money. Even those who are celebrities, just because they have been on a reality show, earn huge amounts compared to people who are employed as the backbones of our society. Surely that just shows how capitalism has failed.

Now, if you then consider living under communist rule, from our western capitalistic viewpoint, everyone in a communistic society should be paid the same. We gather they should live in standard accommodation and expect the same levels of education, healthcare etc. I wonder how true that is? It sounds like utopia until you realise that some people are hard workers and others are clearly not. Some are highly intelligent, some are not. How would you feel if you worked exceptionally hard and were paid the same, had the same standards of living and lifestyle as someone who shirked as much as possible? What would be your motivation to study or enhance your skills? How would you feel if you felt that no matter how hard you tried you could not improve your life? My overwhelming feeling is one of personal imprisonment.

My favourite aunt was a staunch promoter of socialism. She felt the ethos embodied total fairness and equality for all. A society where the working classes and minority groups are considered worthy. A constitution that rules for a fair distribution of wealth. She was dismayed at the lack of support for socialism by the ruling classes. How easy would it be for those wealthy in the capitalist countries to agree to re-distribute some of their wealth? I would say nigh on an impossibility.

Most people would think that anarchy means that there is no order, no rules, no governing body. However, looking at this from a totally different viewpoint, you might even think that it could actually work. Instead of a centralised government, a country run with pure anarchistic rules, offers more of a collaborative system whereby all citizens have to be responsible and be able to compromise to achieve what is best for everyone. It is almost like a series of local committees which all come together for the greater good. The community itself would set its own standards for moral values, much like a family does now. Was this the type of rule that was prevalent in the tribes of the Native Americans or in deepest Africa? Possibly.

I do believe there is not one perfect solution, not ‘one size fits all’ political constitution. If we were all born with the same capabilities, the same intelligence, the same desires, it would be so easy. We are not a planet of robots. That is the problem. We all have our own individual views, which is what makes us who we are.

I sincerely hope that one day, throughout the world, the average Jo, the backbones of our societies, the vulnerable, the much talked about but seldom heard, silent majority, will be heard, will be considered worthy, will be able to enjoy a good standard of living.

If mankind could all just live by this one rule: ‘treat others the way you would like to be treated‘ and that was carried throughout society, from local councils right through to our world governments, wow, now that would be a perfect society.