46

Days of absence from media and social media leading to reflection; as does the experience (not for the first time) of having an hourly train cancelled only for the next one to turn up with just two carriages, so all the people, with their luggage, the mums with their prams, some cyclists, and some very frail looking elderly folks have to cram on to a service that simply can’t cope. It was too hot, too cramped and although one or two people got tetchy, the majority still proved that common humanity wins every time – the young white teenager all hooded up and listening to whatever on his massive cans, who insisted that a young muslim mother struggling with her baby take his seat…made me think, they tell us we’re divided…and in one or two brutally economic truths we are, everyday, but in other ways we are a human community and we show it in our small, everyday kindnesses, the kind that we don’t expect to get noticed nor that we expect anything more than a quick polite thank you for. But it is there, we only need take time to notice and appreciate it.

We, the people need to realise our strength, realise that these lies of division are just that,  as long as we are “divided” and our attention diverted we forget that the real enemy is that of privilege and the apparent air of entitlement that comes with that. It serves “them” to make us think we’re not better than this and to think that we shouldn’t hope for better than this. Because whenever it comes to our betterment, our health, our safety there is always some bean counter who finds a way to shave a margin and some capitalist willing to “take that gamble” (the stakes in the gamble being his profit against someone else’s health or future) backed up by some “reasonable voice” explaining why we have to lower our expectations, to tighten our belts in difficult times.

Enough. We are the fifth richest nation on earth; we have enough that none of our children should face hunger; we have enough that we can educate every child to reach their potential (which will create its own return on that investment for the country); we have enough that our health and mental wellbeing can be looked after; we have enough that we can all be housed safely; we have enough that our elderly and frail can be cared for with dignity; and we have enough that the pensions we have paid into can be repaid to us when the time comes. These things and others are choices. Grenfell Tower was the result of choices just as over crowding on trains is a choice; as is “post code lottery education” and selling off the NHS; and not paying a decent wage.

I heard some commentator state that what the Brexit negotiations needed to do was to restate that Britain is a nation ready to do business and he was so wrong, that notion of “business first” is how all of those choices mentioned above get justified; we need to reassert that Britain must be a country that puts its people first, all of its people.

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