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Friday, 18 March 2011

One Big Society: Hiding in plain sight

Coran and I were listening to the news this week, in the aftermath of the Japanese disaster, discussing the difference between how this has been handled, compared to what happened at Chernobyl. It made us think how influential the Internet has become in spreading news so rapidly around the world, so that things like this can no longer be hidden. Bear in mind that the Egyptian revolution which recently toppled their Government, and is threatening to topple other regimes throughout the Middle East, started on the Internet.

The world is becoming smaller and smaller, like one big global village, reflecting the changes in society. The average man or woman in the street is no longer powerless, but does in fact have a voice, a voice that is increasingly being heard. We are beginning to realise at long last, that one voice can indeed make a difference, as all change has to start from within.

This also brought to mind the somewhat confusing Conservative Policy known as the Big Society. It is a phrase that has been much bandied about, but very few seem to understand exactly what it means, David Cameron quite possibly among them. The Big Society Network website states that the Big Society is: "a society in which ordinary citizens feel big in terms of being supported and enabled, creating real change in their own neighbourhoods". This is all well and good, but what if we took this one step further, and looked at this not only on a local level, but on a more global scale. We, every man, woman and child live on this one blue green planet, which we call Earth, collectively forming one big cohesive society.

When David Cameron states that we are in this together, people tend to think in terms of budget cuts and how rich and poor should, but appear not to be, sharing the pain, yet if we look at this from the global perspective maybe it does not mean this at all, maybe in our efforts to manage our own small lives, we are missing the bigger picture of what the Big Society really means, for in sharing this planet which is home to all of us, we literally are all in it together, like ants sharing different hills in the same field. Everything is connected by strands and threads of energy weaving their way across the ether, connecting all of our thoughts together until they make the whole. The thoughts that dominate become the collective conscious and conscious is the key word here, for we need to become more conscious of the impact that we have not only as individuals but as a whole, to look at the bigger picture of what will benefit the Big Society (and for that read the entire human race) as a whole. We can no longer isolate ourselves away thinking that the problems of others do not concern us, for we are all one, and we are quite literally in this together, whether we like it or not.

I suspect that Cameron himself is not aware of the deeper implications of his brainchild, this policy that he appears to have created, but one thing is clear from the events of Japan and throughout the Middle East, there will be many more changes to come. It is heartening to see green energy being debated on Question Time as a real alternative to nuclear power. This could also go a long way to resolving our dependence on oil, as the crisis in the Middle East intensifies, spiralling prices out of control. If the Americans think that their fuel prices are high, they should see what we have to pay, an average in this area at the moment of 136 pence per litre and rising.

Of course, I had rather a disaster like the Japanese one had not occured, and I feel desperately sorry for those who have lost their homes and their livelihoods, but maybe it was the only way to get our attention, to make us wake up and force through the changes that are so obviously needed, the redistributon of wealth and power back to the people on the ground, who form the majority of our population, wresting it away from the 5 percent who currently account for 95 percent of the world's wealth. They too can learn a lesson from this, that wealth does not bring power, and the higher you are, the further you have to fall. There are so many lessons that we can learn from this, if we choose to see them, and not buy into the negativity that has become a media frenzy. It is dificult to step back sometimes and see the higher perspective, but this year will go down in history as the one where everything began to change very much for the better, for here we have the makings of a society which truly is equal in every sense of the word.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The stormy seas of Surrey life

Two weeks into my almost new full time job, I am enjoying my first proper weekend off (apart from holidays) for almost 2 years. It was a novel experience for me to have a lie in at the weekend, and not to have to rush to get up and out ready for work.

I am pleased to report that the transition to full time has been relatively smooth. The 7am starts have not been nearly as bad as I thought they might be, aided no doubt by the time of year, as it begins to get light earlier in the morning. I have settled into it so well that I wonder how on earth I used to do the job without that extra hour. It makes a big difference and enables me to do the job much more thoroughly, finding time to do those extra tasks that I never had the time for before.

This week I have been working upstairs, which was a novelty for me, being used to working downstairs. I had to find a whole new routine, getting to know many of the residents who do not normally leave their rooms, and washing dirty laundry instead of dishes. Next week, starting on Monday I will be downstairs again with Thursday and Friday off, and then have seven days in a row to work until the following weekend when the rota starts all over again.

I find the days go so much quicker when the mind is occupied and relish my afternoons off being able to relax and read. Once the nights begin to shorten and spring turns to summer, I look forward to some afternoons at the viewpoint, relaxing on the grass and enjoying the sun without having to rush off back to work in the evenings.

Sadly not everything in my life is smooth sailing. Just as we thought we were finally going to get some peace, on Wednesday night, we had another call from my sister, three calls to be precise. I picked the phone up, not recognising the number and thinking it might one one of Corans clients, so was surprised to hear her voice, in the usual accusatory tones asking why we had stopped ringing her and why we had palmed her off on the care team. Attempts to explain were as usual fruitless, with my sister becoming more and more agitated and accusatory with every breath. In the end I was forced to tell her that I was unable to continue the conversation and I put down the phone. Five minutes later she rang again, and this time I let the answerphone pick it up. She left a message saying more of the same, why won't we talk to her, she needs us and we need her, blah, blah, blah. Well actually, no we don't need this at all.

One hour and one phone call later, with Coran home from his evening at the meditation group, the number was barred. The following day, calls were made to her new CPN, the local CAB and the Police, asking what the hell we can do to stop this once and for all. As fast as we block her numbers, she gets a new phone and calls all over again, leaving angry and abusive messages, failing to listen to one single word that we say. After the last meeting, two weeks ago, we really thought that this was it, but no, the message has still not sunk in, so this time, with the advice and support of her new CPN, we have written her a letter, setting out in no uncertain terms that we will not entertain this behaviour anymore and that she made the choice to walk away from us, knowing full well what the consequences would be.

She has to understand in the words of J Michael Strazynski, that the problem is not between her and us, but between her and herself. If the message still fails to get through and she continues to harass us, for this is what it is, we may have no alternative but to seek an injunction. This is not something that either of us would choose, but we have run out of other options, as everything else has failed.

Against the backdrop of this, I have then been very pleased to be at work, as it has meant that I am busy there and not sitting at home brooding and mulling things over. On a brighter note, the deposit has now been paid for my trip to the Isle of Man (I am going on July 2nd for 2 weeks), staying at a former boys boarding school in the south of the island). I have three months in which the find the balance, so all I have to do now is save the money and book the flight.