Featured Image: how a watercolour of Hucknall by JC Hallam adds a softness and diversity we all seek in the neighbourhood.
The divides in neighbourhoods everywhere need to be mended by new kinds of relationship between professional people and working class people where instead of deferring the problems they each see under their noses they face them. For a working class person you’re not a servant, you deserve education, training skills, pass on your knowledge, insights on saving, frugality and cleaning but don’t be paid to be anyone’s servant. Professional people, don’t employ a cleaner: push back against the real issues in your home, talk to working class people about managing, have conversations in your community and at work: women are still doing more around the house, children increasingly not expected to participate in the quality of the home environment. this is a mental health and wellbeing problem because if you feel able to engage and improve your immediate environment then you’re far more able to participate in other kinds of change.
Not having hierarchies and servants is cool as well as much better for your health.
The issue really is that parents need to learn how to be activists for each other, their children and the quality of world they want to see. People have forgotten how or why they should/could communicate with other people not in their immediate family, work network or friendship circles.
If we all strip down our needs, wants and find out what we really desire, usually it’s being full of energy, purpose and direction: job, life and feeling we’re contributing to making things better for others. That’s where we get a return on joy and it’s energising: when you have meaning, purpose and just feel closer to your capacities.
Over the last forty years the people with the greatest status, privilege and authority combined with the least empathy, compassion and experience of training, education, running a business and life in the ordinary world, have believed a command economy ideology that we’re still at war, that the scale of everything: health, education, communication, should continue to be mono-cultural and large and self orientated as if every transaction was part of a Sandhurst leadership war game.
This is not the case as we’re all realising.
In following this understanding of the way things always war we’ve given the war template as if it’s still relevant in the 21st century. No, no, no. (as Mrs T might have said/could have said. It was so sad that her dementia only developed after she was marginalised, ignored, made invisible and made a hate figure. Mrs T wasn’t protected because the systems she created destroy, don’t build people).
There’s a time and a place for war but it’s not in every institution and organisation in this country. We are hungry for a country and relationship with America, Europe and the rest of our world that makes smaller and better sense for everyone. In the last forty years all we’ve hard are the echoes of another time and place that we controlled. We do not control the world. Yet in the last forty years we’ve all experienced, seen, heard of examples where the ‘brand’ of the armed forces has been twisted and manipulated into whichever chameleon form of profitable ‘security’ can use.
The memory, understanding of the integrity and purpose of armed forces becomes the copyrighted, patented, status alibi for people thinking either at best that they can make good money on the back of the close connection with something everyone believes in and trusts and at worst with con men and women with post traumatic stress of their own: hate in their minds and hearts. We need true diplomacy for peace and prosperity within all our organisations and institutions.
Over the last forty years ex military, security, ex police people as well as people who have pretended a relation with army, police and security services have used security, police force and army techniques to target people made weak by forty years of agency, gig and gang labour employment, landlord rented short contracts.
What we need now is to realise that we need to modernise our political system, have one system of rules for the establishment, running and management of political parties and to recognise that debating, discussion, from the neighbourhoods, the constituencies into the houses of parliament is what we need to bring us all into a healthy life. We’re a society full of people who want democracy, want to participate so we need power to acknowledge that a layer of local accountability and representation would make a massive difference to creativities, new jobs, education, skills in local areas.
We saw how the creativities, generosities, innovations from all kinds of local businesses, communities, knowledge transfer innovations were left to shrivel under the shadow of the massive supply chains of Covid.
Science is good, we are all glad that the company spin offs in genetic research have been so successful: but science is a tiny part of who we are. What we need to realise is that these publicised environments are a tiny fraction of the capacity and potential of what we can do in this country.
Recognising the value of the local environment, looking at it with wonder and awe: rebuilding the connections, networks in the local that have been broken, smashed up, destroyed by the regular casual kickings of the last forty years. For too long we’ve accepted a mood music of elite and mass transmitted through media, gaming, film that the people at the top are a ‘boss class’ and the people below are genetically and socially inferior.
This unchanging media and cultural perspective helped us forget that temporary accommodation, temporary employment took away the capacity of people to care for their wider family and community: they became a burden on their families and the state and then were further harmed and victimised.
There was to be no hiding place. In those forty years the physical, social, economic restraints upon UK neighbourhoods has created paralysis and illness on a scale that you would not expect in peace time: the reason is that we’ve conducted a war against representation, accountability and belonging, on trust, conversation and connection.
It’s time for peace.