Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The familial society

Email sent 11the December 2006

For the attention of David Cameron – Conservative Party Leader

According to a report in today’s newspapers, a group of skilled British craftsmen working on an NHS project have been sacked and their jobs given to Polish workers. The 16 glaziers one of whom had just won an award for his dedication and professionalism were working on a hospital construction project.

In the last day or two Mr. Ian Duncan-Smith has been talking about the beneficial aspects of the family unit in bringing up children in a stable environment and the negative social impact of broken families.

There is a massive contradiction in the above scenarios. The politicians want families to stick together and raise their families in loving and stable backgrounds but turn a blind eye when it comes to employment security and stability in the work environment, where corporate social responsibility is at a premium.

If you want to seriously tackle society’s ills, you have to do so across the board, and it has to be done by society as a whole, not just selected parts. This is surely a self evident truth from which there is no escape.

I have long believed that one of the most important factors in the erosion of respect for authority and the slide into binge drinking and the yob culture, is as much the instability in the work place and government expedience, as it is in the family unit. If you lose respect for institutional authority, it will not be long before there is little respect for paternal and maternal authority either. Government has continually undermined the authority of parents over the last three decades.

Corporations are no longer even slightly concerned with the well being of their workers, their neighbourhoods or the society they function in, and from which they make their profits. They are concerned only with the bottom line and making ever greater profit, irrespective of the social cost to their neighbourhoods or indeed the country as a whole.

Likewise governments are no longer concerned with principles or integrity. Political expedience is preferred in the mistaken belief that this is how to win votes and attain or retain power. They cater more and more to minority pressure groups who seek what is good for them but not necessarily what is right for society as a whole. They spin webs of deceit and propaganda to cover up unpalatable failures and have the bare-faced audacity, to wonder why ordinary people hold government and politicians in such low esteem? It is of course no wonder at all.

The much heralded, so called “globalisation” policy now pursued with such vigour by greed driven corporations with a sharp eye for easy money and bigger profits, is one of the driving forces breaking up communities and creating social instability. They don’t think twice about abandoning loyal, hard working staff to exploit cheaper labour in Third World countries, and they care nothing about the cost of the social upheaval they leave behind. Is it any wonder the workers lose faith in their turn?

Where is all this leading? We can see where it is leading, in our city centres on a Friday and Saturday night, in the statistics on divorce, marriage, single mothers, rising unemployment, overflowing prisons, drug addiction, teenage pregnancies, gun crime and on and on.

If we are to right the wrongs in our society we have to build a new model, one in which everyone plays a part. Corporations and their shareholders must understand that they have a duty of care to the people who work for them, their neighbourhoods, the country as a whole and the environment. Corporate culture has become much less service orientated and much more aggressive. They think it works but all it is doing is adding to the general rage levels that pervades society now. It’s counter-productive in the long term and therefore bad business practise. We now live in a rip-off society in which everyone is dissatisfied. They need to wake up and smell the coffee and cannot be allowed to ignore their social responsibilities any more than parents should be allowed to ignore theirs. They need to be pro-active in their communities. Everyone has a responsibility in a civilised society to their society and until we put this foundation stone in place, society will continue to tumble towards anarchy. Capitalism will also, mark my words, continue lemming-like, its headlong rush towards the cliff’s edge and its own demise.

It is no good one man adding a brick to the wall, if another man removes one from the other end. It’s as simple as that. At the end of the day life is about people not money. For people to live in a cohesive and civilised manner, life must first be worth living. That is the only bottom line that counts.

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