Our lives, how we live them and how we make decisions are based on very few factors, while there may be many motivators, these are secondary in the process to our actually personal feelings on an issue. Under normal circumstances these decisions and actions will only affect ourselves and those closest to us, however there are a very tiny subset of humans that wield great power, and their decisions affect everyone else. These people are called politicians.
I’m really passionate about injustice, and today we saw a shining example of injustice in action. I’ll explain what that is in a moment but will first state this is not strictly a post bashing my soon to be revealed example, rather to discuss the larger more important issue of what it really means to be a responsible human being. So, on with the show…
Yesterday during a Commons Treasury Committee, George Osborne made a few statements to explain why he believes the proposed Tax Credit cuts are ‘the right thing’, with bile rising in my throat I give credit to the man, exposing himself so publicly, he is standing up for what he believes – the fact that I disagree does not mitigate that credit. His main argument, the driving force behind his stance is that the UK Welfare system is just “too expensive”. Simple as that, it’s too expensive therefore make it cheaper. It seems a sensible statement on face value, until you consider the only people that will be affected by the changes are those are already either facing extremely tight financial pressure or sinking entirely. Mr Osborne has never and is unlikely to ever be in the position of those he is about throw into further hardship. I’m not saying that those with poor money management skills should be determining our countries finance policy, more simply that I firmly believe that there is an element of hypocrisy in the political landscape.
He went on to explain:
They are the people who lose their jobs, they are the people who suffer when the economy fails, when the country can’t live within its means, when the welfare bill gets out of control. I feel very strongly about that.
To explain the hypocrisy, you need only read that single sentence. Osborne attempts to justify his actions by stating a point, completely ignoring the fact that the problems he has identified ‘when the economy fails’ is the stark reality now of the people that will be affected by his proposed cuts. Any further cuts will literally hit those that most need help with literally nowhere to turn.
The Real Point…
Now, I said earlier that this post wasn’t intended to just moan about the example, but to discuss being a responsible human being. So here is what I hope you will take away as the main topic.
When I make decisions I trust that I have a good and decent moral background to make those choices ‘good and decent’. From the daily happenings, how I speak to my children, how I react when someone annoys, right up to the discussions about world events and important topics (that I have no direct effect on by the way!). Simply put, my opinions and criteria for decision making is the polar opposite of George Osborne.
Osborne says “finance is important”
I say “people are important”
Osborne says “welfare system is too expensive”
I say “there can be no limit on ensuring children have a meal, and heating in the winter”
Of course I would like our country to be in a healthy financial position, however this is secondary to the basic human needs of every single person. Osborne gains respect (from like-minded people) through his wealth and societal privilege, they can agree with is position as it benefits them. I could not be further from his station, believing the fundamental quality a decent human being should have is compassion and the desire to see first the health, safety and well-being of others. Anything that contradicts the ability to ensure the health, safety and well-being of others, should not be taking place.
“But the world isn’t black and white” … I hear you say…
It actually is. As a society we have allowed, nay nurtured, an overly complex set of rules and beliefs that redefine what is important. We have allowed a political system that works for business not people. We have decided that pain and suffering in the form of a soap opera is entertainment, when those same things are happening in the house next door – with real people in pain and suffering. We have decided that ‘going the extra mile’ means we should work out how much the petrol will cost first. We’ve messed up.
When I part this mortal coil (poetry too, it’s free so just accept it), I want to be remembered as someone that fought injustice, someone that put the needs of people first, someone that didn’t decide the fate of millions by the health of a spreadsheet.
I pity George Osborne and the legacy he will be remembered for.
Imagine a reality where tomorrow you wake up and all the financial systems have collapsed, money is meaningless and all that really matters is how you survive, you will need to rely on and help others, what you do will affect what you receive. In that world of tomorrow, it really pays to be nice to everyone! My hope is that in that world of tomorrow I will do OK, and I will help others to be OK too. People will remember the me of ‘yesterday’ and trust that I am interested in their well-being, safety and health. Osborne on the other hand will be remembered for how he didn’t care about people, how he was only interested in securing his own future and the future of people like him. He will be remembered for abandoning those that needed help the most, and in that world of tomorrow, he will receive what his legacy provides.
So what should you take away from this ramble? You could leave just knowing I disagree with Conservative policy, you could leave knowing that I think Osborne is morally debased, you could leave remembering I attempted poetry.
I would like you to leave looking inwardly, at your very core, at what it is that really makes you take the actions that you do. Maybe you’re already a really fantastic person, like me.. maybe you’re a bit like me but could do better, maybe you’re George Osborne (he reads my poetry of course). Whatever you are today, make the tomorrow you better, make your actions intentionally ‘good and decent’. At the end of the day, it’s not money, possessions or appearance that defines who we are, it is simply ‘who we are’ that is important.
To close I would like to clarify that I’m not a poet. I would hate to mislead anyone and have them lose hours trawling Waterstones & Amazon for my published works. However, should I ever feel the calling to write poetry, you can pretty much assume it would be great and the quite possibly the best poetry you’ve ever read. If I did ‘readings’ in public, I’d use funny voices and lots of intonation, generations of school kids would learn philosophy from my words, wars would stop and divided nations would be healed simply at the thought of it. Or, it would be rubbish.