Tuesday, 22 July 2014

How deep is the well?

As my bladder lurches towards its seventh decade, the late night luxury of having a mug of tea while reading a book in bed is losing its appeal - mostly because by 0530 I am awoken from my slumber to empty said bladder. Most night's the stumble to the loo and back is undertaken without emerging far from the cocoon of sleep but on other occasions the old brain starts whirring and clunking away and Hamlet style you head into the area of  'to sleep perchance to dream'. You see, as I have gotten older I have realised I suffer from the twin evils of compassion and empathy. These two conditions render you foreign in a society where 'me' and being a 'personality' is the sole driving force, to consider all points of view is a weakness and to seek to hold those in power to account insane.

People like me are dangerous criminals in the eyes of Government and, sadly, a fair chunk of my fellow dwellers on this Earth. We rock the boat, upset the status quo and never do what we are told to do. In the eyes of the current neo-liberal dystopia across the world we are weak soft 'lefties' crying over spilled milk, worse we are 'Commie Bastards' because we do not buy into group think where ever it comes from (even from real 'Commie Bastards'). One of the major draw backs of compassion and empathy is you understand there is no 'quick fix' for the human condition, in fact there is no actual 'fix' at all and politicians who try to sell you one are simply con merchants.

  • Yes:  I believe Scotland has the opportunity to be a fairer country on independence
  • No: I do not think Wee Eck is a God and infallible
  • Yes: the SNP have some good ideas for a future independent Scotland but the proof will be in the eating and they will disappoint all of us by differing amounts
  • No: The SNP are not the sole fount of good ideas for Scotland's future and the d'Hondt system at Holyrood will ensure the little voices are heard
  • Yes: Scotland will have to take some set backs on a Yes vote
  • No: Keeping the status quo of the current rancid and foetid system of UK Government is not the solution to avoid this risk - the status quo is the only clearly defined risk to fairness in Scotland.
The Yes / No list could drag on for pages but I trust you get the point, nothing is actually definitive and folk with compassion and empathy understand this, it is why we put people and not ideas first and have this bizarre idea of 'fairness' being the best way to resolve the world's problems. In my world, fairness does not automatically mean equality because attempts to create 'equality' routinely collapse into snake oil salesman politics as a 'fix', a measurement of 'success' by individuals with a cause but no real sense of 'fairness'. The USA may no longer be as deliberately racist as it once was in my childhood, in this sense it may be a more equal society but given the levels of poverty and destitution it is not a 'fair' society by any means.

The UK since women's suffrage in the 1920's, may be a more 'equal' society in terms of gender but in terms of  gender fairness the UK has still a long way to go - as amply demonstrated this week by Mr Cameron's reshuffle of his 'Lordlings' as a gender related, cost saving device.


The major failing of the human condition, in spite of mountains of evidence to demonstrate the opposite being true, is we like the idea of a 'quick fix' which does not require any thinking on our part. Folk spend a fortune paying to hear other folk telling them how to get rich quickly (here the secret being you get folk to pay a fortune to hear you telling them how to get rich quickly). Out of the thousand packed into the conference hall in Harrogate or where ever how many will? The answer is the same number as would out of a thousand people who did not go to Harrogate because the people who take the risks required to get rich are few and far between. The people who get rich by ethical means are even fewer than that - acquiring money requires the ability to tramp over others in a psychotic manner and is neither fair nor equal, you have to be sharper and more dedicated (i.e. greedier) than the next person. Luckily most humans are not that psychotic, a fact the rich and the politicians rely on.

Religion is another human method of seeking a 'quick fix' by projecting the problem and solution onto something else, rarely are religions either fair or equal even though most have been based on this core premise at the start - the priestly castes, quickly, like the rich and the politicians, realise they are onto a good thing and start lining their own pockets - for the glory of their God or God's which makes it 'OK'
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The reality in an independent Scotland is the rich, the politicians and the religious will still be with us because whether we like it or not they are part and parcel of what Scotland is and to some extent they are clearly necessary to create a Scotland we can be proud of - that is what empathy tells me.

What compassion tells me is to ensure we create the fair society, we Scots at large seem to desire, means that after a Yes vote in September 2014, the electorate of Scotland can not drift back into the standard apathy of leaving it to the politicians. We, the people of Scotland, will need to stay alert, stay engaged and ensure the politicians and others of influence are held to account at every turn or this great opportunity of creating a fairer Scotland will drift away like smoke on the wind.

As the Scottish electorate, our responsibilities to this new, fairer Scotland does not end with a cross in the Yes box in September, that cross is only the beginning.