Weekly Reflections #13
Oct 2nd - Oct 8th
It’s been a week where the headline news has featured the Tory conference, more news about deep-seated societal attitudes to women and the systematic refusal of so-called “trusted institutions” to address issues of abuse and locker room culture.
At the risk of repeating what others have said, to watch the performance of Boris Johnson at the Tory conference was as deeply disturbing. The PM quipped his way through his address, raising smiles and self-congratulatory posturing from many in his audience without saying anything of substance.
It was like watching a comedian, not a politician.
Of course, Sir K was not much better at the Labour conference in the previous week. His longer speech seemed to be designed to present him as a “man of the people” as he indicated a range of guests strategically placed in the audience to emphasise his ‘roots’
Disappointingly neither leader seems to have any meaningful “how's” to support the jingoistic promises they made.
Perhaps the most sobering comment of the week came from an “Insulate Britain Protest” Spokesperson. He apologised for the disruption to the public through their actions to block motorways and roads but said they would continue until the government listened.
Whilst recognising the ‘inconvenience’ he failed to acknowledge that these protests were holding up essentials services (ambulances on the way to hospitals for example). Not only is there a social cost to this groups actions, this taking money away from the Governments purse, but there are the potential costs of additional problems of non-delivery of goods and worse non-arrival of ambulances.
Having said that, however, the sobering comment I alluded to above came when the protestor was asked about possible solutions to the situation. His answer, apart from insulating housing, was to get the Government to commit to a programme of insulation of British homes.
A great idea, no one can argue with that.
When pushed further he admitted that the cost would be several trillion pounds. As an architect, he said, he had some insight into the actual costs of such a scheme.
As always, there is a monetary cost to all these things and that is the block.
Our current financial system is what needs looking at with a fresh set of eyes. Money is not the real problem. In many ways, money is fiction, a story that we are bound by. Until we challenge this story we will never be able to write a fresh chapter in the book of human civilisation.
At the moment, however, we are witnessing increasing poverty in Britain because of the continuation of this story of money.
What is more disturbing is that there are those in positions of power who are so divorced from the reality of other peoples lives. We need to ask how can these folks make any meaningful impact when they only give lip service to ‘levelling up’, whatever that means.
Food wastage inspired by, or resulting from, Government actions; rising energy prices because we are still tied into outdated infrastructures and lack of real opportunity for many simply perpetuates the system.
So, to some of the news headlines which put into perspective my above thoughts…
Man jailed for posing as a police officer and trying to ‘arrest’ woman
This crime comes days after Met Police officer Wayne Couzens sentenced for murdering Sarah Everard, who he falsely arrested while citing Covid laws Wearing a blue lanyard with “police” written on the strap, Gary Shepherd, 44, approached the woman in a car park in Barrow at around 6.30pm on Tuesday and told her he was arresting her for drug dealing, Cumbria Police said.
Silhouettes of 16 women killed by police officers placed outside Scotland Yard. The black figures outside the Metropolitan Police headquarters in London are part of a call for the Government to put an end to violence against women in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard
It’s a deeper problem
A police officer who shared ‘appalling’ indecent images of children with fellow paedophiles in an ‘abhorrent’ chat group has been jailed. George Ince, 26, engaged in ‘full and graphic’ discussions about having sex with underage girls on the Kik messenger app.
They included the idea of raping a 14-year-old girl, tying up a 12-year-old, and blackmailing youngsters into sending nude images of themselves, Norwich Crown Court heard.
Source : Metro
A vicar has been sacked by the Church in Wales after being found with 219 indecent images of children. The Rev Canon Nigel Cahill, the Rector of Aberavon, was suspended after being arrested at his Port Talbot home in June 2020.
In April he received an 18-month community order after admitting two offences of making indecent images of children.
Now, some months after the sentence, the church's disciplinary tribunal has ordered that he should be expelled. All of which comes on the back of yet another disclosure that 300,000 children (AT LEAST) have been abused in the French Churches.
Like the UK Police Force it appears that it’s not just about turning a blind eye but about a refusal the accept or take any responsibility for the institutional ‘cover ups’
Source BBC News and The Independent
British dairy farmers have already been forced to pour tens of thousands of litres of milk down the drain after going off before it can be collected due to the HGV driver shortage, amid mounting fears it is just the 'tip of the iceberg' and even more could be thrown away ahead of Christmas.
One fourth-generation dairy farmer in central England who asked not to be named said he's been forced to dump 40,000 litres of milk over the past two months after no one turned up to collect it because of an unprecedented shortage around of 100,000 lorry drivers.
Nadine Dorries claims ‘nobody’ will be pushed into poverty by universal credit cut
Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries has been accused of being detached from “the real world” after she claimed the universal credit cut will not push anyone into poverty.
The £20-a-week cut to millions of incomes risks 500,000 people in the UK falling into poverty, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has estimated.
And the Legatum Institute – a right-wing think tank led by Tory peer Baroness Stroud – has warned that more than 800,000 people are at risk of falling below the poverty line.
So, Nadine is not only out of step with society but out of step with her own Party!
How can she, and other MP’s who serve us, be allowed to continue in their positions with such ignorance?
More than a million extra British households won't be able to afford to heat and power their homes next spring, according to a charity.
National Energy Action says 1.2 million to 1.5 million additional households will be plunged into fuel poverty.
Households that spend a high proportion of their income on energy bills are considered to be in fuel poverty.
At the start of October the energy price cap, which limits the impact of rising energy prices on households in England, Scotland and Wales, was raised to take the sharply rising wholesale gas price into account.
This all comes at a time when inflation has risen in the UK, so an increase in food prices and the Government stopping the additional £20 for those on Universal Credit given during the pandemic.
Let’s face is the Universal Credit system is neither Universal nor about Credit!
It’s meant to be about increasing opportunity and reducing poverty. It is flawed and when the system breaks down, as it does, people are left for weeks without any money at all.
The £20 ‘addition’ may have been an addition when it was introduced, but real increases in the costs of living have all but wiped out any advantages that it created. For many it’s not simply an addition, it is now essential.
I wonder what would happen if we took a long hard look at tax breaks given to large companies and asked if they could be reduced or taken back?