Posts filed under ‘Big Society’

Free Stuff? Not Really….

I posted on twitter last week about doing a spoken blog. I am working on it but wanted to put a few more words out there first…..

There has been a lot of serious faces, ‘debate’ and some head-scratching over the last week in the aftermath of the riots across England. I think everyone is either searching for the ‘one answer’ or convinced they already have it. It is quite stunning the number of theories that abound. All this wisdom is, in all honesty, doing my head in..

David Cameron has ‘asserted’ that it is the moral collapse of Britain he will confront. I am sorry but this makes me want to shout ‘Ooooo, get you’ at the television. I am not sure it is the most grown-up response but it is such a pompous soundbite of a term. Ed Milliband says that ‘we all bear a share of responsibility for the society we create’. Ed’s speech focused on many questions but not yet any answers. Many words again but too few actions. I have also seen some of the parents are saying that they can’t be blamed, ‘you can’t lock them up’ seems to be a popular response. That may be true but you can know where they are, who they are with and bring them home or am I being simplistic?

From the court cases seen so far it is very evident that we can’t blame ‘the unemployed’. They cannot be made a convenient scapegoat as many employed people seem to have been involved as well. I can’t help but think it would have been easier for one subset of society to be the focus for general wrath; this would have allowed ‘the problem’ to be classified, some new measures put in place and job done! It really isn’t that simple and that seems to be a surprise to the establishment generally.

I do wonder was there a madness in the air that brought so many people out in the streets to wreck and pillage. It is hard to comprehend what kind of atmosphere was generated that made many people act in a way that was so different to their normal behaviour. I am not claiming innocence for everyone but there are some surprises I think. That is no excuse but I am still shocked, I cannot believe I would ever behave like that but some who have been charged seem surprised at their own actions.

The saddest thing of all is that people died. I hope that anyone involved in any way in the riots will feel shame about this, all should feel shame at this and work to make sure it cannot happen again.

No doubt you are wondering what my answers are to the problems in our society, it is all very well for me to comment on the words of others. I know I don’t have all the answers but I do consider education, employment and a sense of community to be key for any society. I am sure that disaffection played some part in the start of the riots, where it went from there is still a mystery to me. The root causes of the disaffection? There are no simple answers here or we would all know them already.

One last think I do know, there is no such thing as free stuff. I think those who thought there was realise this now.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.


August 15, 2011 at 11:17 pm Leave a comment

There is Enough guilt in this World…..

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

Anyone who reads this blog will know that I do this as one person, my own wee mission. I don’t do political here, I am not here to make anyone feel guilt, I don’t want to impel anyone to give to a children’s charity, I only mean to persuade. I like people to tell me about the donations they make so that we can see how kind people really are and the organisations that their hard-earned money goes to.

I would class myself as a wet liberal, please note the use of the small ‘l’. I believe that we should all work hard to keep ourselves and our families and that we pay taxes to help those who cannot do that. I believe in healthcare, education and care for the elderly and those who cannot work to pay taxes to help themselves. I also believe that charities are there to help specific causes and are an addendum to health and social care in the local and wider world. All fairly sensible stuff?

I then saw a headline on the BBC this morning for this story – The article has the headline ‘Ministers urge giving to charity at the cash machine’.

Anyone who knows me from here or Twitter will know that I don’t do angry, I am all fluffy bunnies and lightness. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, this is what I am like as a person, at least most of the time. Secondly, I don’t want to dictate or order people about, I prefer amusement, persuasion and a lot of daftness.

However, today I am cross. Don’t get me wrong, I know why spending cuts are happening and I know the root causes of the mess. I don’t need to debate banks or spending to get out of recession, there are enough people doing this without me joining in. However, I don’t like the thought of people being asked to donate money when they are at a cashpoint. In my mind there is a certain irony that banks prompt us to donate to organisations who have lost funding due to Government cuts, or is that just me?

I do agree that there is more that could be done. Businesses and banks as well as the public will always be necessary for charities to function. That does not mean to say that it should be in your face when you are getting £20 to buy groceries for the dinner! I would like giving to be the ‘social norm’ but I think it is disingenuous to launch a policy in this way. Big society is not a replacement for the duty of care that Government has, whether you think this is implicit or explicit.

I will continue to blog about giving to children’s charities. I will continue to Give as I Earn. I will continue to sponsor friends and colleagues as they walk/run/absail for good cause. I will continue to take part myself. I will also continue to put money in collection boxes as I am out and about. I hope that you will all do the same. However, I will never try to make you feel impelled or guilty if that is not what you want to do. I am not here to coerce anyone, I will happily nag as I go but I disagree with a new ‘persuasion’ when you go to the bank or are filling in a tax return. Donating is about choice, not about guilt.

Okay, rant over:) I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.


December 29, 2010 at 2:08 pm 7 comments


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