Age of Insecurity

Posted on 20th June 2019 | in Opinion

A recent broadcast on radio 4 was made by Val McDermid. I’m not sure if she invented the word “precariat” to refer to the ten million or so of our fellow countrymen (women and children) who live precarious lives.

Harry McQuillen

In an age of food banks, homelessness and benefit delays we all know people who struggle to cope with day-to-day living. Perhaps one of the answers can be found in “happiness lessons” now taught in our schools.

In a wider context we see concerns expressed about rivalry between China and the USA, including the Huawei controversy which could affect decisions made in this country.

The taxing of pensioner benefit is back on the agenda, with the inevitable difficulties concerned with means testing.
In a rather unusual move Prada has decided to stop using fur-clad models. The models will remain, but the fur will go.
Michael Gove has suggested the switching off of car engines when cars are at rest. How about leaving them at home, and using public transport whenever we can?

Facial recognition software could be just around the corner in many countries. I wonder if it’s here already? Jo Brand talks about the joys of neighbourly chat and the social benefit it brings. Our era of loneliness should encourage us to talk to people whenever we can.

The environment always arouses comment. A farmer who seems to know what he is talking about mentioned his use of Roundup, tractors with wide wheels (less soil damage!), the introduction of trees and hedges and the removal of beavers where they cause flooding. There are lots of issues connected with this beautiful earth of ours, but there aren’t any simple answers.
Inevitably there’s Brexit. The results are in, confirming deep divisions in our Country and the rest of Europe. Our main parties have found little support in the EU elections, which doesn’t surprise anybody. Nigel Farage represents a widely-held view that all is not well in the EU.

When parts of any population can’t or won’t talk to each other, there is bound to be misunderstanding.
In this Country we are so used to our two-party system with occasional intrusion by smaller groups. In our present state much of the electorate seems to be voting against policies they don’t like. History teaches us that big issues really divide a country.
I remember history lessons on the nineteenth century Corn Laws and the Irish Question. Now we have Brexit.
Most of us hope that the issues will be resolved in a way that allows people to come together again.

I recall the Miners Strike and it’s aftermath, with wounds that were hard to heal. To see the other person’s point of view is not a sign of weakness.

Our Puffin Festival was a joy. Good crowds, good weather, imaginative events, hard work on the organisational front. Could it be that doing things together is good for everybody? Our Town Square was a brilliant concept. Let’s all take part in the events that go on there.

Harry

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