Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Babysitting


What I read.

David Cameron, in reference to last weeks' riots said today: "We are coming to the view that there is a case for community engagement about what happened and why. It would involve getting someone to go into the communities and find out why this all happened. It would be likely that it would be chaired by someone outside government. We're coming to the view that some sort of engagement exercise would be useful."

This made my blood boil a little bit.... Cameron at the start of this year was all about the community, pulling together, rebuilding ties within the boroughs... he called it the Big Society. At the time he said: "What is my mission, what is it I am really passionate about? It is actually social recovery as well as economic recovery. We do need a social recovery to mend the broken society and to me, that's what the Big Society is all about."

He said that months and months ago and obviously he nor his team have done the slightest thing about it otherwise they might have the tiniest clue as to why this all kicked off. I have read all sorts of opinions about who and why and I really can't help but think that we babysit people too much in this country. It actually encourages them to sit and do nothing for themselves. The younger kids involved in the looting did it for fun and they followed, like lemmings, what everyone else was doing. They weren't doing it because they were hungry and needed food, they didn't do it because they needed clothes on their back. But who is saying what is right and wrong to them.... who is telling them they should earn what they're given. Not all, but many of their parents don't work, probably didn't do that well at school and so they have no role model to show them what hard work earns you. Getting something for nothing is something they are used to and so to loot doesn't mean the same to them as to people who have worked everyday of their life for what they get.

Most people on benefits are absolutely deserving of them but it is also, sadly true that a lot of other people on benefits know how to work the system. They get so much money for this and that and aren't encouraged at all to work. They sign on every week and get given a shitty amount of money but I still see these kids in branded trainers with a Sky dish outside and up to date with all the new computer games. How is that possible? Does this non work ethic come from their parents, or their parents' parents? I know the benefit system did not work the same ten or twenty years ago.

In 2009, at the height of the recession I was out of work for 2 months. It scared the shit out of me and I really really struggled to pay my bills and mortgage on my meagre savings. I had to sign on. It was one of the most humiliating times of my life... you are treated like scum at the job centre and aren't encouraged to help yourself at all. They just tell you the facts and then give you money. I got £66 a week. Now, if I had had my housing paid for, I could easily live on that. And I did... I had just enough savings to cover one months mortgage, thank God, so that was fine and because I had never missed a payment before, my mortgage company gave me a 2 month mortgage break. All the loans I owed also gave me a break because my credit rating was good. So, for over a month, when the sun was shining outside, I was happy as larry. I cycled everywhere because I couldn't afford the tube, I ate less because I couldn't afford my big foody shop (so lost weight) and I wrote and read and had loads of ideas. I posted a leaflet through all my neighbourhood's front doors offering design services. I went to my local pub and asked for shifts in the bar. I actually thought... god this isn't a bad way to live at all. After those few weeks though, the thought of collecting benefits and doing nothing made me a bit sick. It wasn't how I was brought up. So I persevered, kept calling clients day after day and luckily things picked up and the economy improved finally. I tore up my signing on book. I was lucky though.. I had an amazing upbringing, a fantastic education, saw my parents work hard so I now know the meaning of hard work

BUT, if a child is used to a parent not working and getting money for not working... then why should they not get something for nothing as well? What is their inspiration?
It'll be interesting to see what David finds out when he goes a-visiting!

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