Look At It This Way - June 29, 2012

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i celebrated my 56th birthday this week in the company of colleagues. And counted myself lucky to do so.

i celebrated my 56th birthday this week in the company of colleagues. And counted myself lucky to do so.

You can’t put too great a price on the boost to quality of life which comes with banter of workmates.

In a society where too many are still defined by what they do ,or where they work, rather than who they are, it’s crucial to spread that sense that we’re all in it together within the wider community.

Newspapers do that daily, by drawing the community in to share the news and views of others. Turning out in the pouring rain to watch the Olympic Flame (which became so wet it went out here briefly) is another of those collective acts of community. A shared and unifying experience.

It’s too easy to become socially isolated today if you lose your job, or your hope, or are trapped by infirmity or finances within four walls you can’t afford to heat, or leave, because of the lack of affordable accessible facilities beyond.

All of which I mention because this week, on the day of my birthday, I got an email from a woman asking for work. I had to point out I had no hire or fire powers.

I also pointed out I considered myself darn lucky to have a job, indeed the same job for much of my working life. I was 17 when I started here, indentured. I didn’t know what that meant when I started – on a bank holiday Monday. Not that I told her all that. Instead I looked at her expertise in areas that really matter – such as social care – and wished her well.

Her reply almost spilled off the screen in its anguish. She had sent out hundreds of such emails, and mine was the first reply she had in months. And the very qualifications I had thought to acquire myself – if push comes to shove – were doing her no good whatsoever. Not in today’s economy. For all the passion to make a difference which had driven her to acquire those NVQs.

This world of ours is topsy turvy. We are throwing the baby out with the bathwater with every cutback. We may save money now, but will pay a heavy price in years to come for the abomination that banking has wreaked upon our global village. The internet has made it such.

If the South Sea Bubble popped today, we’d all be splashed within seconds. If someone drops a Euro in the Cyclades, we hear the sickening clunk of just how little it can buy here. And now yet another scandal highlights the rot at the very heart of our banking system, with no individuals held to account, and senior bankers behaving as if they are above the law.

It’s our kids who will pay the ultimate price, prospects blighted by corporate greed. Yet Lancashire reports the highest rate of new business start-ups in the country. Mostly beauty salons, hairdressers and takeouts. It’s all a bit superficial, isn’t it? Fish feeding on our feet while the Treaty of Rome burns?