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Blog: Today's society
Is our Society organised? Is it organised around values that you can “buy in to”?
Is our Society civilised? Do you believe in the notion of “Society”? You will recall we had a relatively recent Prime Minister who proclaimed & professed that there was “no such thing as Society!”
The current incumbent, of course, has his “Big Society”.
But aren’t there some values that we would subliminally support, almost without question?
Wouldn’t we all agree that all our children, those of the Prime Minister or the poorest of our citizens, should have equal access to the best possible health services when they need them?
Wouldn’t that principle be extended to education too? And isn’t that too a matter of national interest?
Don’t we need the best possible education system open to all? This may mean different, because (do we agree?) different learners need different styles of education, training & learning.
But shouldn’t each & all of our children have equal access to the best possible education experience that best suits them?
Can we now embrace these notions of consensus around principles that we can agree we can share? Housing?
Do we agree that we should strive to provide the best possible & affordable accommodation for families & individuals?
Can we agree the basic amenities that should be standard?
Double glazing, central heating, some safe outdoor space, bedroom space that ensures a due level of dignity & privacy?
Law & order. Are there certain things we would agree are wrong?
Any assault on another or others? Theft? Any unlawful abuse or exploitation of the vulnerable by the comparatively strong?
Are you with me so far? And I don’t mean do you agree with me – but are these identified areas of social existence or interaction around which we can or should strive to reach a consensus?
The right to vote? Not something my soon to be 86 year old Mum had at birth in 1926.
Does the right to vote come with the duty to exercise your democratic privilege? I say privilege, as this right is not available universally to all people in every country in our shrinking world.
About 1/3rd of us vote in local elections, 3/4s in Generals.
Should going to vote be compulsory, with the right to actively abstain, as is the case in some modern democracies?
The right to free speech, freedom of expression? Do we agree that everyone should have the right to total freedom of speech, unconditionally?
Should everyone have the right to express themselves in poems, plays or prose as they see fit, uncensored?
Should our Press, or probably better now, the Media be open & free, with no notion of monopoly control, where whatever their beliefs, people are free & encouraged to express themselves?
This feels (to me, at least) to be starting to get a little more tricky? What do you think?
The right to practice, follow & express one’s Faith?
The UK can generally be described as following generally Christian principles, values & traditions, can it?
Yet disagreements about how to do just that has resulted in war & the removal of Kings (& their heads!) Going back centuries, we have always had people of other Faiths living & thriving amongst us:- Jews, Hindus, Muslims, all the world religions.
Do we agree that tolerance & respect for diversity in Faith is something that, as British people, we all share in that sense of fair play?
Isn’t it “typically British” to stick up for the under dog?
Some of us are married, some of us are not. Some of us are homosexual, some of us are not. Some of us are very religious, some of us are not.
Some of us would say live & let live, some of us wouldn’t!
So, where does that leave us? Can we leave all these issues to sort themselves out?
Do we need some processes to steward these matters through to consensus? If & when reached, do these things need some form of refereeing/policing?
Told you it probably wasn’t going to be easy!