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July 4th 2024: Time for a Change?

Of course it is time for a change. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that the change people want won’t come from a change in Government, any more than a change in leadership has changed the Conservative government itself.

We get the government we vote for, so everyone who votes for that government should share the responsibility for its failings. Else, all everyone will do is point their fingers somewhere else for those failings. Every time one finger is pointed, there are usually 3 others pointing right back at you. Remember that little saying?

It’s easy to consider the failings of any private company, whether it’s your water supplier or your mobile phone network provider. Yet those private companies delivering such essential services are owned by their shareholders, and there are millions of private shareholders in the UK.

When Rishi Sunak said the blood scandal was a result of moral failure, I was encouraged to hear him say that. Moral failure is after all, at the heart of most of what is going wrong in the UK.

For the most part, the UK has abandoned any sense of objective morality that used to underpin this country. It has been replaced with the Darwinian version where the legal system and the police share the responsibility as being its arbitrators. What used to be what was morally right has been replaced with what is legally acceptable.  To put it another way, it’s OK as long as you don’t get caught.

When I see yet another fly-tip or get dismayed at just how much rubbish people throw out cars, it’s not Rishi Sunak I should blame. It is that moral failure that he briefly mentioned. The fly-tippers can save some cash from dumping their rubbish on local farmer’s land, knowing the farmer will have to clear it up. It is not right, is it? Everyone, including the tippers know it is not right but their focus is on increasing their personal profits not any moral obligation to the wider society.

Moral failure is at the heart of the UK’s decline. Its moral failure that fills our prisons. It is moral failure that lines our roads with litter. It’s moral failure that means our roads are full of pot holes driven on by increasingly expensive cars. It’s moral failure that means shops, even rural ones, are having to employ security guards to prevent people from stealing their goods. It’s moral failure that has led to families disintegrating and moral failure that has led to single Mums buckling under the pressure of the job they are left to do.

Yet a massive part of the problem is we have created a society that expects someone else to pick up the pieces and grants a freedom for someone to unaccountably do whatever they want.   

We have also created a society that makes it difficult for someone to take that responsibility and get on with something. People are expected to be compliant, to stick to the rules, to wear a hi-vis jacket if they want to pick up some rubbish and complete a risk assessment if they wish to mow a piece of public grass that has grown too long.

Fear and compliance have replaced faith. Objective morality has been replaced with the voice of the loudest. Everyone seems to be increasingly angry in a culture that seems to be preaching tolerance. Yet without that objective morality, everyone is expected to be tolerant of the most intolerable ideas. If you are not tolerant of the intolerant, then you’ll get labelled as a bigot and your voice will not be tolerated, and therefore silenced.  That’s not tolerance.

The utter mess the UK is in is not because of Rishi Sunak, the Tories, this government, or that, despite these things playing a part in it all. No! The UK is in a mess because of the underlying worldview it has embraced is now playing out in all aspects of British life. It is not a change in government that will make much difference, but a change in the underlying worldview.

How this changes I just don’t know – yet I am convinced every single person in the UK needs to be a part of that positive change, even if you just start by being nice to your next-door neighbour. It has to start with everyone expecting that it won’t be someone else that will make a difference, to a belief that every single one of us can contribute to making a difference ourselves, then get on with it. Voting Tory or Labour makes as much difference as whether you buy the same loaf of bread from Tesco or Sainsbury.