Showing posts with label Guest Writer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guest Writer. Show all posts

Monday, 8 April 2013

WHERE IS THE HEART IN THE WELFARE DEBATE?


by Joseph Colman

Over the past few weeks we have witnessed a condensed version over the debate which has rumbled on for decades. It is an argument that always makes me feel uneasy, it never satisfies and I have never felt a home in either ‘camp’.

No matter where you stand politically you cannot deny that for the vast majority the welfare payments received are a serious assistance in helping go towards the day-to-day cost of living in Britain.

Because of this the debate focuses around the question ‘how much is enough’ vs ‘how long is enough’ – both are about securing a system which provides ‘enough’ to those receiving the state welfare. But this, to me, seems such an uninspired place to focus the debate.

This weeks Spectator (6 April) issued an impassioned call to recognise the fact that ‘at no point were fewer than five million working-age people on out-of-work benefits. This was not just a waste of money, but a criminal waste of human potential’.

Something that the Welfare debate misses so often is that many of those talked about abjectly on the copy churning out from Fleet Street and on the paragraphs in hansard is that these are men and women, children and families, who have aspirations and dreams.

For most they are full and brimming with life but for others trapped on welfare there is real genuine need – not just for sustenance but also for relationship. Our needs are more than food to eat and shelter from a storm (no matter how important they are!) we are created for relationship

Joseph Colman

Scion of the famous mustard dynasty,
ice cream salesman, political anorak
Twitter @JosephColman
The relationship we have been created for cannot be filled by ‘stuff’. This is why the church is uniquely placed to breathe truth and life into this dead carcass of a debate. It can say that this is not about money or wealth. It is not about how much you have and how much is enough. It transcends ‘stuff’ and is uniquely about the relationships you hold and the worth that you feel through these relationships. It is about feeling a sense of ownership and belonging to your community and society at large.

What breaks my heart is that waste of human potential.

Human potential can be found in being gainfully employed, accepted in your community and knowing you bring something uniquely valuable and positive to the society you belong to. However I am yet to see the welfare debate couched in these terms.

Perhaps, no matter what party or politics you side with, we can share this common ground of the debate and bring a little bit of perspective and see about an end to this waste of potential.

From time to time, friends will be leaving articles on this blog. It's my site, so you can be sure that I agree with most, if not all what my contributing friends say. If you would like to contribute something, feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

LET'S BE THE TRUST WE WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD


by Ian Baxter

It's often said trust in our institutions has hit rock bottom. Scandals in Parliament, at the BBC, in the tabloid press, in our banks and even in the NHS have rocked our confidence in once respected organisations. Every time we turn on the TV it feels like another pillar of our society has fallen. Is this what the irreversible decline of a once great nation looks like?

I don't agree that broken trust can never be repaired. I've no wish to live in a society where people don’t trust their neighbours, colleagues, doctors or even the police. So I won't accept our current state is permanent. I'm hoping the raft of scandals will usher in a new period of transparency and straight dealings which will go some way towards repairing the damage done.


Ian Baxter
Logistics entrepreneur,
columnist, public speaker.
twitter @ianbaxter66
But if we genuinely want change, we have to make it happen ourselves not wait for others to do the work. So if like me you want to rebuild trust in our society let's make a start in our own spheres of influence today. While holding public figures to account do we give them credit when that's what's due? Are we expecting more of others than we demand of ourselves? Do people have confidence we'll always do the things we say we're going to do? Are our motives clear for all to see?

Mahatma Gandhi challenged people to "be the change you want to see in the world". Unless we're prepared to rise to this call we'll have to accept today's deficit of trust is here to stay.

But if those who have expressed dismay at what's gone wrong are prepared to do things differently themselves I'm really confident a better future is within our grasp.

From time to time, friends will be leaving articles on this blog. It's my site, so you can be sure that I agree with most, if not all what my contributing friends say. If you would like to contribute something, feel free to contact me.