Not everything is about money

I’ve just seen an article about a local council overspending on agency workers for it’s children’s services by £865,000. Schools, the NHS, all sorts of businesses are dependent on agency workers. No one seems to see them as obviously the most expensive option. Why are they obviously the most expensive option? Well, not only are you paying the worker, but you are also paying a fee or percentage to the agency as well.

I appreciate that it is getting harder and harder to find staff that are willing to work under current conditions, but I can assure you that is only nominally to do with wage rates. It is predominantly to do with unrealistic expectations that employers have of the time and energy that their workforce are supposed to give to their work. Hours are too long, paperwork is too extensive, the scope and detail that are expected are completely unrealistic, out of hours work is excessive, too much time is tied up in meetings that serve no useful purpose, holidays are too short… I could go on.

But the biggest issue of all is that workers are not respected by their employers, neither are they trusted. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be safeguards to help encourage professionalism, I’m saying that when you have good staff you should respect and trust them. And if you really want to save money, you need to make sure that you employ enough people to do the job and cover maternity leave, annual leave, emergencies… even if it looks wasteful on paper, I can guarantee that in terms of mental health (employers and staff) and work place atmosphere, it will pay dividends.

Not everything is about money, even when people say it is.

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The Future…

How do you see the future? Is it more of the same dreadful, uncaring nonsense? Further and greater austerity, because we have to? Why do we have to? What are these cut backs supposed to achieve? What beliefs are they based on? None that I adhere to.

Before we assume that there is a real reason for the impoverishment of the already poor, we need to ask if the actions being undertaken by various governments will actually achieve what the politicians claim they will. And the answer is… NO, they don’t. The evidence already tells us that the espoused goals of our government are not being attained through their policies.

As that is the case, we then have to ask ourselves, why is that? Is it because the policies are ill thought out, that incompetence and stupidity stop them from being effective? Or, could it be that the current Conservative/Liberal Democrat alliance actually have a different agenda from the one they publicly assert? Are they aiming for something other than that which the media tell us?

These are frightening questions, ones that very few of us want to engage with. Either answer is horrifying to contemplate. We’re either being governed by an bunch of complete incompetents or, duplicitous bastards… It’s hard to know which is worse. I suspect the truth is that the answer is far more chaotic: there are some who are stupid; some who are liars; some who are well meaning; some who are principled; and, between them they continue to make bad decision after bad decision on our behalf.

You see, to me, the vast majority of politicians (and a large proportion of the general population) are missing the point. No longer should the government be there to govern us, it should be there to serve us. I believe that the wrong things are seen as important by people in government.

Can I ask, what is important to you? When you wake up in the morning what would you be devastated to be without? What makes you smile during the day? What gives your life meaning? I know for some people their answer will be their job, but I’m pretty sure they are in a small minority. For the majority, I think, the answer will be “other people” (I include the four legged friends in the category people).

When you, or a member of your close circle are ill, do you want to spend time weighing up which hospital is best? Or do you want to just go to the nearest one and be confident that the people working there will do the very best they can to heal you?

When your child is ready to start school do you want to spend time going around different schools, checking out prospectuses, even moving house, so that they get a good education? Or do you want them to go to the school down the road and be confident that the teachers will do the best they can to provide your child with knowledge and skills that will help them through life?

My future, the one I hope comes to fruition is one where your local school, your local hospital, your local everything, is the very best it can be. Where people come first and money gets back into it’s role of being a means of exchange. Where the jobs we do have a direct connection with feelings of self worth. Where creativity is as valuable as any other skill. Where being a caring, generous human being, makes you a role model.

Do you see where I’m coming from? I can’t pretend it will be an easy life, but I can hope it will be a future full of love and laughter, work and care, community and negotiation. Are we strong enough to make this future? I think so, if we join together and refuse to be distracted by the slight of hand merchants, who are still trying to sell us snake oil, our current government.

People are our lives

I have a small problem with one of my shoulders. It’s not serious, most of the time it’s little more than uncomfortable, occasionally it’s painful. The doctor and consultant both want me to have physiotherapy. The local hospital can do it, but I have to wait “up to 26 weeks” before they will send me a letter inviting me to contact them to make an appointment.

So if you were wondering about how meaningful targets on waiting times are, I think I can confidently say, they are completely meaningless.

Now, I’m not criticising the people who devised this wonderfully creative way of keeping them and their staff out of the shit, I know how creative one can get when backed into a corner, I’m criticising the nonsense way of approaching health care as if it is a business rather than a service.

I believe the main reason that the NHS and all the other services are struggling so much is because they have been shorn of their most valuable resource, staff.

Business theory is that employees are your greatest expense, and that if you can “downsize” your staff then you will make more profit. This only works in businesses where the staff are not committed to their work, where they do not work because they love what they are doing, but where they work because they “have to”. And even then it only works in a very limited way.

For a service where care of other people is the raison d’etre most staff work because they care, then when they are put under pressure to work as if it is a business they lose their will to do anything very much.

As in so many other areas, the problem is much more with government and management psychology rather than the service itself. So much of modern life revolves around the mistaken belief that money and economic theory (and it is only a theory) rather than the knowledge that people are important… There’s not a society, a family, only the rest of nature, without people.

People are our lives: community; care; consideration; sympathy; empathy; friendship; love; without these things, we are nothing.

Facebook post from 21/02/12

I, as an individual, have no confidence in the current British government. I believe it is time the coalition was dissolved and the people given a chance to elect a government that may even represent some of our interests.

I do not wish to live in a country whose government has shown such blatant disregard for human dignity and human rights. It appears that the current parliament is even more corrupt and uncaring than any in living memory. It is self-serving, selfish and smug.

I do NOT want ACTA. I do NOT want the current proposed NHS reforms. I do NOT want DLA replaced by PIP. I DO want ESA scrapped and IB reinstituted. I DO want the changes in Legal Aid scrapped and a return to the previous system. I DO want changes to benefit system so that unemployed people are treated with compassion and respect. I DO want changes to the education system so that each child can get the stimulation and education that they need.

Does anyone want to live in a country where the government attacks the populace it is supposed to represent? Such governments provoke a response. This is mine.

Dissolve parliament now! It is time for a change. Instead on focussing on finance we need to focus on our greatest treasure, our most valuable resource – The people of this country.

Taking Control of Our Lives – Part 1

In our British culture it is very easy to feel both powerless and isolated. These feelings are engendered in part by the divide and rule policies of the mainstream British media – exhibited par excellence by the press.

What many people don’t know, or understand, is that we do NOT have a “free press”, the vast majority of newspapers, as well as the “non-terrestrial” TV are owned by a very small number of very wealthy corporations.

These businesses believe that they have a vested interest in keeping things as they are. They, like the majority of corporations, are run to make as much money as possible for their shareholders. They have no other interest. They support their “friends”, that is people who may give them money, or people who may pass laws that will give them more money or protect that which they already have.

Their politics are actually that of their owners. They may appear to be working class (on the side of the working person) but it is a sham and manipulative empathy, designed to make sure that all the poor do not realise that they have infinitely more in common with each other (regardless of race, religion, gender or any other superficial and spurious difference that the media might focus on) and even the traditionally middle class, than they do with the selfish, self-serving media moguls and the politicians who dance to their tune.

They make it very difficult for ordinary people, like you and I, to realise where their true interests lie. This problem has been amplified in the last year or so through the surrender of the BBC to their political oppressors. No longer do they even attempt to provide unbiased and informative news. They have refused to report large scale protests, for example the 10s of thousands of people in the various Marches Against Austerity, and the under reporting of the March For the NHS… they will not stand up to the Ca-moron government of 2014.

The social media is our best hope for finding like minds and mutual support outside of our physical reach. We have to continue to take the power back from both the media and politicians.