Wednesday, 6 February 2013

And so it begins? No, was already here!

Went out to check whether the bins had been emptied and the very first person passing by greets me with, 'So whatdya think of the vote then?' 'What vote," I ask innocently (and honestly). 'That gay marriage thing,' says they, 'It's all wrong if you ask me!'

Appraised of the topic I ask whether they wrote to their MP to explain their views and received a, 'Nah, they don't listen to people like me!" And with that, they continued on their way to their blue-collar world of 'done to not done for' folk. This is more often than not the top of the pile in the area I serve.

And there we have it, forget the vote itself and take a step back and look at the issue of representation. I meet more and more people who regard themselves as not only marginalised but also voiceless. There are those who have lost jobs and can't get another because of age, location and the fact that work isn't that available anyway. These people used to be relatively comfortable (well they could pay their bills) and now they struggle and are resigned to being unemployed.

There are those who live within the culture of the benefits system and social housing. These are the people who range from living in a 'hand to mouth' life to those who, perhaps oddly, appear to have quite a lot of disposable cash. What this group all share is the fact that they know what they need and generally get it but the means by which this is brought about renders them as the voiceless detritus at the bottom of the pile.

The last group I regularly engage with are those who duffer some form of limitation or disability and the greatest grouping within this population are those who are mentally ill. The seek to be cared for in an increasingly stretched mental health system where often it seems the greatest goal is not containment or cure but finding a way to remove them from the list! The reality is that they are excluded from help and from relationships that might help.

So here we have it - 'gay marriage' doesn't really interest or trouble me because at the end of the day I'm dealing with hard issues. With families and child protection conferences; with repossessions and hospital visits, sections, self-inflicted illness through many of the various addictions; Sadness and stress that are because of the cancers and Alzheimer's and other 'end of life' (but not immediately) stuff. Because there is sin in the world and it not only hurts God but damages relations and mars His image in us and makes it  (the world and us) less than it can be.

This is what the Church is about:

A voice to the voiceless (come and work with me as we attempt to get people listened to).

Caring for those who society and state (stop me and ask me about the number of mentally ill who have lost any semblance of care provision).

A willingness to open our doors and provide a place where all are welcome and cared for (what Church has always been).

Our government has spent energy, time and money showing how much disunity there is in the Conservative party (as if we didn't already know) and how much import they put on things that neither affect nor benefit the rank and file - but then again that's why we have Church.

To care for and represent everyone (and that means heterosexual and homosexual too!).



DrJ said...

"seek to be cared for in an increasingly stretched mental health system where often it seems the greatest goal is not containment or cure but finding a way to remove them from the list!"

Amen to that description.

But pity the poor coalface mental health worker too, how demoralising it is to spend your career in such an atmosphere.

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

I'm extremely sad for those who trained thinking they were going to make a difference and find the reality is that they help some and strive to keep their worklaod do'able by seeking to cull when they can.

Totally agree - there are some ghastly social workers and health care professionals but these are the exception rather than the rule. There are also many who hate the poor, limited and restricted service they give because budgets and staffing numbers demand same.

Thanks for comments,


UKViewer said...

I suppose I might be one who takes being represented seriously and had engaged with my MP on the issue of SSM, along with many other concerns about poverty and other policies of the current government which are worrying and seem to be intended to divide the country. She has always responded (Labour) and has passed on representations I've made to departments and ministers, for all the good it has done.

At least I'm being heard. I didn't vote for any of the mainstream parties last time around, Green seemed to represent my working class socialist outlook, with real concerns about the issues that I also care about. The green candidate lost their deposit :(

This won't change my mind. I don't believe or trust the main stream parties can govern for the majority good, as self-interest and electoral self-preservation seems to be their main priorities. At least with Green you get commonsense, activism and hope.

But, we get the government we deserve, and if we continue to vote on narrow, party lines we will continue on the destructive, selfish, divisive path set for us by an elitist bunch of self-servers.

Perhaps the second coming is needed to sort it all out?

DrJ said...

Vic - not all of those ghastly professionals started out that way - most of us catch ourselves slipping sometimes.

UKViewer - I've largely given up on my MP. He has been very helpful on constituency issues - it is amazing how an MP's "Could you just explain to me what the problem is here?" letter can stir up complacent officialdom.
But on national issues, he is a predictable waste of space. He "Fully shares" my concerns, and "agrees wholeheartedly" with the points I raise, but never enough to defy the party whip when it comes to a vote on the matter. He actually won some prize for the best parliamentary speech of the year, but that was a complete waste of breath because he was speaking against the majority whip so the fine rhetoric made no difference whatsoever.
Another local MP had also been a good party hack, then after retirement fell foul of some arbitrary NHS prescribing restrictions introduced by his own party, but screamed blue murder and, surprise surprise, got the treatment on the NHS.
Hence my definition:
Party Politics is that system of government by which generally intelligent and well-meaning Men and Women are induced to behave like bigoted fools.

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Dr J, thought I'd made that point -I see them not slipping but pushed by staffing cuts and excessive and unrealistic workloads. I support a few and up until a few years back also offered supervision to some. Didn't mean to look like I was denigrating them, apologies if I did,