Monday, 17 February 2014

What has the UK done to inspire you?

What has the UK done to inspire you.
I recently watched a video from a social website from a young teenager who was asking this question.  Unfortunately I can’t find it again but she was applauded and comments without exception were along the lines of “she should be the Queen of Scotland” and “I’d vote for her” and “she will be a political force of the future”.  Some of which I’m sure is true.  She was a fantastic speaker, charismatic and inspirational, somewhat counteracting her own argument.
This was two or three weeks ago but I have been unable to shake my feelings about this speech.  Firstly if you stepped back it was essentially a teenage angst rant.  Secondly, while the issues she highlighted were and are real, the cause or solution of the overriding content of the speech was fundamentally wrong.
Her inference was that nothing in the UK inspires the youth of today, no one tells the youth of today that they can achieve more and no one leads those youths to a better life.   Essentially how unfair life is for a teenager in the UK.
My initial thought was, “what, a year after the Olympics!”  Then I thought a little more, here is what I came up with very quickly
·         2012 olympics
·         2008 olympics (we were third)
·         2 tour de france wins
·         Andrew Murray
·         Top triathletes
·         Top swimmers
·         Top cyclists
·         Mo
·         Jessica Ennis
·         Duncan Balayntine
·         J.K rowling
·         Sandi Thom
·         One Direction
·         Comic Relief
·         Children in need
·         Kevin Bridges
·         Frankie Boyle
·         Ewan McGregor
·         The Kaiser Cheifs
·         The girl who did the speech
Ok so a bit of a celebrity list but in this age of media the list is endless, if you want to be inspired in any walk of life the inspiration is there.  Just think, if all the people who were sitting about waiting to be inspired did a JK Rowling and wrote the book they wanted to, 99% would be rubbish but the 1% would add to the culture of a nation and the 99% would still be better people for the attempt.
So my point is perhaps our youth don’t lack inspiration but they lack the ability to do something with it.  This isn’t a new issue, there is always and always has been something to inspire and people are always inspired if only for an instant, it is what you do about that inspiration that matters and what allows you to do something about that inspiration.  Inspiration is the spark to action, it is the motivation but not the activation.  The inspired person has to be the one to make that move that takes it from inspired to happening.  So why doesn’t this happen, the girl in the speech would have you believe that you were let down by the government.  I don’t see it that way and this is what has been bothering me.  I would like to get caught up in the emotion of the speech, her comments are popular and go with the current tide of emotion.  Unfortunately they are just simply wrong.
The government in this country provides free education for all, affording all the same opportunity in life from a government perspective.  By that I mean from a perspective of the things the government can have control over.  The difference between a good school and a bad school is not the teachers or the curriculum, it is the people you are at school with.  It is not up to the government to tell you that you can do better.  It is not up to Andrew Murray to take you to the tennis court, put a racket in your hand.  It is not up to JK Rowling to give you the confidence to attempt to write your first novel.  Mo isn’t going to knock on your door to see if you want to go for a run.
The only people in your life who can move your being inspired to making it happen are your parents, extended family and friends but the most important person is you!  This doesn’t mean you are alone, if you want to do something you just need to look for the help.  People who are involved in anything just want to tell you about it, if you show interest, they will nurture, encourage and do what ever they can to help you succeed.  It is the nature of being passionate and people are about their particular hobby no matter what it is.

 But in return for that help they expect your interest and enthusiasm.  Do you think you can do that?

Monday, 3 February 2014

The welfare state

welfare state
1.    1.
a system whereby the state undertakes to protect the health and well-being of its citizens, especially those in financial or social need, by means of grants, pensions, and other benefits. The foundations for the modern welfare state in the UK were laid by the Beveridge Report of 1942; proposals such as the establishment of a National Health Service and the National Insurance Scheme were implemented by the Labour administration in 1948.

A worthy aim and one we should continue, however what was considered welfare then is not what we consider it to be now.  The world has changed and while our definition of the support the welfare state provides has galloped forward, in reality it has progressed further than it should have and yet not as far as the expectations that people have of it.  It needs realigned both in its intent and to take into account of what is a reasonable modern standard of living.

So what are we talking about?  The media grabbing welfare state is all about employment benefits and hand outs to those no longer worthy.  It’s all about the money. Show me the money.  However the reality is very different when you see the figures, unemployment allowances account for virtually nothing.  In fact if you take out Housing allowances, HMRC tax credits( working people) and Child Benefit, all the other items are small fish.  Don’t get me wrong, the small fish are still 38 billion pounds worth of benefits and there are probably arguments why at least 25% of them shouldn’t be paid. 

Benefit fraud is set at 1.6 billion against tax fraud of 30 billion.  Let’s be very clear here, the 30 billion does not make the 1.6 billion acceptable, they are both wrong, benefit fraud is stealing, tax fraud is illegal.  They are two completely separate issues, using one to justify the other is what stupid people do.

In reality, the welfare state is just about right, but not quite.  In my opinion and I stress this is an opinion, there should be a two tier welfare state.  My reasons for this are quite simple, the world has changed and the original vision doesn’t hold.  That original vision of a safety net for those with no income no longer supports our modern society where those with an income need a little help too.  This should be linked to a standard of living, one where working benefits you and not working allows you to survive.

So what is this realignment of the welfare state?  Well there is a significant difference in what was an acceptable standard of living back then compared to now.  As a society we need to agree what is the bear minimum we are prepared to accept and fund for our society but also what are we prepared to pay a little extra for.

For what it’s worth my opinion is everyone should be able to have a roof over their head and put food on the table, but if you are working there should be extras.  When I say extras I mean nice stuff, every family should be able to go out once a month, somewhere nice, broadband should be a given, basic tv package a given, clothing allowances, nice place to live that fits your family.  If you are working, regardless of the job, you should be afforded a decent but minimal standard of living.

So what do the unemployed get? The unemployed get picked up by the welfare state, the bare minimum to survive, a roof over their heads, enough food to live off. It should be what it always was designed to be.  Just enough.

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Drunk Druid

Who is the drunk druid?

The drunk druid is a gamer, triathlete, father, husband, friend, drunk and general struggler through life.  An expert at nothing but happy to provide an opinion on everything and anything.

The main thrust of my posts will revolve around my triathlon training as I prepare for Ironman Nice and my gaming activities, however be prepared for the occasional rant, I'd like to say they are few and far between but they probably won't be.

Enjoy or not, as the case may be.