Random Stuff

Hi, I’m me: The Sequel!

So, today in conversation a good friend said something along the lines of: “We in Britain have it so much better than other many places in the world, and we ought to be grateful.” It was part of a conversation about the General Election coming up… which is part of a longer conversation about the fear that we are losing the NHS and welfare to chronic and deliberate under-funding along with the demonising of services and customers.

She’s right, of course. We do have it pretty sweet. We have the best healthcare system in the world, and will never (for now) face the worry of having to pay for that healthcare. It’s paid for through taxes, so yeah, we’re still paying and it’s not free and blah blah blah… but my taxes won’t bankrupt me and my cancer treatment would have… if I’d even been able to pay for all of it. I could well be dead in countries where healthcare isn’t a given.

We have workers rights, free education (yeah, I know, it’s not blah blah blah), a welfare system that actually helps people… we don’t have much to complain about. And I am grateful.

It’s just that I shouldn’t be. I know other places are worse. I know other countries may not have these benefits and rights. But that doesn’t matter. That other places are worse is no reason to be grateful. It ought to be a given, it should be a baseline to expect. The idea is to continue to want better and more; not to allow these things to disappear because other places don’t have them either. We shouldn’t be telling our kids to be more grateful, we should be glad that they have it better. We should let them complain because what they have isn’t enough and watch them make it better still. We should be leading the way, not holding back because other places think we have enough.

For all that though, we actually should be grateful for what we have and not forget that it could easily not be there.

In a poor attempt to make more sense:

I am grateful to be alive. But I should be able to take it for granted. My life is not something that I ought to feel grateful for, even though I should and do.

That’s cleared that up.

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3 thoughts on “Hi, I’m me: The Sequel!

  1. I find it very hard to cope with people in the UK complaining when I’ve seen so many places which have less. These others are probably happier people however. I worry that the extent to which the UK governent is becoming a nanny environment will take away all rfeasons to strive to do better and sort out problems for themselves.

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    1. I think the difference between a nanny state and a government that supports its people could be made clearer. In my mind, a nanny state is a government that implements a snoopers charter and has more CCTV than most other countries in the world.
      A government that supports its people has a welfare state, an NHS and a world-class education system. These things that everyone pays for, everyone benefits from and encourages people to do more because there is less risk… like if I try start a business and fail, I can fall back on welfare to support me until I get back on my feet. Without that, I wouldn’t take the risk of losing everything.
      As for people complaining when other people have less, I fully understand where you’re coming from and I find it no less irritating to hear the privileged complaining because they’re not privileged enough. I just think we need to bear in mind that ‘better’ isn’t perfect, that ‘better’ doesn’t mean settle for less than perfect and ‘better’ can be better still.
      It seems to me that saying other people have it worse, so we ought not complain, is the same as saying we have no reason to want to more and that we ought to hold back and have less because other people don’t have. It also seems to be a way to shut down any argument against removing the things that make Britain a good place to live.

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