Nik Butler: Hope and goodwill should not be reserved for Christmas

JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001
JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001

We all know of the classic tale repeated throughout school and nurseries at this time of year.

Of a man and a woman, their need for transport, housing and healthcare and an oncoming responsibility. How they ended up neglected, almost destitute, and found themselves in the least suitable accommodation.

Their lack of suitable private medical cover left them unsupported as the woman went into labour and the inevitable visit from several, well meaning, strangers all of whom offered great opportunities but nothing of genuine long term support.

Despite the father’s adequate skill set there was no immediate the demand for his profession at that time. Add to this the local ruling populace who tended to frown upon out of towners, or immigrants, who they viewed as mere benefit scroungers and people who would take jobs from deserving local residents.

Though how you could both take a job and be a benefit scrounger seemed to escape the grasp of that particular group of locals.

The story apparently ends well for that family but only if you consider investment from higher agency, who required a personal commitment from its members, to be a sound investment over government provided social care.

The story might involve a few shepherds forgetting their lines and a dubious child and crib arrangement but the tale appears to repeating today and we don’t seem to understand how poor this leaves us all.

Housing shortages, access to benefits, ill conceived notions on immigration, miscommunication over EU investment versus expenditure, all continue to create a belief that each of those who suffer, or are in need, have brought their circumstances upon themselves. That they deserve no goodwill from the public.

Whilst at this time of year we highlight and praise charities for ensuring foodbanks and spare clothing are available; is it merely to salve our own guilt? Why are we not fighting to ensure that our taxes on income are doing more than enhancing the profit lines of private companies who now provide public services.

The Christmas message of hope and goodwill should not be one reserved for a few weeks of tinsel, always proceeded with arguments over illuminations.

Instead we should expect that provision for community is delivered by our councils not tendered for by private organisations. Therefore let me wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. With hope for an invested and informed 2015.