Nik Butler: Remembrance a time to reflect on future as well as past

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

There are few moments in our calendar for which I will genuinely express any level of acknowledgement that the day is completely worth its marking.

That the Carfax became crowded and that people made the effort to ‘be there’ in person for remembrance gives me hope that we can, as a community, come together for the memory of those whose sacrifice through service has contributed to where we are today.

As a child I experienced service life with a Father in the Navy and my own families experience of seeing him ship out to the Falklands war; those are the moments you see in your minds eye when you realise there were many over the decades who said similar goodbyes then never saw that person again. Consider that for a minute if you will.

However we do not need times of war for situations to arise in which loved ones may head out to do their job.

Much of the infrastructure of our society is bolstered by the work of Police, Fire, and Health services; individuals who may not be facing the level of violence only governments can conjure but they daily face the harsher aspects of humanity which may be more mundane but carry danger for the untrained, under invested, or under supported worker.

Which is why I find it hard to accept that as a society we will argue passionately for investment in features or facilities then stand rather muted when questions on investment and costs in the services of our society are raised.

Indeed I am still rather amazed that ‘savings’ of £1.6 million have been passed by West Sussex Country Council for its Fire services without much in the way of anger. Whilst others nod in understanding at the outrage in the adjustment of working lifetimes and pensions to Firefighters.

To borrow a quote from the late Tony Benn: “If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people.”

With the constant spreadsheet shuffle and number juggling of accounting designed to find “savings” in Police, Fire and Health services we should have a care to ask why we are so unwilling to talk about where prices have to be paid for the society some believed in.

In a time of remembrance we might do well to consider that the accounts of yesterday should serve as an investment in tomorrow.