More on the nature of the beast.


In answer to the kind of stupid and irresponsible Yes/no questionnaires such as the one relating to demolition and regeneration in the Wyndford estate Maryhill Glasgow

The beast here refers to any kind of agency private or otherwise that is a threat to public agency and the common good. The common good being that which we own, institutions and assets in the collective public interest.

Each time we give up to the ideas of the beast, no matter how small or sugar coated these ideas are, we loose something. Sometimes these are small sacrifices we see as unimportant. But over time these seemingly small and insignificant things grow to have a life of their own and inter connect to become the norm. And when they do, they start to prompt comments like “That’s just the way it is now” “Its broke, there is nothing you can do about it”. We have learned to take yes/no choices even in matters that demand deeper thought and consideration.

The arrogance of city administrators to encourage and expect us to answer in yes/no tick boxes, even to complex problems and to things that if we answer wrong could put our commons and social institutions firmly at the mercy of banks, profiteering and developers. They are called developers but they are destroyers, destroyers of the kind of community infrastructure that has taken past generations centuries to achieve for the public’s benefit. We do not need yes/no answers, we need to find a consensus in our communities through understanding, exploration, factual evidence, in order that we can make the right choices that will benefit as many people, that the answers to the given questions will affect.

What we are offered is: “Glasgow’s Wyndford flats could undergo £54m regeneration with resident’s input”. In the Evening Times. So only when the council/housing executives ,”developers” decide what is going to happen do the resident’s get “input”. How can it be called regeneration when the benefactors of the so called regeneration are not part of the decision making and planning from the start? This is more akin to degeneration of public agency and the continued regeneration of the private purse. What’s to be done? If we want anything done we need to demand representation from a council who thinks they are living in the middle ages. We are the lords, you are the peasants. Do as we say! If we cannot get representation we need to become it ourselves. History proves the latter is the more effective.

To put it another way

If we used the same council decision making process in bringing up our kids we would be terrible parents. We would have forgotten all of the small details and nuances of our children’s upbringing. We would have forgotten all of the small achievements that make them special, their friends, their relationships and the trials of finding their place in the world, their community and for their future. How come we can remember almost every detail of these things of when our kids are growing up and how important they are? The highs the lows the disagreements, arguments, discussions, lessons learned on both sides. Through these experiences we help to learn and understand the nature of our kids and how we can help their development into adulthood, and parenthood.

Shouldn’t we have the same approach in protecting and developing their environment. We can not protect our children or their future prospects by filling in yes/no answer sheets. We need to ask the question. Can we really expect to protect their environment, their future homes and future by the same yes/no answers? The answers have never and will never be found in binary questionnaires, who says yes and who says no. And those who produce them know that. The answers are always nuanced and tied up with experience and never straight forward.

To protect our kids future prosperity, of which today their environment is paramount no matter what agency is threatening it landlords, governments or otherwise. We need to use the same care and attention in protecting their environment as we do in their upbringing. We cannot be one generational thinkers here. These housing, libraries, health service decisions are also in the realm of public life, rather than private life. We need to step out the front door and connect with our neighbours. Turning up is 99% of the any battle. Council questionnaires are about finding consensus for what “they”, the council and the housing market want to do, not what we want.

We do not conduct family life on a computer, on facebook, on PDF forms. We nurture our children with all of the love, sacrifice and compassion we can possibly give them. Why do we continually fail to give the same love, sacrifice and compassion to the outside world of their environment? Has Thatcher’s generation still to understand the damage done by buying up the council homes that would have afforded future generations the same security that they themselves had enjoyed living in council houses most of their lives?

Life is for living, dreaming and planning a future. Worrying whether we can afford to pay next months rent or become homeless is destroying futures. The future is in our own hands all we have to do is take some responsibility, not even a lot, in realising it.
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