We have been asked throughout this year by commentators on this blog to explain what motivates us to do what we do. So over a few beers and a Sunday roast we all sat down and discussed the idea and are now in a position to offer an explanation.
What motivates us all is our distaste for inequality, all forms of inequality and discrimination.
We have no doubt as to the origins of this concern. It stems from the fact that we all went to the same Primary School and at age 11 we were all introduced to the reality of discrimination. We are not identical. We did not then, nor do we now share all talents equally: some of us have skills that the others could usefully have had a bit more of then as now. One consequence was that at the age of 11 some of us went to Grammar School, some did not.
Each of us hated the injustice of being torn apart. Overnight most if not all of us were radicalised. That was in 197… . Nothing in our opinion could justify the discrimination of the eleven plus and the difference in resources allocated to the future education of each of us, or the constraint on opportunity that exam imposed upon us all. We all felt the pain it caused. We perceived the injustice and after that we would never be the same again.
What was blindingly obvious to us was that we were and are, all of equal worth. We were angry that anyone might suggest otherwise. We remain angry now whenever it is suggested that some have more innate worth than others. Discrimination in all its forms, as we became increasingly aware of it, was something which constantly annoyed us all.
Other awarenesses followed.
Nothing has ever stopped our personal concern for these issues. Even when we realised we were fascinated by everything to do with economics and politics we were never persuaded that this required us to abandon our principles. We all went to University. However, some realised almost immediately that what they were being taught was claptrap and did not match the world we lived in, so decided to leave. This was largely because we had summer jobs, so soon appreciated that the companies or persons we worked for were not in business necessarily to screw their customers or their staff and not pay tax.
We all eventually ended up being drawn to the environmental movement. We realised pretty early on the planet is no more than an extension of consideration for others – which by then was driving our politics and our job choices. It seems obvious to us (but doesn’t to Cllr Monk) that caring for our environment, is simply taking the generations to come into account in the decisions we make, and this concern for others is, we believe, an innate part of being a human being that only training and indoctrination can overrule.
We all came to realise in our late teens, early twenties we must treat our neighbours as ourselves. We believe this opinion can be held without religious faith and we seek to convert no one. But at the same time belief in this fundamental message is, we believe, a matter of faith nonetheless, even if we think that belief evidence based.
There is a significance to our beliefs thats define the way we view the world. We find the selfish isolationism and short termism that underpins to much of our conventional politics and economics (whatever some Cllrs or Politicians wish to say) incomprehensible and utterly alien to what we perceive as the real human condition.
This is why we cannot and do not accept the view of a rational, profit maximising organisations whether they be public or private. We do not, nor can we believe that the compassionate individual who turns up to work can lose their innately human compassionate capacity in the workplace, at least not without significant strain arising and indoctrination occurring. And we believe to demand either is utterly erroneous, and the dictate of a cult – we use that word rather than culture deliberately -that denies the reality of the people we are.
But when it comes down to it, the reason why we do this is that we realise we have never been individuals as such. We have only ever existed in relationship with others. The realisation started in our homes, then our schools. The unfair treatment at 11 changed us all. We have no regrets about that. It made us realise that for all our differences from all other people – which we are meant to appreciate, cherish and enjoy – we are at heart in this world together with a duty towards each other that we have to fulfill with whatever talent and ability we have to offer at whatever stage we are at in life.
Of course we do this imperfectly. And we are all to aware that we get things wrong. But our sense that there is injustice that we can put right is what drives us all. And when some seek to institutionalise that injustice in ways that reinforce discrimination and prejudice, for whatever reason, then we are infuriated. The result is that each of us wakes up every morning thinking that maybe, just maybe, today could be the day when things might just get better. And if all we can do to make this happen is write a blog post and place it on social media for you to read and consider, then that’s what we’ll continue doing.
Have a good Christmas and we wish you healthy and prosperous new year.
The Shepwayvox Team.