Well a bit of response to my piece ‘Edukachun’ which always pleases me. I like to have a ‘damned good argument’ so long as its the full half hour not the five minutes (Pythonesque quote). Someone actually commented to me the other day that I hadn’t written a blog for a while and thought I’d lost inspiration or got lazy. Neither is true, just other things get in the way, like life.
But the main thrust of my argument was that the Simon Cowell’s of this world want children to basically underachieve so they can be pop singers or soap stars or TV presenters or whatever. NO!!! He has got it all wrong, but I’ve already argued my case for that. My gripe today is what could happen to this country and it’s youth if we carry on the way society is going at the moment. There ARE good hardworking young people who want to get on, make a contribution to the world and become technologists, entrepreneurs, business people and create jobs and wealth, but by the same token, there are loads of school leavers who want to do nothing else but be ‘famous’ or a ‘celebrity’. How sad and quite frightening for by the future, if no-one cares about anything but themselves and their image. We need people across the spectrum of jobs and vocations.
A sad statistic released today was the 10th victim of a stabbing in London this year. He was stabbed in the leg and died of his injuries. What is it about knives and stabbings? Why do people carry weapons, with the obvious intent to use them, and then what do they feel if they do stab someone? From Damilola Taylor to the latest stabbing, young people have been struck down before they’ve reached their full potential, yet the perpetrator is nearly always sorry they’ve done it and protest their innocence when they have been sent to prison. Its not even really a sad reflection on ‘society’, because those who are involved in the knife carrying fraternity is very small group and mostly inner city based. Whatever goes on in their head is anyone’s guess, but I would suspect he has a lot to do with ‘respect’. Let’s examine this word for a moment. Respect has many connotations, from hero-worship through looking up to someone, and finally earning the attribute. But, respect should never, ever be expected, or taken for granted, and is in no circumstances something that should automatically be bestowed on someone because they have a knife or are the loudest or most aggressive in a group. I’ll illustrate this: a group is walking along a pavement, they are 6 in number and everyone in their path moves out of their way. They look aggressive and give off an aura of mean and nasty. They come across someone who doesn’t automatically move out of the way, and stands his ground instead of deferring. The leader stops in front of him and says ‘Move out of my way!’. The man stands his ground, and says nothing. The leader says to the rest of the group: this man is showing no respect to me, turns to the man and says ‘You dissing me?’. Now this is the aggressive street talk of someone who doesn’t like being ‘dissed’, i.e. doesn’t want to be ‘disrespected’. In this context there is no reason why the man should respect or in fact not respect the leader, he means nothing to him, and ‘respect’ is a hackneyed phrase that is banded about to signify some sort of worship for that persons aura of command and leadership, in other words what respect should be about. In the same way that a private in the army respects his sergeant or officer, because of his rank and position. So the leader expects respect, without it being earned. It is only earned in normal circumstances by being reactive, cooperative and being a leader of men in the truest sense. It is not earned just by being the strongest, most aggressive or the handiest with a knife. This is the essence of respect, its earned not conferred. It is not automatic, not a given. This, I believe is the basis of many of these knifing incidents, someone disses someone else, a knife is produced and someone is stuck with it. All this action proves nothing, and the outcome is always tragic. Give up the knifes, and the illicit guns come to that.
The biggest ship in the world, built in South Korea, was launched today. This is the time that the UK shipbuilding industry is at the lowest its been for decades, and in fact is declining further with the cessation of military ship building in Portsmouth. When we think of the ships built in Belfast, Glasgow or Tyneside, Portsmouth, Sunderland and Hull. We led the world in shipbuilding, now South Korea has built a ship, admittedly not self-powered, which is bigger than any other floating vessel. In a country of less population and resources than us. Makes you think don’t it? Why can’t we still build commercial ships? Big ones, that transport goods around the world? The same reason we stopped coal mining, steel making and other heavy industries: we’re too expensive, in both manpower costs and materials and the politicians, always right again, stopped them. The world needs ships all the time, but unfortunately customers would rather buy from Germany, Japan, Thailand, Korea, in fact anywhere but here. It makes you despair for the future of this country.