Ghost Town

This town is coming like a ghost town.
Why must the youth fight against themselves?
Government leaving the youth on the shelf.

This place is coming like a ghost town.
No job to be found in this country.
Can’t go on no more.
People getting angry.

‘Ghost Town’, The Specials

These lyrics might have been written in the bleak 1970s but I think they rather fit today in 2011 just as well. The offices where I work are becoming like a ghost town. It’s a bit like moving house: you think you don’t have that much stuff but once you start packing, it keeps on coming.

I need to get rid of all my stuff by R-day at the end of March so I’ve been tackling it bit by bit. Today I tidied one shelf (recycling/ bin/ take home) and one large folder on my computer. I’ve arranged to donate resources to schools but the rest of my things will be thrown away. All that work! I’ll take home a few bits. Out of an office of nine, three are surviving and they will have to move to the Civic Centre (eek!) after April so it really is all change.

I popped next door to look for something a few minutes ago and it really struck me how much the room had changed. Several desks were removed at the beginning of the year as one team moved premises. There were a few boxed stacked up ready to be filled and the shelves showed dusty marks where folders and files had once stood.

At times it really strikes me how different the public sector is going to be. Buildings will lie empty or be rented out as office space (although I can’t see anyone in their right mind wanting to pay good money for the room where I’m based); staff numbers will be decimated in the original sense of the word and services to children, schools and families will be gone or changed forever.

Can’t go on no more

People getting angry.

update…hmm, someone been reading my blog or did we just have the same ideas? Auschwitz and The Specials.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/19/youth-unemployment-lost-generation-work?INTCMP=SRCH

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The Big Little Society

Today the Prime Minster relaunches the Big Society. This will iron out the misunderstanding that it’s just a way of getting things for free once the bulk of staff have been redundant from councils and third sector groups have their budgets cut to the bone.

 No funding for schools? Set up a free school! Library closing? Run it yourself! Woodlands being sold off? Plant an acorn! Leisure centre shut? Go for a jog around the woodlands acorn seedlings!

 Rather than Big Society I prefer Big Little Society. I’m lucky enough to live in a part of London where there really is strong community. We have a community choir run by the music department of the local secondary school. We have a summer festival run by locals and we have a community Arts centre. We also have a community forum where we can share ideas and ask questions.

Our house has just sprung a leak and I’ve just found a list of local plumbers on there. The sergeant from the Safer Neighbourhood Team answers questions on the forum and the ward councillors sort out local problems.

 I’d also like to see some more basic community issues being addressed across the country too so we can all take more responsibility. Here’s my list for the Big Little Community:

  1. Make friends with your neighbours and keep an eye out for each other. Offer to keep an eye on their property and invite them over every now and them for Christmas/ Eid/ Diwali etc.
  2. Sweep the snow from your little patch of Great Britain and don’t be put off by gloomy emails about being sued if someone slips outside your house.
  3. As above but with litter. It only takes a moment to pick up the rubbish outside your house and pop it in the bin/recycling. And pick up your neighbour’s junk mail that he insists in throwing out onto the pavement. Or is that just me? If you live in a super clean part of the country, vow to pick up and dispose of two bits of litter when you’re out and about.
  4. Challenge anyone who drops litter without believing they’re going to stab you. I can’t help myself doing this; I think it’s the teacher in me. Mr R once challenged a woman who chucked her rubbish on the ground in front of her kids. ‘If you’re so worried about, ‘ she replied, ‘you pick it up.’ So he did because he was.
  5. Keep an eye on other people’s kids when they’re out and about but tick them off if they do something silly (eg point 4). Parents: allow this to happen.
  6. Use local shops as well as out of towners but insist on using your own bags. Hold the door open for the next person and say please and thank you. You may also wish to smile.
  7. As a wise man once said, ‘Get up, stand up. Stand up for your rights.’ And stand up for others too. If you think that something is wrong or unfair in any part of your life, don’t whinge about it, do something. And if anyone upsets your friends, family, colleagues or neighbours, stand up for them.

 Right I’m off to phone a plumber. So in this new Big Little Society what would you like to see?

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