Dignity

Dignity is the right of a person to be valued and respected for their own sake, and to be treated ethically. It is of significance in morality, ethics, law and politics as an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights.

I’m 50 years old in a few weeks time and when I would have hoped that I had kinda grown into myself by now and found that little bit of contentment that we hope comes with age I find that I am becoming more angry and frustrated as the day goes long. The anger that I feel is for the things that I see around me, the things I read and hear, and living in a country that I am starting to not recognise any more.

The reason for this blog is that the other day I was sitting in my chair just grabbing 10 minutes of quiet, it had been yet another long week at work pushing against the tide and I was pretty much knackered but the house was empty and it was a chance to sit in the quiet. Outside it was cold and bucketing down with rain and there was a knock at the door. Oh well, I got five minutes. I answered the door and here is an older lady doing a survey for the Scottish Government on behalf of a research firm. She needed one more person to meet her quota for the day, she was cold, wet and looked tired, so what do you do. I brought her in and took part in the survey. The survey took a little while but while talking to her I learned that she had retired and this was just a little job to make some extra money, I learned that she only got paid if she met her quota and that basically she was on a zero hours contract paying minimum wage. She informed me that more often than not people just blanked her, some were very rude and some did the survey, a thankless task.

This got me thinking, I know that’s a dangerous thing, and anyone who reads this blog knows that is definitely true, but saying that many of you who comment keep me honest, point out when I’m wrong and challenge me to think in different ways, given I’m a Community Educator that is something that I believe in. But anyway the encounter got me thinking about dignity, and more the total lack of it that is afforded many people in our communities today. And it’s not just government policy it’s how we treat each other also.

We all know that there is little dignity in relying on food banks and universal credit. There is little dignity in zero hour contracts and the minimum wage. There is zero dignity in our poverty social security system as a whole and our poverty pensions, some of the lowest in the western world in the 6th richest country in the world. Where is the dignity in being fed none stop Windsor, or love island like some kind of fantasy world that young people want to aspire to. Where is the dignity in talking to young people who are not looking forward to the Christmas holidays for a multitude of reasons such as the pressure of the season and on their parents, of knowing that they may well be going without and that the big day is the day they dread the most.

When I look around me and pay attention to people I see angry people, scared people, lonely people. I see images that remind of the photos of the old Soviet Union in the 80’s when you would see film from there and people walked with their head held low, looked tired, looked cold, looked hungry. They looked lost and they looked like they had been robbed of their dignity, they looked like a lot of the people I see around me today. Then we have people like Murdo Fraser, David Mundell and Annie Wells from the Tories, Richard Leonard from Labour and Rennie from the Liberal Democrats. People, potentially not human though, who have zero self awareness whose very being are to bring people down in my opinion. Constantly telling us how shit our country is, how shit the SNP are. They had their chance, and in the Tories case, are in government and what do they do. They support policies that rob people of their dignity, of their hope, they lie and they cheat, they kiss the arse of the Windsor’s and the Mike Ashley’s of the world and they rob us of our dignity and self respect.

All of this just gets me really angry and it depresses me, but it also reminds me that my yes vote is about dignity. The dignity of being able to make our own decisions, to elect politicians that promote the policies that we want and throwing them out when they don’t. To make choices that lift people up not tear them down, to work towards valuing our older people and making sure their older years are years of respect and dignity not working until they drop hungry and cold.  I know that not everyone is in that place, some are very comfortable indeed, but too many are in a bad place today. That older lady yesterday should not have been out in the cold and rain for minimum wage, I’m generalising but maybe she should have been having a cup of tea with her mates talking about what is in the latest issue of the Peopl’e Friend.

I’m sorry this blog is a bit all over the place but I really do believe that if we allow our so called betters to rob of us of our dignity then we have lost, if we continue to allow our politicians rob us of our futures and those to come after us we have lost, if we continue to put up with zero social protection as time goes on we have lost. Some times having our dignity taken from us makes us angry and more determined than ever to bring about change, but for many taking their dignity makes them smaller, more afraid, weaker and beaten. Whatever happens in the future in this country maybe our decisions in how we vote, how we engage with each other, what we are willing to put with have to be based on dignity. Do we lift people up or tear them down, I know that right now too many in this country are determined to tear people down, we cannot and should not allow that to happen.

Again sorry this blog is a bit all over the place today but it’s how I feel.

 

 

 

 

 

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14 comments

  1. Marconatrix

    No need to feel sorry at all. It’s hard to keep a warm heart and a positive outlook when you look out on a cold dreich grey morning suggestive of a cold uncaring world. Hard to keep a soft warm heart at such times. Still you seem to be clinging on well to your inner humanity.
    “Do we lift people up or tear them down?” you ask. Simply from a purely selfish utilitarian POV, it surely pays to lift folk up. Why? So they may be there and strong to lift you up in turn. It’s all about feedback loops, creating a “virtuous spiral” rather than the viscous circle of ‘austerity’ (ugh!!).
    Take away a person’s feeling of self-worth and they turn inwards, simply to survive. They become at best irrelevant to wider society and at worst a burden, (those obstacles in the gutter the rich have to step over!) But build them up and bring out their talents and ambitions and with luck they’ll be an asset and benefit us all.

    Scotland at least has a chance to be a better nation. [Wish I’d never left 😦 ]

    • grumpyscottishman

      Marconatrix
      You’re not wrong, this post just came about through my work with young people and how some of them are feeling and the old lady. Conversations that allow you to reflect, I’m fortunate I work and while not even remotely well off we get by. I think at this time of year those who don’t have find it harder and when we should be building them up the system tears them down and robs them, that definitely just get me angry.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  2. trispw

    Nice post, Bruce.

    It’s such a sad story of people at all ages in the UK who live so far beneath the poverty line, in a country which is so rich.

    From kids with not enough food, to the lowest pension relative to living standards in the world. From desperately sick people left without any money while a pile of half-witted rich people play at messing up PIP and UC… with people on every street corner begging, food banks and clothes banks and toy banks so that kids can have second-hand presents for Christmas and May telling us she’s done a good deal that respects Brexit means Brexit, when clearly it does not.

    I despair.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Tris
      The young people not looking forward to Christmas and not asking for anything to wish for so their parents don’t feel even more pressure, they have my respect. The older lady out there for minimum wage, that should shame the politicians and those with the most, but it won’t. I’ve commented in the past that I love Christmas, my kids and wife being here but my Mum and my brothers coming over, that’s Christmas for me and while I will enjoy that this just doesn’t feel the same this year. This country really is becoming a dark place, it is starting to remind me of those photos of old in the 80s.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  3. CapnAndy.

    No Bruce, you’re not ‘All over the place’. You’re spot on.
    It gets me sometimes as well. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

  4. George

    That pretty much sums up how most Scots feel about the prevailing situation in general. You should send it to the all the party heads in Scottish politics, see if they recognize themselves. Very well done indeed!

    • Anonymous

      George
      Do you think they would be at all interested. Certainly the unionists wouldn’t be as they back the very policies that remove people’s dignity and rob them of their self esteem. People tear people all the time, a sad fact of life but for a Government and political system to do it is beyond disgusting and shameful.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  5. nostressprague

    Hear hear! Couldn’t agree more and thank you expressing something I’ve felt for a while. The reference to images of people from the Soviet Union in the 80’s certainly rings true. Most people here appear stressed out and tired looking with pinched expressions. Constant struggle saps the soul. Another symptom of a society in despair and decline: the number of bookies and pawn shops – in my town Grangemouth we have 5 bookies and 3 pawn shops in the precinct! Insane.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Nostressprague
      Thanks, I live in Dundee and we have bookies and off licenses all over the place and esp in the poorer areas. All deliberate and policy I suspect. I also do think that things are starting to feel like the early 80s again and I had hoped my kids would never experience what I had grown up with, they will have it worse. How sad is that.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  6. Robert T

    Bruce you have every right to feel despair and anger , I am at the very same stage when I think of the deliberate impoverishment imposed daily and endlessly by uncaring self aggrandising politicos aided and abetted by the lying broadcasters and media ,
    But as everyone says and knows it doesn’t need to be like this , we the people of Scotland have elected a Scottish government whose mandate is to cherish and care for the people of Scotland , to ensure our children are receiving the best care possible , to ensure our children are being fed properly , to lift our people out of poverty , to create better living and social conditions ,

    Reality Check , this will never happen whilst our resources are being STOLEN to further enrich greedy amoral parasites who care not for the impoverished or disabled but merely to add to their already substantial horde of wealth
    We need our government to face down , confront and expose this corruption by these lying colluding charlatans , we need our government to dissolve this rancid fetid union ASAP

    • grumpyscottishman

      Robert
      You’re spot on, it’s a deliberate policy by scumbag Tories and certain unionists in the other parties to make people poorer and destitute while the wealthy get wealthier. It’s sick if you ask me and I really hope the chickens come to roost some day for these vermin. I despise them and I despise what they are doing to Scotland and to the rest of the U.K. I can’t even get my head around why English voters could vote for these people other than they have lost their collective minds. It’s all so sad. I also think that Scotland is just a cash and land cow and a play thing for certain vested interests and the Scots, or so called Scots, who support any unionist party need to hang their heads in shame. They are equally part of the problem and I’ll be happy when we’re independent for those who wish to leave to go, they are not the future they are the past.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  7. ArtyHetty

    Thanks a great read, and no need to be sorry. It is a depressing week, for sure. I think the worst was hearing disgusting Treeza May revel in removing freedom of movement. Clipping the wings of our young people, and indeed not so young. Tightening the locks on the shutters to people wanting to come and live in the UK, and to live in Scotland. Sleazy, corrupt UK is to become a prison, but not for the rich and priveleged, oh no. They can buy their way out, many already have, many of the Brexiters have foreign passports.

    One thing to take comfort in, is that Scotland has still got a chance to escape, and many people are raging about how Scotland has been treated with utter contempt by WM Tories and red Tories. People are not going to put up with a no deal bad deal English Brexit being imposed on Scotland. 300+ years of British ruling over Scotland certainly did a good job of crushing the aspirations of many, but not any more. It hasn’t worked for Scotland, having her resources and revenues removed by WM in London, with a few crumbs thrown back and being told you are too poor! Pandora’s box has been opened, Scotland will have to now make sure to escape the clutches of the cesspit that is the UK.

    One last thing, we have to find another way to descibe the UK, because it’s not a country as such. The Britnats have people across the globe believing it is. How do we change that?

    Thanks
    H.

    • Anonymous

      AertyHetty
      I think May is a racist personally, her policies as home secretary couldn’t be described as anything less. I also think she was a leave voter and wants a no deal Brexit, she is playing a game and that just shows how ruthless she is and she will trample on anyone to get what she wants. She is trying to out ruthless Thatcher and while the worst PM that I can ever think of I do wonder what she has on people to have led the Tories for so long, she is lucky as well that Corbyn and Labour are so useless. I hope enough Scots will realise that the future has to be independence and nothing less will do, it’s our only hope to save ourselves.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

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