Oh dear–is that the past come to haunt us? The dark frightening uncaring society re-surfacing. I know there are pockets of good news stories but for the majority it is not looking joyous. Low wages, essential support services and networks denied, the price of travel rising–£10 per day for honest hard working Londoners! There’s no room at this UK inn for an independent living allowance, no room for fairer society when a court in this land has ruled that wheelchair users will not be given priority to travel on buses.
We have in this land something called the Equality Act and yet actioning it is one of the hardest things to do right now. In our own industry – the arts and cultural industry–we are being told to pay interns less, use artists that won’t cost so much. Cut cut cut… but maintain standards, reach more on less… big big big. This shadowy ghost frightens the life out of me. What the Dickens? I find myself saying oh the spirits of past and present are very scary. Yes quickly let’s look to the future – the yet to come.
It is hard to believe that only two years ago we were hosting the Olympics and Paralympics, when the global eyes were on us – a progressive nation that held tightly to values of inclusion and diversity and one that honoured these values through the sports, arts and culture. It was a beautiful reflection of this nation that held up human rights and freedoms and gave everyone the opportunity to take part and be involved. It understood what an amazing gifted nation we are, it supported all the various abilities as a natural way to be for any society. Where is that spirit? The spirit which made every single one us proud to be British and transported that vision to many places across the world.
The spirit of yet to come is the spirit that says we are a caring, fair and understanding society, that places value on its people especially those who are most vulnerable and frail, one that strives to support the wellbeing of the many and not the few.