The Root Cause Of Self-Destructive Behaviour

Dostoyevsky, in Notes from Underground said that man will destroy perfection because he can. He might have said the following:

Call it fin de si├Ęcle, ennui, cynicism, pessimism, what you will, but things are not getting better. There is more depression with every passing year. And what is this better? ‘Better’ has a hollow ring. In a society with great disparities in wealth we are not all in the same boat, so why should I care? We are anyway doomed by our greed – climate change, polluted Earth. So you, who are careful about your health and behaviour and every shadow of the public conscience, will end a little later than I will, but I will burn with a bright spark while you, you goodie two shoes, live a perfect life – and who knows, my genes may protect me where yours do not despite your clean and careful living.

In the end we are all the same in our suffering. You have your problems and I have mine. And who are you to tell me? I can see any number of examples of so called shameless behaviour, so don’t try to shame me into feeling responsible for the whole of society It is you who is living in a fantasy world, while I live life to the full. And after all, aren’t we both driven by the same thing – to be sated, one way or another? And things are changing so fast, that what is good today will be bad tomorrow – and who knows where the race will take us?

Reply

We are all here against our will, and you have a responsibility not to add to the grief of those who feel responsible for looking after the wellbeing of anyone who needs it, to not add to their burden of having to decide who gets help and who does not.

It is bad for their psyche having to fight against a desire to ignore those who because of their own actions, brought themselves to be in need of help. Think about it, when you get diabetes or whatever disease you suffer from as a consequence of your profligate lifestyle, will you be so willing to live with the consequences without asking for help? I will be picking up the tab for your destructive choices.

In some societies I could say that if you don’t feel any responsibility then I will leave you to the mercies of X, who had no compunction in ending your life that is a drain on all of us – a drain caused by your own selfishness.

Reply back

I hear you. So give me something to believe in. Give me something, give me hope. What hope can you give me? What do you claim to know about the Great Plan and how it is going, and how we all going to be happy in the coming days. The days keep coming, but still they are not the coming days. The crowd is growing weary; it can see behind the magic trick and wonder when they are going to get theirs. Can you offer me anything?

Local Authority Housing: A Cautionary Tale

I think this can bear repeating:

The result of the right to buy legislation is the destruction of secure public housing – on of the pillars of the Welfare State.

I believe what happened over the past forty years since the introduction of the right to buy, is that the people who for the first time owned their own home believed that they had somehow become middle class with disposable assets – just that the value was tied up in the home. And they told themselves that as long as house prices increased and affordable mortgages were available, they could trade up when the credit card debt was too high. Of course, in the early years, credit cards were much more restrictive. And the amount one could borrow on a mortgage compared to one’s income was more restrictive. And similarly, the grounds upon which one could remortgage were also more restrictive.

Then credit loosened up, and at the same time holidays on the Costa del Sol and Turkey and wherever made it seem like there was no limit to what one could do. And then the cost of living, mortgages rates, house price crashes, and just poor money management by these babes in the wood resulted in people losing their homes.

The aspiring middle class with ready cash or mortgageable assets could now buy to let and take out mortgages to fund the purchase. Then the Government took away mortgage interest relief on buy to lets. So landlords sold. House prices had risen so much that as often as not the only buyers liquid enough to buy were the true middle class. And so the properties have become concentrated in fewer hands. And as an incentive to landlords, the long term rights of tenants were legislated away, leaving tenants with more anxiety and less will to complain about defects in properties.

Education, housing, and health care, the three pillars of the Welfare State, have been knocked down. We rail against the loss of the NHS, but I think the vision of being safe in a Local Authority house lost its flavour with many people. People wanted to own their own home in the new world of holidays abroad and call centres and Starbucks cafes. What has happened though, in the long arc of this evolution has been to remove Local Authorities housing as one of the three props of the Welfare State, and leave people less able to make ends meet and with nothing beyond their holiday snaps to show for the years they invested.

Munira Mirza’s Resignation Letter

Munira Mirza is a British political advisor who was the Director of the Number 10 Policy Unit under prime minister Boris Johnson, until she resigned today, 3 February 2022. She resigned in protest at Johnson’s false claims about Labour leader Keir Starmer. In Parliament yesterday, Johnson claimed that Starmer was responsible for the failure to prosecute the serial sex offender Jimmy Savile. Mirza previously worked under Johnson as Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture when he was Mayor of London.

The Resignation Letter

Dear Prime Minister,
It is with great regret that I am writing to resign as your Head of Policy.
You are aware of the reason for my decision: I believe it was wrong for you to imply this week that Keir Starmer was personally responsible for allowing Jimmy Savile to escape justice. There was no fair or reasonable basis for that assertion. This was not the normal cut-and-thrust of politics; it was an inappropriate and partisan reference to a horrendous case of child sex abuse. You tried to clarify your position today but, despite my urging, you did not apologise for the misleading impression you gave.
I have served you for fourteen years and it has been a privilege to do so. You have achieved many important things both as Prime Minister and, before that, as Mayor of London. You are a man of extraordinary abilities with a unique talent for connecting with people.
You are a better man than many of your detractors will ever understand which is why it is desperately sad that you let yourself down by making a scurrilous accusation against the Leader of the Opposition.
Even now, I hope you find it in yourself to apologise for a grave error of judgement made under huge pressure. I appreciate that our political culture is not forgiving when people say sorry, but regardless, it is the right thing to do. It is not too late for you but, I’m sorry to say, it is too late for me.
Yours sincerely,
Munira