Tuesday, October 19, 2021
HomeCulture WarsIt would be so easy to do it better

It would be so easy to do it better

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MOST of us mutter ‘the world’s gone mad’, ‘you couldn’t make it up’, ‘the lunatics have taken over the asylum’ etc. But what manifesto (womanifesto?) would I write?

Being magnanimous, I thought it’s probably hard to come up with ideas and easier for us to sit back and criticise those in power.  

I was wrong. It’s super-easy. I’m not a political qualification in any shape or form. And yet I can do it. So why can’t they? To anyone with a scintilla of influence, have my ideas free of charge.   

1.    Trans people’s lives matter. Not many people would disagree pretty much with a ‘live and let live’ approach. Support and tolerance, yes. Taking away the rights of others to support this group (and most of the furore is concerning people born men)? Not on. The law should protect women’s rights. Easy solutions and compromise can be found – for instance having a third category gender-neutral toilet – but no, a hammer-cracking-nut approach seems preferential to those in power. You have to ask, do they just not like women? Are they using tiny groups as a way of putting women down in the way that drowning women in the Middle Ages was not really about God. Stop solving little problems with floods of gigantic solutions and emotion that sets groups against one another. 

2.    Our environment matters. So tackle it sensibly as adults. Listening to children about complex environmental issues is like using the Famous Five to make policy for law and order. And the environment should include our immediate streets. Housing inspectors checking that gardens are not being used as junk yards should be reinstated. A stiff warning and then charge them if local authorities have to do it for them. And local authorities? Stop buying stupid stuff like terrible art in down-at-heel communities to cheer them up. Do you know what would cheer them up? Better public services.  

3.    Education matters. We are turning places of learning into mental institutions where the focus is supporting children’s emotional journey rather than their academic journey. Do you know what happens to people who are leaving school unable to read and write? Now that is a self-esteem issue. The solution is letting schools focus on their main job. Throw out the national curriculum. It’s nonsense and time-wasting. Governments and society should expect results, but schools don’t need to be told how to get there. 

4.    Policing matters. Stop the police turning into TV-inspired parodies. Stop TV reality shows that encourage playing up to the camera, not just in the police but in any publicly funded organisation.  

5.    Inheritance matters. If we want to leave someone out of our will irrespective of our relationship to them, we should be able to.  In Scotland, we can’t. It’s wrong and takes away personal choice. 

6.    Health matters but please, NHS, stop beatifying jobs. Thank tax-payers for paying if you must, but unless the NHS staff start working for nothing, then no, we don’t thank them. No talk of angels. No bonuses. No discounts. No sanctimony. Out with you all.  

7.    Customers matter. To the extortion racket that is the BBC, if you can’t attract viewers, you should be out of business. That might make you stop giving viewers what you think is good for us and give us what we want.  

8.    Power matters. Make rules for social media and ban them (yes, turn them off completely) if they start getting above themselves. Which they absolutely have. And never let any unelected rich person tell us what to think. All those media giants that disliked Trump so much are way more terrifying than any temporary government. The sheer audacity of them.  

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Gail MacDonald
Gail MacDonald is a professional psychologist and writer. Views expressed here are her own.

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