Yes, I know this could be the first in a series of 493826473892837 posts. But don't worry, it's a one-off.
Here's the thing. Why do politicians work hard to become governors of this country, and then slag it off?
I'm so fed up with hearing about 'broken Britain'; that we're all passive people living in soulless communities; that our communities need organisers who will chivvy us all into doing voluntary work and taking control of our neighbourhood services.
You know what? In the Britain I have lived in all my life, my family members, friends, and neighbours have mostly been active, powerful people, doing large quantities of formal and informal voluntary work, and running lots of neighbourhood services themselves. Everything from sports clubs to play and stay groups, fund-raisers for - or in memory of - individuals to big community events. But this seems to count for nothing where the politicians are concerned.
It's odd that Britain has such a miserable image to its residents. I'm not saying it's a perfect society. How could it be? It's made up of human beings, and none of us are perfect. Yes, there are problems: unemployment, anti-social behaviour, domestic violence - the list goes on. But, the whole country, 'broken'? When we have a world class national health service, an excellent education system, a thriving third sector, reasonable public transport in most places, good and mostly well maintained roads... yes, again, I know none of these things are perfect. Everyone has their stories of a doctor who didn't listen, or a nurse who didn't care, or a teacher who couldn't teach, or a school that wasn't user-friendly, a charity that couldn't help, a village where there are no buses, or a great big pothole. But that doesn't mean the whole of our society is broken. Look at Zimbabwe, Yemen, Somalia. Those are, arguably, broken societies. Bits of our society may be dented - the bodywork needs attention and it could do with a full oil service - but it's not broken; in fact, it's still driving along, and shouldn't have any trouble getting through its next MOT.
What I see in our society is people living effective lives and helping each other in a myriad of ways. I see single parents, people with illness and/or disability, and those who are out of work getting support from all quarters. I see people who would help each other in a heartbeat, and do - and who don't think that's anything special. I see organisations offering help for practically everything, much of that help free to the people who are most in need.
I'd like to see our politicians acknowledging some of the many, many positive aspects of our society. Apart from anything else, the way they've been talking over the last few months is hardly motivational. Imagine the MD of a big business saying to the staff, 'this business is broken, you're all passive and soulless, and your work is useless crap.' Would that encourage staff to work much harder, or demoralise them so they make less effort? Bit of a no-brainer, really.
But this is just my view. What do you think? Is Britain 'broken' and full of miserable, alienated people, or do we live in a society that functions really quite well for most of its members, most of the time?