I tweeted this a little hopefully this morning:
Stories like this https://twitter.com/TelegraphNews/status/437563100506517504 … make me wonder if there isn’t a “market” for creating a new country of tolerance and real justice.
And “this” being a Telegraph story which has been reported elsewhere, though without too much surprise from anybody any more it would seem:
Anyone convicted of a crime will be required to pay a court charge of up to £600 under Government plans http://fw.to/o61GATl
Meanwhile, to my attention as a weary soul from quite other times comes a letter from a council not a million miles away from where I live where a schoolchild with 98.5 percent attendance arrives late at the gate – though not at registration – by minutes on one occasion in January (the first time in the whole academic year, in fact) and almost a month later gets an untimely and unhelpful missive, couched in a barely acceptable tone which presumes persistent guilt, and which is hardly likely to make the student in question respond positively to an environment they already sadly have some reason to dislike.
The letter signs off with the following phrase:
[…] Persistent lateness after the close of register and/or unauthorised absence may lead to the issuing of a Fixed Penalty Notice under Section 444 of the Education Act 1996.
As far as I know, though I may be wrong (and am happy to stand corrected), the register in this case wasn’t closed and unauthorised absence was therefore hardly a result.
But I suppose I am more interested in the implications of a wider intolerance, and what to do about it. From Chris Grayling’s outrageous attempt to further monetise the justice system to the intolerant and tardy reaction from a local council I outline above, it’s clear that tolerance isn’t a 21st century touchstone. And more specifically in relation to our children, it’s similarly clear they are being driven through long enough school days as it is, where hours upon hours of study without organised breaks pit one subject teacher against another in their attempts to finish syllabuses and hit their overarching targets. The problem being that no one seems to be examining the impact such uncollaborative work and organisational systems are having on their receptors and objects: the children and adolescents themselves.
Each teacher is in a bubble of often desperate – often despairing – learning goals; none really has the opportunity to take a more holistic approach to their charges as people with responsibilities various, shifting and occasionally rather overwhelming in their lack of institutional coordination.
And such a state of intolerance can be applied to a wider society, I think: from government ministers with tightly focussed portfolios to MPs with party loyalties to voters with frightening difficulties in getting to the end of the month to those sick of politics to those bullied by politics to those who care no longer to listen to the silken promises of millionaires … all of us, I think, in some way or other, see our bonds and ties with others breaking up as personal motivations and dynamics substitute words and concepts like selflessness, altruism, sociability and empathy.
No one is in a position to have an overview of end-to-end process. And in such a way, end-to-end process on many occasions ceases to properly exist.
This is not good, in my opinion.
I hope you don’t think it is, either.
So then. What to do about it? Obviously, creating a state we could choose to call Tolerancia, a new country with regenerated legal, justice, education, welfare, health, social care and governance regimes, a state like-minded souls could all migrate to out of a final resignation about their nations of birth, would require a tremendous effort probably beyond anyone right now – not only financial but persistently and creatively ideological.
Not an easy thing to achieve in any epoch, I guess – but even less so in times like these.
If not some wealthy philanthropist, then, how about crowdfunded attempts to create parallel universes (if you like) in a virtual world of some useful connection. Yesterday, I posted this paragraph over at http://error451.me (the bold is mine today):
A final thought, then – and a spoiler alert for those of you who like Isaac Asimov but haven’t read everything. I’ve just read a short story by him, entitled “Robot Visions”, borrowed from Amazon’s Kindle lending library. In it, “humaniform robots” replace, via “a sad time”, a miserable population of ten billion humans with a stable and happily well-adjusted population of one billion robots. Decentralised but (supremely) well-communicated communities have replaced decaying cities. A massive campaign of reforestation has saved a planet from a fate we already see on the horizon today. Enough there to make one wonder.
And I would so like to see this happen. A series of web communities where principles of reasonable tolerance were perpetuated; where good people (let’s not tie down the definition side of things for the moment) were able to bring up their families and friendships in an environment of kindness and gentleness; where rights and obligations were properly constitutionalised and not forever open to undermining by much grander forces … well, it’d be fantastic, don’t you think? So cool, it really would. So cool.
A series of web communities we could choose to live in and pay our taxes (or not) to; communities which we could emigrate to when in times of real need; perfectly embracing silos, in fact. But silos where the welfare state was in no danger ever again of reverting into the farewell state.
Tolerancia: a state for everyone who cares.
I’d be the first one.
But maybe, these days, I’d end up being the only one too.