Beneath the surface
The sun is shining in the Black Country this morning and all is well. I’ve been out for my morning walk past the runner beans to the apple trees and back; it was very pleasant. Is everything as it seems, this sunny Sunday morning?
I think there will be a few people not feeling too good after a bit too much last night. Then there are the ones who woke up this morning in a police cell. Many people will have problems today that we could see if we scratched below the surface.
In April the newspapers reported that a commuter was alleged to have dodged train fares to London worth close to £43,000, but avoided prosecution after making an out-of-court-settlement with Southeastern railways. It seems he has now been identified and is a millionaire. He’s lost his high flying, high paid job because his employer thinks he has brought them into disrepute and he is subject of a criminal investigation. I suppose outwardly he looks fine sipping his champagne and eating his strawberries or whatever people do on a sunny morning on the terrace of their mansion. In reality he is probably a bit worried.
If we really scratched beneath the surface of the City of London what would we find? Lots of rich executives anonymously giving money to charity or lots of fare and tax dodgers fiddling the financial system? How about those noble occupants of the Palace of Westminster? Many of them have already been caught out fiddling their expenses, but what else do they get up to?
Scratching below the surface at the BBC would open up a can of worms, no doubt. It might explain why I couldn’t get the bloody lottery results last night and why they are so bloody keen on sport. Their coverage of royalty gets on my nerves too. Who cares if Prince George has just had his first birthday, said his first word or soiled his first nappy. We never hear about royal flatulence. The royal mint doesn’t strike a coin to commemorate the kid’s first fart… It’s all show, scratch beneath the surface and there are all sorts of things that stink.
In Britain we are obsessed with keeping up appearances. The obsession leads to plastic extensions on homes, the need for the latest smart phone and the obligatory changing of the car every few years for a newer registration. We can’t prevent flatulence but we can at least pretend it doesn’t exist by being quiet about it and opening a window.
I’m thinking of taking photos today. I can make just about anything look good with a good photo, but not unrecognisable. The craze for glossing over things even extends to photography as the photo-shoppers make everyone look the same. Then young girls try to look like the Photo-shopped models. Often behind all that makeup is a insecure kid struggling to grow up in a very weird world where nothing is as it seems.
I started with a picture of a gothic church today. Is that a symbol of Christian love or a scary image associated with grave robbing vampires? Religion isn’t all that it seems either. Those nice Jewish people in Israel seem to be in favour of killing innocent children in Gaza. Scratch below the surface of any religion and there is something smelly underneath…
When we are healthy and have plenty of money, it’s easy to ignore what is going on in reality. Iain Duncan Smith lives in his 5 bedroom mansion, plays tennis on private courts and swims in his private swimming pool; all paid for by his in-laws. He sits in judgement on poorer people without understanding their problems or disabilities. When he’s 90 years old and in a care home waiting for some minion to come and wipe his arse, he’ll perhaps understand.
We all need to scratch the surface and appreciate the problems and real aspirations that other people have. If we can’t help them, we can at least try to understand.
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