The Sunday Ramble: risk
Image: Courtesy of Wikipedia
In life there are constant risks. Every time we drive we risk road traffic accidents and death. We can contract some dreadful illness at any time and die horribly. We can have some financial disaster and find ourselves begging on the streets.
Can we be sure that in our time of need that our family and friends will all rally round and support us? Just because you have been lucky so far, doesn’t mean your luck will hold.
I take risks investing on the stock market, but they are calculated risks and if it all went horribly wrong; I’ll survive. There are worse things that can happen than losing money. I have been on the surgeons table four times in my life, the last time was 5 years ago and so it’s still quite fresh in my mind. I’ve lay in a hospital bed with intravenous drips attached to both arms. I’ve had to rely on nurses and doctors to look after me. I’ve experienced the indignity of not being able to wash myself or use the toilet. I’ve had things go badly wrong in my life and it has given me a sense of what is important. It has also made me very nervous of taking risks with my health and I also value what I have more. I value the health service we have and think many services that help and support people are valuable. We can’t always rely on family and friends, they have their own lives and their own problems. We can’t rely on money either, but it can help when the chips are down.
If I have to go into hospital again, it might not be so bad. At least I’ll have my smart phone to keep in touch. It will even play me music if I’m desperate. I just hope I have the presence of mind to take the charger with me! I did take my laptop once when I was taken to A&E, they didn’t admit me and so I had to carry all my luggage I’d taken to make my hospital stay easier back home with me. We always think we’ll cope with the unexpected and often we do, but I got the taxi driver from hell. I wasn’t expecting that.
For most ordinary people, who travel in the front of cars, rather than on the rear seat of a chauffeur driven Jaguar or limousine, life is quite risky. The risks get worse as we get older and so we need to look after ourselves and understand what is important.
We drive more carefully and think ahead. We feel angry when someone increases the risks we face. We try to eat better and healthier. We have learnt to try to prevent illness rather than look for remedies. We think about saving and investing, not so we will have lots of money to spend, but so we will have the added security of having money to help when the chips are down.
More money has been flowing to investors and less to the poor people who are on benefits and are in the process of facing a life crisis. The people who work are facing lower incomes and falling living standards as everyone has less discretionary income to spend on the nicer things in life. We have to spend on housing, food, energy, taxes, transport and communications first and hope that there is money left over after we have paid for the essentials. We are shopping around for essentials, changing energy suppliers, buying the cheapest petrol, going to discount supermarkets, because there is less left over for the luxuries and celebrations like Christmas. We have to face reality, we can’t bury our heads in the sand and put it on the credit card or take out a pay-day loan.
We have to start thinking about what the important things in life are and spreading the word that housing is important. Making a home is important and punishing people for having a spare bedroom is ludicrous. Health is important and we need to support our health service and protect it against privatisation and people with extreme political views. Even water in recent years has become an expensive commodity. I’m not a great fan of nationalisation, but before people talk of nationalising the railways; they should think about free water for all. In a civilised society, free water and free healthcare will help people have fewer concerns about the necessities of life. We need cheap housing too, for the young who are starting out, to turn into homes.
Ed Miliband this week talked about the housing ladder. That is for people who move from house to house. Young people might start small and then move to a family house that they can make into a home. Social climbers get on the property ladder and keep on moving up, never having the security of a home. They don’t need the security of a home, they have been lucky and think their luck will always hold. They will never lose their job, they will never get sick, they will never have a disabled child. But it seems even having a disabled child doesn’t always teach them about what is important.
What do you think? Do you want life to have more risk? Do you want more security? Do you want a free health service or one based on the American model as Nigel Farage suggests? Farage went to a public school just like the other political leaders. Ed Miliband hasn’t mentioned building council houses or scrapping the bedroom tax; both vote winners. Clegg just betrayed his loyal Liberal supporters and the British people; he has taken his party back to the policies of the Whigs in the 19th Century. He could have stopped the extremist policies of the last 4 years. He could have stopped the bedroom tax and benefit cuts. He could have at least suggested reform of the council tax system so mansion owners pay their fair share. That would be like turkeys voting for Christmas ! The outrageous views of the posh Bullingdon boys is obvious. Born with silver spoons in their mouths, sent to Eton and other public schools and supported through their years at the University of Oxford where they were too important to fail. What do they know about the consequences of bad luck? They catch a bad cold and they are whisked off to a top Harley Street doctor. They think, wrongly, they will never need the NHS.
What do you think? Have you say in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter.