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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

We are all in this together.

Very often in life when things go wrong most are happy to point the finger of blame at a solitary individual.
Carrying the can is a one person job it seems.
We certainly have a blame culture, but maybe not a collective blame one.
If we are very honest there are usually a trail of mishaps or wrongdoings that lead to an issue being thrown in our faces, and as that is often the case then maybe there should be a share of blame spread about.
Take the Winterbourne Care home/hospital scandal as an example.
How many of us winced when we seen footage of the abuse taking place?
I certainly did.
Along with everyone else I was also happy to see custodial sentences handed out.
There was just one thing that bothered me about it though.
I kept asking myself if those convicted were totally responsible for their actions?
Were the fully trained?
Were they on minimum wage and outside work suffering financial hardship?
What was the ratio of carer to client?
What were their shift patterns like?
Is it possible that some had spoken to their management about stress related issues and were ignored?
How much experience as carers did they have?
As we know that complaints and concerns had been raised more than once then why wasn't there protocols put in place to ensure the safety and well being of the clients in their care?

We could all add more questions, and with each added question, and the lack of an answer, then the list of the guilty would grow.
The management, the owners.
If the care was publicly funded then who accepted the tender and placed people in this companies care?
How much was allocated to their care?
Now we are creeping up the tree and ultimately we will get to someone somewhere who sits behind a desk and looks at figures on a bit of people, and if they aren't careful sets in motion events that lead to abuse to flourish.
Shouldn't they hold some responsibility and accept that there should be consequences to their actions?
I would think so.
It is true that the finger of blame in this instance didn't just rest heavily on the carers, as I'm aware that two council managers were sacked for their failure to maintain a safe environment, but shouldn't there have been a very serious root and branch investigation with no ceiling set on how far responsibility went?

Now of course some may be wondering why so long after the case that I'm referencing Winterbourne, and I'll tell you.
It's because today I seen some comments about the coalition, and George Osborne in particular, and I started thinking about collective blame.
The comments I read were of the shaking a fist at the sky in horror variety.
Nothing unusual there as we all know that the current state of affairs is one that is more likely to draw an expletive heavy rant from most peoples lips rather than a smile.
Yet I can't help but think about how to an extent we are all to blame for the current situation.
The severe lack of opposition to the policies and cuts is akin to us all tattooing 'welcome' across our torsos and then laying down and allowing them to wipe their feet on us.
Our silence in the face of their dismantling of the national health service and welfare state drags us all into holding some responsibility for there demise.
Every time anyone considers that there is nothing they can do about it they are really passively colluding with the coalition.
So while I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments being expressed about Osborne, Gove, Cameron, Smith, Clegg, and every single one of the collective horsemen of the apocalypse, a small voice keeps whispering in my ear that we are only getting what we are accepting.

Oh my giddy aunt. There goes another few thousand nurses.
How many job loses?
Where did the high street go?
How do you make a withdrawal from a food bank?
Work for a multinational company on the promise that they might give me a job!
How much are they giving themselves as a raise?
Benefit cuts to the disabled!

We are all responsible.
So how do we get ourselves out of this?
Not by sitting about doing nothing.
Personally I feel the weight of collective responsibility resting on my shoulders and I'm not liking it.
How about you?

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