There have been riots again on the streets of London.
Legitimate protestors had arguments, rather than arms in the mind.
However, spotting an opportunity for a ‘good kicking’ many illegitimate rioters turned chants of complaint into assaults on democracy.
Meanwhile, following a pleasant lunch at the House of Commons restaurant, MPs, elected by the people on a promise, betrayed voters’ trust in preference to keeping their jobs during tough economic times with new coalition bosses. (Who says Parliament doesn’t reflect ‘real life’).
Long-term commitments, like memories in photo albums seem to be fading relics of the past. Unsurprisingly people – like the ex X Factor contestant, Cher, are led to believe it is their right that fortune must instantaneously follow fame – even if that fame is over in the rap of song.
Today, pictures of promises are becoming as disposable as people’s jobs at companies into which they invested their lives and from which in return they can confidently expect a ‘Good Luck’ card from their nearest and dearest bosses.
Bravery and independence as displayed by the likes of WikiLeaks has been kettled into place by a society that sometimes appears to have more in common with Stalinism than capitalism.
In the concrete jungle, just the promise of having a job in 2011 to pay the increase in rail journeys to work, has become enough of a carrot to keep the masses from protesting – too much.
With so many sniffing like dogs at the heels or any whiff of opportunity at all, those still with a job grow increasingly desperate to keep afloat.
The only certainty seems to be uncertainty of the future and fragility of the present.
We comfort ourselves in the high-definition lit delusion of our John Lewis TVs broadcasting around the clock Xmas dreams at the price of two for one.
Our sense of self and social demonstration of worth has become defined by the latest release of fashionable phones, computers, celebrity books (on a Kindle of course) or trinkets.
With populations doubling in size in years rather than decades, whilst tightening their grip around the neck of available community resources, the ordinary person in the street is forced to implode his or her id, ego and super-ego – so become increasingly self-centred – and obsessed – simply to survive.
Middle class professionals, complaining about the state of the nation retreat to a Sony/ Xbox/ Nintendo fantasyland, away from the harshness of the day to a place where they can be the celebrity, sex symbol, speed fiend or thrill seeking rioter they know they will meet again in their dreams tonight.
Brands such political parties, financial institutions, power-generating companies, and commercial enterprises – all promising to protect our futures – are regularly exposed as primarily concerned with protecting themselves before the rest.
With each exposure, people become much more immune and blasé. Like watching thousands die in Pakistan, or another story of a cleric abusing a child, shock is no longer shocking enough.
Our trust in leadership – religious, political, social and commercial has become as tenuous as our faith in liberal democracy
The UK government, faced with the cost for recklessly inviting everyone from anywhere to become someone in a land away from their home, has been hoisted on its own perturb.
Overwhelming competition for space, land, and jobs … has forced Parliament to repress accessible education for the masses, by imposing a lifetime repayment tariff for the foreseeable future generations of brand UK. Or to put it another way, a further tax for already hard-pressed parents who only want to give their kids some kind of chance for a future.
Perhaps eventually the only ones able to pay for places at top UK universities will be those from India, the Middle East and China (where the UK buys the components for consumer’s trinkets).
The rest will have to settle for the high street college near a MacDonald’s, which offers local students free Fries at lunchtime.
So money is tight. Cheer is translucent. Christmas has become little more than a sales promotion opportunity for companies to offer hope through gifts for the hapless horde.
Yet despite it all, in desperation to live the moment – capture a ‘buzz’ of happiness whilst they can, consumers consume as if the weeks leading to Christmas day mark the last supper of their lives.
Thanks to the Internet, redemption is just a click away from consumers walking the mile.
In the fervour to spend, consumers inadvertently feed the cycle of needs and wants kept spinning by wheels bigger than the one who guilelessly believes is in fact the biggest wheel in town.
And so the spiral goes on in the circles of the windmills of the minds.
This Christmas and into the new year, the greatest wish is for companies, politicians, students, surfers, bosses, individuals… to follow the philosophy of human greatness: communicate with honesty and integrity for others and in doing so nurture a market rather than exploit it and then reck it.
Do that and students will eventually inherit more than arrogance bred into them by adults who, by the time they mature, long lose their spirit – apart from the solace still lingering at the bottom of their glass.
Opportunists will link hands rather than take up arms.
Instant gratification will serve lessons for a long-term education.
Politicians will aspire to more than borderline expense dodges or pay checks in the House of Lords.
Brands will actually believe and act upon the message of social responsibility facetiously promised by their advertising.
People will stop feeling that in order for their drum to be heard – they have to bash the skin of their passions until ears burst.
Respect will be returned to the hard working…
But perhaps that’s all just a Christmas faith, that is as realistic as baby in a crib of straw changing the world.
Maybe we are all clutching at straws.
Or just perhaps the one who picks the short straw to make a sustainable change will be you.
“ I wanted to change the world, but I realised it was too large of a task for one person, so I tried to change my community.
That was also too hard, so I tried to change my family. That was also too hard, so I decided to try and change myself.
And though it was very hard,
I finally changed myself.
And once I changed myself,
I discovered my family changed, the community changed, and the entire world changed.”
Rabbi Israel Salanter