Monday, 8 June 2015

Dundee - our kind of city

One of the bonuses of being old and retired is that often, if, when you wake up in the morning and a peek through the curtains tells you it’s a dull and miserable day, you can just snuggle back under the downie for another hour or so.  It’s great!

 I’ve found that that hour or so is a good ‘thinking’ time, (except Saturday mornings when, if like me you support Partick Thistle, it’s an extra hour to worry about the day’s game).  The other morning I was having thoughts about the last meeting of the Fairness Commission.

 We had been unanimous in believing that to seek to make Dundee ‘A Living Wage City’ was a really good idea and the idea of drawing up a Dundee standard for employment was mentioned.  I found myself wondering if we could invite the Chamber of Commerce, the Trades Union Council and the City’s Economic Development Department to get together and come up with something that is feasible, even if not possible to enforce by law?

 Of all the statistics we were presented with about Child Poverty the one that stuck most in my mind was that children from the poorest backgrounds were already well behind other children by the time they were starting primary school.  ‘Unfairness’ begins in the womb.  There is nothing we can do about the unpredictable magic of the mixture of genes, but it is clearly crucially important to improve the health of pregnant mothers, post-natal care and early childhood education.  What steps can we take towards that and making Dundee ‘A Bairn Friendly City’?  Big costs involved I suspect.

 I thought about the woman who said, “When you are struggling to make ends meet you are treated as rubbish.”  One thing we can do without needing any more revenue is to treat each other decently.  1981 was the ‘Year of the Disabled Person’ and throughout Britain there were all sorts of events and campaigns to highlight the dignity and worth of people with disabilities – all with little effect at the time I’m afraid.  In 1982 Australia thought something different was needed and so had ‘The Year of the Patronising Bastard’.  It had a huge impact.  Too often if you are not being treated as rubbish, you are being patronised, there’s always someone or some organisation or department that knows what’s best for you.  Nobody in Dundee should be dismissed or patronised; nobody should be patronising or dismissive of any fellow citizen.  We can at least make Dundee, a Decent City’.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Erik. It reminded me of an article I read last week about the baby boxes that Finland gives to all expectant mothers with everything needed to look after a newborn, including the box converting to a baby bed. The program hugely improved the infant mortality rate in that country without singling out or patronizing anyone since they were given to ALL mothers. Also a great "thinking outside (inside?) the box" solution to a serious problem. Irene