Sunday, 11 October 2009

Don't Judge, Don't Ever Judge

Politicians, anyone who puts themselves forward in public life at whatever level, must do so recognising that they have shed the right not to be judged in all and every aspect of their lives. In a democracy they are asking for others' approval, asking for an active judgement to be made, and made in their favour. There can be no curate's egging - choosing what is there for judgement and what is not. People are diverse in their view of what is important, particularly when their cultural stamp is diverse. Their judgements are coloured by age, gender, education, belief system; and, at a more remote level, by ideas of what is beautiful, what is true, what is right that they have evolved themselves with what means they have individually.

Individual experience and its formative powers is what makes judging so unwise. Not the judging of politicians - they have wilfully set aside the civilised protection of not judging that should enclose others. But we cannot begin to know enough about what has mattered most in the lives of ordinary others to permit the kinds of derogation that are going on now about the workless and, more particularly, about the people on incapacity benefits.

Even worse is the government programme (failing of course, but in this instance, thank Goodness) to subject those who are in despair at their objective circumstances, to cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy is psychoanalysis on the cheap - well it would be offered by New Labour, wouldn't it? Millions have been poured away to train psychotherapists and send them out to convince the workless, uneducated, unskilled, more recently unemployed, socially and economically discarded, living in ghettos of the above, that they need a new attitude to life, positive, outgoing, more conforming to New Labour social values and that thus they will re-enter the mainstream of usefully employed with families and homes.

It's repellent reading condemnations of the workshy, the new feckless poor, the benefit dependent, the seekers after all and any welfare payment. Very rarely are people wholly responsible for the position in which they find themselves. More usually they are without benefit of skills, wages, family support structures, or hope of setting themselves up in ordinary but enjoyable life. These are not factors under personal control - at least wholly under personal control. We have chosen, under New Labour, as a society, to put their usual provision in the care of the state. Individuals cannot cope with the state, not alone and not without self confidence at extraordinary levels which, by definition, the state-dependent have not got.

Most people hope to be in a world that is reasonably benign. Under a dozen years of New Labour the world has grown deliberately and destructively malign for most. Don't judge. The price of what New Labour has done must be paid for not just in debt and taxes but in paying, of our humanity, for what has been done to those least able to defend themselves.


Carter said...

Wise and compassionate words.

Nick Drew said...

all true, HG, and steeped in humanity, a great post

(wv = ingentes, sic

not for the first time - how do you do it ??)