From her barber’s shop in central Edinburgh, Linda has cut my hair since the 1990s; normally five-weekly, my last haircut was March 4th – so I’ve missed three visits. The cumulative effect of these multi disruptions is stressful; ‘lockdown’ teaches adaptability. From a van that stops in our neighbourhood, I now get fish of better quality and value than the supermarkets. For the first time, I’ve experienced Amazon’s seductive book delivery service. My patterns of consumption have gone freelance.
Doing some rough carpentry, I go to buy timber – but there’s such a social-distancing queue that I return home – find a way to use/recycle a former shed door. Why not my first option? Our health centre is closed; you tell the receptionist your symptoms, and she gets an appropriate doctor to phone you. After full discussion, the doctor instructs local pharmacy to deliver me an antibiotic for urinary infection; nae bother. I’ve been arguing for years that we need to sensibly, reduce our consumption of healthcare.
During lockdown, I’ve spent less, and became more aware of my levels of consumption; this accords with the worldwide trend to explore the possibilities of a different kind of economy. Of all the books available on this subject, the most rewarding for me is, ‘
The Economics of Arrival ’ by Trebeck and Williams; not only because of the impressive level of detail they offer, but because their book sits alongside the Wellbeing Economy Alliance – a leading global collaboration of organisations, working to transform the economic system.
Following the next bulletin, 26 June, Laurence will post
@larryslunchette.net – which requires separate subscription.
Senscot’s office in Edinburgh, looks out on the statue of Robert Dundas (Viscount Melville)– now defaced with anti-slavery graffiti. But
Prof. Tom Devine told Kevin McKenna forcibly this week – that attacking statues is a distraction; we need to understand, that the Scottish nation, as a whole was complicit in the slave trade. It would surely be more useful to examine the levels of racism which still prevail in Scotland – like the racist thugs in Glasgow on Wednesday; check out MSP Humza Yousaf’s speech in the recent Holyrood debate. He repeats verbatim George Floyd’s strangled begging for breath; and we feel again the rage that erupted at the savageness of man.
Although the sums are large, the main barrier to a Citizens Basic Income is societal reluctance – to pay out money, without any requirement to work or qualify for it, is too much for some; though I think Scotland’s getting closer than England.
Nicola Sturgeon says: “My position has gone from having a keen interest in exploring it, to what I now describe as active support”.
The UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) enjoys a high global reputation for professionalism – but, as feared, the Tories have announced that it is to be
folded into the Foreign Office. While the aid budget can now be used to influence security and diplomatic areas – that is not what aid is for.
This FT article by Vidhya Alakeson, calls for the govt. to put a thousand high street properties directly into community ownership to encourage long term strategies for their high streets. The community run Midsteeple Quarter project in Dumfries is a great example of how local people can take the lead.
It matters too much to me whither the waitress smiles – is in a good mood or not; don’t know why, but I’m unusually affected by the moods of others.
Recent research has shown that this ‘sensitivity’ is inherited – with a substantial genetic basis. Aged 80, I still don’t know if this trait is a blessing or curse.
One of my favourite Doris Lessing quotes:
“The storyteller is deep inside everyone of us. The story-maker is always with us. Let us suppose our world is attacked by war, by the horrors that we all of us easily imagine. Let us suppose floods wash through our cities, the seas rise . . . but the storyteller will be there, for it is our imaginations which shape us, keep us, create us – for good and for ill. It is our stories that will recreate us, when we are torn, hurt, even destroyed. It is the storyteller, the dream-maker, the myth-maker, that is our phoenix, that represents us at our best, and at our most creative.”