The aspirations of a British man

Here’s a reply to David Cameron’s accusation that the people of Britain lack ambition and aspirations. I don’t imagine for one second that he will read it, or that he would understand it if he did. I’m writing it because it makes me feel better to get it off my chest, and because I get the feeling that I’m not alone.

Ambition and aspiration are very subjective terms. The first instance where these two diverge in individuals or nations is defining them in terms of cost or value. To a person with millions in the bank, a loaf is just a loaf. It’s worth around 0.00001% of their bank balance or less. It’s insignificant. To an average person, that same loaf is a staple part of a meal for their family. Regardless of it’s monetary cost, it is an essential and therefore valuable. This very difference is why many of the privileged don’t understand what real aspirations are. It’s also how wealthy people extract ever more obscene amounts of profit from a population who are increasingly unable to afford it.

My aspirations are very simple, basic, humble, and yet far greater and more profound than anything I’ve heard from government. I aspire to live in a country where everyone matters. One where everyone has some effective representation. One in which nobody goes hungry or without shelter. A country where our differences are celebrated rather than feared. A place where the weak and defenceless are protected. Somewhere where people reap the rewards of their own efforts – rather than having to pay dues to the rich at every turn in the form of ever increasing compulsory insurances, and wasted taxes which don’t apply to the wealthy. A country which invests in the health and education of it’s own people instead of the death and subjugation of those in far-off foreign parts. One where our Ministry Of Defence is not spun by politicians into a Ministry Of Attack at enormous cost to the nation and the courageous souls sent to do their political bidding.

I could go on but I suspect I’m preaching to the converted. I doubt that anyone crawling around that dung-heap at Westminster will even give this a glance.

My ambition is to leave a country like that for my kids, and their kids to grow in and enjoy. Do I share Cameron’s shallow, empty aspirations and ambitions to sit astride the dung-heap counting my money? No I don’t.

Life is worth far more than that.

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The value of a disabled person

I’m disabled due to an accident which was no fault of anyone. I have been for 20 years. I worked through it for 14 years before that but was forced to stop in 1993. Now I have a life threatening and life changing illness as well. I’m ok with that, shit happens.

Ok, that’s a very brief description of the situation I’m in. It absolutely isn’t a definition of who I am.
I am a parent, a child, a sibling, a grandparent, a cousin and a friend. I am fiercely positive and as independent as my conditions allow. I also love a good laugh.

If you measure my worth by the size of my bank balance, I’m worth nothing. If you measure my worth by my ability to make fat-cats fatter, I’m worth nothing. If you measure my worth by my physical ability, my reliability or my recent contribution to government coffers, I’m worth nothing.

But you know what? I am worth a heck of a lot in other ways. I am loved and valued by my friends and family. I inspire some with my resilience and determination. I am an example to others for different reasons – I strongly believe in honour, decency, honesty, love and integrity. My kids need me just the same as any other kids need their parents. Some people find me funny, others find me thought-provoking. I have loves, hopes, dreams and desires like anyone else. I share experiences with many people and pass on much that’s wonderful about life to those who don’t have time to stop and smell the roses.

I spend money wisely and that supports businesses and those who work for them. It also ploughs my little bit of benefits back into the economy via the taxes they pay. I contribute to this society in many ways that won’t show up on a balance sheet.

I am a disabled human being.

I am worth something.

I am worth what it costs to keep me alive.