Monday, 24 May 2010

Thin

I am reminded of a "standard no" in which Zero-credit was turned down for support for fear of spreading efforts too thin. Sometimes there is no choice. Indeed for most looking at the likes of Zero-credit, thin is an understatement for how finances are spread.

 

Right now, Zero-credit is looking thin on recent content for the simple reason that needs must. However, far from stretching the purse strings to pay for new school shoes, I am stretching the hours to accommodate commitments to family and local community before I finalise the Zero-credit business model to support this site's remaining free. 

 

Odd. In this year of getting Zero-credit off the ground, the battle I ceded was the one where I stood to claim back a grand, yet those that I won't concern the long term well being of the people around me, fighting the injustices of public service on which we all depend.

 

I have been profoundly reminded this weekend that it isn't the money, but the people who count. I am glad, yet saddened that folk who contact Zero-credit now are not only low income earners. From the beginning I have known there were apparently comfortable households trapped in circumstances they could not afford, deserving of sympathy, not derision.

 

It is but the stigma of poverty which fuels the consumer credit market - lenders scrambling for a return on otherwise poorly rewarded investments, targeting the downwardly mobile in a fear-fuelled frenzy that fortunes cannot be secured in any other way. Tosh!

 

Unless we have a wealth of people caring with, for and about us then life is worthless. So thinly or otherwise, Zero-credit shall spread its wings.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Our big fat Greek Wedding

So the Tories and LibDems are in talks. 

Oh
my 
God! 

Heinous, parlous and despicable treason we cry. But wait a minute - isn’t there more to this than meets the eye?

Labour said our economy was key, the Conservatives colluded when rounding on Liberal Democrats, whilst the Independents fought their corner too. All in all, a good time was had by all, dishing the dirt at everyone else. Meanwhile our debts went unpaid and back at the ballot box, Britain remained undecided, terrified at the prospect of voting it wrong: will I be a burden on government spending – a deep and immediate cut to the soon to be penniless dole queue; or get the banks to lend to me - I’ll give you recovery alright! 

And so we were split... right down the middle, with different views on what constitutes fair. Not that I’ve anything against the Greeks – they invented democracy - but thank goodness news of their debacle broke before polling day, for here was a rude awakening. Bipartisan Britain, thrashing it out until every last one of us pays, is not the kind of society for which our ancestors fought.

Debt brings out the worst in people: guilt, blame, fear, exploitation – most insidiously, it paralyses innovation, our one guarantee for recovery. In September last year, Relate published a YouGov survey in which 25% of families and a further 22% of couples were arguing more because of the recession - small wonder that in our national household we don’t yet agree. Of course, there is the issue that not one of the parties gave the electorate a detailed debt reduction plan – in no small part accountable for the third or so of voters who simply did not turn out. 

But it is precisely this lack of trust in individuals and process which brings us to where we are today. All too aware that another election is both unaffordable and unwise, why is it only in politics we see battle lines drawn? Where are the major multi-nationals succeeding with claims that all competitors are liars? We simply don’t act so irrationally, when it’s a question of work - and, ultimately, work is what every single one of us wants Britain to do. 

As any reliable counsellor knows, the key to tackling debts is to discuss openly and early who may weather which storm. A default on repayment is far more damaging than no repayment at all, so the priorities we choose have to be achievable by all. In the careful negotiation of inherently opposing views, there is scope for an exchange of ideas in which new policy is formed and in this the potential to harness rather than divide our deeply troubled society. The era of emotionally intelligent politics is upon us.