Most of us, I believe, carry in our heads perceptions of the world as we see it, either generally or specifically; some of which are, somewhat, at odds with reality. It’s often how we cope in a harsh environment. I know that it is with me. Some of us even need to, at least, attempt to create their realities; what I call “little bits of Wonderland”. For my sins, I have been very lucky in my life to have succeeded in doing just that. With, of course, a great deal of help from others. Moreover, these projects are all still there, many years later. It is, if nothing else, an extremely satisfying way to demonstrate to others that things can be different. Our economic system doesn’t have to use greed and avarice as its motivating forces. In fact, it’s a, somewhat, demeaning view of humanity to think that all we think of is ourselves. I believe that most of us don’t. To demonstrate the alternatives also doesn’t take a great deal. Just a little vision, effort and perseverance. So when it comes to “walking that walk”, I like to think that I’ve done it, albeit on a small scale. These projects all used, as their foundations, the positive qualities that I see in humanity. Moreover, most of these involved people on the receiving end in society being helped to tackle their own problems. That they were very successful in their endeavours is without doubt.
So I get, somewhat, disenchanted when I hear or read of those who misrepresent the views of others, who they have little or no knowledge of, in order to promulgate their own, somewhat, distorted view of others. The latest of these is the view that those on the left don’t aspire. The aim, of course, being that, if you repeat such nonsense, it will eventually frame the perceptions of others and undermine opposing views. And that is what, I believe, is now taking place. Evidently Ed Miliband didn’t shout that those on the left have aspirations, despite the fact that he was a demonstration of both of these. Well, maybe he didn’t. Maybe he took that for granted, as I and all my left leaning friends do. How can you not aspire, especially if you have children? Besides, do none of them study the history of their own country? Do they not realise that those early socialist pioneers were autodidacts who practiced what they preached, ie the creed of mutual self help? The point at issue here is an important one which is that it’s not about enterprise, making a profit or any of the other mantra’s that we hear. It’s about who manages the first of these and what you do with the second. At which point, I would refer you, once again, to my first book, “The Real Big Society and My Part in It”.
So, if it needs us on the left to shout about aspiration, let’s do it. The reality is that it’s always been central to our vision for those who cared to listen.