Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Colin Ward again

The challenge to the right, mentioned in my last posting, is that while Colin Ward may have advocated slimming down the state's role in our lives this has no connection to that of the current coalition as they wish to hand life over to an unregulated market, putting profit at the centre of our lives rather than community. Colin described mutual aid as the central point in political change. Many of his points echo Richard Titmuss's social policy classic The Gift Relationship, which focuses on blood donors, the ultimate in people offering something of themselves ("an armful" as Tony Hancock pointed out) for no gain, and outside of any notion of trade or profit. I was reminded of this the day after the memorial meeting when, on the tube, having been hopelessly lost near Wembley we faced being hopelessly lost in Kilburn as our badly photocopied maps had all the relevant streets themselves lost on the overlap between pages. Someone elsewhere in the carriage, listening in, offered us her A-Z, not to borrow, but to have as she "had another one at home", and maybe we would do the same to some other lost stranger sometime. Random acts of kindness may never appear in a party political manifesto but it saved us an hour on a hot day, and linked neatly back to Colin Ward the day before.

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