This government doesn’t seem to have the human touch. It fails to see the personal, just the numbers.
I was struck by this (more than usual) when reading two completely disconnected articles:
The first was about Kate Wilkinson, our very caring Immigration Minister, sending 3 New Zealand children to live as ‘untouchables’ in an Indian slum, without the limited access to schools or hospitals that even the locals have – as they won’t (and can’t) be Indian citizens. Failing to see the human, Wilkinson sees only dependants that cost the country, and immigrants on the wrong side of ‘the rules’. Like the Pharisees, the letter of the law counts, not the spirit.
The second was a BBC column about “How History Can Inform Spending Cuts.” It was talking about the importance of seeing the personal so that in the quest for “prosperity for all”, we don’t write off a large chunk of the population. As those Catholics who suffered and died in the street violence that accompanied the 1688 “bloodless” revolution, didn’t feel it was so “Glorious” and seamless; so the poor, vulnerable and elderly often feel they don’t fit into the Big Picture of increased modern prosperity that is portrayed by modern governments – particularly when that prosperity is due to cuts.
Whilst only looking at graphs of increasing growth and broad picture accounting that shows economic improvement may seem fine from a “they have to govern, they can’t play favourites” message, in fact it’s not.
Losing touch with the individual means bad decision making. Government of a country ultimately isn’t about being a business (not that business should lose sight of the personal either), but about care for the country’s citizens.
Perhaps we could do with borrowing from business the cheesy succinct “mission statement” and “purpose” that most companies like to have. This government would draft something about “growth, creating jobs and catching Australia”, much as they seem to be failing on all 3 of those currently.
But just as we could judge them on how they’re doing relative to their mission statement, we could also judge them by what’s included in their mission statement. Because I want a government that would include “people” in there. Perhaps: “Caring for our people and improving their happiness”.
Because it’s the people that matter, not the figures. When one of us is hurting, it is not outbalanced by 2 others doing well. Although this government seems to think that 10 of us hurting is balanced by 1 person doing very well.
We need to make sure that people are not statistics; rather everyone is cared for and everyone’s happiness and fulfilment is considered important. The kids who are shortly to head to India included.