Pulling Together


Standing Still

It certainly feels like it. My last article five weeks ago reflects a situation which has changed little. Boris Johnson still hangs on in number 10, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine continues. The west continues to prevaricate about helping, giving moral support but little more. Fighting continues and people can’t help wondering whether the evacuated civilians will ever be able to go home. If Mr Biden really believes this is a war between democracy and dictatorship and Putin must not win, why hasn’t he the courage to face Putin down with his own army? We can’t beat bullies by showing fear. His lack of direct response has given Putin the chance to claim Biden wants to fight until the last Ukrainian. It’s not enough. Kennedy understood that.

On the personal level, little seems to have happened. I have managed to work a little through a long computer outage caused initially by a simple hardware failure but complicated because one of the replacement parts was itself faulty, meaning nothing changed when I reassembled the machine and leaving me scratching my head over the diagnosis. Eventually I got a computer shop to confirm the fault and sent the defective part back for replacement. Predictably, that was out of stock and I had to substitute an alternative. I finally have my machine working again.

That hasn’t been the only problem with a supplier. Dunelm’s repair subcontractor finally came round in the middle of the month to check what was needed to repair the two sofas I had delivered with faults. I have received no further information on that so their service appears to remain at exactly the same level as before – virtually non-existent. I have consumer rights. You wouldn’t know that from the service I’ve received.

Still on the supplier front, The shower cubicle screen and door I bought to replace one broken last year arrived smashed. A replacement was promised to be delivered in mid to late May. No sign of that either.

Legal processes also drag on as I wait to find out whether I can escape my current predicament and try to rebuild my life. Nothing seems to work anymore. People who need to see their GP can’t get an appointment. People who’ve booked holidays can’t get away and have so far spent half the week in airports. It’s very easy to feel civilisation is gradually crumbling away.

While socialising with friends recently I mentioned the dysfunctional conditions ordinary people live in now and there seemed to be a consensus that people want something done to make the country work again.

Although I feel for people who thought they had (and had paid for) holidays only to have a stressful time trying to get to their destinations, I can’t help feeling maybe this is a lesson many of us need to learn. The assumption we're entitled to buy an aeroplane ride to somewhere else once or twice a year when aviation is unlikely to be free of environmental damage for a very long time, if ever, might be something we need educating out of. Maybe this is helping us learn that. Are we really entitled to contribute to climate change by doing such a thing? Many people seem to pay lip-service to the environment so long as they don’t have to forego their habitual pleasures. But, of course, it’s our habitual pleasures which generate the emissions. Flying is one of the worst, up there with excessive driving.

I have tried to reduce the amount of driving I do recently. That’s not just because petrol is so expensive at present, though that certainly is a factor. It’s also because I want to reduce my unnecessary car use. I drive a petrol car because my mileage is insufficient already to justify changing to an electric one; scrapping and replacing my present car would emit more carbon dioxide than over ten years of driving at my current mileage, so it’s better for the atmosphere I continue as I am until the car really must be replaced. If I still need a car in ten years’ time when my current one is worn out, rusted beyond repair, or just unfillable in a world without petrol stations, that will be the time to go electric. Of course, I might not need one, and then I'll have saved an entire build process.

The Jubilee weekend is a time of celebration for many. I have relatively little planned but I know a lot of people are looking forward to a break and a chance to celebrate the Queen’s long reign of service. It gives us something to occupy us, but it also increases the sense of being in limbo, since little work will be done over the long weekend and therefore the things which need to happen will not happen now.

Life’s on hold until next week. Enjoy the time off.

About the Author

K J Petrie has a Full Technological Certificate in Radio, TV and Electronics, an HNC in Digital Electronics and a BA(Hons) in Theological Studies.

His interests include Christian and societal unity, Diverse Diversity, and freedoms from want, from fear, of speech, and of association. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party.

The views expressed here are entirely personal and unconnected with any body to which he belongs.

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