Duty of Care When Mountain Climbing.

January 5, 2014

I watched a programme on ITV1 yesterday called Secrets From the Workhouse, it talked about Victorian values and that poverty was criminalised, it also told how that once the actual workhouse was left the stigma of being an inmate was never thrown off. It seems that the poor have always been a problem to be dealt with, not by making them ‘not poor’, just as problem people to be got rid of. It’s 2014 and we can’t ship the poor to Australia any more and the post war efforts with it’s NHS and Social Security the ladder for the poor apparently have been found wanting, so the Tory answer is to remove them whilst crying out “We should not reward the poor, they’ve brought it upon themselves!” 

Today I was just reminded of mountain climbing with my family and being with my very very safety conscious Dad. We all carried a map, whistle, chocolate and glucose sweets in a water proofed bag round our necks in case of emergency, we also had water bottles, torches, matches etc everything we needed to survive. We were also joined by ropes so we wouldn’t get lost, our job was to keep an eye on the one in front calling out if there was a fall or if they were struggling. Dad had one really important rule we all had to obey as a group and that was we were only as fast as the slowest member, only as strong as the weakest member; Yes that was me, always me as the youngest and smallest they were always slowing down for me. It was Dads job as the biggest strongest and most experienced to look after us but we shared the responsibility between each other. Maybe he enjoyed being in charge I don’t know, did he make me feel bad for being so little; no he didn’t; I still remember him carrying me aged about seven part way up Snowdon. Being ‘weak’ was just biology not my fault, I wasn’t punished or made to feel bad because I needed help, I was just helped and I felt safe. I know these aren’t original or ground breaking ideas but they do seem to be relevant ones.

Margaret Thatcher said there was no such thing as society I think what she meant was cut the ropes tying you to your sense of place, belonging and responsibility and I think people did as she said in their race to get to the summit where they were awarded with their own homes. What happens to the slower paced the less physically abled, the young and less experienced, the elderly, the sick, the single parents, to the child of the undeserving single/parent when their benefits are stopped because they can’t get to the summit? If they lose their homes as a consequence will their ropes to their parents be cut, will they be taken into care? I realise these are stupid questions because if you are a Tory none of this matters to you, “get your own rope” I hear you cry “you should have attached it to someone better, you should have taken better safety precautions, you should have kept up in the race to the summit”. But I’m standing here with my map and torch and whistle and water and emergency rations as I struggle to keep my job during a health crisis and I feel afraid roaming alone on this mountaintop and all I’m looking for is some shelter from the rain and a sense of worth rather than Tory inflicted pain.


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Caroline Criado-Perez

A Pox on the Patriarchy


Lady things, explained.


"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

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