© National Maritime Museum                 Conspicuous Gallantry Medal 1848

There was an interesting confluence of news stories this morning. On one hand, the Health & Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock suggested promoting health and preventing illness was a better use of resource than treating the symptoms* while on the other, Victoria Atkins, Minister for Crime suggested that drug-driven knife crime has achieved epidemic scale and a different strategy is needed.

Evolving how we view traditions and embrace fresh customs takes less time than one might think.

Take recycling or smoking or plastic bag use. Each could be shown as exemplum of a strategy with unexpectedly stellar success. There’s hope, therefore, that if an issue is presented simply to lay bare the thinking behind it, it stands a chance of being embraced as common sense.

Let’s give it a try.

Somewhere between then and now, self-discipline, courtesy and kindness fell out of fashion. As a result, a MeFirst approach took hold. Gone are good manners, vanished is the knowledge of how to behave in any setting, evaporated is the sense that self-control is more powerful a weapon than weaponizing professionalism.

The children who kill one another through knife crime have not been taught that self-confidence comes from strength of character. Their parents were not taught that hitting out is a weak retaliation. In short, we have two generations who really don’t understand the principles of right and wrong.

To address this, it needs to be emphatically declared that lack of self-discipline and poor manners are not acceptable. Poor behaviour in the grocery shop\bus\post office queue is to be calmly denounced as unacceptable behaviour. Babies left crying by exhausted young mums are to be comforted by more experienced women able to soothe rather than tutt. … You get the idea.

It’s never too late to act and benevolence is not weak.

Compassion means shared suffering. Taking back control means taking responsibility for our actions.

#YouFirst could be a start. If we remove this cultural and social malignancy asphyxiating the generosity of spirit that ventilates life, the sooner we might re-form accepted norms of behaviour. Equally, the sooner we might transform our own confidence to flourish our surroundings.

* scroll through this Blogos for posts on just this subject

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