Thursday, July 03, 2008

Striving for consensus

I'm feeling quite a lot better now, although pneumonia takes it out of you more than you think. I've been ill for nearly three weeks and haven't had much energy to do anything. But the good news is I'm currently cancer free. Had a CT scan yesterday. The doctors want to make sure in someone like me that pneumonia isn't hiding cancer. Knowing that you have at least a few weeks to play with in life expectancy terms gives one a sudden zest. And how will I change my path in life? Not much is the answer to that. Of course if anyone dies at 35 it's basically too early. But why? Well, I haven't had children yet, haven't contributed that much to academic thought, haven't contributed that much to politics or seen my creative ideas published. Children is probably the easiest one there. Academic thought I'm working on. But politics is the tricky one. I have so many unachievable aims and priorities. Free education for all. Free social care for all. And I could go on. Even those two are incompatible. How do you prioritise? Free social care is probably cheaper than free education. Then there's the ongoing privatisation of the NHS. My great friend Gill George is working on that. But it's her versus the great armies of the state. People think that it doesn't matter who provides care. Codswallop. When a care worker, working for a private care company, is told 'It doesn't matter what you say, you're employed by the private company. We don't have any control over you'. And then how do you defend one's views? Through violent means? Hopefully not. But definitely not? Nelson Mandela used violent means when push came to shove.
Anyway, I don't think politics is the way forward for me. It's too frustrating, about money and I don't see eye to eye with anyone on anything. The reason I picked dementia as a topic to study was because I saw it as a topic on which there could be political consensus. We don't want to see people with dementia suffer unnecessarily. We don't want to see their carers suffer. And this is ironic, because my favourite tutor at college, Michael Kandiah who is a Tory historian argues that the 1950s age of consensus didn't exist. Perhaps what Michael doesn't realise is how depressed you can get if you're always arguing with everyone, on the margins, when the general public are deluded buffoons. So consensus and progress seem attractive. It's nice to be nice to the nice.

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