As the editor of this blog I must confess that I have found the work of others inspiring and slightly intimidating. I have been waiting for inspiration so that my lack of skill might be overcome by a rush of energy for protest.

I had some time off over the weekend and the space that was left my the absence of usual busy schedule allowed me to read and reflect on the current financial crisis and the effects it is having on the community in which I live. Not only are many people struggling here from a practical and financial point of view but some are feeling spiritually battered and scared about the future.

A story on the BBC website yesterday suggested that the current government is planning to force the long term unemployed to do ‘compulsory manual labour’ provoked in me a wave of deep sadness (and anger). People who have been looking for meaningful work for an extended period being made to engage in demeaning, and possibly pointless activities, to satisfy some careless idea that all of those who are out of work are lazy or scroungers. I don’t doubt some people are (and I am also sure that there are many rich people who don’t need to work can also be described as such) but the vast majority of people who do not have jobs are desperate to engage in meaningful life-giving activities…but such work is not available to them. Surely it is a good government’s responsibility to encourage it’s citizens (or subjects) not oppress them? Surely we need to be inspired not bullied? Surely encouraging the creation of real jobs is a far better then punishing people who are already pretty disillusioned by giving them stuff do do that is not tied to the creation of any realistic job prospect?

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, expressed his concern, telling the BBC: “People who are struggling to find work and struggling to find a secure future are – I think – driven further into a downward spiral of uncertainty, even despair, when the pressure is on in that way.

“People often are in this starting place, not because they’re wicked, stupid or lazy, but because their circumstances are against them, they’ve failed to break through into something and to drive that spiral deeper – as I say – does feel a great problem.”

I am not a very good stitcher but I wanted to use this quote from +Rowan Williams to highlight the potential dangers of the government’s approach to the long term unemployed.

 

Here I am (above) in bed stitching my protest patch.

 

If you have been inspired by the patches or ideas on this blog then do get in touch with me – Ellen Loudon – to get involved with the project: ellen@ellenloudon.com

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