New Morethanprofitman Blog

Posted: 04 July 2011, in Blog

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A Civilised society is recognisable by the advanced state of its social development, the complexity and depth of its social capital and the quality of its human interactions, particularly towards those who need support, help, love and care. Re Dostoyevsky above maybe we should rewrite this as “……entering its care homes. The scandal of Southern Cross is an affront to any so-called civilised society, so what went wrong?

Here are some pointers. Greed. Commodification of “care”, the utter disregard of the elderly and mentally ill, uncaring people, an uncaring society, venture capitalists, private equity, leaseback schemes, profit warnings, staff cuts, evil abuse and dreadful service, toothless regulators and ignored whistleblowers, “too big to fail”, “private good – public bad”, gombeen men and third rate politicians.

I wonder what weasel words our Senators of Lilliput will employ to absolve themselves of any responsibility for this abhorrent mess. This affects us all; as taxpayers, children, parents, guardians, grandparents and friends. Don’t hold your breath if you are looking for political leadership and statesmanship on this one.

This enormously complex and immediate problem will undoubtedly receive sticking plaster political solutions. People, (residents, staff, carers, families, friends, communities and the taxpayer) will suffer in the near to mid term. The folk responsible for this mess will no doubt escape Scot free and able to afford their own future care needs – their sort normally do. Forget Giggsy and Goodwin, perhaps some vengeful person will ruin their lives with a social media onslaught.

We need an “Arab Spring” in the system of care in our country. Unfortunately, we can’t string a few folk up pour encourage les autres but we ought to be resolute in removing private sector involvement in the provision of care of the elderly. There just are some red line areas, where some capitalists can’t be trusted and as a society we can’t risk getting it wrong.

In a world where governments can throw astronomic sums of our money at all sorts of dubious and dodgy deals/governments/ entrepreneurs/chancers, a simple declaration that care would be legally guaranteed to be provided in a civilised manner would be a start. Cameron could spin it as the big society” but who cares; he will only be a footnote in our civilisation’s story. The mark of our civilisation would be that we decided that care of the elderly had to be properly provided or we could not regard ourselves as civilised at all.  So, how do social entrepreneurs contribute to that? 


NOTE: This blog does not necessarily reflect the views of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition or endorse any political position.