A wasted dawn?

Stuart Cosgrove is right to have no faith that the Tories will do anything other than seek to restore the normal that was the problem in the first place. His mistake is to reserve his distrust for the Tories when it is the entire social, political and economic system that is defective.

Ponder this! The Tories couldn’t build a new normal even if they were minded to do so. Nor could British Labour. There may be some reason to suppose that the SNP might do somewhat better in this regard had they the normal powers of a national government. At the very least, it is possible to believe that the SNP would be inclined to strive for a transformation of society rather than a restoration of the thing we had instead of society prior to the pandemic. But there is no reason to imagine that even with the best of intentions the SNP could succeed in creating a liveable, viable society in Scotland.

Stuart Cosgrove is correct when he concludes that the drive for genuine, meaningful change must come from us – we the people! But first we must correctly identify the problem. And it’s not the Tories. It runs much deeper than that.

Nor should we stop at particulars such as racism or economic marginalisation when looking for the root of the problem we hope to address. It may be helpful, I would venture, to think of our post-pandemic project not as rebuilding or reforming or reshaping society but as re-balancing. Addressing, not only the various imbalances which blight society as we have become accustomed to experiencing it, but the underlying tendency to those imbalances. Just as there is no point in returning to a normal which was the problem so it makes no sense to create something imbued with the same dynamics which produced the imbalances of old.

The weary old saw about being the change you want to see gains fresh vitality in this context. What a waste of a new dawn if it heralds only a day like those that preceded it. Creating a new society is not just a matter of legislative and structural and institutional reforms. It starts with our mindset. If we want to live differently, we must first think differently.

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