Originally published July 28th 2010

Surviving the cut backs, tough times ahead.

It seemed a long time coming but at last summer arrived with clear skies and the sun blazing down. Just what we all needed to boost us up when all around us there is evidence of the hard times we are told we have to expect. According to the media everyone will suffer financial cut backs and many will not be able to manage. Things that we have taken for granted will no longer be available.

We all know this has happened before and after a struggle we came through it OK. I have no doubt we will do so again. Of course, there will be those who suffer more than others. Looking on a brighter side, there will be a great number of people who have to start working for what they get and in some cases, this could be a blessing in disguise. They will soon learn that those things we have to make a sacrifice to get are much more appreciated and enjoyed than any we are able to have at any time.

Anyone forced to go through a spell of having to manage on a meagre income that allows for few, if any of the luxuries we all take for granted, soon learns exactly what is really essential for a full and happy life. They might find that there are many things more important than money. History has proved that in a recession or any kind of emergency the hardship which ensues tends to draw people and whole communities closer together. 

For ordinary people, the tragedy is that they can do nothing about it. They go to work and earn the money to support their family but how much of what they receive is theirs. A great deal of it, tax, insurance, pension etc. is deducted before they have access to the balance but then there is still the mortgage or rent, services and other committed payments.

What is left is yours! – Except for things like the VAT you have to pay on most goods and services.

Would it be much better for everyone if all the deductions were made at the same time before wages and salaries were paid? They all finish up in the same big purse anyway for distribution as our elected government thinks fit.

Did You Know?

In 1939 when the Second World War started almost all the Class barriers that had always been so prevalent disappeared. Everyone’s ambitions and plans had to be put on hold. There was no certain future to look forward to.

People had to take one day at a time never knowing what was round the corner. It was surprising how quickly they got over the initial shock of coping with things like the blackout, being fitted and issued with a gas mask, not being able to travel freely and frequently being asked to produce their identity card. They soon adapted to the long queues that had to be tolerated at all kinds of shops as well as managing the family rations to ensure there was always something on the table at meal times.

Very often it would only be those at the front of the queue that reached the shop before supplies ran out. Nothing could be done except go home and return to the queue earlier tomorrow. This took up a great deal of time but it did make a big contribution to the bonding process. Many women had their men folk away in the forces or employed in the war effort on munitions, mines etc.
Everyone shared and helped each other in any way they could. In some streets, when there was no shelter near at hand, the residents had a rota so when the siren sounded they all hurried to an agreed neighbours house. This practice was changed later when the bombing became more frequent and many households were issued with their own air raid shelters.

If we consider what the past generations had to put up with at such times, our present situation might not seem quite so bad. It is true they didn’t have to suffer a Government who was undecided about what they could or couldn’t do. In most cases they had very little choice and had to be sure they got it right first time. Sometimes it was a matter of life and death and concerned everyone. Consequently, the response and support they received from the public in every quarter at the end of the 1930’s was something that is never likely to be repeated.

What can we do? 
For a start we might ask ourselves if we are really as bad off as we think we are? Then, whether we are or not, we could decide to be more appreciative and content with what we have. Make the time to consider what is really important, not just to you but to your friends, neighbours and the whole community. 

Perhaps there are things you can share. If there is nothing material it usually gives a good feeling of relief when you have someone who is impartial to listen to all the things that you worry about and often can’t discuss with those close to you.

We are constantly being told how important it is to change our lifestyle but with today’s financial and social pressures it is not easy to see how it can be done. Things have changed dramatically since those days of our forefathers and it is difficult to see how we could ever match that same close companionship without a major disaster of some kind to initiate it. However, even a tiny move in that direction now, could make a lot of difference to many families and communities in the future.

Why not look up The Five Ways To Wellbeing?  —  THEN AND NOW[71]. There is something there for everyone.

valley lad – [EIGHTY-THREE]


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