I have a great idea, and I have to thank the 2010 Conservative Manifesto that I recently read, cover-to-cover, for inspiring it.
Many thought I was mad to even contemplate the masochism of subjecting myself to the inane witterings of Philip Blond (Head of the Tories favoured think-tank, ResPublica) styled with the deft PR-savvy hand of Cameron. They were mainly right, it was a horrific experience, as the above picture shows. No, I couldn’t find any mention of a privatised Royal Mail, or the dismantling of the NHS, or mention of the woodland sell-off…well, to be honest, theres not much policy in there whatsoever. Its done on beautiful paper though. And it has gave me a plan that is so Big Society I hope Soubry and Cutts are willing to put our previous differences aside and embrace my brainchild as if they had birthed it themselves.
I envisage a scheme, part-paid expert, mostly voluntary. It will require little money, and will save loads in the greater scheme of things. It will require premises, say, at Broxtowe Borough Council offices, but they’ll not take up much space and will be polite and tidy. Its quite a large building, after all.
People in Broxtowe over the next few months are likely to be poorer, unemployed and deeper in debt. This will cause all sorts of problems: as avaricious energy companies buy in more red ink to adorn their reminders with, and prices climb relentlessly in the shops, the vulnerable are more likely to fall out of their budgets and into trouble. Debt leads to homelessness, ill health, crime and increased suicide levels. All very bad things, which cost a hell of a lot to remedy. Best to nip it in the bud. But how?
I plan to set up a drop-in centre, where people can go and get help when debt starts to bite. Voluntary staffed could be trained up in the basics, to ‘triage’ the enquiries, and mop up the easier obvious cases, with highly trained, paid Debt Advisors tackling the more complex issues.
Advice would be dispensed free, and without prejudice. It would help people to establish their legal and statutory rights, prevent debt building up and arrest the slide into poverty many families and individuals presently face, and free from the greasy hands of the vultures setting up perches all over Beeston right now: the pawn-brokers, the gold buyers, the money shops. It would stop banks exploiting the weak, and maybe scare them a little into being more understanding when their customers suddenly stop being so attractive to them.
I imagine it would cost a few quid to run: but its an investment. The County Council has millions in reserves, and is putting more aside this year: a cynic would say this is to try and build a slush-fund for the next round of council elections: use it to bribe voters by dropping council tax beforehand; but no, its obviously because they are just waiting for Big Society ideas like mine.
So come on Kay, are you in? We can even name it together, I’ll be over County Hall in a bit, can you call me a CAB?
I have oft professed (ho ho) my adoration of Britain’s Best Scientist, Professor Martyn Poliakoff, a Beestonian resident who does his mad scientificating at Nottingham University, and sticks some wonderful stuff on YouTube, while looking like a scientist should: He’ll be presenting a public lecture this Thursday, to celebrate the International Year of Chemistry. It’ll be free, intriguing and you should go. Really. Its better than Eastenders, 762 times better, and thats scientific FACT. Clicky here:
and as a taster, have some prime-cut Poliakoff. You’ll be in your element: