|Mayor of Barnet Brian Schama and Hope Yoloye of Living Way Ministries|
This is the choice: can the working classes be induced to shift their lardy arses off their sagging settees so as to save the NHS some money in the future or, instead, will the ruling classes have to part with a small modicum of their vast wealth in order to fund state-of-the-art healthcare for all?
I know where I would lay most of the emphasis.
I'm all for fostering personal responsibility but it is absurd to compare the life choices for a working-class child from Colindale with those for the son or daughter of the people currently making policy on housing, health, education, local government and - yes - sports funding.
The London Olympics underlined this disparity once again. A year on from the London riots, there were the pundits in the television studio recommending the discipline of boxing (beating people up in a gym) to keep youths - they mean working-class youths - "out of trouble" (beating each other up on the streets).
Meanwhile, the three-day eventing team included a member of the Royal family. In what other discipline could the field be so small as to give one of the eight grand-children of the Queen a realistic chance of selection? Or is horsemanship really a matter of the right breeding?
Anyway, today's event at Grahame Park was cheerful, lively and enjoyable. But the on-the-ground organisation for it was done by a church. From what I can tell, it is a very good church... but what if it weren't?
The current Mayor of Barnet, Brian Schama, put in an appearance to hand out the medals for the sack race and talent contest. But he looked like he would rather be somewhere else; I don't think that was just on account of the drizzle.
He praised the church, saying they are doing good work fostering community spirit on the estate. Indeed, they are. But the withdrawal of the authorities from places like Grahame Park is completely unnecessary.
There has been a lot of praise for community champions in places like Grahame Park, sorting out "problem families". Yet Grahame Park is really not such an "exotic" place needing special understanding. Go there, look around and you will quickly see that all it needs is a little money spending on it, for repairs and recreation, and it could be a thriving community.
I took the Barnet Alliance petition with me today and collected signatures to support the revolutionary proposition that Barnet Council should consult with residents before it outsources all of its services to the private sector.
There was a lot of recognition of what is at stake - and alarm at what is being proposed. The problem is that most Barnet residents simply don't know what is going on. And the ruling administration would happily keep it that way.
My conclusion after this Olympics fortnight and from today is that working-class people do indeed need to get up off from their settees - to kick the backsides of their condescending Tory rulers.
I hope that one of the unintended consequences - legacies? - of the Community Games around the country is that they bring working-class people together in a space where they can discuss how they are going to do that.
|The road to salvation lies - no, not through prayer - through zumba!|
|Sport - or at least bouncing - for all!|