A phenomenon which has fiercely picked up tremendous momentum is the new global social code of Socialised Problems and Privatised Profits (or socialized problems and privatised profits for those who prefer American spelling).
In the UK it became more apparent during Prime Minster David Cameron’s push towards a “Big Society” in 2011 – what this meant was was that the government wouldn’t get involved managing how a society wants to tackle social problems. It was dressed up a libertarian anarchic power to the people stance. Some people even got rather excited as David Cameron had been fiercely opposed the Blair /Brown government of Labour in the sacking of Professor David Nutt in 2009 by former Home Sectary Alan Johnson. David and others in the Conservative party had voiced concerns that the government of the time were not using science to lead policy and making more of a knee jerk reaction.
To counter Labour’s drag net approach to drug-crime that devastated communities, criminalised ordinary people and further added to institutionalised racism, the Conservative Party put themselves up as a party of talking about the problem realistically. They outlined a vision of putting the money into to the hands of the community to deal with the problem rather than Home Sectary commanding the Home Office (UK department for law). It all seemed rather promising, and information began to come out that David Cameron was previously a user of cocaine and other drugs. So perhaps he might have a softer view on them and be more proactive in undoing the harms that the Labour party had done in their previous 13 years.
Alas no. “Big Society” was merely a smoke screen for a serious unprecedented decline in treatment within the UK. The Drug and Alcohol Action Teams that were responsible for allocation of services and monies towards treatment were disbanded. Part of the services were swallowed up by the NHS and the other parts were sold as scrap to the most low-balling bidders out there.
A lot of people get angry with the “Tories”, their austerity measures have undoubtedly contributed to the deaths of many people, through the policy of “fuck ’em” , but in order to get a handle of this we have to look back throughout the years and that the Labour government own personal failings within government and direct betrayal of the people.
The downfall of Labour can be described with one word WAR. They needlessly exposed the UK to severe security risks in order to ride shotgun with the USA, they sullied their own name and their fellow countrymen with the blood of Iraq. Public opinion was high on not getting involved, the UK already has a shameful past of conquest. Adding Iraq to the list stirred up great resentment and animosity within communities in the UK and around the world. It was by far not a good look.
The Labour party also set up a policy of “selling the family silver”, social housing rapidly declined in urban areas such as London and Birmingham. Affording their tenants the right to buy their house for a incredibly low sum of money (4 bedroom council housing was sold for prices of around 8,000 pounds), within years these houses were back on the market in overcrowded areas selling for up to 100 times the price they were let go for. This led to a “Housing Crisis” by 2010, just as soon as the Labour Party were leaving the scene of the crime. These actions coupled with many more set the perfect pathway for austerity.
Since the early 2000’s there have been big technology companies that have rapidly expanded across the face of the world. These corporations adopt similar tactics, through cronyism and favours they’re able to not only avoid paying tax, but they’re able to borrow money from the public purse to set up shop and dominate the market. It seems inexplicable in ways if you are to observe it objectively.
Some of the technology is good and some of it needs to be embraced but at what cost?
Hopefully you would have read this far and now be wondering, ‘Hmmm, what does this have to do with counselling?’.
Well, counselling has quickly become a new quasi-religion for church of what’s happening now. You might be miffed and think ‘Well isn’t that good?’ The answer is unfortunately NO.
Time and time again I see jobs for fully qualified people to come and VOLUNTEER their time to work in for people in need. Okay, sounds good… in principal… I myself did several months as a volunteer when I was unqualified.
I don’t want to sound mean spirited or contrary, but I do grow very weary by this inability for the UK government to recognise counselling as bonafide means of treatment for biological, psychological and sociological problems .
It’s not just a governmental issue either, many charities that operate charities for social concerns often ask for volunteer counsellors. I understand they’re struggling but there is no such thing as a volunteer counsellor. They’re effectively asking someone to spend tens of thousands of pounds on their education, various accreditation, training and self development and then gift it to them. Any counsellor worth their salt won’t have just done an undergraduate degree and left it at that, they will have continually added to their repertoire in order to communicate their skills to an ever evolving audience.
I’ve been very critical of how under valued psychology and counselling can be in society, sometimes I’ve been met with challenges from fellow priests in the church of what’s happening now with very condescending remarks of “I don’t do it for the money”. Which is true, I don’t either, but is there is a very big difference between the pursuit of money and also having a livable wage. Frankly most of what is currently paid for UK therapists, especially in the drug and alcohol field is not a livable wage.