You’ll miss them when they are gone

A reflective post and a warning for 2019.

A line from Luhrmann’s song will always remind me of 2018:

“be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone”

This is just one line of great advice he dispenses. It is significant to me as I have spent a year recovering from a knee injury which saw me unable to walk without pain for most of the year. A long standing joint weakness which has resulted in dislocations periodically throughout my life has had to be managed with care this year and now, many months on I am starting to trust my knees again – I really missed them as I have always been quite an active person. 2019 will see me taking better care of my health.

Thinking about things we often take for granted and could risk losing through our lack of action has also a wider implication for us in the coming year. If Brexit goes ahead we will lose our rights as European citizens. Rights which are fundamental to our protections as workers and as individuals within our society. This is in keeping with a UK government that is reducing access to legal support for those of us who cannot afford to protect our own rights or those of our disabled children. Opacity is increasing, take as an example the right-wing policy think tank Policy Exchange, rated as one of the 3 least open in the UK . With an annual income of over 3 million pounds it refuses to reveal the source of its substantial income. (Soure: Private Eye no.1486, Jan 2019) Around me I see little but complacency, British people are sleepwalking towards a point of no return in the name of “taking back control”. I could not imagine a French government being able to get away with such injustice, the gilets jaunes are just the latest manifestation by ordinary French people who wish to hold their politicians accountable for the living conditions of the population. Such action is a necessary part of participation in a democratic society.

Of course, if you have enough money no doubt you will find your way through – pay more for health care, take out further insurance policies to get legal representation – assuming of course that you still have the right to a decent wage and are fit and well enough to earn – or perhaps you have inherited wealth? If you are female you may find this direction of travel will hit you hardest of course.

So I am seeing the dawning of 2019 as a wake up moment. I have to take greater care of my physical health. I am nearing 60 and I am responsible for the future of my family, including a disabled young man who needs all the support he can get. I also need to be more vigilant and proactive about the somnambulance of those around me. Believe me, we will all miss our human rights when they are gone.

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