It is a strange Easter sunday. It didn’t quite feel like a celebration as the family can’t be together but we spoke skype. Youngest son works for the NHS and lives with his girlfriend so we have to accept that we can’t get together until the virus covid19 is finally under control. It feels sad that I can’t give them our gifts but for now we just wait and hope for the best. Oldest son tells youngest “I’m trying very hard to keep calm”. My heart breaks a little more, he has been so helpful and had kept his feelings to himself. He may be autistic but he clearly cares about his family.
I had been thinking about writing a post on meritocracy for a while. Today is the day, lots of strands of thinking have come together so I need to commit to electronic ink. The puzzle pictured above was given to me a while ago. It is not really my sort of jigsaw but when the world is so muddled up doing a jigsaw puzzle helps me feel it can be sorted out. The image which I finished this morning came to mind as I ready this article in today’s Observer review. Easter eggs are essential. I’m not accounting for any religious symbolism they may have to you and yours. They are symbolic of our love for each other. Our need to express that love. An unconditional love which we give without thought for whether or not those who we love deserve it or not.
The notion of merit – reward based upon performance, actions or talents – has taken hold and is oft cited as a reason for decisions around health, welfare and education systems. People who should know better will say “person x doesn’t deserve state support as they are a smoker/lazy/too stupid”..insert insult of choice. Humans are often quick to judge but slow to understand just how deeply rooted the problems other humans face and how hard it can be to overcome these. Instead politicians base their policies such as austerity upon such flawed thinking. The British Honours system, grammar schools, the work of the DWP – all justify themselves on the basis of merit. Policy makers, politicians, all of us need a deeper understanding of the consequences of meritocracy as a basis for decision making.
No-one deserves #covid19. It has turned life upside down and deprived many wonderful individuals of life itself. I don’t deserve the chocolate I will consume today, but I will enjoy it as a gift from those who love me. Because I don’t deserve their love but I couldn’t live without it. I will save the gifts I cannot give until I am able to hold my family close again, I am hopeful that this will happen. I am also holding out a hope that our ability to think critically about the basis of our decisions and those of the people we put in positions of power to make decisions on our behalf will be changed by the experiences we live though during this pandemic.