There seems to be such a void between politics, the media and everyday people. All I seem to read, watch and hear is immigrants and disabled people draining our society. Yet the recession, debt and issues we currently face began in financial sectors. Sectors that remain propped up by our government.
A little economics 101. A strong economy needs products and services that are valuable to people. The more transactions that take place, the more jobs there are, the more people earn, the more people spend, and the more taxes are received by government.
Every society needs education, healthcare, protection from crime, and many other public services. These are usually funded and maintained by government spending. Spending that comes from tax revenues.
In the UK we have a strong economy. So much so that we provide public spending on things like 'welfare' too. If someone is unwell or unemployed, our society is able to support those most in need. It gives peace of mind and stops suffering. It's provides a better place for everyone to live.
After certain financial instruments became too complicated, and certain financial professionals risked too much; we had a financial meltdown. One that has hurt everyone (Note. I'm not going to scapegoat, divide and hate on bankers - I have friends who work in this field and this is not their individual fault either).
Overall we do need the financial sector for it's value to people. This field is important to the UK. It provides jobs, creates wealth, adds tax revenues. However it was a big factor in creating our current woes. Not immigrants and not disabled people!
Instead of looking only at the resources immigrants use, how about remind ourselves of the value they bring? The jobs they do? The jobs they create? The taxes they pay? In my opinion we are blessed to attract and benefit from such people. Of course, some are bad and take the piss. Equally I know plenty of British people who do the same.
With disability it's the same. Instead of looking at the costs for our basic living costs, equipment, care, transport and so on. How about our talents? Our ideas? Furthermore as our population ages, how about our experiences in helping make the world accessible to everyone?
Personally I'm a guy who went through education to masters level, was in employment for 6 years, bought a home, now self employed, and basically contributing to society. I'm also the grandson of a Lithuanian war refugee, a wheelchair user, and engaged to a beautiful/intelligent/caring Polish girl.
It's confusing to me when listening to politicians and the media whether I'm valuable, contributing and fully part of our society. Or whether I'm unwanted, a drain and a pain to our society.
On Sunday I'm embarking on a trip around Europe for Accessible Tourism. I hope to promote good practice and advise on bad practice. I also hope the people in these 8 European countries I'm visiting don't see me as a threat to their jobs, healthcare and general resources.
I want to learn about them. I want to teach them about my story. I want to bridge divides.
Believe it or not. We can all live together happily. Regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, nationality or gender.
We need to all see through modern politics and media. Messages that instil fear and division. We need to understand that we have plenty of resources to share. We need to realise we're all human beings. We need to listen to our hearts and not the bullshit propaganda.
We have an election coming up. I have not heard one politician or party that both encourages individual progress and a harmonious communities. I still don't know who I'll vote for. In valuing my democratic rights I'll try to vote for something.
What I do know is that my trip will highlight the goodness, kindness and magic of people all around the world.
Ghandi said "be the change you want to see in the world". I hope by showing what disabled people, ancestors of war refugees, and cross nationality love can achieve will shake up the nonsense we're subjected to.
That's the change I'd like to see in our world :-)
World Changer @ www.martynsibley.com
Co Founder @ www.disabilityhorizons.com
Social Media Man @ sma.sunnierdays.co.uk
Healthy Goodness @ www.todaherbal.co.uk