I see Britain has appointed a “Minister for Loneliness“.
Why do I instantly think of the Ministry for Silly Walks?
I am quite baffled as to how this is supposed to work. How can a gubmint possibly organise un-loneliness? Are they to appoint guardian angels to follow single people around? Are they to make street parties compulsory every weekend? Will there be a free-phone number where lonely people can phone a total stranger and chat about the weather?
How can you enforce un-loneliness? It’s fairly obvious that they only way any gubmint can have its way is to introduce laws and force people to do things? Either that or they will introduce some new “charity” or qango to open sponsored community centres [where attendance is probably compulsory] or organise compulsory house visits by strangers to terrify the elderly?
I would suggest that loneliness is caused by three main factors.
The first is the availability of affordable housing. People can no longer afford a home near any of their friends and relations and have to move some considerable distance into unfamiliar territory and amongst strangers. People are moving further and further out from the cities causing rural communities to be diluted by city folk who are absent from home most of the time anyway.
I suppose immigration has to be mentioned too? By all accounts, large areas of some towns and cities have been virtually taken over by different nationalities. Old Granny Smith wakes up to find herself living in a virtual Pakistan, or Poland or Uganda or wherever. All the local shops convert to “ethnic suppliers” and she finds herself unable at times to even understand the local language. I know I would feel damned lonely and isolated if the village suddenly filled up with Syrians or Libyans who are all speaking in their native tongues.
The third is the destruction of central community areas. Yes – you know what’s coming!
One of the great causes of loneliness, particularly amongst the elderly is the virtual destruction of pubs, clubs and bingo halls by the gubmint itself. For countless generations the local pub has been a local meeting place and a refuge for the lonely. It was the one place where you could strike up a conversation with a complete stranger in a comfortable and convivial atmosphere. But the Lords and Masters destroyed that It is no coincidence that the rate of pub closures increased dramatically with the introduction of the smoking ban, and tax hikes and over zealous driving laws just put the lid on it.
So there you have it. Britain has a Minister for Loneliness in the midst of God knows how many other ministries who all combine to be the Ministry for Isolation.
She’s going to feel quite lonely in there?