Nation of Neglect ?



Nation of Neglect?

The Mutterings of a Northern Socialist and Sheffield Fabian, Jonathan Marsden.

Sitting on my hammock in my one bedroom flat, walls painted white, unadorned of any decoration or carpet and listening to 100 Mozart Classics on my headphones I feel compelled to write you upon the subject of a future Britain.

After studying as a mature student, Genetics at York University and then Social Policy at Sheffield Hallam, I have an eclectic mish-mash of ideas and being an avid historical wargaming fan of H.G. Wells for over 30 years (Grandfather of modern wargaming and a Fabian) I wish to submit a few ideas.  I went to the last Fabian National AGM.  I was the bloke from Sheffield with the dragon tattoos on my head.


As a child of the 1970`s, I vividly recall Tom Baker as Dr Who quoting The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics from time to time.  Thermodynamics “everything turns to poo/chaos when force is removed” which is how I explain it.    I believe that the centralising tendencies of our Governments, both past and present, have always seen their role as one of maintaining order, and keeping chaos and bedlam (and poo) from the gates.  Through the many establishments of our Society we maintain order through Law and Culture. (Or threat of imprisonment and Symbolic Violence.)

I believe this underpins our Socio/Political thought process and the Top Down structures we have created to maintain control of our cultures, societies and ways of life.  I am now of the opinion that the “control” I refer to is akin to the force of violence which is external to the individual.  And is generally seen through the prism of Law and the “Yoke of public opinion”(J.S.Mill).

I wish to offer an alternative to the use of force.

It is not the application of force that keeps an object together but the bonds between the molecules, even though tiny in strength these bonds when formed into larger objects can be as hard as for example a diamond.

Every citizen has certain potential “Bonds”.  Said Bonds can be the natural Bonds between parent and child, Bonds of fraternity, Bonds between the individual and their God(s) Bonds of History, Philosophy, Playing Musical Instruments, Historical Miniature Wargames, Painting, Chess, Backgammon and Politics.(mine)

The more bonds an individual has, the happier the person and the more sociable and functioning society has the potential to become.  I`m sure I read in one of Aristotle’s` books the Greek translation for a Private Person is an Idiot.  And who am I to argue with such a mind?

If one looks at the structure of a protein molecule, one sees a 3D structure bound together with yep you guessed it Bonds. These proteins perform beautifully complex functions necessary for life. This example of a protein I use to show how the bonds between individuals are in my opinion just as important for society.

Social Bonds can break down barriers between cultures, religions, philosophies and class structures.   Picture if you will a young lad meeting a hobby group comprising a socially diverse and eclectic set of individuals, whom whilst playing, chat freely about their own lives etc.  In my case as a 12 year old casually chatting with an ex Oxbridge Medieval Historian and Philosopher amongst others whom I still meet up with 30 years later to wargame with.

Social Bonds can also provide what Nigel Keohane (deputy director of the Social Market Foundation) termed for me Durables.   Durables are items which maintain their value in the same way as savings e.g. Paintings, coins, musical instruments, stamps, model trains etc.

In order to nurture these Social Bonds and to enable the decentralisation of Governments` centralised control, we must develop these bonds both internal (personal development) and external (community development).  And more importantly for the Labour Party Intelligencia to recognise that local people do actually possess intelligence.   I firmly believe that we must provide “physical spaces”(not playing fields but physical buildings with a roof) to allow these bonds to form “naturally”.  I travelled to London earlier this year to make the case for more hobby/interest time with Professor Chris Husbands to be made available in all schools, which will require links with local people to be forged.  Four and a half hours by coach to London for a ten minute chat and Four and a half hours back (as I am currently unemployed  I missed 4 meals to make the journey.)

If you have made it this far, thank-you for reading and please let me know what you think.

Jonathan Marsden

Sheffield Fabian