I guess all organisations have them somewhere. Bad Apples. There are several genres of bad apples, that I've come across over the years.
People who see any situation purely from the perspective of what they can take out, rather than what they put in. Some people thrive on negativity and discord and cause trouble for fun. Some are simply greedy and see any situation as one to be exploited purely for their own ends. Then there are people who simply enjoy the ability to exercise power and control, with a view to making other people miserable. Generally these people bring discord and unhappiness to those unfortunate enough to fall into their sphere of influence. The history of the human race is littered with the havoc and mayhem caused by such people.
I believe all of these people have a common trait. They lack empathy with other people. They are essentially loners. That is not to say they don't form relationships with people, of course they do. Sadly for the people who fall under their spell, the effects are not very pleasant. Perhaps the best example of this is Adolf Hitler. The two major "loves" of his life both met awful ends. The first killed herself, unable to cope with the stress of loving a deranged psychopath. The second, Eva Braun met an even more horrible ending in a bunker in Berlin. I doubt anyone shed a tear for Braun, but her mistake was falling under the spell of a very evil man. I suspect that even during "the good times" she was as miserable as sin. Hitler refused to commit to her and kept her hanging around, like a chattel to be used when it suited him. There is a cautionarly tale to be had from the likes of Braun. When we throw our lot in with such people, we become tainted, then we become corrupted and finally we are destroyed.
On the streets of London this week we saw the awful sight of two men slaughtering a fellow citizen, in broad daylight in perhaps the most savage murder in recent history. From what we can ascertain about the two characters involved, the journey to become callous killers started with them seeking spiritual enlightenment. I refuse to believe that anyone converts to any of the major religions for anything other than the highest reasons. Sadly for them, they fell in with a group of radicals who have taken the teachings and perverted and twisted them to become a force for darkness and evil. Whilst the two butchers who committed the murder will rightly serve long sentences and hopefully will die in prison, I believe that the real culprits are getting away scott free. The Mullahs who radicalised these two vulnerable,stupid and gullible young men are the true villains of the piece. They are still walking the streets. As I write this, they are probably preaching to other such simple souls that the two butchers were the finest examples of Jihad.
Many years ago, I read a book written by a German soldier. He was part of Rommels Afrika Corps. He was taken prisoner in North Africa and was taken to the USA as a prisoner of war. His book tells of his awe at arriving in the USA. He'd believed Hitler was a messaih. He believed Germany was the most advanced and powerful nation on earth. As he saw the Skyscrapers of the USA loom into view and the wealth and prosperity, he realised he'd been conned. Worse than that, he recognised that all of the bravery, sacrifice and effort of his comrades, in what he believed was the worlds greatest fighting force had been perverted and subverted in a hopeless war that would always be doomed to failure. He spent several years as a POW watching as Germany was systematically destroyed. He also realised that democracy and rule of law would always deliver a better life than dictatorship and facism. His realisation was only possible because he was removed from the influence of a malign and evil state.
These events happened 60 years ago, but the message and lessons are exactly the same today. The tragedy is that we haven't learned anything. It is absolutely clear what the bad apples in our society are doing. It is completely clear what their goals and aims are. It is completely clear what sort of society they want us to live in.
Now I believe in democracy and I believe in free speech. I believe that what you do and say in your own house is your business. When you start persuading other people to go onto the streets and start killing fellow citizens, then that is when you cross the line. That is when it becomes the responsibility of the state to protect the rest of us. To me the solution could not be more simple. We need to apply the same sentences for insitement as we do for the actual murderers. If you inspire someone to commit a murder, which they would otherwise not have committed, then you can rot in jail with them. The police and the security services know exactly who is responsible for spreading this poison in our society. They know what these people want and how they achieve their aims. They know that they will be sitting back, quietly satisfied at the damage they have caused.
What has happened has caused me to reflect on the issue of "bad apples" in society. In some ways we are all responsible. Every time we cross the road when we see someone being bullied, we are culpable. Every time we see injustice, but we do nothing we are culpable. Every time we see someone at work, making a co workers life miserable and we say nothing, we are culpable. Whether you are a worshipper in a Mosque, listening to someone pervert the word of God or you are an employee of Barnet Council and your management are involved in bad practice which will affect the most vulnerable people in society, you have a moral obligation to blow the whistle on what you are witnessing.
I sincerely hope that this awful murder is the start and finish of such activities. I hope that the revulsion makes people wake up and do the right thing. Sadly I think it is far less likely that those people who are turning a blind eye in our local government, to changes which will cause misery for hundreds of disabled and other vulnerable people have not got the message that if they sit idly by, they are just as responsible.
And what about the rest of us? What can we do? Well we can make our views known. One such opportunity is by attending the lobby of the Your Choice Barnet Ltd board on Wednesday, 29 May. Meet at Barnet House,1255 High Road, Whetstone N20 0EJ at 5.30 pm. This is a private company set up by Barnet Council to oversee the downgrading of provision of services to vulnerable adults. It has, in less than a year, become virtually bankrupt, requiring a taxpayer funded baleout of £2 million. All of this whilst taking services away from local people. As far as I am concerned any local authority which can countenance such actions clearly has a few bad apples in it's organisation. What disturbs me is the fact that Barnet Council had over 40 people earning over £100,000 last year, whilst chopping budgets for the most vulnerable people in society. The more I look, the more I see a society that is coming apart at the seams.
It is time that we had a government that cared about the people it governs. Whilst the terror attacks and the dismantling of the provision of care for vulnerable people may on the face of it seem a million miles apart, I believe that the root cause is common. A lack of respect for other people. As soon as we accept that some people are different and can be treated with less respect, we end up with such issues. I firmly believe that the fairer society is, the less chance there is for bad apples to spread poison amongst the rest of us.