‘Just’ by Tony Klinger.

Famous film producer, director and writer Tony Klinger writes for the Havering Daily.

The most annoying word for me currently is JUST. 

I parked my car in the disabled parking space for just a minute.
I just smoked the one joint before I drove my car.
It was just a couple of drinks before the accident officer.
I  failed the exam but why can’t they just give me an extra mark or two?
It was just the one bit of the test I copied so can I still get a pass?
I just took a pound or two from the petty cash so why make such a big deal?

These are just a few examples of what’s gone wrong with our society. We appear to have lost our moral compass. None of us are perfect, least of all me. However I do know the difference between right and wrong which renders me as a sometimes immoral person trying very hard to be moral. All of the examples above depict the amorality of modern life. When our fellow citizens behave as if they don’t know or care about the difference.

The fit person who parks in a disabled parking space simply doesn’t care whether or not a genuinely handicapped driver needs that space. I must admit that I once made a citizen’s arrest when a serial offender committed this offence in front of me and I followed him into the shop he’d walked into. I asked him whether he was disabled and he told me, ” I’m just picking up some shopping I’ll only be a few minutes.” I tried to explain the reason for disabled parking spaces but he was abusive so I arrested him. Of course it’s not a major crime but when we lose sight of the little pieces and laws and rules we we are on a slippery slope.

The same applies to the rules of law when applied to minor thefts. Yes, it’s plainly less money involved when someone takes one pound from you rather than a million pounds but the crime is precisely the same.

When I worked as a university lecturer there were many instances of students trying to bend the rules, some beyond breaking point. This didn’t stop with students as I witnessed when working as an External Examiner and various related capacities that some faculty members were massaging their student’s results to enable them to appear as if their cohort had all passed various sections of their courses when the truth was that they’d not done so.

This lack of honesty and civility is also evident when you watch our politicians debate. When I was in a debating society at school we were taught two things of paramount importance. The first was that every so often we had to argue for the other side so we could learn the merits of the other side’s point of view. Secondly we were instructed to attack the arguments of the other side not to attack the personalities on the other side.

Another element of our societal breakdown is the abuse and trolling on social media. It has become an acceptable norm for people hiding behind a social media curtain to hurl vitriol and violent threats, particularly at women. We should all be calling out these abusers when they’re caught and their punishment should be severe. 

It’s time we re-established that there is a right way to behave and not to do so should be considered totally unacceptable. Only then will we begin to reclaim some of the elements of our country that we once enjoyed.

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