The Common Good – The assets of the city
Glasgow City Council are about to privatise what is known as the “Common Good” without any consultation with the public – who own the Common Good
Historically What’s the common good.
Well it can mean quite a few things, as it has been around for some time and comes in many forms and ideas. For instance: No one can own everything. The air you breath, The thoughts in you head, the knowledge you know and the skills you have. Sometimes we need to share things to make them possible. That is why most people like to live in communities – in order to share the Common Good. We have been doing this cooperatively for thousands of years
A lot has changed from those days but folk generally still carry the instinct of community living and socialising with each other. What we know as the “Common Good” is the legacy of our sociability and instinct to look after each other. It is testimony to our survival. The Common Good is a gift we give each other that has survived since we collectively roamed the earth looking for food and shelter and is the very essence of what community means.
What does the Common Good mean today
The Common Good physically consists of our art galleries, your libraries, public buildings, parks, public amenities and all manner of public owned institutions. The best way to think of the common good is to imagine. Paying money to get into the library, the art gallery, museums, winter gardens, the park, football pitches, community centre. Most of our public buildings are part of the Common Good. Things we take for granted that we really need to cherish.
The Glasgow City Council have taken their business underground, in order to sell off the Common Good. We need to tell them that the Common Good, belongs to us and is not up for sale
No Consultation why?
The probabilities are you will know nothing about this because it has been done in secret. What folk should be asking at this point is, why your local representative hasn’t told you. That what is known as the “Common Good” is being sold off into private hands.
We vote for and pay, public servants, to look after the public interests – not to sell our assets off to private interests – who will sell them back to us. (Like they have and are doing with council housing) The business of the council (our business) has gone underground and is being carried out without the least bit of public scrutiny.
You don’t know what you got until you lose it
This is one of the most important issues in the public sphere today and needs to be dealt with – not by councillors or other public representatives, who have proved themselves inept in this concern, but by the public themselves. The disconnection of the “Common Good” and all the assets it contains from public control will have a knock on effect throughout the city and will not only affect the poorest of our citizens, but the upper income bracket, as well.
It will leave the decisions concerning our cultural heritage in the hands of folk who see profit margins as the end goal in all the decisions they make. It will create needless unemployment as costs will be cut to make profit margins. (Private business will be accountable to shareholders not the public.) The public will gain nothing (and lose plenty) from this move. Nor will public and community facilities in general – as they will be rendered, to a dog-eats-dog, of competition for funding.
The freedom to have an opinion
The “Common Good is Paramount to our freedom of movement, our right to access and to question such things that concern us all. That is what Common Good represents. It represents freedom of speech. There is no freedom of speech in the private shopping Mall and there will be no freedom of speech in the privatised park. It represents our collective conscience and public spirit in what we bequeath and gift both culturally and materially to the “Common Good”. It is open and understandable to everyone and is exactly what it says on the box – “Common” and “Good”
It makes even the poor culturally rich and helps to alleviate the burden of modernised poverty, which we all suffer from to some degree – and to which the present city administration, offers the perfect example
It’s not even legal
So where are our law makers, our academics, our politicians, who deem to be upholders and some even paid servants of the pubic estate? Nowhere to be found. The defending of the Common Good will need to be done by those who created it and have most to lose. We the public. There has never been a clearer mandate for public action, nor clearer proof, that 1. We are being persistently and systematically lied to. 2. There has never been a more potent reason, since the pole tax for the public, no matter it’s political or cultural persuasion – to collectively fight back and ensure that our public assets remain under public control.
The city council are not waiting about – nor should we
The repercussions throughout our communities will be ten fold. If the city council can privatise something as fundamentally inherent of public accountability, as our museums and our parks, they will stop at nothing and a precedent will be set for any future council, no mater what their political, persuasion, to do the same.
What do you do?
Talk to your neighbour your workmates, show folk this leaflet, copy some, dish them out.
Write talk to your MP, councillor, ask them what’s going on. How do they stand on the issue. Why you have not been consulted. Why you haven’t had a say in this mater which concerns the shifting of control of our civic possessions
What ever you do, do something. When you do, you will find the strength to do more. Encourage others to help you. This is what created the “Common Good” in the first place. Don’t wait till the library starts to charge admission and your kids start to ask why.
If we do not want to hear from the children of the future the question “What was the common good dad” we need to act the same way that the common good was created – collectively and with the imagination that befits the culture of the Common Good.
Think. If you are doing nothing, who do you think is?