Now I happen to think culture is important, and that the States have a crucial role in culture for two specific reasons. Have you noticed how our society is becoming progressively segmented, typically by age? Too often our old folks are stuck in homes and don't get much at all. Our children are all herded for long hours into schools where the only adults are people in authority. Young adults can't go into pubs or many clubs so congregate together in public places in a manner that then puts off other people going there. Even in the workplace it is common for the older employees (managers) to be in their offices or meetings much of the time. The younger are in open plan sites.

Even the terminology we use emphasises this segregation. Youth and Community Centre immediately says to me that youth is not considered part of the community. How very wrong. This is in contrast to what the anthropologists tell us about natural human societies. Our natural structure is small mixed age groups of around 2 dozen people doing most everything together. I want to see cultural policy used to overcome this segmented effect on our society and to actively encourage mixing and interaction, particularly across the generations. I certainly don't want to see a series of special events aimed at particular age groups that perpetuate the disassociation already apparent in society.

The second requirement is more long term, but possibly more critical. Continued oil and food shortages suggest we are heading for a world with less material 'stuff' around, and much more time, effort and resources directed simply to keeping the real necessities of life in place. I subscribe to the transition culture approach, believing we will adapt to this future by living simpler more localised lives. Without the material stuff that fills so much of our lives now there will be a big hole. Lets plan to fill it with diverse culture.

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