(Don't) Keep Calm and Carry On / by Nick Ierodiaconou

3031525215_2e4d3279bb1 An increasingly familiar sight during these credit crunch times, "the pin up for our age" with a dash of  British humour.  The poster was originally made during the Second World War by an anonymous civil servant (no Saatchi & Saatchi back then...) and was the third in a series, the first of which was an encourageful "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory" , with the second "Freedom Is In Peril" having a ring of urgency about it. And so poster number three, "Keep Calm and Carry On" was held back for a time when the threat of invasion was more imminent, and thankfully never quite required. It has made me think - about the scale of our reactions to the current crisis surrounding us. With unemployment hitting the 2million mark (and predictions for more), is the reaction of keeping calm in fact the wrong reaction. I'm not suggesting we run around like headless chickens, but perhaps the current attitude of "Keep Calm and Carry On Spending" is not right.We have been "keeping calm" and ignoring the underlying issues that have gotten us to this state in the first place. Our current crisis is not one of credit. The real crisis is one of value and values in which our homes, high streets and communities have been singularly reduced to the £ factor on top of which we have been attempting to superficially bolt on ideas of community, civic behaviour etc... Shouldn't the question we ask ourselves right now be - "Why carry on using a value model which has only resulted in a society that hoovers up more than its fair share of resources and ha(d) a large bank balance, but which is globally ranked in the bottom third on terms of happiness?".

I suggest that we need an alternative to the Keep Calm slogan. As entertaining as the multitude of mugs, tea towels and T-Shirts that have this graphic emblazoned on it, we are in real crisis and need to recognise this at all levels. This crisis is on our shores - its not an invasion from a foreign country. Its an implosion from within. Time for us to wake up from our stupor.

AF