Good Samaritans

Good morning Tash Appreciators!

I was out on my bike last weekend (fear not, this is not a cycling related TF) when I fell foul of some glass on the road and punctured a tyre. The scene at the side of the road was not pleasant:

tashfriday30514

While I stood trying to look like I knew what I was doing, several other cyclists offered their assistance. Naturally – being a bloke – I assured them that I had the situation under control and bade them on their way. Some of these good Samaritans, however, saw through the facade and made meaningful attempts to assist me. As it happened, even with able assistance, my ineptitude shone through and I had to call for a lift. Incredibly, two people offered to pick me up and I was soon safe at home, hell-bent on becoming an expert in changing a tyre.

As it turned out, the good Samaritans were not just on the road up to Whitelees last weekend.

In the centre of Glasgow, as the iconic Glasgow School of Art seemed to be entirely lost to fire, members of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service worked tirelessly to save what they could.

I’m sure they did so at some risk to their own safety and you might think that, as soon as the risk to people had been reduced, the fire fighters would prefer to avoid any risk to themselves. Apparently that wasn’t the case. Even though the fire spread through the building from top to bottom, 90% of the building was saved; as was 70% of its contents.

You have to ask why these fire fighters would work so hard to save inanimate objects (however culturally important) when doing so might put their own safety at risk. The Assistant Chief Officer on the scene answered that question when he said:

“We are of course very conscious the Mackintosh is a world-renowned building that is a key feature of this great city, and that the artworks it stores are not only valuable but also cherished… We are acutely aware this period is the culmination of years of endeavour for students and that their irreplaceable work is inside the Mackintosh.”

I thought it was interesting – in a week when a substantial proportion of the population voted for the latently racist and patently hateful UKIP – that I saw two examples of people go out of their way to help people they didn’t know.

What prompted the help in these cases was solidarity among folk who have common interests in a particular sport and a particular city. More than that, the fire fighters also went above and beyond what could reasonably be expected of them just because they knew that the students had put a lot of effort into their work.

Leaving aside the policies of UKIP, an issue which bothers me persistently is the attitude or feeling which UKIP creates. All of UKIP’s policies seem to be premised on the supposedly shocking state of British Society – “Broken Britain”, as the Daily Mail likes to put it.

Sure, there are aspects of society which are objectionable, but when I see folk helping out others just because they think it’s the right thing to do, I am reminded that people are generally well-intentioned, pleasant and just like “us”. I reckon you’d have difficulty in finding a UKIP supporter with anything close to a positive attitude about society as a whole; they’d rather predict doom and poverty.

I’ll end this week’s TF with two photos. The first is of a “thank you” which was left for the fire fighters outside Glasgow’s Central Station:

Tash Friday 30:5:14

And the second is this week’s Tash – Charles Rennie Mackintosh – designer of the Glasgow School of Art.

Tash Friday 30:5:14 2

Have a great weekend folks!

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