Taking initiative

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It’s good to have one’s opinions challenged, but when Irvine Inglis (Letters, 14 November) takes issue with my points about the “sibling society” he could not have got them more wrong.

Like him, I have no desire for a so-called “nanny state” and more state involvement in young people’s lives.

It is clear that such a system is not working, as Wednesday’s report on the death of Hamzah Khan indicates: “no-one is to blame”, apparently, for system failures.

The writer Robert Bly, whose work I referred to, was suggesting that the failure of state institutions was largely because of individuals’ tendency to project all responsibility for solving problems onto “officialdom”, rather than taking that responsibility for themselves.

In the case of the death of poor Hamzah, and other sadly similar recent cases, this tendency is evident – individuals thought that someone else would deal with the problem.

We will always need institutions to oil the wheels of democracy, but when I said that we need adults with attitude I meant just that: changing society is the responsibility of everyone and not to be left to institutions, which tend to substitute systems for initiative.

(Dr) Mary Brown

Dalvenie Road

Banchory

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