Amid turbulent political debate over Europe, the latest council budget cuts and a seemingly daily diet of crisis-ridden news, Dunblane author Mark Eyre tells MICHAEL ALEXANDER why he is campaigning for a “different game” and everyone can play.
Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? Do you feel disillusioned and disenfranchised with the way things are in society?
Do you feel like you have no real choice over what you do? Does it seem like politics and voting are all a charade and nothing will ever really change?
According to Dunblane man Mark Eyre, these feelings are widespread. He says things are the way they are largely because we’ve signed up to the agenda of a “fear-ridden” society, where most people settle rather than aspire and where people turn a blind eye to injustice.
During 25 years working in the corporate world of human resources (HR) and in the years since as a self-employed personal development consultant, he has met “too many people who feel disillusioned, disenfranchised and helpless about what goes on around them”.
Now, in a bid to explore how our society has become this way and, more importantly, he says, to find out what can be done to change it, the 52-year-old father of two young children has written a book called ‘Create Your Own Revolution in helping repair our broken society’.
And he believes the key to transforming society is to “engage with community but opt out of the game”. A controversial example, he claimed, would be a mass spoiling of ballot papers to send out a “meaningful, positive statement of discontent.”
“I have been following with interest the political news in your Dundee, Fife and Perthshire editions,“ he told The Courier.
“In particular, the escalating row over local authority budgets, exemplified by the large cuts at Fife Council, and the on-going row over the Forth Road Bridge (and its recent closure.
“These events may be the result of political decisions. It is However, there is no dispute that the consequences affect real people who rely on these services, and who did not create the problem in the first place. No amount of political fallout and enquiry will remove the real sense of injustice that many people will feel. It is time we did something to change this state of affairs.”
Born in Essex, Mark moved to Scotland when he was nine years old. Educated at Glasgow University where he studied economics and politics, he worked in HR for a variety of businesses including Royal Mail, Boots and United Biscuits.
But even before he went self-employed, he was disillusioned with having long come to realise that many corporations have more power than so-called elected governments.
He says the widespread nature of discontent with society in general was evident by the vast numbers who voted “Yes” in the Scottish referendum in September 2014. Recently joining the Labour Party because he is “inspired by what they could be rather than what they have been doing”, he claims many of those who voted for change did so, understandably, out of hope for something different even if many people were not entirely sure what that change was or how it would come to be. He believes a similar rationale of hope from disillusionment is behind the rise of left-wing Jeremy Corbyn to lead the Labour Party at Westminster.
He added: “Most of us instinctively know things are wrong. When people doing socially responsible jobs can’t make a living. When the old are thrown out of work prematurely and their pensions are axed. When young people have massive debts before they even see their first job. When banks can mortgage the country and get away with it, despite public opinion. We have it drummed into us at school that it’s all about making money and nothing else matters. We come to realise this is wrong, but what can we do about it?”
For Mark, that first step was to write his book after years of disillusionment and working in corporations that were “fundamentally undemocratic”.
He was fed up with the “futility” of voting in elections that “changed nothing of significance” and from his early adult days of being politically active, he became gradually more cynical.
He added: “I wandered around like a corporate hippie, looking for something better, and generally failing to find it. I changed political party, but that didn’t work, so I drifted away. I changed jobs, but that didn’t work either, so I drifted on that one too.
“I found some salvation by getting into self-employment, my own version of declaring independence. That helped. But it was not enough. I was left with a conundrum how to encourage other people to believe in themselves and their potential, and empower themselves, when they live in a society that is manifestly unfair in how it works, sapping people’s energy and will to live.”
Mark admits he doesn’t have all the answers, but he does hope to “expose the game for what it is” and inspire disillusioned people everywhere to “play a different game”
*Create Your Own Revolution in helping repair our broken society by Mark Eyre is published by Arena Books, priced £12.99.