Editor's column: Community spirit or a world of apathy? We need to decide soon...
At the weekend I went to the pub to catch up with some friends that we haven’t seen for a while.
As the drinks began flowing we began talking about all the great institutions, once the lynch pins of our society, which are seemingly crumbling around our ears.
From under-funded councils and police forces, the music industry, the decline of our high streets, pubs and little shops.
Local newspapers in other parts of the country closing down along with libraries, youth clubs and other public services.
Sometimes convenient and free is destructive, and has an impact which will change things forever.
An example: As soon as music streaming and downloading began, less money was being made by the music industry, and less money was therefore invested in new musical talent.
As a result now making it as an artist in the music industry, in my opinion, is the preserve only of people who can afford to take years off to try and make it. What about the working class voices?
Yes, some people make it through and all power to their elbow, but in general we are losing a whole level of representation, and missing out on music and art which would be meaningful and representative, simply because we all fancied a download.
The same can be said for the film industry, the arts in general, and just about anything where the working classes once had an equal chance to shine.
What about all those little independent shops which make our high streets unique and different, unable to survive because of internet shopping and looming business rates.
Many libraries are now run by volunteers, good jobs with chance for training and growth taken away because well-meaning middle class retirees are prepared to do it for free.
All the talented young people with so much to offer who are forced to perform months of unpaid work experience to get entry-level menial jobs in 'glamorous' industries.
Working class people, no matter how talented can't afford to do that. To the internet shopping warehouse job they go... With no hope of getting on to the property ladder, unable to save because of high rents. No matter how prepared someone is to work hard, talent and hard work doesn't always get recognised or rewarded.
It’s very sad, and the world is definitely changing, the value that we place in community and democracy and supporting others has been replaced by social media one-upmanship, and any excuse for a chance to succeed and win, often at the expense of others. Vanity, greed and ruthlessness now upheld as virtues.
You’ll see that I’ve mentioned local newspapers in this column.
And I thank each and every one of you for going out and buying yours.
Because, like the rest of this list, it’s use it or lose it time. And if you lose your local paper there is no one to hold those cutters and community spoilers to account, and apathy reins.