Pride & Shame at being British in the same day
On Sunday morning I sat down to read the papers. Camila Batmanghedelidjh, Founder of KidsCo, wrote a damning verdict on how we look after and develop our nation’s children, which made me despair about our legacy for future generations.
Since 2000, 400 vulnerable children have died in the UK in horrific circumstances. Each time we are promised a review. Camila suggests convincingly that we are becoming ‘institutionally savage’. According to the NSPCC, one in ten children is sexually abused and one in ten suffers significant mental health issues. Gross underfunding leads to insufficient action.
If abused, traumatised children could vote, I am confident they wouldn’t be spending £40bn on defense or on HS2. They would spend a lot more than the £113m spent in 2010 on child protection. We have 3.5m children in Great Britain living in poverty, with 1.5m affected by neglect and 1.5m suffering mistreatment. Chronic exposure to ‘bad stuff’ alters these children’s psyches so that they adapt to the savagery – leading to so many of the problems our society faces.
On Sunday afternoon, I attended a Classical Spectacular concert at The Royal Albert Hall. As the orchestra and guest singer performed Rule Britannia, 5000 people waved their Union Jacks and sang their lungs out, proud to be British and part of such a wonderful, patriotic event.
Was I in the same country as the one exposed in the article I had read in the morning? Surely not! And I am sure that the (average age 60+) concert goers would rather spend the £40bn earmarked for HS2 on ensuring that child abuse is eliminated in GREAT Britain and that we invested in The Land of Hope & Glory to leave a legacy we are proud of. Without such investment, how can we create a future for the next generation that is vastly different to the one that our leaders are forging for them in terms of education, safety, welfare, development and debt? Quantitative easing means the next generation is growing up in the shadow of a massive financial burden that they are too young to vote against.
To build a sustainable vibrant Britain, we need inspirational leadership to focus on the issues that really matter, committed to doing the right thing in the right way.
Pride is in our DNA but we cannot be proud of the way in which our country currently treats the education, welfare and development of our society’s future generations.
I hear so much talk these days about ‘the lost generation’ and the lack of moral compass in our youth. It’s time for us to stop moaning about them and do something for them. And not just quick fix political gestures. I mean real, systemic investment in their future – because their future is our future – as well as our legacy.