We are now on the run up to a proposed election so it is essential for us to question every sound-bite delivered on television, and statement quoted in the press We know the manifesto, offered so graciously on the stump, will not be lived up to, the promises, either watered down or ‘adjusted’. There are so many urgent issues not receiving attention, while others are being aired which have no hope of a short-term solution, – by short-term I mean five years
Recently, David Cameron extolled on television the merits of strong parenthood and family values as a panacea to rid us of teenage vandalism, knifings, gang wars etc. He failed though to give an inkling of how this volte face was to be achieved. If you are born into wealth, comfortable surroundings, have no stresses, no strains and life is on an even keel, it maybe slightly boring, one might need to take up a hobby, or cause to relieve the boredom, but those fortunate people can’t truly assess the shadows or the highlights, the fierce ups and the downs, the sheer bottomless depression and the astronomical heights of success. Second-hand information is like reading a novel, interesting, but the truth is lost in the verbiage. Occasionally there are people who may, or may not have rubbed shoulders with what I’ve just described, but who have sufficient sensitivity, and are compassionate enough to understand these conditions and the effect they have on those who suffer them. I believe Denis Thatcher was such a man, I question whether David Cameron is.
Most people would give anything for a quiet life, but there are some who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in conditions wholly beyond their experience, and frighteningly sordid. They do the best they can for the children, but their children are at school, rubbing shoulders with those who have a quiet life, a comfortable life, and if they’re not envious it would be surprising. I think to some extent this might be one of the causes of young girls getting pregnant leaving home, to be housed by the council, reasoning that nothing is as bad as home.
I have said many times, that as a latchkey child, I was able to amuse myself on a local common, without joining a gang, but it seems today these facilities are almost non-existent. In my day policemen walked or cycled, as did the road repair gangs. Today both go by motor vehicle, which means they have neither the time nor the perspective to see what is going on round them and in consequence both the reduction in crime and the state of the roads have suffered.
Inside the next few years there are going to be tremendous changes. Scientists will have to estimate a mean of any of the extremes weather conditions we could have to face, so authority can put in hand, ahead of time, safeguards and remedial measures to prevent disaster. The gross debt still building, will have to be tackled if we’re not to founder. The two wars which are costing us billions every year cannot go on for ever, and better ways are going to have to be devised for controlling insurgents that come from the borders of other, surrounding countries. Assessments will have to be made concerning the financial effects on this country by the burgeoning economies of countries like China India and Pakistan. All of this is over and above, and only a part, of what has to be considered. At the same time the cost of running the country, and decisions have to be made that involve priorities, When a man stands up and tells us we need to improve family values, and doesn’t tell us how it can be achieved, by whom, or what it will all cost, I take it as rhetorical verbiage and not a statement of intent, especially when I assess all that also needs doing.
Let me show you family values are a wondrous thing. I was invited to a wedding between a Northern Ireland boy and a Russian girl. Their finances were such the Russian parents could not afford the high fare. to be present. Days before the wedding the bride-to-be was made to feel part of the family. On the wedding day one small part of the family was stranded at Glasgow airport and unlikely to arrive before 5 o’clock. They would miss the service, drinks on a lawn overlooking the sea, and indeed, when we reached the reception the Scots had still not arrived. The atmosphere reminded me, in spite of there being small children there, of that of a board meeting when the secretary and the chairman are late, it had that subdued feel. Then the Scots arrived, to a sudden uproar of welcome, and the decibels remained high from then on – the family was complete. The last time the family had been together, as a whole unit, had been seven years previously, when the matriarch was 80. It is occasions like that which cement the friendship and the love – the family values.