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Mahatma Gandhi once said:

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

M&S or Britney Spears?

Dear Ivor

Do you ever sleep? Your prolific efforts on the keyboard have, I must admit, surprised me. I haven’t seen you this animated since the Ecology Party Summer Gathering of 1981 and that was after 6 days of acoustic meditation!

Yet again you have succeeded in catapulting us into the glare of the media spotlight, first Ian Hyland and now Vera Chan, what is it about your ramblings that they admire?

Your literary scythe has cut through several points and I agree that I too admire the whistleblower who even at personal expense is still willing to speak out. Organisations that don’t want any criticism shouldn’t employ people!

Have struggled myself to understand how anyone could carry out systematic abuse of a child. It is beyond cruel, simply barbaric and perhaps we do need to turn the mirror on to us as a society. One in ten children in wealthy countries now suffers abuse, but professionals responsible for their protection are still afraid to act, why? The decision to put a child into foster care is a huge one and not to be taken lightly, but to avoid the decision is negligence. There appears to be systemic procrastination surrounding the care of vulnerable children, despite the lessons apparently learnt following the Victoria Climbie case. Or is it a fear of recrimination fuelling indecision?

This lack of action is not only the malaise of childcare professionals, it affects all of us. Anthony King reported in the Telegraph today that membership of political parties is on the decline. Conservatives have about 290,000 members, Labour only 175,000 members and the Lib Dems about 65,000 (wouldn’t even fill Twickenham stadium). “The combined membership of the three main political parties is scarcely more than half that of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.”

I was shocked by these numbers and felt almost sorry for Nick Clegg, perhaps if he confessed to being a twitcher, rather than a Gruffalo admirer, his numbers would quadruple overnight. The political disengagement is worse than I thought and we will have a tough job rousing the British public from their apathy. It makes you wonder if we have got the politicians we deserve after all?

Spurred on by your recent commune with nature did a bit of star watching and soul searching myself. Think in general people do care about the environment, you only have to watch our mates at Greenpeace shinning up the front of the Bank of England to know that, and we do care about what happens to children like Baby P, and we do want our children to have a good education and the world to be rid of poverty, hunger and wars, but the thing is we are the silent majority.

We are the ones who shout at the radio but not on the radio, who scoff at politicians privately but not publicly, who want a better world as long as someone else does it for us.

What would stir us into action, the promise of a 20% off day at M&S, a night with Britney Spears or an opportunity to change things?

Suddenly the Inn Crowd doesn’t seem such a bad place to start!

Poll xx

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