Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Balanced Perspective

Every now and again when I'm moaning about one thing or another, someone will pull me up and remind me that plenty of people seem to get by perfectly well without encountering any of the doom and gloom I see, particularly after I've had a few pints.

Depending on how many pints I've drunk my answer will be
  • that's because they're sheep
  • that's because most people don't care what's going on in the world until it bites them in the arse personally, at which point they expect everyone else to give a shit
or sometimes, just sometimes
  • I'll admit that, yes, it is, after all, a very big diverse world out there and we all have different life experiences and perspectives

Obviously, someone who lives in a iffy part of London where social exclusion punctuated by the occasional, and sometimes not so occasional murder is normal, somewhere like here for example... likely to have a different take on the state of the country to someone who lives in a place like this...

Which is why we rely on government, the media and other institutions to objectively and competently aggregate information and communicate how all our personal experiences fit into the context of a bigger picture.

...assuming you believe that government, media and other institutions are both competent and objective

Which would be nice if it were true.

No chance

Take today's story that UNICEF rates the UK as being
bottom of a league table for child well-being across 21 industrialised countries for example

Maybe I should yield to temptation and embrace the report simply because it appears to confirm my own observations. But is life in the rest of the UK really so awful? People speaking for the UK government certainly disagree but they would. Maybe the report has just been tweaked and boosted to serve vested interests. Big corporatised charities certainly aren't above playing games like that. Misery, real or imagined, is their business.

One thing I do know for sure is that comments from campaigners such as...

"Unicef's report is a wake-up call to the fact that, despite being a rich country, the UK is failing children and young people in a number of crucial ways."

"This report shows clearly that despite the UK's wealth, we are failing to give children the best possible start in life,"

...are totally off the mark. A country that is home to some rich people is not the same thing as a rich country.

Here in the UK we no longer have the means to feed ourselves, cloth ourselves or heat our own homes. We're increasingly reliant on imports of even the most basic goods and commodities and what we have to offer the world in return are a few tacky Royal Family souvenirs, some metal tubes suitable for chemical weapons production, and the best laundering service stolen money can buy...

Best of British

A rich nation? Bollocks are we. Since when has the ability to buy masses of imported crap and over-priced housing on credit constituted wealth in any meaningful sense of the word? If a person were to behave like that, rather than an entire nation, nobody would describe him as wealthy. Fucking stupid, yes. Wealthy, no.

All that borrowing will have to be repaid one day, one way or another and the real kicker for those kids who may, or may not, be growing up in the worst place in the developed world to be a child is that they will be the ones who will have to pay that bill.

I'm sure they will be very, very grateful...


and whilst I was typing this Sky has just started reporting that yet another teenager has been shot dead down the road from here - that's three in just over a week, four if you include stabbings...



Noel said...

I blame the schools!

Stef said...

nice one

have I mentioned that I'm planning to start a teaching career in NZ?