Saturday, February 17, 2007

Briton the worst place for children


While I was away the was a report published that said out of 21 countries Britain as the worst place for children, the US followed close on our tail.
http://www.unicef.org/media/files/ChildPovertyReport.pdf

Well it is not surprising as a law for "services and commodities" deals with the adoption of children. It seems indicative of government policy that children are objects. No wonder there is such a high teenage pregnancy and abortion rate in the UK. There are growing youth crime rates. The age for premarital sex is growing lower and lower. Marital breakdown increases, in fact it seems that it is actually encouraged by our government, it is cheaper for parents to live apart, or co-habit than to be married.
The cost of housing, the need for both parents to work for a mortgage, the expectation that parents will work long hours, the encouragement of mobility and therefore the fragmentation of the extended family and the denigration of the role parents are obviously all contributory factors.
But I blame our present regime and our present Prime Minister who has done nothing to safeguard the family. In this area, on this issue our Bishop should declare Crusade against all and any legislation that does not conform to the Church's teaching.

7 comments:

Henry said...

This is the list, in order, of countries of which Brtain came at the bottom.
=====================
Netherlands
Sweden
Denmark
Finland
Spain
Switzerland
Norway
Italy
Ireland
Belgium
Germany
Canada
Greece
Poland
Czech Republic
France
Portugal
Austria
Hungary
United States
United Kingdom
=====================
It will not do to blame the government. We might have an unfair electoral system but broadly speaking every country gets the electoral system and therefore the government it chooses. If you are criticising the government you are by implication criticising the people for attitudes grained-in over centuries.

There is obviously more to this than failure to safeguard the family. There are several good Catholic countries bumping along on the bottom with us, and not all of them from the former Soviet block. The countries at the top, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian block, while not family-hostile, are highly secular.

One of the characteristics of the countries at the top of the list is that the public realm is treated with respect, which it is not so amongst the countries at the bottom. The top countries have more effective democracies and better and more intelligent people living in them, who feel they have a stake in their society. Here, the local council will not even listen to what people say when they bring in a new car parking scheme or object to neighbouring pubs being allowed to open at all hours.

The result in the countries at the top is a much higher quality public environment which is not generally abused. You see things in Scandinavia which would not last a single weekend in the UK, due to the widespread malicious and destructive attitude here eg customers in the smoke-free cafes clear their tables when they have finished and the trains have a brush and paper towels in the toilet.

These things say a lot about the mentality of the people. This is a cultural thing; look what happens when the UK goverment proposes measures that will cut road congestion and finds itself with a million signatures opposing it. And so we find ourselves with some of the worst public transport in Western Europe and local councils lacking the money even to keep the streets clean and in a good state of repair. The dung heap we are living in is of our own making.

British culture is founded on bullying and feelings of superiority, hence we cannot keep our noses out of other countries' affairs and have been almost continuously at war since 1066. And in our superiority we dismiss Scandinavia as boring and suicidal, and write off Switzerland as the land of the cuckoo clock.

The British have also been systematically robbed, eg through the English land enclosures and Highland clearances of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, though, amazingly, while there is indignation about the loss of land that the Palestinians have suffered, people here don't even know what you are talking about when you say that the English have had their land stolen from under their noses. So our fathers' and grandfathers' generation was perfectly prepared to go and fight for their country even though they didn't own a single square inch of it.

There is a price to be paid for this nonsense. The countries at the top have avoided getting involved in wars for the past 60 years and in some cases for centuries.

As a second-generation immigrant, and therefore a partial outsider, this is easier to see. I was not in the least surprised at the result of the UNICEF survey. And since the response is keep on banging up more and more people and building more prisons as they fill up, how can it get any better?

Anonymous said...

Mm. The Bishops have recently burnt their fingers over the gay adoption bill,they won't try many more interventions for a long time unless they have secure ground. As for that problem, they've now backtracked. What started as homophobia has changed to a defence of the family, when it should have begun the other way round. They were warned by the secretary of the co-ordinating body for Catholic Adoption Agencies that so far no gay couples had ever approached one seeking adoption, and practically speaking there was no immediate threat. He suggested that a campaign should be deferred until the time came when one did. They should then weigh in on family values. The Bishops took no notice, released a great deal of hot air, drum banging, hysteria and rank bigotry, and have now retreated looking silly. The newly released statistics are appalling and put the country to shame but the Catholic Church, as a minority religion here, despite the arrival of the Poles, should take more care in marshalling the evidence before it starts another campaign.

Nicholas said...

These are two interesting comments and I hope people will take notice of them. I was most impressed by Henry's observations on the insularity of Britain in comparision with Scandinavian countries and the crucial fact that we elect our governments and get the results we deserve. In recent years both parties - Conservative and Labour - have let the country down and my fear is that so-called New Labour will probably continue in power even longer because it suits the lives, mentality and expecations of the majority in the country,especially in its fiscal policies. Few are Christian in a sense that Christianity would recognize and, however strongly Bishops, Catholic and Anglican, protest fewer still take any notice. With rare exceptions like Ann Widdecombe and Lord Alton, who are as sui generis as they come, most Christian politicians put government policy before personal conviction. Look at Ruth Kelly as a prime example. The best we can do as Catholics is to be as faithful to church teaching as we can and hope that we shall become a leaven in the lump, however small.

Nicholas said...

These are two interesting comments and I hope people will take notice of them. I was most impressed by Henry's observations on the insularity of Britain in comparision with Scandinavian countries and the crucial fact that we elect our governments and get the results we deserve. In recent years both parties - Conservative and Labour - have let the country down and my fear is that so-called New Labour will probably continue in power even longer because it suits the lives, mentality and expecations of the majority in the country,especially in its fiscal policies. Few are Christian in a sense that Christianity would recognize and, however strongly Bishops, Catholic and Anglican, protest fewer still take any notice. With rare exceptions like Ann Widdecombe and Lord Alton, who are as sui generis as they come, most Christian politicians put government policy before personal conviction. Look at Ruth Kelly as a prime example. The best we can do as Catholics is to be as faithful to church teaching as we can and hope that we shall become a leaven in the lump, however small.

Thomas Shawn said...

The situation in the U.S. is self imposed. Both parents work in the U.S. because they want to live in the lap of luxury.

The mortgages are self imposed and get bid-up by the dual income with kids crowd while the working Mommies depress wages by flooding the job market.

I think the UNICEF too heavily weighted the paternal leave programmes in the socialist countries. What of their 14% unemployment rates?

Is it not interesting that the "top" countries are not having babies in sufficient numbers to sustain their populations.

The communists at UNICEF are whistling in the dark.

Henry said...

Re Thomas - the countries with low birthrates are maintaining their population with immigration, which provides people from poor countries with an opportunity to better their lives and makes the host countries more culturally diverse and creates a nice harmonious mix, provided that the immigrants come from the right countries of origin eg Phillipines, Latin America, etc and want to integrate. Scandinavia is not about to be denuded of its population.

And poor living conditions eg unaffordable housing are also a cause of low birthrate as sensible people are reluctant to bring up children in a bad environment. Without appropriate economic policies, full employment and high wages push up housing prices beyond what people can afford and so are no help.

In any case, many parts of Europe eg London and South-East England are over-populated, and a reduction would make things more comfortable all round, not least by reducing pressure on housing and transport infrastructure. But the British problem is largely due to inappropriate economic policies which have wrecked the economies in the regions away from London and driven more and more people to the most congested areas of the country in search of work.

Nicholas said...

Right again, Henry.