Insights from the UK and beyond
Is Britain broken and if so how do we fix it?
Born in Liverpool — a stone’s throw from the football ground Anfield — he grew up in a house that had an outside toilet and was freezing cold. His mother regularly bought food on tick and his idea of a good day out was a trip to New Brighton beach with a banana sandwich to eat for lunch. A Catholic, he suffered sectarian abuse on his way to school, where he was regularly beaten by the teachers. Sounds good doesn’t it?
Listening to our politicians – be they from the left or right – things haven’t got much better. By the sound of it, you’d have thought we were living in some post apocalyptic Terminator-like nightmare, where courts do little else but dish out Asbos — anti-social behaviour orders — to our feckless youth.
The suicide of Fiona Pilkington, 38, who killed herself and her daughter after years of abuse on their estate has brought Britain’s social problems sharply into focus.
“We will not stand by and see the lives of the lawful majority disrupted by the behaviour of the lawless minority,” Prime Minister Gordon Brown is to tell the Labour party conference on Tuesday.
“Because the decent, hard working majority are getting ever more angry – rightly so – with the minority who who will talk about their rights but never accept their responsibilities.”
At the other of the spectrum is the financial sector — swollen beyond its socially useful size, according to Lord Adair Turner, Chairman of the Financial Services Authority – fiddling while Rome burns.
Is Britain’s society broken and if so what steps need to taken to fix it?