OK then. Difficult, possibly controversial blog subject today. Some people may like it, and agree with me some may not and some will probably be totally indifferent.
Please hear me out, these are my own, personal views and my own, personal thoughts. I’m not asking anyone to agree with me, just read, listen to what I’m saying and, hopefully, understand.
“So, what is this contentious topic?” I hear you ask.
It’s that annual telethon that is otherwise known as ‘Children in Need’. And it drives me up the wall every year. If I never have to see that stupid yellow bear and his spotty bandana ever again it will be too soon. I don’t want you to think me hard hearted or ungrateful or anything, but I really wish it would just die the death and go away.
So, what is my problem with it then?
The thing that really annoys me, the thing I really can’t stomach, the thing I want to know, more than anything else, is why are disabled children wheeled out, every year, to beg for money for services that should be being provided by the State? Specially made comfy wheelchairs, social clubs for young carers, respite breaks for the parents of disabled children, new hospice facilities for sick children. All of these things should be there anyway and should be being provided as of right, not as a lovely charitable added extra.
I’m not saying that don’t want sick and disabled children and their parents and siblings to get some special treats, far from it, I really do want them to have fun days out, trips to see West End Shows or visits from their favourite film stars and pop groups but they are added extras. They are those wonderful memory creating moments for the families of children with life limiting conditions or for children whose parents cannot afford all the luxuries of life.
What I don’t want to see are children receiving things like specialised equipment that they should be able to expect as an everyday part of their treatment as a charitable gift.
What I don’t want to see are Government Ministers and relying on the goodness of charities to provide what should be provided by their own Ministries.
What I don’t want to see are the people at the top thinking they can get away with providing as little as possible because the great British public will always band together to plug the gaping chasms between the haves and the have nots so they don’t have to bother or get involved.
I suppose I have no real problem with money being raised to help children in other countries go to school or receive medical treatment or for their parents to be able to provide them with a safe and secure home. I don’t like it and I would prefer to see the Governments of those countries being helped to look after their own citizens and provide for them themselves but, until we find a way of sorting out world poverty that will just be a pipe dream. Sending charitable donations as though we can sort out all their problems by throwing a little money their way is more than a little paternalistic but I can’t think of anything else that we can realistically do until the world becomes a better place. Great Britain, however, is supposed to be one of the most prosperous countries in the world so is it right for us to expect an annual fund-raising extravaganzas like Children in Need to pay for our NHS, for social services and for the education that our Government should be paying for every day with the money we pay in our taxes.
Whilst we continue to expect and allow charities like Children in Need to be there to pick up the pieces and support those who should be being helped by the State, our Government will continue to cut services, look the other way and abjugate their responsibilities. Children in Need should stop papering over the cracks or those cracks will continue to grow until society shatters, we all fall through and everything falls apart.