“What is our task? It is to make Britain a fit country for heroes to live in.” So declared thePrime Minister, David Lloyd George in a speech one hundred years ago, at the end of the war that was supposed to end all wars.
One hundred years on, how close are we to achieving his objective?
Lloyd George was primarily concerned about the squalid conditions in which most of the population lived. He was talking about housing. We hear much these days about the housing crisis, and there's no doubt that some people still live in dreadful conditions and others have no home at all. Yet, thankfully, the vast majority of the British are now decently housed.
I am concerned about the fact that so many people in this land go to bed hungry. And that so much of that scandal is the responsibility of the State.
Perhaps this is the place where I should warn that “Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the PPC”!
How have we come to accept the fact that so many people in our society are dependant on handouts from food banks for their daily needs? Last year, charities associated with the Trussel Trust, including the West Cheshire Food Bank and the Wirral Food Bank, handed out 1,332,952 emergency foods supplies to needy people. With the roll out of “Universal Credit” they expect a surge in demand. Can you imagine the trauma of ordinary people reduced to asking for a voucher with which to obtain the basic necessities for their children? Simply because, perhaps, they've been transferred from one system of support to another. I do wonder what has happened to our society that we should consider this normal..
There has been much written of late concerning the centenary of the end of the First World War. Edna and I used to live in a village in France that had been on the front line of that conflict. There was a small German cemetery and plenty of concrete fortifications were around even after the best part of a century had passed since they were built. Not so very far from our home lay the Tyne Cot cemetery with its 12,000 graves.
Such numbers are beyond our imagination. 12,000 dead! Yet the statistics of the “Great War” are dwarfed by those of the war that followed “the war to end all wars”. An estimated 60 million people, the majority of whom were civilians, died in the Second World War. Every one of them someone's child. Sister, brother...
Wars still rage all over our world. Smaller wars, but just as terrible for those who are caught up in them. Is there any alternative, you may wonder? Jesus chose the way that led to a cross.
Do look for the opportunity to drop a proportion of your weekly shop into the collection points for food banks. “Lord, when did we see you hungry..?”