Tuesday, 14 June 2011
I've lived a fairly simple life. For over forty years I worked earn money to pay my way and then to bring up my family. My father taught us that we must never get into debt and always live within our means. Good sound advice. There have been many times I've made bad decisions but I've learned to live with the consequences and to resolve them to the best of my ability. Money has never been plentiful. When the family were young we had 'days away' rather than more expensive holidays as I thought a good education was more important.
We all make choices to suit our circumstances. A friend's son was made redundant a few months ago and he's struggling to come to terms with his situation, although his young children seem oblivious to the crisis and are just delighted to have their dad at home. This week he's put the family car up for sale because he needs the money to keep his family. There is no doubt he will find work but somehow I think he'll go down the self-employed route if he's fortunate enough to find good support. Scottish Enterprise or banks aren't interested in a skilled man setting up business and that's to our shame.
Throughout the months of his unemployment he's continued to train youngsters to be the next generation of Scottish athletes and it's these young people, along with his family, who give him the confidence to believe in himself. Once his car's gone he will have two changes of bus plus a reasonable walk to get to the gymnasium but he says that's the least of his troubles.
This week David Cameron announced an extra £814m towards vaccinating children against disease in the Third World. I welcome this decision. Every child should be protected against preventable diseases.
It's over 30 years ago when the UK government began contributing to a third world vaccination programme. We must have given £billions towards these projects and other projects such as developing clean water supplies and hygienic toilet facilities. We were told that our contributions would see a vast improvement in the health and wellbeing of the these countries' populations in 20 years.
Thirty years on and there is little improvement yet our politicians continue to pour taxpayers' money into governments' coffers and completely disregard the corruption. I see the point in helping poorer countries but many of the countries involved are wealthier than ourselves nowadays. Today's aid system doesn't work - it doesn't reach those who are most in need. We should only be distributing aid money upon results. That's how most of us are paid.
David Cameron is giving away money we don't have so it will be borrowed. Is that wise?
We have an ageing population and the Coalition have yet to make any suggestions about the care of the elderly in their later years. Fortunately the Scottish government has addressed this problem and there is a system in place. It may not be perfect but Scottish politicans recognise the care of our elderly is a prime social responsibility. The care of the elderly is only one social problem we have in this country.
The money for this vaccination project should come out of the current aid budget and the costs be strictly monitored. Too often I hear caring health workers in these countries saying promised medicines never materialised. It's part of our social responsibility to ensure they do.
We have a Prime Minister whose only concern is his standing in the world and social responsibility, for both his own people poorer countries, is well down his list of priorities.