More evidence of the need for a Genuine Progress Indicator after another terrible week for children.
My belief in the need for more meaningful measures of progress has been further illustrated this week by the UNICEF report on Children’s Lifestyles and by today’s horrific news of ‘parents’ goading their 2 and 3 year old children to fight and filming themselves laughing and joking whilst the youngest was visibily distressed during this awful event.
On the latter point, I stopped eating my dinner tonight at 8pm after hearing the news on Radio 4. My wife turned the radio off after the final headline about a man raping his 2 year old niece. We both sat in silence. Sarah couldn’t hold back the tears. Having just put our beautiful, happy, daughters to bed we were speechless.
What is going on in this country? Don’t get me started.. Fortunately the wisdom of the young was acknowledged by The Independent in response to the UNICEF report by a teenager:
“The richer we become as a society, the less mature young people need to be. Too many people expect the good things but don’t want to take responsibility.”
As Sarah said, some people view children as commodities, or lifestyle accessories.
Paul Kelbie in The Independent went on to report:
“Unicef said that, compared to Holland and Sweden which came out as top places to be a child, most British children feel unloved and unsupported by a society which regards them more as a burden rather than as a valuable investment. “There is not enough to do for teenagers when they leave school. There’s no jobs and no prospects for most people,” said Ciaran McIntyre.
“Most people don’t want to live like this but they just can’t see a way out. There needs to be more help to give more people the confidence to get out there and prove to themselves they can make a better life.”
Not surprisingly, those at the top of GDP figures, the US and the UK (5th) were at the bottom of the UNICEF table. Why is this? Could be something to do with a particular attitude to violence: one that starts at the top with the perpetual fighting of wars and a lack of support for human and in particular (children’s rights) in order to support the overall growth obsession.
Rant over, I still feel sick.
From the World Bank:
Total GDP 2005
(millions of US dollars)
1 United States 12,455,068
2 Japan 4,505,912
3 Germany 2,781,900
4 China 2,228,862
5 United Kingdom 2,192,553
16 Netherlands 594,755
20 Sweden 354,115