Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Seasonal Wishes

As I type this I am close to finishing my nightcap; a Scotch in a decent crystal glass that I was given by good friends, some years ago. My darling granddaughters are asleep, and the carrot and mince pie that they left out for Santa and his reindeer are half-eaten on the plate by the fireplace. Santa seems to have drunk his small glass of whisky, too.
My family are lucky people, and I am aware of our good fortune. A sizeable minority of people are anything but fortunate, and I shall spare them a thought over the next few days. The recession has brought real fear to some families, and then there are those whom an accident of birth has condemned to a life without the comforts of family and stability that we so often take for granted. Children who have to be taken into care face a vastly increased likelihood of ending up in prison. Soldiers who leave the colours also form a disproportionately large cohort in our jails. Of course they will have offended, and that is why they are in prison, but there must be a lesson for all of us in the cause-and-effect that makes it scores of times more likely that a child born into the underclass will fall into crime than its counterpart in a safe and comfortable home.
So here's a thought for the on-duty coppers and emergency services, the firemen policemen medics and prison staff. Here's a thought for the 80,000 or so prisoners; some of them greedy stupid or vicious, but some more mentally ill, illiterate, and alone in the world, with no comfort beyond the chemical ones from the poppy, the coca bush, and the bottle.
Merry Christmas to you all.

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