Thinking about the UNICEF report on British children
One of the purposes of this website is to remind Brits of excellence. It therefore comes as a blow to read the UNICEF report headlined in most British papers today that British children are poorer, at greater risk, and more insecure than any other country in the Western world. However, this is not my experience. I have found most British children to be courteous, helpful, and happy.
The children in this study are referred to as British because they are living in Britain. My suspicion – without having read the report in full – is that some of these apparently bad figures can be explained by Britain’s generosity in opening its doors to so many poor immigrants. Much of the emphasis of this report is poverty. There are many other studies that show that recent immigrants have a much higher incidence of poverty, as do single-parent families. The majority of Afro-Caribbean children, for instance, are growing up in single-parent families.
Unless we know specifically which children are doing so miserably, we will not know how to help them. The depression that also seems to be evident may come not only from disheveled families but also from a government that has undermined the education system, sold off playing fields, encouraged drug use and drinking and, through the tax and welfare system, discouraged marriage and the family stability that marriage brings.
Finally, a sense of positive identity with their country lifts the spirits of children. One can see this in other countries. Learning the best of Britain's history would be the place to start.