Moral Courage

Those who find themselves in positions of responsibility are morally obliged to make the ‘right’ decisions. That is, decision-making that affects other people must be good and just and in the common interest. Otherwise the moral basis of our society is in question. Are we fundamentally ‘good’ people or just selfish monsters obsessed with wealth accumulation in an age of greed, who de-humanise our fellow beings in the process of getting what we want?

human rights2We see far to many instances reported where people are allowed to suffer the consequences of bad, wrong or just plain evil decisions from leaders they look up to and trust.

The obvious example in British news at the moment is the deeply disturbing child sex abuse scandal in our national sport, football. Club officials have turned a blind eye to the activities of serial child rapists so as to protect ‘the good name of the Club’. Shame on them. Lives have been ruined as a result.

Ordinary people have a right to be protected from abuse and exploitation by those they look up to – managers, politicians, religious leaders – but all too often the abusers and exploiters are the ones in positions of power. Who can they turn to when bullied and threatened by their abuser?

A manager or parent is a first point of contact, but image the victim’s misery being compounded when they are not believed or accused of being complicit in their own abuse. Our police force is there to uphold the Law and protect victims of crime, backed up by civil society – organisations and charity groups. The infrastructure is there, but perhaps needs a higher level of governmental and public backing. Victims must feel confident to speak out and know the correct channels to do so. They must also have confidence in the system.

Distrust in our leaders goes right to the top, with many citizens no longer believing our politicians have the moral courage or sense of community to ‘do the right thing’ when it comes to decision-making. We are now consumers in an age of capitalist exploitation. We are encouraged to be selfish and greedy, to accumulate and hoard things we don’t really need.

It has become obvious to many that our government makes decisions that are in the interest of ‘Big Business’ over citizen welfare, and some point to the Brexit vote (higher in the regions away from the wealthy South-East) as evidence of disenchantment. The politics of shoring-up the interests of a wealthy minority and favouring them over the interests of the majority will surely come back to haunt our current crop of London-centric politicians. Theresa May, be warned.

This is at the heart of our culture of indifference to human suffering and the belief that greed is good. It isn’t. Not in my house. If we cannot treat each other with respect and kindness then we are failing as a society.

I believe it is our collective duty to create an atmosphere of kindness, tolerance and helpfulness and have the courage to speak out and denounce acts of evil. When we elect our political leaders we must hold them to account. They are charged with overseeing a tolerant society where citizens’ rights are protected, where they have opportunities to achieve their goals in life, and are protected from the predatory monsters who lurk amongst us.





The Butterfly Effect

The 2016 cull of celebrities continues with brutal ruthlessness, reminding us all of our fragile mortality.  In the past two days boxing legend Muhammed Ali and British author and celebrated screenwriter, Carla Lane, have left us, in both cases leaving behind proud, dramatic legacies.  Is 2016 a cursed year, or are there simply too many celebrities in our narcissistic media-driven age that demands role models?

The only thing I can think of that these two very different celebrities have in common is the word ‘butterfly’.  Mohammed Ali would ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’, as he jabbed and hooked his way to three world heavyweight titles, whilst Liverpool’s Carla wrote four hit TV series, including ‘Butterflies’.

On a recent visit to Liverpool’s new museum at the Pier Head, I wandered up to the top floor devoted to popular culture, showcasing the plethora of musical, comedic and writing talents that the city has produced.  I took this photo of the Carla Lane display board, as ‘The Liver Birds’ are a part of my own upbringing and cultural identity.

Liver Birds

Carla passed away peacefully in a Liverpool care home at the age of 87.  “We were lucky that her wit, determination and passion brought Liverpool to life on screen for others to share,” a family statement said.  Yep, agree with that.  RIP Carla Lane.

Ali, the sixteen-stone butterfly that floated around a boxing ring, died in an Arizona hospital at the age of 74 after losing his battle with Parkinson’s Disease.  His death has dominated the global news for the past two days, and rightly so, as he was voted the most popular sports star of the 20th century.  The self-proclaimed ‘greatest’ found himself in the centre of America’s civil rights struggle in the 1960s, but managed to transcend politics with his devastating talent, charm and wit.

“Service to others is the rent we pay on earth for our room in heaven,”  said Muhammed in one of his more modest moments, reflecting on his humble roots.  RIP, The Greatest.



“…You won’t be compromised – we’re simply assisting you from our Development Fund.”

“What do you want in return for this support?”

secretexchange“The President wants you to know this is his personal flagship initiative; he has worked tirelessly to get funding from members and sponsors.”

“So, he’s not asking for my vote?”

“He’ll closely follow your development programme and will personally attend your launch event.”

“You still haven’t answered my question.”

“The President only wants to be seen as a beacon of light, illuminating the dark corners and bringing hope through sport to developing countries. Everyone’s a winner and the Federation of TiddlyWinks will flourish.”

“Well, thank him from me for his support and personal interest in our humble Association. He is indeed a far-sighted and powerful leader.”