Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas comes but once a year

 Had you noticed that from the very first week in November the Christmas commercials started on TV.  Mainly food companies and chain stores, not satisfied with the huge profits they make the rest of the year, intent on making a killing over Christmas.

We are treated to long dreamy scenes of  perfect families; smiling stress free mum and dad, cheery gran and granddad and happy, excited, well fed kids, all gathered around a beautifully decorated, sparkling Christmas tree exchanging gifts.  The spacious house looks all cosy and warm ready for the festivities.  Move onto the kitchen now and the camera pans onto the huge succulent looking free range turkey with all the trimmings straight from M&S coming out of the oven.

The British Poultry Council estimates that this year consumers will pay around £53 for a 4kg turkey to feed a family of six.

For too many families though, these scenes are pure fantasy and a cruel one at that; their reality is very different.  According to The Child Poverty Action Group 3.5 million children in the UK are living in poverty and under current government policies child poverty is projected to rise from 2012/13 with an expected 600,000 more children living in poverty by 2015/16.

These children will wake up on Christmas morning to a cold, damp and cramped home to a stressed but no less loving, lone parent or parents who have either saved up all year with one of the Christmas clubs or will have taken out a ‘doorstep’ loan and will be repaying the money at exorbitant interest rates for the rest of the following year.  They only want to give their no less deserving kids some of the toys and techno gadgets that other more affluent kids have.

Spare a thought for the enormous pressure many families are under and their often poor sense of worth in not being able to provide what they see on TV or  in seductively decorated shop windows.  Not for the them a free range turkey but most probably an industrially produced frozen meal.  Iceland are advertising a Christmas dinner for four for £20.  Some families will be visiting the local food bank as usual.
Though poverty rates remain much higher for workless couple and workless  lone parent families, working couple families were the only household type to see an increase in the child poverty rate from 2001/2 to 2011/12.  (Joseph Rowntree  Foundation)

How can we as fellow humans not be moved, indignant or angry that some of us ‘have it all’ while others suffer.

They say that Christmas is a ‘time for giving’ well let’s give a thought to how we can create a better, fairer world, where every man woman and child has a secure, warm and dry home, a full stomach and a quiet mind; a socialist world, the only one that makes any sense.
Carla Dee

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