Friday, October 21, 2016

Time to reflect, before we carry on.

My Mum and Dad liked children. At least, I suppose they did, because they had five of us. They did a good job of teaching us many important things, including compassion, thinking carefully about things, and cookery. Once, when I expressed pleasure that some unusually revolting public figure had died, Mum told me off. "He was some woman's son", she said.

The building site next door has been quiet today. They have been given the day off, because today is the fiftieth anniversary of the Aberfan Disaster. I was 17 when it happened, and I wept for hours. Thinking about it today, it is still hard to hold back the tears.

The slip of waste coal killed 144 people, including 116 children, who were in the school next to the tip. A hundred and sixteen children. A fund was set up to help, not that there is any way money can compensate for the loss of even a single child, let alone a hundred and sixteen.

Today, fifty years on, as people here quietly remember this disaster, we have millionaires who own tabloid newspapers, and pay truly horrible journalists to write pieces in which they mock the drowning of children fleeing from wars, and claim they were "staged". When we help refugees, they write demanding the children be X-rayed to prove they are children.

It is not easy to cope with the vicious, right-wing, unpleasantness that is now so common in the UK. It is very depressing to see what so many of us have descended to, after being the heroic nation that helped to save Europe from fascism. But I shall not give up. I shall continue to urge politicians, above all, but everyone else as well, to be decent. 

Comments are off because, sadly, I am only too familiar with the sort of response that thugs make to articles of this kind.