January 31, 2009 Leave a comment
Some words have incredible resonance. Wisdom, optimism, resilience. They mean a lot; they make you stop and think. In the midst of the onslaught of information we’re all subjected to on an hourly basis, it’s good to be challenged.
On such word, and one that you don’t see too often in the media, crossed my radar this week. Embarrassed. Now that’s a word that flags you down with all the impact of an elephant at a tea party. It was raised in a Daily Express report relating the fact that this week Iceland sent over a container load of woollen jumpers, socks and blankets to keep our pensioners warm. This followed an appeal on an Icelandic radio show after a recent Daily Express story had warned that up to one in 12 UK pensioners could die this winter because of the cold weather.
In the Daily Express report Mervyn Kohler, Special Adviser for Help the Aged, said: “It is a scandal that the UK Government has proved so incapable of keeping our older people warm that other countries have felt the need to help out. While it is very generous of the people of Iceland to send warm clothing, the UK Government should be ashamed that in the fifth richest nation of the world our older people have to rely on the charity of others. It’s high time the Government tackled the national embarrassment of fuel poverty once and for all.”
The Daily Express crusade Respect for the Elderly has called on the Government to ensure that pensioners can keep warm through the winter by increasing pensions and fuel payments. “In my prime” calls on everyone in the UK to be highly and permanently embarrassed about the way we treat our old people – and to do something about it.