Racial discrimination still blights lives, even in modern Britain

Let’s call it out for what it is, racial discrimination still blights lives even here in modern Britain and in that way shames us all.

But when we watch a black man being choked to death by the “guardians of the law” on the streets of the USA on our television screens, it brings home the reality of a world where we don’t treat people as equals, as members of the same human race.

It’s not surprising that people across the world are demanding change and whilst you can argue about the tactics during lockdown, it’s hard to argue against the justice of the cause.

It is essentially young people who are demanding change, young people demonstrating in the overwhelming majority of cases peacefully. But there is a sour note in all this.

At a time when we look to people in leadership roles to speak out, to bring us together as one human family, we have an American President who instead wants to divide America and fails to offer the kind of message of hope not just for their own country but for the whole world that came from the generation of President Kennedy or Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

On a different note, our government was forced to accept, after a political battle, that children who were getting free school meals when our schools were open, should continue to get those meals during lockdown.

The logic was obvious. In a decent society we shouldn’t see our children, those whose families are living below the poverty line, go hungry.

That makes it incomprehensible that the government is now refusing that help during the summer holidays.

Poverty is poverty. Hungry children are hungry children.

And common sense says just do the right thing, Mr Johnson.

This article was originally published in the Rochdale Observer on 11 June 2020.