Saturday, 4 March 2017

Thoughts on Saturday - Child migrants, Sex Education and Sir Philip Green


Thoughts on Saturday - Child migrants, Sex Education and Sir Philip Green

Last week I didn't publish a Thoughts on Saturday because I couldn't find anything that didn't involve "you know who" and "you know what"! This week the news is slowly becoming more diverse and there are lots of topics that have me thinking.

Child Migrants

How can anyone not be heart broken to hear the stories coming from the sex abuse inquiry of British child migrants that were sent to Australia in the 1950s. Children taken from their families, sent across the world and abused. Children told they had no family when they did, including tales of some taken from their mothers. Children made to work barefoot in indescribable conditions. Children sexually abused.

In the 100 years between 1860s and 1960s the British Government sent more than 100,000 children to Australia, South Africa, Rhodesia and Canada. Many were treated very badly and the sex abuse inquiry is learning the awful details of those who were sent to Australia in the 1950s and were abused. One person told the inquiry that "every day was a rape day".
In the 1930s Barnados sent my husbands uncle to Canada. He was one of a twin and they were both given the choice to go or stay. His brother decided to stay behind in England, he decided to go to Canada and thankfully he was one of the lucky ones.

I haven't read too much about it as I find it so distressing. Especially that the British Government knew what was happening at the time. They even had a blacklist of homes, but continued to send children to homes in Australia where they were being abused. How can these people ever be compensated for what was done to them? Hopefully telling their story and being believed will give them some comfort.

Sex Education for Four Year Olds

The risk of on-line abuse of children has prompted the government to announce they will make sex education in schools compulsory. This would be age appropriate and start at four years old. Four year olds will be taught about on-line safety, about telling a trusted adult if they are asked to keep a secret that they are uncomfortable with and that "no means no".

Many parents and groups may be unhappy with this. They want their children to stay innocent and enjoy their childhood.

If anyone has been watching The Secret lives of 4, 5 and 6 year olds on Channel Four  they will not be surprised at how much young children already know. They know the difference between boys and girls. They know about kissing and being "sexy". They see it on posters, on the news, from pop stars and media. They do not know how to stay safe, or how to say no, or that it is wrong for someone to ask them to keep their actions secret. Most children have a mobile phone by the age of nine and my two year old grandson can already navigate around an iPad to find Peppa Pig on YouTube.

The risk is real. Children can remain children but be taught to be safe by experts in an appropriate way. Not just left to pick up their knowledge from the playground. As caring parents we teach them how to cross the road safely even though we do not allow them to cross alone. We should teach them how to stay safe online.

Sir Philip Green

Every now and again something really annoys me. That one mans greed can ruin so many peoples lives is truly abhorrent. Sir Philip Green sold BHS for £1 in 2015. A year later it failed and 11,000 BHS employees lost their jobs and many more their pensions. In 2016 MPs called for Green to lose his knighthood and he was instructed to appear before a Joint Business and Work and Pensions Select Committee. 

In order to keep his knighthood make amends Sir Philip Green agreed to pay £363m to the pension fund. This falls short of the £571m needed. According to Wikipedia Sir Philip Green is estimated to have a fortune of £6.2 billion pounds.

That is £6,200,000,000.

Once he has paid into the pension fund he will still be worth £5,837,000,000
Even if he paid the full £571m deficit he would be left with £5,629,000,000. 

Thats why I'm annoyed.

The amount Sir Philip Green is paying into the BHS pension fund is about 5.8% of his wealth. That's less than we pay in tax. 
The website Tax research Uk states that Sir Philip Green avoids paying tax. It goes on to question his claim that he earns very little and just runs his businesses from the UK. In 2005 Sir Philip Green paid his wife a £1.2b dividend. Lady Green who owns his companies, lives in tax-free Monaco. 

Thats why I'm annoyed.

The Daily Mirror reported that in the fifteen years Sir Philip Green and his family had a stake in the company, they took "£609million from the retail chain through a combination of dividend payouts, rent and interest on loans".

That's why I'm annoyed.

Has anything really annoyed you this week? 



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