Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Britain's children


Britain has been rated by UNICEF 21st out of 21 of the World's leading industrial nations for child well being. Remember Blair's election slogan in 1997 - "Education, education, education"!

Britain's youth are amongst the least well educated, most badly behaved and unhealthy in the developed world. We have the highest rate of teenage pregnancies of any of the leading nations. This is Blair's true legacy and the future does not look bright. Although this downward spiral of shame may have started with the utterly daft, politically correct, soft headed and vociferous peddlars of liberalism that has so bedevilled Britain since the 60's, New Labour have only excasapated the situation since coming to power. The Thatcherite emphasis on individualism has also played it's part in the shocking social breakdown of communities and the family unit.

The disembowelment of principle in favour of vote catching political expediency is at the heart of Britain's descent into enfeebled decadence. Politicians have been undermining the authority of parents and the sanctity of family for decades. Political spin and duplicity at many levels, over many years has also undermined society's faith in our political institutions.

As one intelligent young woman in the audience of last week's Question Time on BBC television observed, Britain is a pushover. You can can get away with anything now, she said. No one has summed it up better.


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Unicef report: Key points at-a-glance

The UK has come bottom of a Unicef league table for child well-being across 21 industrialised countries.

The study looked at a total of 40 indicators in six categories. Here is a summary of some of the report's key findings:

REPORT SUMMARY
European countries dominate the top half of the overall league table, with the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland claiming the top four places.

The UK and United States are in the bottom third of the rankings for five of the six categories covered. The six categories are material well-being, family and peer relationships, health and safety, behaviour and risks, and children's own sense of well-being (educational and subjective).
No country features in the top third of the rankings for all six dimensions of child well-being, although the Netherlands and Sweden come close to achieving this.

MATERIAL WELL-BEING
Child poverty remains above the 15% mark in the three southern European countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy) and in three Anglophone countries (the US, the UK, and Ireland).
There is no obvious relationship between levels of child well-being and GDP per capita. The Czech Republic, for example, achieves a higher overall rank for child well-being than several much wealthier countries.
A total of nine countries - all in northern Europe - have brought child poverty rates below 10%.

FAMILY AND PEER RELATIONSHIPS
Approximately 80% of children in the countries under review are living with both parents. This ranges from more than 90% in Greece and Italy to less than 70% in the UK and 60% in the US.
Even in the lowest ranked countries, almost two-thirds of children still regularly eat the main meal of the day with their families, with France and Italy maintaining the tradition most of all.

HEALTH AND SAFETY
Fewer than one in every 10,000 young people die before the age of 19 as a result of accident, murder, suicide or violence.
European countries occupy the top half of the report's child health and safety table, with the top five places claimed by the four Nordic countries and the Netherlands.
Infant mortality rates range from under three per 1,000 births in Iceland and Japan, to over six per 1,000 in Hungary, Poland and the US.

BEHAVIOUR AND RISKS
The overall OECD league table of young people's risk behaviours sees the UK at the foot of the rankings by "a considerable distance".
Risk behaviours considered in the study include smoking, being drunk, using cannabis, fighting and bullying, and sexual behaviour.
Only about a third of young people eat fruit daily.
Only about a third of young people exercise for an hour or more on five or more days a week - youths take most exercise in Ireland, Canada and the US, and the least in Belgium and France.

EDUCATIONAL WELL-BEING
Finland, Canada, Australia, and Japan head this particular table in the report.
The UK is rated in the bottom third of the table for educational well-being.
Four southern European countries - Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal - occupy the bottom four places.

SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING
Children's subjective sense of well-being appears to be markedly higher in the Netherlands, Spain, and Greece and markedly lower in Poland and the UK.
Approximately 80% of young people consider their health to be good or excellent in every OECD country except the UK.

The Netherlands, Norway and Austria, are at the head of the table with over a third of their schoolchildren admitting to "liking school a lot".

2 comments:

justin Gudgeon said...

The people of the UK are different from the USA and the rest of the continentals, so it is impossible to make comparisons with other developed countries.

Throughout history observers have constantly commented on the peculiarity of the British to be so awful and so great as the same time. What most people don't realise is that a country as small as this doesn't become a world power on such a huge scale as we did without being extremely unpleasant, ruthless and incredibly rough. No-one gets a huge empire by being nice.

speakeezie said...

Thanks Justin for your comments. We were once known as a nation of principle, good manners and above all fair play. Many an African living in ex colonies has told me that as empires go, the British Empire was as good as it gets. A Burundian once confided that he wished they had been colonised by the Brits, rather than the Belgians!

I think the the main difference now is that we have adopted a "little Britain" mentality but in truth it's not size that matters but what you do with it! where we think that because we are a small country, it is pointless