Saturday, 3 December 2011

Britain is no country for old women, Melanie Phillips, religion and me

I don't usually find myself agreeing with Melanie Phillips, a 60 year old journalist who began her career on the 'left' of the political spectrum, writing in the 'The Guardian' and 'New Statesman', in the 1990s who moved to the 'right' and now writes for the 'Daily Mail', but her article this week resonated with me.

It was entitled :
Vicious: The widow was attacked near Laurel House in the Oldham area of Manchester. What a terrible commentary on our society

She featured the case of the 79-year-old Nellie Geraghty, who was robbed and later died from head injuries after trying to fight off teenage muggers who robbed her of the bag containing her husband’s ashes.

I couldn't disagree with her when she said 'what a terrible commentary on our society, where not even the dead are safe from muggers who have no qualms about robbing an elderly woman.'

She made the point that this attack followed hard on the heels of a story about a 16 year old burglar who, when asked to write a letter of apology to his victims, wrote instead that he 'wasn’t bothered' or 'sorry at all', and that the burglary was 'all their fault' for leaving their window open.

Melanie wrote :

* 'Such incidents suggest that we are dealing with something beyond merely ruthless acquisitiveness and contempt for the law. They suggest a total absence of empathy for another person, which is the basic requirement of morality and, in turn, of a civilised society. They illustrate a brutalisation of humanity.'

* 'Evidence of this sickening tendency has been accumulating for years. While violent crime has always been with us, elements of sadism, cruelty or total indifference to anyone else’s distress are becoming frighteningly commonplace.'

How did Melanie explain this ?

* 'To some of us, it has long seemed obvious that this is intimately related to the breakdown of religious belief. It is the morality embedded in the Bible that expressly requires us to put the interests of others first.'

It is not surprising that a Britain without a bedrock based on caring values, is no country for old men.

Earlier postings where I touched on these themes :

Tuesday, 9 August 2011
Britain is a country where old men no longer recognise the country and the London they once knew when they were young men

Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Britain is a country where old men have a 'greying church' to themselves

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