This letter is in response to the one headed ‘Back to basics with priorities’ in the edition dated 29 May 2014.
Just as the word ‘progress’ does not automatically mean better, neither does ‘back to basics’ necessarily mean a return to a time of better values or behaviour.
To take a very recent example, do we want a return to the values that fuelled the recent financial crisis? Those were pretty basic motivators – the strongest being greed.
My mother left school aged 13 to leave home, travel 200 miles and work in service for a large family in a large house. At 5am she could be found ‘blacking the grate’.
True enough, she had food on the table, and I am sure the family she worked for saw having servants as a basic right – but would we want to return to the ‘basics’ of those days?
People today have greater expectations and ambitions than their parents and grandparents. They expect a safer, fairer society with greater opportunity. And so they should.
The fact that food banks need to exist in modern Britain is shameful.
The phrase ‘back to basics’ can mean different things to different people. A lot of the time it’s used to mean ‘those particular values I agree with’.
Perhaps we could find a way to agree on a common set of ‘basics’ that any society should adopt.
As a start, what about including: compassion and equality of opportunity? Come to think of it, although it’s not strictly a ‘value’, perhaps we should include freedom from hunger as well?
Threals Lane, West Chiltington