Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, delivered a rousing speech to Conservative party faithfuls at their annual conference when he called them to arms with 'Your country needs you', and emphasised the Big Society where everyone looks out for one another on a voluntary, cooperative and empathetic basis. All fine words indicating fine ideals and a desire to unite the nation in a time of impending austerity and sacrifice, but they are highly inappropriate to the current situation.
It means that Mr Cameron's vision will remain just that for some time because of common human factors that he and his team have not really taken into account. And the most hidden and destructive factor is FEAR. David Cameron would be better off appealing to people as individuals with whom he shares their concern and anxieties, while he is threatening to relieve them of their basic livelihoods in the dreaded cuts, rather than trying to force them to look outward at a time when that is not emotionally possible. When we are threatened, individually, it is a natural instinct to retreat and defend, not join with others, simply because everyone else becomes a potential scapegoat.
In any kind of economic or social upheaval, fear is the dominant factor, which is entirely understandable. If a family is worrying about losing their jobs, not getting enough benefits which are going to be slashed, about the economy being in recession and depriving them of opportunities, the last thing they will care about or wish to know about is someone else's problems. The reason why a Big Caring Society might work during war time but won't in economic downturns is because the two situations are vastly different.
Fighting a common enemy
There will be no unity of approach or action under such conditions. Protecting one's position from erosion and further attack assumes priority while reason and common sense take a back seat because of that fear. Economic downturns always carry blame and a need for scapegoats because jobs are not just things we do for money. They are also the essence of how we perceive ourselves in status, rank, responsibilities, sense of achievement, self-worth and identity. Any threat to all that is not conducive to unity and cooperation because people who are riddled with anxiety, with doubt and low confidence, will be ruled by fear of the future, and fear is a limiting emotion, not a constructive one.
Couple that fear with the stark fact that the government expects people to volunteer their time free of charge, that there will be no real money to motivate action, and one can kiss the Big Society goodbye! How are people worried about day to day issues supposed to bear the expenses themselves of doing the government's job for it? That's like pouring salt into an already open wound! For example, I am semi-retired and have volunteered in the past for whatever took my fancy, especially in empowering others. But I would think twice before helping with anything that would leave me anxious and out of pocket - worse off than I am. That would be rather foolish, especially if my income is steady and unchanging. Who makes up the shortfall?
Basic questions like that will be the kind asked by most families in Britain today. They will not be about anyone else because in times of economic crisis, thoughts are likely to turn to scrutiny of the role of the better-off in society, the unequal gaps between communities and ultimately to the government. Playing one big happy family in a Big Society would be the last thing on their minds while they are fretting and cogitating about their fate.
I think Mr Cameron needs to go back to the drawing board for this one, or simply leave it until there are clear signs of recovery. Perhaps then the idea of joining hands together in celebration of renewed good fortune might actually lead to the Big Society he so desperately seeks. It really is a question of timing than anything else in getting what we desire and the Big Society is an idea whose time has, clearly, not yet come.
Britain is preparing to witness the wedding of the century on Friday morning. Well, almost all of Britain. The fly in the ointment is the extremist group, Muslims Against the Crusades, who are planning to protest in the area to draw some attention to themselves. One can safely assume that publicity is their main aim because the Crusades went a long time ago in history and, as one cannot go back in time to right any wrongs, this one will not gain much public support. Nevertheless, it is a symbol of the invisibility of minorities in the UK that they feel they have to use this significant day in order to be heard.
The impending Royal wedding means very little to the country's 10% minority ethnic communities - most of whom are likely to stay away from it - because they know that their presence will merely be tokenistic and strategically represented on the day. That it will be swiftly back to the usual invisibility immediately the ceremony is over. Back to being an all-white Britain where power and resources are concerned, but an all black one wherever 'problems' and 'victims' are highlighted.
One of the reasons why I admire America so much is that, though it is a long way from real racial parity, minorities are well represented in all spheres of life, and are continually visible where it matters to provide much needed role models. Look at the television medium there on any day and there will be a diversity of presenters and opinions. Here in the UK, the media as a whole tells the sorry state of being a minority in Britain. The BBC, for example, has just announced its team for covering the Royal Wedding, which it is busy promoting for the big day and, look as hard as one can, there is not a single minority ethnic face among the line-up. Yet every household in the country, whether black or white, has to pay a fee for its television licence; money that ensures continual jobs for majority members while minorities are denied their share of the cake.
The clear message is that such important times - national economic debates, political and Royal events - are all exclusively white affairs, because minorities are not really British in every sense of the term and are not affected by such things. They were on the wrong side of the colonial divide: the ones who were governed, not the rulers. That superior attitude still permeates the places which matter, breeding and fuelling exclusion on a massive scale, regardless of the fine words and intentions around it.
Some time ago, some British blacks coined the sentence: "There is no Black in the Union Jack"flag. On issues of state and politics, those words really come alive in their truth. The uncomfortable elephant in the room regarding minorities and the white majority is that a black person would never be considered suitable as a wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend for any member of the Royal Family, but that Family, hypocritically, loves to stress the importance of the Commonwealth to the British monarchy. The message to minorities appear to be: We love your company to help prop us up and give us some kudos, as long as you keep your distance.
British politicians, and the media, especially when there are benefits to be had from it, love to boast about our multicultural society. The truth is that there are two societies, in a covert vein - one which contains the power brokers and people of influence of one particular colour (white), and the powerless, invisible ones on the periphery of the action, those blessed with a different colour (black), who will be strangely absent from the celebrations, being safely kept a good distance away until it is safe for them to be allowed out again.
That is the reality of being Black in Britain today: one of exclusion and invisibility, especially at such times when they really should be involved to ensure unity, harmony and mutual respect - to be p[art of the routine in every sense - in this wonderful country.
The one thing the general election has shown up beyond any doubt is the hypocrisy around our multicultural society. We do have one, yes, as is noticeable from the 10% of minorities in the country, but the lip service paid to it, and the way those minorities are treated in a negative way, question the whole concept of what being multicultural means.
Look closely at all the photos associated with the leaders of all the parties and you'd be hard pressed to see anyone Black in them! they give the impression of an entirely White society which partly accounts for why many minority groups are completely apathetic to what is happening in politics. There is a saying among British Black communities, "There is no black in the Union Jack', that the country's flag only represents its White heritage, and it is in moments like the general election which bring that stark point home.
For a start, you will not see anyone black associated with politics on any significant level, especially reporting on it, analysing it or being asked to comment on it. It is as if politics are only associated with white Britons; only they will be interested; only they will be voting and, most important, only they will be giving comments on the situation, because they are the only ones eligible and qualified to do so. Hence why I am the only Black British woman on the Internet commenting on it! But I am running ahead of myself.
Black people, particularly those of African Caribbean origin, are largely absent from the three major areas of society: government, business and the media. For example, in government, there are 15 elected minority members of parliament. There should be at least 50, going by the minority population in the country. Worse still, Gordon Brown's recent Cabinet is the first one in decades not to have any Cabinet minister from minority communities! The Attorney General (who is Black) is attached to the Cabinet but is not a full member of it, a retrogade step from a man claiming to be sincere about equality for all.
Robbed of credibility
Ethnic minorities are deliberately robbed of their credibility in a majority society which makes them invisible. You will certainly not find a Gwen Ifill in Britain (she was the Black moderator in one of America's 2008 election TV debates). Another example is the focus on celebrities which is pervasive in our society. But where are the minority celebrities and achievers? The ones well known in their communities but are ignored by the mainstream press? Where are the minority guests on chat shows? On discussion panels? On entertainment programmes?
Where are the minority writers to give alternative viewpoints and to add to the pool of knowledge? Those are clearly the preserves of White Britons. In fact, the TV programme, BBC1's Newsnight, has been a virtual no-go area for Black journalists ever since it was created decades ago. Not one has been on it in this 21st century. Worst still, last week on Question Time, we had the supreme irony of an all-White discussion panel discussing immigration and other issues that affect minorities as well, yet not a single minority commentator on the panel! The absence of credible minorities in the media is a very important issue because the media is the most pervasive and influential force in our lives.
Focus on the negatives
Minorities are also used in a cynical way to show national pride abroad, as with getting the Olympics, when multiculturalism became cool and essential, but are largely excluded from the preparations, the promotion and the service contracts. Such an exclusive and racist approach keeps minorities in the public eye as extraordinary and non-contributing beings who are simply taking from society. It uses them in situations that bolster national fear (immigration and crime) while ignoring the vast majority of law abiding, legal citizens quietly playing their part in their communities and boosting the countries economic and cultural worth.
Having said all that, if one really wishes to see the extent of the invisibility of minorities in Britain, one only has to see a report in the Guardian on the NHS '1% club' that says it all. No less that 16% of staff in the NHS are minorities, yet only 1% are chief executives out of 600! The article noted that, "Trevor Phillips, who was chairman of the now disbanded Commission for Racial Equality, described the phenomenon as "snowcapping" - with the summit of each health service organisation almost entirely peaked in white."
The invisibility of being Black in the United Kingdom, especially in positive terms, and in the ordinary and routine life of the country, has a corrosive and deleterious effect on minority communities whose presence is continually diminished by it while deliberately dividing society on racist lines. This then encourages the White majority to have mainly negative perceptions of anyone who is different and keeps the community in discord.
Minorities in Britain do not seek special treatment. They simply seek the visibility of their presence, the acknowledgement of their skills and talents, the celebration of their achievements and recognition of their credibility and competence, just like their White peers. Nothing more and nothing less. One hopes that the new government will be taking note instead of glibly perpetuating the status quo.
Last night, the equivalent of the Berlin Wall came crashing down in Britain on our television screens. Alexandra Burke, one of the most talented singers I have ever seen on TV, sang her heart out to become the undisputed queen of Britain's X-Factor (the sister of American Idol, but a much better, more inclusive version). Barely two weeks ago, moved by one of her renditions, Simon Cowell had said to her: "You make me proud to be British!"
As a Black woman in Britain, watching two deserving Black acts in the finale (the stunning JLS group and Alexandra) I too felt extremely proud to be British. I have always been proud, as I adore this country, but being an older Black person having lived through the prejudices, discrimination and sheer invisibility of being Black, last night had tremendous significance beyond the obvious for anyone of African origin in this country. It was really cool to be Black, and proud, and talented on TV screens that have been starved of Black faces, starved of Black input and starved, in particular, of Black presenters, panellists and judges! (Thank you, Simon Cowell - and Barack Obama!)
A Sea Change in British Media
It was not so long ago in 2002, for example, on the BBC's Fame Academy, most Black people felt that the runner-up, Lemar, was robbed of victory because the public weren't ready to vote for anyone Black in such a new series. But there was a kind of poetic justice when the winner, David Sneddon opted out, disillusioned and unable to cope with the pressure, and Lemar went on to become one of Britain's best known recording artistes, doing justice to his amazing voice and talents.
On any day of the week, there is very little on our screens, especially at peak times when the big audiences are engaged, to indicate a truly multicultural society where one has real choice in programming, or a different fare to enjoy. You will be hard pressed to find any Black voices on anything, especially Black experts or key players. There is a lot of window dressing, tokenism and peripheral activity by minorities within our media but they are still very firmly in the background, kept well away from the lottery-sized salaries and influential positions. This in turn helps to keep minority communities invisible, out of the competition, robbed of key opportunities and chronically underexposed.
A Change in Public Perception
Last night, the incredible happened in public perception: for the first time it really didn't matter about their colour! Two Black finalists, looking good, full of talent and looking cool, destroyed the usual tokenism associated with such coveted events. Let me repeat that for the unbelieving: There were TWO Black finalists of three, not just one, and they both came first and second, destroying the myth (hopefully for good) that only a White person can ever be a winner in the media in such events, especially when cute and astonishingly talented little Eoghan Quigg, could have stolen the moment. (Thank you, Simon Cowell - and Barack Obama!)
They were good for the viewing figures too. Normally averaging between 8 and 10 millions, the X-Factor has turned into one of Britain's biggest shows. But last night it hit the jackpot with a staggering 15 millions who switched on to watch (a quarter of the UK's population) when the average for a good programme is around 7 million these days). It is no coincidence at all that an unknown Black guy with a strange name becoming American president is changing perceptions everywhere, quietly and relentlessly, about the value of being Black. Suddenly it feels wonderful to be 'normal', not extraordinary or tokenistic, but normal. My only disappointment is that this did not happen on the BBC, the country's leading channel, which should be ahead of the field in reflecting our multiculturalism, through representation and inclusion, especially when the licence fee has to be paid for by all. Instead it happened on the commercial channel which has the bottom line as its top concern.
Ah well, with Barack Obama on the verge of occupying the White House, an incredible feat of achievement by any standards, and relentlessly changing world opinions, the British public has also had a sea change in perception with the outcome of the X-Factor. At this rate, programme-makers might even begin to get bolder and less traditional, less biased and more inclusive in their output. Who knows, I might yet see, in my lifetime, the two established no-go areas for Blacks on British television fall as well: period dramas having Black stars in the leading casts and Newsnight having a Black presenter - though I can't afford to hold my breath!
For today, I am deliriously happy, I am awestruck and amazed. Yes, our own Berlin Wall of perception came tumbling down last night with a huge and reverberating bang. The future looks very promising for our society but, above all, it really feels good, chic and cool to be Black and truly British. It has taken 40 years of my lifetime to reach this point, but how exciting the next 40 years could be! (Thank you so much, Simon Cowell - and Barack Obama!)
The subject of immigration has become a hot potato in the general election, especially when the Labour party has tried to downplay it for obvious reasons: i:e whatever the present situation, they are mainly responsible for it through their policies over the past 13 years.
Currently there are 80 different routes to work or study in the UK which have developed in an ad hoc way, either through economic need or political expediency. These are now being replaced by a points system which is being applied to anyone coming to Britain from outside the EU, mainly to cover students, skilled migrant workers and people seeking sponsorship. In a nutshell, the more skills one has, and the more demand there is for them, the more likely one will accrue the points to be allowed into the country. What effect that will really have when 80% of immigration to Britain won't be affected because of the European free trade membership is anyone's guess, but at least it will simplify the process.
The other two main parties have kept immigration high on the agenda but for very different reasons. The Conservatives mainly wish to put a cap on the numbers coming to the country while the Liberal Democrats recognise that putting a real cap on immigration, especially when Britain is a member of the EU with free mobility between members, is really pie-in-the-sky thinking. It might soothe a few fearful and anxious people but it won't achieve very much. Instead the LibDems wish to address the problem by starting with the illegal immigrants already here, to stem the criminal activity involving their presence, and to bring them into the tax orbit. It means that those who have been here at least 10 years and are already a contributing part of their community can be drawn into the system and pay their taxes like anyone else.
The other two parties knock this suggestion yet put nothing in its place, except to talk about limiting future entries. That is a fine gesture but what then happens to the estimated 600,000 illegal people who are currently lost in the system and are being exploited by criminals who are making a nice living out of their predicament? They won't suddenly disappear, neither can they be rounded up to be deported because one has to find them first!! The only sensible way out is an amnesty, just as America has done in the past, as Nick Clegg suggests.
How immigration has changed our lives
Today tons of Britons have made a kind of reverse journey into France, living affluent lives in some of the best parts of the country. They have been made to feel broadly welcome and enjoy the existence they have. That is the natural way for humans: the curiosity to explore, to discover new places and to extend themselves by leaving their own shores and inhabiting others. If we did not do that, most of our world would still be undiscovered and in the dark ages!
The real truth about immigration
According to Britain's Trades Union Congress, most immigrants are in the South East of the country which puts undue pressure on local communities. It means that most parts of Britain are unaffected by any mass immigration. In answering the question: Has migration (to Britain) led to unemployment?, the TUC points out that it isn't new migrants that affect jobs, it's supply and demand. Where there is a great demand there will be tons of jobs. Where demand has fallen, jobs will fall in that sector. It was also pointed out that migrant workers pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits.
The only certain fact about current immigration is that it really affects developing countries by robbing them of their professional people. For example, 82% of immigrants from Guyana and 69% from Jamaica who emigrated to the United States in the'90s were highly qualified professionals! When British politicians speak about the problems with immigration in the country one wonders if they are mindful of the benefits, for example in our National Health Service, that these professionals provide which their home countries have lost? That could explain why Clegg has been trying to draw a distinction between 'good' immigration and 'bad'.
Why undue focus on immigration is wrong
As a Black nurse, pretty excited at being in England to train, the effects of this biased targeting was brought home to me with a vengeance. Kindly, elderly white folk, goaded by Powell and other well meaning politicians, spat in my face while I was nursing them and told me to 'go back home'. But that is the problem with white majority privilege in a mixed society. They say what they want to get the racist votes while innocent people bear the consequences.
Today it is not so much Black people who are targeted anymore as the people from Europe, especially Polish immigrants who are a thriving community and working in their own way to contribute to our society. Yet the Poles are here to do mainly lower paid jobs Britons won't do. The fact that there are millions of Britons in Europe in international exchange seems to escape the fearful xenophobes among us. The tragedy with this constant focus on immigration, especially in a derogatory and pejorative way, is that it isolates one section of the community as deviants and no-good takers, the butt of prejudice and low confidence, when most immigrants simply want a better standard of life and are willing to work very hard for it, despite the difficulties of language, culture and social interaction.
It is wrong to focus on immigration for political gain simply because it is very divisive, often racist in intention and a futile gesture for spurious political gain. Worse still, it makes nonsense of all the other positive policies designed to unify society and give parties like the BNP fertile ground in which to operate. The real focus should be done administratively, by civil servants, not politically by people seeking election, especially if we live in a multicultural society.
Politicians cannot keep harping about the equal and harmonious society they seek, one marked by mutual respect, yet use the weakest and most vulnerable section of that society as a political football to score cheap and nasty political points. Only Britain suffers in the process by undermining the usefulness, talent and impact of immigrants who come to our shores. After all, the NHS is the biggest employer in the UK and 16% of that work force are former immigrants from black and ethnic minority groups who have given their service for years. Take that number away and some parts of the system would collapse! This highlights the obvious hypocrisy around the issue and the superficial concern politicians really have for those coming to our country.
After all, the most common sense reason for not focusing negatively on immigration is that almost all of us, at one point or another in history, has descended from immigrants!!
What a difference television exposure can make to the fortunes of a party! Last week this time, the Liberal Democrats, headed by Nick Clegg, were on 18% public approval ratings in the polls, the usual place they have been for quite while.
In the past, they have reached the early 20s in points, but have never passed 25% for a long time. The history making television debate between the party leaders last Thursday night changed all that! Nick Clegg emerged victorious from it, the polls went haywire and the Lib Dems went stratospheric!
Over the weekend they broke the 30% barrier for the first time in years (33%), with the Conservatives hanging on at 32% and Labour trailing on 26%. They have since settled at 30%, with the Conservatives marginally regaining their lead at 32%. Everyone is predicting a hung parliament, with no clear winner in seats, which would make the Lib Dems major players in forming the next government. They cannot believe their luck at this stage of the campaign while Labour is trying to play catch-up.
The Conservatives, led by David Cameron, who have been clearly surprised and rattled by Nick Clegg's success, appeared to have suffered the most, psychologically, from the change in the Lib Dems fortunes. Cameron has decided against attacking Labour for the moment and, instead, is now training his political guns on Nick Clegg, using the age old scare tactic that a vote for the Lib Dems is a lost vote that will keep Labour in power. In the meantime, Gordon Brown is wisely keeping a statesmanlike detachment from the fray, telling jokes about his father's political advice instead.
The Real Effect of the TV Debate
The TV debate also changed perceptions: the way the population views the parties and the the way the parties view themselves. From riding high as the favourites for the next government, the debate threw the Conservatives out of the lead and revealed David Cameron as far more lightweight than he wanted to appear to be while Gordon Brown was confirmed as bad as was suspected. It really will be an uphill struggle for Labour to return to power on its own.
Finally, the debate showed what was possible. It reduced the apathy in the campaign and really fired up the atmosphere around it. Suddenly, it wasn't so predictable or boring. Politics had become exciting again. With two more debates to come, it can only get better. The only problem for Nick Clegg being at the top is that the only way for him is down! He has a lot of reputation to preserve in the next two debates. Was his performance a one off or a sign of even better things to come? He is certainly the one to watch.
In a nutshell, the TV debate emphasised Gordon Brown's unsuitability for the job, it demonstrated what a hidden gem Nick Clegg is and definitely showed David Cameron to be terribly weak under pressure. The choice is certainly narrowing!
The Results so far
The Current Facts
2. Despite having more seats than the Labour party, with 36.1% share of the votes, Conservatives have an even weaker mandate to govern than Labour had in 2005 with 40.7% share. It means only a third of the country actually voted for them!
3. Despite the Lib Dems getting nearly 23% vote share(up 1% on 2005), they actually LOST seats (5 so far) which does not make any sense!! On that performance they should have had at least 60 seats by now.
4. As a party, the Conservatives have gained the most number of seats since 1930.
5. The Liberal Democrats' Nick Clegg will be kingmaker, as predicted, to help the Conservatives form a coalition or rule as a minority government.
6. Labour could form a government too but it would also need not only the help of the Liberal Democrats, but also the smaller parties too, a coalition that would be very fragile, disparate in demands and fraught with difficulties. Worst still, it would not instill the financial markets with any trust or confidence.
7. For the first time, many people were turned away at some polling stations at 10pm, doors closed in their faces, and thus disenfranchsing them! Some stations didn't even have enough ballot papers, yet if their lists were up to date, they should have known how many ballot papers they needed!
8. The UK Independence Party, with 868,054 votes(3.1% share) has no seat in Parliament, leaving nearly a million people without a voice in British government - one of the greatest reasons for the dire need of electoral reform.
9. The Green Party with 268,749 votes so far (1%) has a seat in Parliament for the first time since their creation over 40 years ago, while the British National Party with 539,841 (1.9% vote share - an increase of 1.2% on their 2005 result) still has no seats at all!
10. The Conservatives, with only one seat in Scotland, has no mandate to govern there!
11. The lack of any party having an overall majority could lead to lots of long term problems.
2. The leading party, Conservatives, forming a government with the Liberal Democrats and with David Cameron as Prime Minister. They would immediately have a combined seat total of 342 seats as currently stands but the LibDem's price for that support could be high. However, a poll taken today among the Conservatives activists reveal that 92% of them do NOT want a coalition with the LibDems.
3. The Conservatives deciding to go it alone as a minority government with the tacit support of the smaller parties.
3. All major parties coming together to rule in a cross party coalition. The question then is who would be the Prime Minister and Chancellor?
My prediction? Another general election within a few months, especially if the Tories try to go it alone. Labour has got too many seats for it to keep quiet on the sidelines and it would be their interest to go to the country again after a few months of making it difficult for the Conservatives to govern while hoping to get a better result for themselves next time. Furthermore, there would have to be unpopular policies from now on and the Conservatives will have to make those decisions which would not endear them to the public.
A great website for monitoring results and developments as they happen: The BBC Election
Intervening in the current discussion about the causes behind the recent riots, former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, disagreed with the current PM, David Cameron's, assessment that it was a 'moral decline' in British society. Blair said that there was really nothing wrong with our society, it was just that we had a group of disaffected youth who is 'outside the social mainstream', and I am inclined to agree with him.
From time immemorial, in any society, there will always be a group of people who will not fit into the expected norms. However they are usually constrained in actions by the kind of society they live in. Ipso facto, if they live in an authoritarian or dictatorial social environment, their actions will be far more constrained than in a freer democracy. But whatever society they are in does not stop them feeling the way they do. In fact, there are three main factors that would contribute to such alienation.
First, what has certainly embolden our youth to behave irresponsibly is the inconsistent passive-aggressive justice system we have had up until now for youth offenders. Until the riots, it didn't seem to matter too much about how someone behaved, no matter how many times they committed a misdemeanour, offended the neighbours, or simply behaved badly. The actual punishment was often ridiculous in relation to the gravity of the crime in the bid to keep them out of already overcrowded prisons. The punishment was sometimes derisory, especially for multiple offences, so it was easy to develop a gradual disrespect for the law.
Of course some youths came to view such leniency almost as a badge of honour, encouraging them to offend and re-offend.
Third, we have a society dominated by an impersonal technology where an impersonal social media dominate youth existence. Youngsters who are not well anchored to their family will be anchored to their peers instead; more vulnerable to the group or gang mentality, more open to suggestions and behaving like lemmings. Our modern world is also one in transition, changing from an authoritarian one, where information was guarded and deference was a hallmark, to one where individual freedoms are paramount, children know more than their parents in technology and information is freely available for everyone to make their own choices.
Tony Blair is absolutely right. We have disaffected youth and they need to be addressed, not just punished aggressively with long sentences. That will not cure their alienation or disaffection, neither will that teach them any lesson except the law of the bully. They need to be treated consistently, with firm but fair justice, all the time, and not just when there disturbances. Their whole lives need to be addressed and their alienation understood before it can be helped. Knee jerk reactions damning our society as a whole just won't do the trick.
(Photo images used on EmotionalHealthGuide.com courtesy of dreamstime free photos).
(Photo images used on EmotionalHealthGuide.com courtesy of dreamstime free photos).