A Case for Necessity

‘An accident at the Catthorpe interchange has closed the A14, M1 and the M6. The emergency services are in attendance and the air ambulance is on its way.’
As a broadcaster I am more than used to interrupting scheduled programming to warn people of problems that might require the services of our fourth emergency service: the air ambulance. Yet, amazingly, its very existence depends upon charity. Imagine the consequences for one minute if the air ambulance was unable to attend through lack of funding. It seems inconceivable that the air ambulance service should be considered any less important than any of the other three. Like the manufacture and sale of cigarettes in the 21st century it’s just another reminder of our ‘modern’society’s warped priorities. Just imagine what our world would be without charity or the millions of volunteers who make it all possible. There would be no hospice or day-care facilities, no Macmillan nurses. A yacht is sinking in the Irish Sea. ‘Sorry, we’ve had to close the lifeboat station’. Imagine if all the research into a cure for cancer had to suddenly stop. Lets face it the list is endless. Guide dogs for the blind, fundraising for kidney research, the British Heart Foundation. All those ‘fun runs’, red nose day and Children In Need. Surely if all of this were left to government funding then the current credit squeeze and the collapse of the odd bank or two would be the least of our problems. Of course many choose not to give money to charity at all and that is their prerogative. It is a common held belief that the government should have enough money to cope with all of these needs. Their argument often backed by the notion that Britain is the worlds fourth of fifth richest economy. People still adopt the notion that charity begins at home and, to a certain extent I agree. However my perception of ‘home’ has changed over the years. I recognise that if a cure for the aids virus could be found in another part of the world purely because of a charitable foundation or two then it would have a profound impact where I live. Even American, Japanese and French societies are bolstered by charitable donations. Many in the media would have us think that we have never been so insular as a society. Thatcherism lives and what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine. I don’t believe it. Just ask our local hospitals whenever a Christmas toy appeal is launched and they will tell you that some of the most charitable people can be found in Corby. Although it’s not really a case of charity any more. It’s more a case of necessity. Perhaps we should change the wording from one to the other. I give to necessity! After all, this is the modern world.

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