Now I like bright colours and variety, along with hope, optimism and great music. Not surprising really as the times that I lived through as a young man (the 1960’s) were chock full of all of these. Despite spending much of that time in the army, even then, I didn’t do drab. Hopefully, that’s a reflection of my personality. Well, living in central London, as I do, you see that colour in the rainbow nature of our early 21st century society. Certain areas, in fact, like Dalston and Brixton, more so than others, with their streets full of people representative of the myriad ethnic groups that make up the world’s population. Somehow, they all seem to rub along together as people usually do.
Yet, when I look at the various seats of power in the country, I find that, even though we’re nearly a quarter of the way into the 21st century, the overwhelming majority are occupied by white, middle aged, men. Now, I’ve nothing against white, middle aged men per se, after all, apart from the fact that I’d be stretching it to include myself in the “middle aged” category any longer, I’m one of them. Furthermore, to work your way up the ladder probably means that you are unlikely to be in the first flush of youth when you get there. Yet, according to the Office of National Statistics, white British people make up about 80% of the population of England and Wales, with males representing 48% of these and middle aged males 21% of the latter. So, if my maths are correct, that means that white middle aged men comprise just under 13% of the total population. So, is this over representation at the top a problem?
Well, yes, I believe that it is; in two main ways. The first of these is that, from the outside, it can give the impression that they’re there because they have some natural, inbuilt talent that the rest of us lack and, secondly, because that situation tends to perpetuate itself. The reality is, however, that there is a vast amount of untapped talent in this country (Jesse Norman, MP). Talent that isn’t nurtured. Moreover that situation is not only not good for the individuals concerned, it is also not good for the country as a whole. At which point, I’d like to plug my book, “The Real Big Society and my part in it”. This continues this argument and is chock full of examples of such unrealised talent in action; notably schemes whereby people who were homeless and unemployed, both men and women, built their own sustainable homes. Food for thought indeed.