Christine Grahame: World proves Louis Armstrong’s wonderful song wrong

A child receives oxygen following an alleged poison gas attack that killed at least 40 people in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. (Picture: Syrian Civil Defence White Helmets via AP)
A child receives oxygen following an alleged poison gas attack that killed at least 40 people in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. (Picture: Syrian Civil Defence White Helmets via AP)
0
Have your say

I despair of a country where people are expected to live on thin air for weeks, writes Christine Grahame.

I liked that song with the unmistakable voice of Louis Armstrong reprised many times since by many artistes.

Christine Grahame

Christine Grahame

I even watched “The Voice” at the weekend and loved the duet of Tom Jones and the winner Ruti. But it ain’t a ‘Wonderful World’ is it? You can become immune to images on the evening news of mass shootings in American colleges, of lorries driven into folk just shopping or enjoying people-watching in an outdoor café, but children with eyes streaming from poison gas? I think not.

The trouble is what to do? We have two egotists in Russian president Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump, and the latter is so unpredictable but on whom we, to some extent, must rely on to … well what? Stop the bombing in Syria, stop the poison gas? What are the prospects? Nil I would say.

The United Nations Security Council has five permanent members, the five states which the UN Charter of 1945 grants a permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC): China, France, Russia (formerly the Soviet Union), the United Kingdom, and the United States.

READ MORE: Theresa May agrees with need for response to Syria attack

These countries were all allies in World War II. They are also all nuclear weapons states. Only the five permanent members have the power of veto, which enables any one of them to prevent any “substantive” draft Council resolution, regardless of its level of international support.

Given that list, you can see why it is toothless because in this case Russia can veto and does. In the meantime we are helpless and I would go so far as to say that even with the sabre-rattling from the White House it cannot do anything which would at this moment help all those innocent civilians.

Indeed public, high-profile intervention might make it worse. Like the recent weather, this is grim and I have no answers. I do have answers, however, to the increasing use by desperate people of food banks.

These were unknown just a few years back and now we take them for granted. Taking them for granted is a bad sign. Why should it be in 2018 in a western European country, the UK, that people cannot feed themselves?

READ MORE: Poverty guru warns against ‘complacency’ on food banks

Why should it be that in my constituency alone more than 450 children queued for food parcels?

Why should it be that the food we put into the trolleys at the supermarket must in the main be tinned or instant food? If you cannot buy food, it will be pretty certain you haven’t money for the meter.

Yet the people driven to the food banks find themselves the target of Dickensian changes to the benefits system.

Changes to Universal Credit (UK) meant that some folk were expected to last for four weeks on thin air. It makes me despair.

Thank goodness for seeing my sons with their families at the weekend. The latest addition is just hitting the six-week mark and now is smiling (yes, they are smiles – it’s in her eyes) at the many faces oohing and aahing at her.

Can we hope that when she grows up that somehow that “Wonderful World” just doesn’t apply to her in the bosom of a loving extended family, with a warm home, food on the table and lots of cuddles but please God, to all the children in Scotland and for the children of Syria to live without fear?

Christine Grahame is the SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale