The root of today’s social breakdown


Margaret Brown is one of The Resident’s longest standing contributors and has lived in the Algarve for more than 20 years. As well as Point of View, she also writes Country Matters twice a month.

AS A child, one of my favourite hymns was Glad that I live am I. It contained the words ‘After the sun the rain, after the rain the sun, this is the way of life ‘till our work be done’.

Walking among the gentle hills behind our house the other morning on a green carpet newly sprouted following heavy rain, that song came to mind. The earth, still warm from summer, responded as it has since time immemorial irrespective of human interference. The sun came out drawing wisps of steam from the damp ground and burnished a huddle of short stemmed fungi to coppery glow.

Life starts out full of hope that our expectations will be met and with a belief that we have an immediate right to whatever we desire. Perhaps because I discovered early on that this was not so, I became a rebel. “It’s not fair…..” and sometimes I was right, but every school report ended with the remark, “She is always ‘agin the government’”.

The scramble to have everything now and the apparent unfairness with which the good things in life are distributed, may be at the root of today’s social breakdown – that and the absence of any understanding of the disciplines and guidelines found in the word of God.

For centuries Britain has been governed by a mixture of Christian ethics and social commitment, volunteers seeking to serve their communities because of their faith. New Labour, having discouraged any display of our Christian roots while at the same time offering positive support to minority religions, has polarized rather than united people. It seems that the basic rules for an orderly and moral society have been discarded along with the understanding that life has never been ‘fair’.