1997 Onwards -
Below is the text of Sir John Major’s speech at the Hope and Homes for Children Dinner, held at the House of Lords on Tuesday 16th May 2006.
SIR JOHN MAJOR:
We are lucky.
Whatever problems we have, we have a roof over our heads. We are fed and clothed.
So are our families.
Our children and grand-
The children Hope & Homes care for have none of these comforts. I am not part of the charity, but from the moment I learned about its work, I have been hugely impressed.
The children face hardship for reasons that are not their fault. They are the victims -
130 years ago -
Das Kapital attacked the failings of the world in which Karl Marx lived, and prescribed a remedy that led to misery for countless millions of people. Until only 30 years ago, one-
Today the free market and democracy has won its battle with Marxism. Only North Korea and a handful of despotic states cling to that failed philosophy. As a result, our world is changing for the better -
But it is a world of change. In China and Asia an economic revolution is tilting world growth from West to East. Every time I visit the Far East, I come away with two emotions: admiration at their progress and foreboding about how competitive they have become.
China is not alone.
India is 15 years behind her -
Turkey is industrialising. So are parts of Eastern Europe, although -
Russia is energy-
Today, the revolution in Latin America is as much economic as once it was military.
Between 1986 and 1996 inflation was 180%, today it is between 6-
All these are advances.
Over recent years every emerging economy in the world has outperformed every mature economy.
This is encouraging as it does offer long term hope for many of tomorrow’s children -
Over a lifetime, you see a lot. Often, things you would have preferred not to see.
Sometimes, what you see gives you hope:
[Small section indistinct].
In the midst of change, despite overall economic improvements, there are many millions of people who are falling behind. These are not mere statistics -
Our world has six billion souls. Of these six billion, one-
The rich nations do help: at present, they spend US$ 50 billion in total on overseas aid: an enormous sum. But less generous than it seems when you realise that Europe and America also spend US$ 350 billion on agricultural subsidies alone.
To put that into context: we spend seven times as much subsidising cheap food for those already well-
The call for greater help is not simply altruism. It is in our interests to remove grievances, to cut away the resentment of the “have-
Wherever we look, change is accelerating. In the late 18th Century the British Prime Minister, William Pitt, was reflecting on Britain’s relationship with America and realised he had not heard from his Ambassador in Washington for a long time. He picked up his pen and wrote to his Secretary of State: “If we have not heard from the Ambassador in another year .... we should send a note.”
Today, the leisurely world of William Pitt is long gone.
We have a global economy. The political map is fluid. Each day, there are ground-
The speed of medical advance is bewildering. The demand for medical services is infinite. Yet it will grow: the mapping of the human genome system will lead to an explosion of demand for preventative care and, where this is provided, to an increase in life expectancy.
Science and technology is accelerating changing which already takes place at break-
The past may give us an idea of the scale of change we might see.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, no-
There would have been amazement -
In 1900, the Europeans were dominant.
The United Kingdom, France and Russia controlled 80% of the world’s surface.
How things have changed.
The Ottoman Empire has gone.
The French empire has gone.
The British Empire has gone.
The Russian Empire has both come -
The US is now the most powerful nation in the world with China and India on course to become great economic powers.
The impact of all this is far beyond economics and politics.
Children born today will see the conquest of the stars.
Most will live longer, see more, do more, know more than any earlier generation. They will see deserts bloom. See a genetic rebuilding of failing bodies.
Live with technical innovations beyond our present imagination. It will be a world unrecognisable to their forebears.
But not for all children -
That is what Hope & Homes is about. That is why it is necessary.
That is why I support it.
And that -