Shelagh Fogarty is Leading Britain's Conversation.
7 March 2017, 15:05
James O'Brien's Powerful Plea: Why We Must Look After Each Other
James O'Brien receieved a number of calls today - on both grammar schools and benefits - saying "as long as my children are fine, why should I care about other people's children". This is his passionate and powerful response.
Some callers said they backed the re-introduction of grammar schools because it would give their children a great opportunity in life - even if it meant that other children might not get that help.
James suggested that we should look after each other, because things might be fine now, but what if you're in a different position soon?
Speaking on his LBC show, he said: "It's not just racism and xenophobia that's undermining that notion of loving your neighbour, it's also the idea of 'I'm alright Jack, I'm all right Jack, you can get lost.' Like the fellow who tweeted at the end of the grammar school conversation to say 'I want the best for my children, why should I care about anybody else's children?'
"And the answer is really simple. Because your children, forgive me but judging by your intelligence levels, your children are probably not going to be very bright and therefore you want to a system that really looks after children who aren't bright.
"It's not good enough saying I want the best for my children. Your idea of who your children are going to be might be very different.
"You might end up with a disabled child, two years after phoning a radio station to talk about how you think disabled people get it too easy. You might end up with an invisible disability an hour after phoning me to tell me that you think a lot of people parking in disabled bays are swinging the lead.
"That's what society does. It makes those of us who are currently winning look after with some of the spoils of our victory people who are currently losing, but what it has to recognise is that the sides can shift constantly, it can always change. And what they sell to us at the moment is the idea that it can't. It can't change.
"'I mean you're never going to be a refugee, so why care about refugees?' That's probably true in the context of the near future, but in the context the next hundred years that will be governed by the laws that we're currently framing and the attitudes that we're currently espousing, you just don't know, you just don't know.
"That's what frightens me a bit at the minute about all of this."