Thought For The Day - Mona Siddiqui - 25/06/13

The reports yesterday that certain members of the Metropolitan police wanted to smear the family of the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence seemed to me more sad than shocking. I say this only because in recent months, so many of our institutions have been implicated or charged with varying levels of corruption including the financial sector, our political classes, our religious institutions, the sporting world, the NHS, the BBC – they’ve all been accused of cover ups, turning a blind eye or fostering a different culture back then. As a country we could be forgiven for becoming slightly desensitised to discover that the very people in whom we put our trust to act honourably even to protect us, are in the end only protecting themselves.
Perhaps the most indulged phrase which emerges from such allegations is the need for greater transparency today so that what happened in the past can’t happen now. The public is often only left to imagine a state of greater openness but exactly what have been the changes in the people and the management of so many of these institutions to give us greater hope that things are different now? Perhaps people are less racist, less bigoted, less homophobic and less radical, but it seems to me that we can put into place all kinds of legislation yet legislation alone can’t transform cultures and mindsets – for that to happen all of us as individuals need to examine our actions and attitudes and judge whether we are living lives of self interest, with little accountability to anyone beyond ourselves or lives where we know that what we say or do matters, that when we try to live with some moral integrity, aware that in many ways we are all connected, something within society shifts a little.

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