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Libraries or Lives – what are most important?

Last night on the news we heard that We – the UK taxpayer – will be spending £800million on overseas vacinations during the course of this parliament. We have donated more than any nation in the world (with Norway the surprise second biggest) and it all honesty it makes me feel good. The report stated that this money will directly lead to around four million babies living and not dying around the globe. That is four million people with a chance to grow up and be successful. Four million more people who might be something great. Four million people who have the chance that they deserve. It also means that parents will have less children if the child mortality rate goes down. Vaccinations save lives and give those in a worse situation than us a chance – a real chance to live.

However the VoxPops on the BBC News were not as thrilled. ‘Charity begins at home’ said one old woman. ‘Let someone else deal with it – why should it be us?’ proclaimed another as the general consensus seemed to be that whilst it’s good – people would prefer someone else to deal with it – someone who weren’t them. It made me feel like I live in a nation of NIMBYs and that left me ashamed.

Yes the situation is not ideal in this country but when you look at the great scheme of things what is fairer – that kids have full access to libraries within ten mins walk of their front door in this country or 1000s of babies not dying? Let me look at that again. What is more important – kids being within walking distance of a library or 1000s of babies not dying?

I would say that is a bit of a no brainer.

I know it isn’t just libraries but I’m just using them as an example. There are many other facilities in the UK that £814million could be used towards.

Yes I like my (relatively) comfortable life. I like having excellent facilities on my door step. However whilst I (like us all) take some of these for granted sometimes. When I take a step back and look at what is happening in the world I thank my lucky stars that I plopped out of the uterus that I did. In the grand scheme of things we have it great and even if our quality of life went down by 2 or 3% to help ensure the quality of life went up by 100% in underdeveloped portions of the world then I think we can all cope with that.

£814million for vaccinations over the course of this government? Sign me up and without a doubt as a nation we should all be immeasurably proud of what we are doing to help others. Those that aren’t have black souls and I wonder how they would feel if the boot was on the other foot.

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