Baroness King of Bow (Lab): I begin by declaring an interest as Channel 4’s diversity executive and I am incredibly proud of Channel 4’s legacy as the Paralympic Games broadcaster. I echo the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, about Channel 4’s achievement in changing attitudes towards disability, not least the “Meet the Superhumans” trailer, masterminded by Dan Brooke. It was nothing less than a game-changer. So, too, was the entire legacy promise of London 2012. No previous Olympic Games had ever put legacy at the very heart of the bid. Our legacy promised,
“nothing less than a healthier and more successful sporting nation, open for business, with more active, sustainable, fair and inclusive communities”.
Baroness King of Bow (Lab): My Lords, I thought I would start with a reflection on what a strange breed working mothers are. All you really need to know about us is that we never sleep and continually stress over childcare. Between 1 am last night, when I gave the baby his last feed and started jotting down a few notes for this speech, and 5 am this morning, when my husband got up to feed him, I was woken six times. I have four children so I have no one else to blame but myself. It is my bed and I made it; I just wish I could lie in it, but that is a problem entirely of my own making.
What is not a problem of my own making is that when I drag myself out of said bed and complete several school runs, as I did this morning, and when I finally arrive at my two year-old’s nursery, I find that I must pay £1,100 per month if I want her to go full-time, five days a week. Despite the fact that I am, by definition, extraordinarily privileged because—look—I am standing in this gilded Chamber as a Member of Britain’s most prestigious LinkedIn group, the fact remains that I cannot afford £1,100 a month. So my daughter does not go full time; she goes half time—two and a half days a week. For that I pay £660 a month.
The Battle to Engage: Renewing democracy for the next generation
It’s time to re-write the compact between people and politicians, citizen and state. This means genuinely embedding democracy in our current governance structures, and inventing new ones that give more power to the people, and in particular young people. By redistributing influence we tackle entrenched inequality, and help build stronger communities. Our task is complicated by a globalised world, with a churning population, that makes it harder to build cohesive communities – and easier to stir up hate.
Managing diversity and building social cohesion are key challenges of our time. As people feel greater insecurity, witness widespread change, and feel less control over their lives, they become either despairing or angry, and withdraw from the democratic process. These days, democracy-rage drives people insane: the rage against those in charge, the inability to pin them against the wall, and the conviction that politicians just don’t care.