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At the Lunar Society AGM in July Waheed Saleem was elected as Chairman and Michael Wilkes as vice Chairman.

waheed saleem2In the Birmingham Post this week Waheed Saleem set out three themes to be addressed during his tenure, one being to start a debate on developing our thinking on poverty and social exclusion.

He said that this has become the major issue affecting our society, with people in our towns and cities living on a day to day basis, making decisions on either feeding their children or paying their bills.

michael wilkesAs Michael Wilkes wrote earlier this year: “The true worth of an economy is found not in measures of monetary worth or league tables, but in the achievement of a broader wellbeing and the underpinning social and moral values”.

The Post – as yet only in the hard copy – reports that 58% of the delegates at the Grant Thornton meeting cited the skills shortage as the largest of their problems.

It would be a milestone for the city if the new brooms at the Lunar Society could emphasise to the city’s politicians and businessmen that no number of apprenticeships or training courses will solve this problem.

It has to be addressed from birth; by the age of ten, the destiny of the child living in poverty is mapped. If the emphasis is not placed on these years businessmen will continue to solve the skills problem by importing people from other countries.

A huge expansion of a Rolls Royce version of the Sure Start community outreach and input would be a good move.

Those who ask if we can afford to do this will be asked if we can afford not to do it.

We end with the words of Michael Wilkes:

Wholehearted determination and patience are required but at least the journey this time would be away from the state that we’re now in and towards the common good. This, rather than our decades long journey away from it . . . The good society is attainable and our people deserve no less.