This week Parliament finally delivers the Queen’s Speech. The government claims it’s to make clear their plans for running Britain. Opposition parties claim it’s nothing more than an early election manifesto launch. Big Issue founder John Bird realised it was the perfect time, coming as it does around The Big Issue’s birthday, to reveal a legislative plan he has been developing for some time, an approach that will become part of The Big Issue DNA.
One of the little boys looked at me and very determinedly said: ‘I want to be a journalist now!’
Over the next pages he details the Future Generations Bill. In essence, it’s a way of making sure that public bodies, including the UK Government and its departments and agencies, cut out short-termism. It’s to make it binding that they think of policies and plans that are not at the whim of changing ministers and department heads, but to build in future-proofing measures, to prevent poverty taking hold.
The Future Generations Bill is based on a Welsh Assembly model, and will complement the work of Sophie Howe, Wales’ first Future Generations Commissioner. There’s some distance to go yet, but imagine how simple and beneficial that could be. So that schools like those in West Dunbartonshire know there is funding and thinking in place to help properly build futures for all those kids, in an area frequently left behind. It is righteous and I’m proud to be part of it.
Later last week I was part of a panel giving a talk at a very different place. It was at the Festival of Marketing in London.
It was a big affair. At the end of the talk, about positivity in magazines, I was asked about the most positive thing that had happened within publishing for me that week. And I told them all about the school in West Dunbartonshire. Because at the end of the school talk, two of the pupils walked me out. As we got to the front door, one of the little boys looked at me and very determinedly said: ‘I want to be a journalist now!’
That was a moment!
Incidentally, as for the God question, I said simply: I think God is the boss.
But what do I know – I’m not the Pope.
The Future Generations Bill is a move towards giving young people, and those who will come after them, that power. As the bill begins its journey through Parliament this week, you can add your support by using the hashtag #TodayForTomorrowand heading to TodayForTomorrow.org.ukwhere you can email your MP to let them know you want them to back the bill.