Neil’s broadcasting legacy has sown seeds now flourishing in the public discourse

Following Neil’s beautiful funeral on Saturday, May 19, I have been reflecting on the way Neil’s broadcasting legacy has sown seeds now flourishing in the public discourse. First and foremost is that the voice of the people can make a difference. We have seen this in the spontaneous cloud bursts of Occupy movements across the western world pointing us to the recognition that equality is better for everyone. ‘Exchange’ on CJAD and ‘McKenty Live’ on CFCF were fore-runners here. I believe that this is what the student protest in Montreal is basically about. As I read in a comment printed in The Globe and Mail this morning: “This is as much about “low tuition” as the American Revolution was about cheap tea.”
Having listened to Paul Kennedy’s ‘Ideas in the Afternoon’ on CBC radio yesterday, I hasten to order the book: The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate PickettThe description of the book is why I am curious to study it: “It is a well-established fact that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem … poor health, violence, lack of community life, teen pregnancy, mental illness — is more likely to occur in a less-equal society…

The Spirit Level, based on thirty years of research, takes this truth a step further. One common factor links the healthiest and happiest societies: the degree of equality among their members. Further, more unequal societies are bad for everyone within them-the rich and middle class as well as the poor.

The authors do not merely tell us what’s wrong. They offer a way toward a new political outlook, shifting from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more sustainable society.” Neil lived, broadcast and wrote about this deeply held conviction.

Clare Hallward

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