The other day I was thinking about our basic human rights (as you do) and I thought it would be interesting to see how many things we take for granted in the UK. So I compiled my list – you may have your own personal things to add to it. I have not included anything that I do not consider to be a basic human right ie a TV or a car.

Number one must always be your health – without it everything else is unimportant. When you are young you can’t conceive of being ill or that one day your life may be limited by illness or injury. During all my years of yoga, aerobics, Zumba and swimming I never imagined that arthritis would stop me doing downward facing dog as I can’t put any weight on my wrists. But I am lucky. My husband never imagined he would have a pituitary brain tumour in 2012 but compared to some he is also lucky. He takes bucket loads of pills and injects once a day but he is still here. Period.

Food – many people all over the world don’t have enough to eat yet we buy food and chuck it away on a daily basis. Supermarkets throw out anything that doesn’t look pretty even though it’s still edible. There are countries where people are so poor they eat food off rubbish tips and out of dustbins.

A place to live – do you ever see people living on the streets and look away thinking that will never be me. Do you think any of them imagined it would be them one day? Life plays many tricks on us and things can change in a heartbeat. Drugs, alcohol, mental illness – there but for the grace of God and all that.

That you’ll always have a job – the days are long gone when people took an apprenticeship at 15 and stayed with the same company till they got their gold watch at 65. That’s another reason why we should never judge those living rough.

Your children – they are gift not a right. Many people can’t have any and would love to. So if you are lucky enough to be blessed with the gift of children make sure you let them know how much you love them.

Your family – I lost my mother four days before my 40th birthday and my father 15 years ago. I only ever knew one of my grandparents and she died in 1972 on Christmas Day. Make the most of the ones you have and love and like your children make sure you let them know how much you love them. They may be taken away before you know it.

Finally your freedom – ‘I don’t mind what they know about me as I have nothing to hide.’ How many times have you heard that said? It may be true but that’s not the point is it. The constant threat of terrorism is chipping away at our basic freedoms. I for one do mind what they know about me because they are not necessarily using it to protect me. They are using it to sell me things they now know I want. Playing on my needs as well as my fears. We have worked so hard over the years to be free that we underestimate what that truly means. My father was a prisoner-of-war during the Second World War and survived on bread and water in Siberia for two years. That is the extreme loss of freedom – these days it’s far more subtle. We take our freedom of speech for granted like the freedom to practice our beliefs or freedom to practice our sexuality without risk of prosecution or indeed persecution. The list is endless. Suffragettes threw themselves under horses and tied themselves to railings so they could have the vote so don’t knock it. There are countries where women can’t go out alone let alone vote or even drive. Our prison bars are not necessarily physical and we mustn’t allow our freedoms to be eroded.


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