The social cohesion of any civilised society cannot be achieved without the eradication of high unemployment, mass homelessness and class division. While ever this triple scourge plagues our country, Britain will remain a divided nation, unable to harness the full potential of its human resources.
The provision of adequate shelter, to act as a base from which meaningful tasks can be performed, alongside the rightful expectation to be treated equally, are the basic rights of every citizen and creature within any humane and democratic society.
In the final analysis. Homelessness impairs health, homelessness deprives education, homelessness increases the level of hopelessness, homelessness reduces the prospects of obtaining full-time employment, homelessness increases the vulnerability of our most vulnerable citizens, homelessness breaks up families, homelessness costs lives!
The plight of the homelessness is a cost we cannot afford to leave unresolved. It is a shared responsibility among all within society.
In writing 'Tales of Bernard', I have tried to provide the reader and all dog lovers with a taste of what it is like to be homeless.
Through reading about the exploits of our hero, Bernard, alongside those of Boxer and his pack of stray-pedigree hounds, the story as a whole can be productively used as a 'discussion starter' in both home and classroom for the child reader.
'Tales of Bernard' is a book that can be enjoyed by any dog lover, whether they be child or adult as the central themes covered in the story embrace the many problems to be found in any society that experiences, abandonment, desertion, bullying and homelessness.
Each of the dog characters in the book will be readily identified with by some child readers as they display behaviour and traits which are common to many growing children.
The overall theme of the book is that whether it is bullying, homelessness or indeed any other problem of social and environmental conditioning, we all need to pull together to help each other win through.
Twenty five years working as a Probation Officer in West Yorkshire taught me that all bullies were at some earlier stage of their lives subject to bullying themselves. I also learned that all persons bullied can best help themselves as well as the bully by standing up to them and informing on them. I learned that bullying can only exist with the acquiescence of all those involved in the process; the bully, the bullied and the spectator.
Similarly, the solution to all other problems in society, whether they be homelessness, loss etc.etc can best be resolved by all working together as part of the problem and part of the solution instead of following an ‘I’m all right Jack’ type of mentality.
Tales of Bernard is as relevant to the reader today as it was when it was first published during the 1990s. The book is suitable for young person, adult or any dog lover. Enjoy.
William Forde: September, 2013.