Newly elected MP for Crewe and Nantwich Kieran Mullan, a 36-year old former doctor, stressed the importance of meaning, belonging and family in his maiden speech:
“Listening to the maiden speeches of many new members, I’ve been struck by how many have spoken about what we know is increasingly missing from people’s lives. It’s that sense of how they fit in with this ever-changing, complicated world we live in.
People want meaning and a sense of where they belong. We forget too often that that comes in the form of expectations and obligations on us, delivering on what we must give to others and what is expected of us helps to create our own sense of worth.
There are no simple solutions to this challenge of people struggling with their identity and place in the world. If you have a low-paid skilled job, but every week you help run a woman’s refuge, you can feel important. On the other hand, you can have a high-paid, high-skilled job but get lost in the world of addiction because what you earn on its own has given you no sense of meaning.
You can live on a deprived housing estate surrounded by drug dealing gangs, but feel no temptation to join them because your loving family is all the community you need. And you can hold enormous talent in your hands, but not feel valued because society has decided that grafting all day for a great wage is not as important or worthy as going to university.
Today we are talking about the evils of terrorism, where at the heart of any successful terrorist recruitment campaign are people that have lost that sense of meaning in their own lives, leaving them vulnerable to simple narratives of victimhood and betrayal. We can build infrastructure, we can create jobs, but all this sits in a vacuum if it isn’t part of a broader story of a nation and a community that people feel part of.
Of course, I will always believe that it is our families, the very first community we are a part of, that can ensure we grow to become a part of the wider world of confidence, ambition and a sense of right and wrong. People lacking that foundation need our help most of all”.