Chief among the many squandered opportunities of the boom years is the fact that we have utterly wasted the chance to improve the lot of the nation’s children

She holds tight to her pink balloon as she hops between the puddles. Her waist-length hair falls loose over her blue school jumper.

18th October, 2008

She holds tight to her pink balloon as she hops between the puddles. Her waist-length hair falls loose over her blue school jumper.

A small pink rucksack is slung over one shoulder. She seems happy; as happy as you’d expect from a girl of six or seven let loose in a car park with a pink balloon.

The men she is with, though, don’t appear to share her enthusiasm for life. One of...

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