This I Believe

Kemsley, James Gomer Berry, Viscount

  • Lord Kemsley describes his beliefs in the importance of family life, home-made entertainment, and self-reliance.
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And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Lord Kemsley is one of Britain's leading newspaper magnates. The son of a local magistrate in Wales, he built from nothing a great newspaper chain, which includes a national daily, three national Sunday papers, six Scottish, four Welsh, and twenty-two local papers. This empire confers great power and responsibility on Lord Kemsley. This is his creed.
More than fifty years ago, I left Merthyr Tydfil, my hometown in Wales, for London. Looking back on a long and varied career, I ask myself, What has been the greatest single influence in my life? I am in no doubt; it has been a happy family life. And it is because I believe so strongly in the importance of the family, that I want to speak to you about it now.
No boy can ever be more fortunate than I was in his parents. They placed a deep imprint of their personalities on all their children, and in truth their spirits are with me still, the unseen judges of my every action. I like to feel that were my parents alive today, they would see in the close attachments and deep loyalties in my own family a not unworthy replica of their own happy life.
In my youth, we were taught simple virtues. In those days, there were no cinemas to go to, no wireless, no television. To a large extent we made our own entertainment, and on Sundays there were three church services to attend, including Sunday school. There and within the family circle we were taught the real nature of respect. We learned, also, to be self-reliant. It never occurred to us to lean on others. If help were needed, it would come from the family. We were taught to use our talents and to dedicate them to the common good.
Since then, there has been a very vast development in the public services. Parents today can call to their aid resources
which parents of my generation never knew in the task of bringing up their children: wider educational facilities, clinics, welfare amenities, and the like. These ought to be gains, but for my part—and I hope you do not think me old fashioned—I should count these gains but loss, if their inevitable consequence were to be the breakdown in any degree of that family life.
It is in the family that we learn, or should learn, to respect authority and loyally accept the rules, the reasons for which we do not entirely understand. It is in the family that we learn our first lessons in cooperation for the general good. It is in the family that we learn, or should learn, those lessons of self-forgetfullness and consideration for
others, which lie at the root of all Christian morality. And these are all virtues essential for the good citizen.
The subject is one of vital importance, transcending all difference of class, creed, or political allegiance. A national life built on self-interest may prosper for a time, as many examples of history show. But they also show that when the stones of adversity beat upon it, it collapses like that house in Scripture, which was built upon sand. Our future as freedom loving peoples will be secure only if we take care to preserve these simple family virtues of which I have spoken.
Those were the beliefs of Viscount Kemsley, one of Britain's most powerful newspaper publishers.