Joined: 03 Jun 2005
|Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:00 pm Post subject: CHILD POVERTY, WHAT CHILD POVERTY
|What is Child Poverty? And other questionsThe mention of the word ‘child’ or ‘children’ in any political speech is often – though not always - a warning of humbug to come. The old Soviet Union used to assert that ‘children are our only privileged class’ a pretty bold claim from a state that had within living memory forced children to spy on their parents through the foul cult of Pavlik Morozov, and ripped infants from their parents’ arms (as the parents were despatched to the Gulag) and flung them, their names stolen, deprived of any love, to suffer and often die in cruel and hideous orphanages. But there. It is still impossible for most Western people (who often still make excuses for the USSR) to understand just how revolting Communism was.
I tend to think that the few legitimate occasions for referring to children in political debate are in discussions of abortion (legalised child massacre), the campaign to force women into the workplace and out of their homes (organised mass child neglect for profit), comprehensive and ‘progressive’ education (egalitarian experiments on innocent boys and girls), and of course divorce ( legally putting the interests of adults before the interests of children), where the interests of the children are directly and demonstrably involved.
Now here we have an attempt to claim that the government’s rather modest and uninteresting welfare reforms, which deliberately avoid all the real most pressing problems, will create ‘child poverty’.
I think this is just emotionalism. As I so often say, there is no real, absolute material poverty in this country. Look at the living conditions portrayed in the TV series ‘Call the Midwife’, or those described in Somerset Maugham’s novel ‘Liza of Lambeth’ – or indeed the factual reports of poverty in Victorian and Edwardian Britain, and you will see what the word really means – unavoidable squalor caused by the simple lack of plumbing and sanitation, desperate overcrowding, real, gut-grinding hunger, untreated disease. You can find such things, as well, right now, in modern Bombay (those who wish to call it ‘Mumbai’ might like to check the Index item on this stupid, mistaken renaming by people who think they are being ‘progressive’), in Burma and in many African countries. I have seen it there. One of the striking things about it is that those who endure it are often even so unbroken, but dignified, self-disciplined, hard-working, house-proud, and send their children, in crisp uniforms, shining with cleanliness, off to school each morning. It is very moving.
It is also quite unlike the world of the British dependent population, who have all the material basics, but live amidst terrible state-encouraged moral squalor. In many cases, people resist this, and their struggles to maintain respectability and order in their lives area is as moving as anything in Africa. But in many cases they are corrupted by it, and the results are tragic and appalling.
What these people need is an organised and systematic moral rescue which, alas, Iain Duncan Smith is not ready to attempt. Even so, it is surely too much to ask struggling families who earn their bread and pay their debts, to subsidise others who don’t, at the sort of levels now seen.
Much of this problem arises from the mistaken sale of council houses, a measure universally praised by Tories, but which seems to me to have been one of the worst things done in the Thatcher era. This broke up settled communities, pumped billions of pounds into the housing market, so pushing up house prices and rents to absurd levels. And it led to the grotesque growth of Housing Benefit, which I think now costs more than the Army and the RAF put together, and which must be the most wasteful method of public housing subsidy ever devised.
Something plainly has to be done to put it right. I doubt whether Iain Duncan Smith has the key. But I will say this. The idea that his measures will cause ‘child poverty’ is just propaganda. And the idea that because a benefit is called ‘Child Benefit’ it will be spent entirely on children is so absurd that I don’t know where to look when anyone says it (and surely this is the implication of the dogmatic insistence that Child Benefit should be exempt from Mr Smith’s £26,000 benefit ceiling). And the idea that the children of Britain’s welfare-dependent households will have their problems solved by money is just thought-free.
What these children need is fathers, stable married families in which to grow and learn the rules of life, by example above all. If they had those precious possessions, they could, like their grandparents before them, be happy, healthy and good on surprisingly little money. As it is …
Bishops of the Church, of all people, should grasp that.
Get the lazy parents off their fat arses and back to work seems a better deal than giving them £26000 a year for nothing, there are millions of people earning less than this so i suppose they will bring their wages upto this level------------------ no then why not.
We need a British tax payers union then we can go on strike and not pay our taxes until we get proper laws.
In fact i think i will start one today----------anyone wishing to join email name and address.