mirrorshard: (Default)
[personal profile] mirrorshard
So, this Jeremy Hunt chap is saying that the cap on benefits will encourage poor families to "be responsible" in planning their family size, ie. not have more children than they can afford. Obviously, the reactions to this in the media have varied between "what a courageous stand, it's about time someone was brave enough to say this - we shouldn't have so many poor people around" and "oh, good grief, what a clueless authoritarian twat".

Most of the non-barking-mad commenters have, of course, been quite clear on the principle that having children isn't something you should have to "afford"; that support for your children isn't something you should have to deserve; and that a government minister has no business even having an opinion about the proper size for someone's family, let alone engaging in social engineering.

What I don't think has been highlighted enough, however, is that this statement implies that a family on benefits will be there for a long time - for the kind of planning horizon which allows for several pregnancies and childhoods. It's either stunning ignorance, or an attempt to assume (and persuade us about it by stealth) the existence of an underclass of long-term benefit claimants who are content with that lifestyle and chose to be there. That one would be a classic othering/scapegoating strategy, which we've seen applied to a lot of groups over this country's political history.

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised by either or both. This is what we get for a government of rich people, very few of whom have ever had to work a badly paid job, let alone lived only on benefits. (Do any of you know of any MPs who'll admit to having done this, by the way? I don't, but I'm willing to believe there might be some ex-benefit-claimants amongst them, and if there are we should bend some energies into getting them a Ministerial brief.)

Date: 2010-10-11 06:49 pm (UTC)
reddragdiva: (Default)
From: [personal profile] reddragdiva
Tories hateful twats, film at 11.

Date: 2010-10-11 10:35 pm (UTC)
hairyears: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hairyears
How's it going to play in the media when a school calls in Social Services because the children in a family of six are malnourished?

I know how it'll play in the Daily Mail: let's just pass over that.

The first six cases in London will get media coverage. The first six hundred will get support from churches and charities, proselytizing thrown in for free, and the Conservative Party Conference will give a standing ovation to the minister who proclaims that the Big Society as triumphed over soviet-era welfare statism and benefit dependency.

Somewhere between six thousand and sixty thousand, the churches and charities will completely cease to function as effective welfare agencies - if, indeed, they ever manage.

Among other weaknesses, charitable organisations are *selective* - it is their very nature that they grow out of personal concerns and the shared beliefs of a well-defined group - and this fails the core test of a welfare safety net: it must be there for everyone.

The big issue, though, is that the voluntary sector is tiny. We can make a charitable gesture. and acquire the warm glow of making a personal difference to a life, or two, or ten if we devote years of our lives to it... But not a big difference, not thousands of lives, let alone a city's worth.

An act of charity is not a social change, no matter how many people donate time and money; not an economic counterbalance to a failed housing market and an economy that has no demand for unskilled and uneducated labour.

Remember, we're talking about millions of people: the ministers 'responsible' have no grasp of the scale of the thing they call 'government' and I fear that they have retreated into a cocoon of dangerous delusions.

Date: 2010-10-11 11:14 pm (UTC)
merrythebard: (Default)
From: [personal profile] merrythebard
*agrees heartily*

Date: 2010-10-12 02:13 am (UTC)
almadsfeika: (bullshit)
From: [personal profile] almadsfeika
Agrees heartily, too.
YET the Royal National Lifeboat Institute continue to do their jobs. For this, we owe them.
Bottleneck is funding - except for politicians (they have much money and less brain).

Rhyming slang

Date: 2010-10-12 06:02 pm (UTC)
nanaya: Sarah Haskins as Rosie The Riveter, from Mother Jones (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanaya
All true, but I think the oddest thing about this is the belief that large numbers of people set out to have children while ~expecting~ to be on benefits. As if pregnancy-related discrimination wasn't incredibly common. As if relationships didn't break down, and absent parents never forgot about child support. As if a rather large number of people hadn't already been, and weren't about to be, made redundant.

I suppose it's true that it's (mostly) a choice to have children. But losing one's job, one partner/s, one's home or any combination of the above generally isn't a choice, and people can't retrospectively unbirth their kids when their financial support vanishes.

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags