Friday, October 03, 2008

Child Poverty ?

You may have noticed lately the publicity of the Campaign To End Child Poverty, a coalition of tax-payer funded organisations conducting a political campaign aimed at getting taxpayers to stump up more cash to relieve said evil. One of the greatest achievements of the UK "left", if I can dignify it with that term, is that they've managed to get the taxpayer to pay for so much of their political work over the years.

As child poverty is measured on a relative basis (beware - most of the wikipedia stuff on the subject is pretty poor), you could abolish it tomorrow by reducing the incomes of those earning more. No child starves in the UK, or goes to school with cardboard in their shoes, unless the parents are just plain bad. Absolute poverty is pretty much non-existent - probably 80% of the world's population would consider UK 'poverty' to be unimaginable luxury.

80% of the population of Mirpur or Bangladesh would also consider it a pretty good deal. I invite you to take a look at child poverty by constituency or the BBC map of same.

Do we se a pattern here ? Ladywood, Bethnal Green, Bradford ?

I wrote a while back :

You can also use the bottom graph - male/female employment ratios for working age people - as an approximate proxy for childrearing. Pakistani/Bangladeshi women of working age are characterised as 'economically inactive' i.e. they're raising kids, not trying for that Senior Co-Ordinator role. What did Sayyid Qutb say again ?

"(if) she prefers ... using her ability for material productivity rather than the training of human beings, because material production is considered to be more important, more valuable and more honourable than the development of human character, then such a civilisation is ‘backward’ from the human point of view ..."
A combination of low wages and high numbers of children, as any father of four can tell you, means relative poverty compared to those in low-child, two-earner families. The statistical spearhead of the child poverty campaign are the large numbers of Muslim parents who consider the development of human character more important than material production. And I mean parents in the plural. Most of the native children in poverty will be the children of single mothers.

Another thing. These children are not culturally poor. They know who they are (not to mention who they're not) and where they come from, what's right and what's wrong. They're taught from an early age the great texts of their religion - in classical Arabic at that. Compared to their relatives in Sylhet they're physically rich - compared to their fellow poverty sufferers in the smack-ridden disaster zones of the Valleys or the estates of Ayrshire they're culturally rich too.