Monday, December 13, 2004

Nationalising Children

Stuart Wavell in the Sunday Times reports on the annual Sure Start conference, chaired by Polly 'the nanny state is the good state' Toynbee.

He quotes Patricia Morgan

.. there is no doubt that a 1960s agenda is in play. “There is a feminist drive to get every woman in the workforce full-time and get equal outcomes between men and women, irrespective of what people want.”

She goes one stage further than Kirby by suggesting that the government’s policies are consistent with the eradication of marriage. “Women must be self-sufficient, with a huge subsidy, independent of men. Attention is given to the parent-child relationship rather than the relationship between the adults. The belief is that you can have what is called ‘peripatetic partnering’, where people move in and out of partnerships but the parental relationship stays the same and the children are largely reared by the state.”

I think that's correct, but Jill Kirby of the Centre For Policy Studies makes an important point.

Kirby believes that the government’s underlying concern is with getting dependent lone parents back to work and letting the state raise their children. Its assertion that everyone needs parenting help is aimed at catching these problem families, Kirby maintains.

I put this point to Hodge, quoting the words of Stephen Ladyman, the under-secretary for community, who told the conference how important it was to identify excluded families and “drag them in and make them feel included”.

The anti-family movement, whose most prominent representatives are three wealthy upper-middle class women, Jowell, Harman (bad luck, Harriet, you nearly got him jailed) and Hodge, see in Britain's underclass the perfect recruits for state rearing. After all, many underclass parents don't 'raise' their children in any meaningful sense anyway - so no one will object if the State takes on the task.

As Polly says "As for the moral panickers, if they want to avoid future generations of scary youth, they should urge higher taxes to pay the state to become the best possible nanny to all babies."

Everybody's happy. Chav parents get the child benefits and the free accommodation without even having to pretend to raise their offspring, the State and the social-workers get lots of tinies to try out their theories on. And Joe Public gets to pay for the whole thing.

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