Thursday, February 15, 2007

That So-Called 'Unicef' Report

I quote :

"The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy or views of UNICEF."

It's written by breast-beating leftie Peter Adamson, founder of the New Internationalist, a chap who 'divides his time between Oxford and Tuscany' - as one does.

The only useful thing about it is that he (correctly IMHO) treats not having both biological parents as a negative point. There's a mountain of evidence to support that view. For a leftie liberal, he's surprisingly honest about this - although you can feel his pain.

The use of data on the proportion of children living in single-parent families and stepfamilies as an indicator of wellbeing may seem unfair and insensitive. Plenty of children in two-parent families are damaged by their parents relationships; plenty of children in single-parent and stepfamilies are growing up secure and happy. Nor can the terms 'single-parent families' and 'stepfamilies' do justice to the many different kinds of family unit that have become common in recent decades. But at the statistical level there is evidence to associate growing up in single-parent families and stepfamilies with greater risk to well-being – including a greater risk of dropping out of school, of leaving home early, of poorer health, of low skills, and of low pay. Furthermore such risks appear to persist even when the substantial effect of increased poverty levels in single-parent and stepfamilies have been taken into account (although it might be noted that the research establishing these links has largely been conducted in the United States and the United Kingdom and it is not certain that the same patterns prevail across the OECD).

I'm sorry to see senior Tories who should know better (well, George Osborne, anyway - although his more detailed comments seem surprisingly sensible) using this report as a pooey stick to beat the Government with.

The report also contained data from Professor Jonathan Bradshaw from York, that nest of well-funded poverty specialists. You can download it in /Excel from his site. I'm sure he's a nice chap - but isn't it amazing what a nice little earner the poor can be ?


Anonymous said...

The UK has a lower suicide rate than Netherlans, Sweden, Poland and Switzerland. So unless the authors of this report can explain why our misreable teenagers never go the whole hog and take their own lives when they have the chance, I'm prone to believe they are talking a load of pap:

Anonymous said...

Ofcourse its a load of crap, Britain always comes last in this kind of thing just because the leftists want to propagandise the EU social model.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Dave but there are plenty ofreal horrors to be concerned about. Murdered children for instance. A few weeks ago a child named 'Neo' was killed by his father.

Anonymous said...

It's written by breast-beating leftie Peter Adamson, founder of the New Internationalist, a chap who 'divides his time between Oxford and Tuscany' - as one does.

It's grim up North (of Siena)

dearieme said...

"isn't it amazing what a nice little earner the poor can be": well, that's why poverty was redefined in to relative terms, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...


I think it's six of one and half a dozen of the other. But seriously, this country deserves to be bottom of the league, the UK is the worse place in the industrialised world to live. Our quality of life is truly dreadful.


Give it a few more years and the job of the left will be complete. The state will become the lone-parent of the nation. I predict that children will be intensively farmed and bred in special institutions.


Ditto the one stabbing and three shootings in South London since the start of this month.


Herr Adamson is on a cushy little number.


Check out the Guardian Society job section, free every Wednesday (Yeah I know, you're a subscriber).

Anonymous said...

[i]The UK has a lower suicide rate than Netherlans, Sweden, Poland and Switzerland.[/i]

Only because these Germanic and Nordic peoples face their situations with a Spenglerian pessimism, while us Brits, second only to the Yanks in Prozac use, prefer chemical lobotomisation to a potentially discomforting rendez-vous with reality.

Anonymous said...

Surprised we have a lower suicide rate than Switzerland which must have boosted theirs with imports (but I bet they exclude foreigners). Anyway suicide is highest among young men living in this sexist, racist hell of persecuting white males especially if they speak English

Anonymous said...

@alex zeka

I think you will find that both the Swedes and the Germans also like to medicate - alcohol is the drug of choice. Both countries have had problems with alcoholism for many decades. I suspect that in Sweden the use of anti-depressants is also very common (I lived there for a few years and got the feeling that 90% of the adult population were drugged up!).

Both right and left have used this report to justify authoritarian approaches to solving the problems raised so hysterically. I suspect that as Laban has suggested, the report was written by creating a table with the UK at the bottom, and then justifying why it should be at the bottom. A brief sanity check shows there is little cause for the hysteria. Maybe life IS a bit tough for kids in the UK - but maybe that is the best preparation for adult life? Or maybe our teens just like a good whinge (as British adults tend to do).


The people from ethnic minorities that exhibit serious mental health problems would have done so in their own homeland. What happens is that by importing people from less sophisticated cultures we import the social problems along with them - we have no mechanism for filtering out the bad apples. The reason why serious crime has increased three-fold since the 1950's is because we have imported people from countries which have much higher crime rates but have not filtered out the bad'uns (check out the UNs figures for national murder rates - you will see Jamaica right near the top with a murder rate 22 times higher than England, so you don't need many Jamaicans living here to push crime rates through the roof). Furthermore activists like Paul Boateng have forced the state to back off from dealing with these problems causing a "cold conflict" situation much as they have in the US. White people in the US don't care that black people are killing people because they know the victim is most usually black - the attitude is "well you made your bed now lie in it". White people just move out of town and let them get on with it. This means that the solution to these problems can only come from the black community, unless the state has a change of heart and takes a more robust approach. But that would mean building three times as many prisons to go back to the zero tolerance approach that was being so succesful in the 50s.

Maybe things will improve here because black women are focussing on their education. Maybe they have had enough of the ghetto culture and have decided to dig themselves out of it. Foxy Brown seems to be part of this movement. We can only hope that this demographic change will result in lower crime over the longer term.

Anonymous said...

Ryan and Alex Zeka,

Scandinavians may be more prone to depression because of latitudinal factors. Think Strindberg, Munch and Ibsen.


My dad - a Jamaican - thinks the Brits should re-colonise Jamaica (This a view held by many from his generation). The anti-social thuggery exhibited by Afro-Caribbean men can be traced to those of Jamaican origin. You'll find that black Brits of either Barbadian, St. Lucian and Trinidadian extraction are model citizens. The Barbados of today is like the UK of the 1950s, and Bajans regard Jamaicans as being from a lower life form.

Frank P said...


Though generalisations are dangerous, you make a valid point about the difference between ex-pat Jamaicans and Bajans. Working among the West Indian population of Notting Hill and Paddington in the 1950s and 1960s, the immigrants from Barbados, on the whole, were much more pleasant to deal with than Jamaicans. Though I don't entirely agree about Trinidadians who also seemed more politicised and stroppy than Bajans. In fact some of the most notorious leftist activists/hoodlums were Trinidaian who were ringleaders in the Black Power movement (allied to US 'Black Muslims') that sowed the seeds of much unrest among second generation West Indians and imported mugging and Ganga to this country as a political tool. But most of the small time racketeering prevalent in that area in that era emanated from Jamaican hustlers from the shanties of Kingston, Jamaica - King's Road and Matches Lane etc, who had stowed-away to get here, rather than paying their fare on the Windrush. Those reprobates existed by extorting prostitutes, illegal shebeens and pushing dope.

By the 1960s, I found Bajans to be more British than the indigenous residents of Notting Hill in many ways - much more traditionally minded and God- fearing. But many myths have now become established 'history', crafted , of course, by the race relations industry.