I believe the ulterior motive is the demonisation of the poor, with the aim, in the long run, of simply slicing off these families at the bottom of what we think of as "society". Thereafter, terms like "fairness" and "empathy" and "all in this together" can be bandied around pretty freely, because the evidence of their extinction will no longer exist. The problem families won't count – because they severed the social contract with their criminality and un-neighbourliness.Well…didn’t they?
And aren’t you forgetting that the families around them, the ones to whom they cause the most misery, are themselves part of ‘the poor’ you claim to be defending?
Aren’t they owed some peace from these people?
There's an ancillary process, of which Iain Duncan Smith is master, whereby poverty is conflated with poor parenting, and this serves to dehumanise as well as alienate these "problem families". If parenting sees us at our most loving, civilised and altruistic, then to fail at it is to have slipped off the bottom rung of the species.Well…isn’t that the case?
Don’t we need to break the cycle of the
Casey's self-presentation is always that she cuts through the data and expertise and goes back to common sense … the man in the street, what does he think? Sometimes it's amusing – when she makes a tirade against ministerial anti-binge drinking ideas – and other times it's straight anti-intellectualism.Ah. I see what Zoe’s getting at here. If Louise’s common sense approach takes hold, and the dreaded ‘man in the street’ gets listened to, then maybe these people will be out of a job:
So much work has already been done on the experience of being at the bottom of the heap. There are ethnographic reports grouting the British Library (I found this enlightening) about what life is like at the coal face of a "multi-agency intervention". They are conducted over weeks and over months by academics who immerse themselves in the realities of the household, not government advisers who swoop in for a couple of hours to peer at the destitute. There are studies about what causes antisocial behaviour, what works, what doesn't (Professor Adam Crawford, for instance, launches his findings this week). Straight talking is one thing, but when you're straight repeating work that has already been done, but sloppily, with less sophistication, drawing egregious conclusions, isn't that a waste of time?Not really. Not when – to paraphrase that classic ‘The ‘Simpsons’ episode – we’ve tried nothin’ and we’re all out of ideas!
Mollycoddling them and giving them more and more chances and benefits and hot & cold running social workers (and police officers to personally run their spawn to school) hasn’t worked.
So let’s try treating them as the social pariahs they really are. For everyone’s sake.
There is plenty of existing evidence that if you want to intervene with families, you do so in a voluntary, unstigmatising way, with a local hub providing many different services, from parenting advice to English lessons.The problem with continually offering services, Zoe, is just that; these families aren’t obliged to take them! And while they aren’t obliged to take them other – equally ‘poor’ – families suffer.
Precisely how Louise Casey came to collude in a process so divisive and dishonest I don't know; I hope she was tricked into it. I can't see this trick working on everyone, however.I can’t see it going down so well with the Islington set, no. Everyone else, I suspect, will be just fine with it.