Dr Brooke Magnanti
(writer of anonymous blog Belle de Jour: Diary of a London Call Girl) weighs into the subject of ‘problem families’:
According to comments by Louise Casey, the head of the Government's troubled families programme “there have got to be sanctions” where poor families are having more children, and women should be forced to accept contraception. Casey suggested that instead of having more children they should “do something for themselves” such as “getting a job” .
This is already a country where birth control of all kinds is free on the NHS. Doing anything more than that to encourage family planning – among all people, not simply 'problem families' – has to be a matter of more carrot and less stick.
Well, OK, that’s a little
unconventional, Brooke, but I bow to your acknowledged expertise in these matters.
Now, just where
are we supposed to insert the carrot?
Like, perhaps, providing comprehensive and up-to-date sex education to children …?
That, too, is something we already do, and in exhaustive
In fact, in far more detail than we ever did in my schooldays...
The simplistic demand to “get a job” particularly rankles. Even I, as a childless woman, know how much you need to be making per hour to break even on childcare, never mind actually make a worthwhile difference to your family's income.
Which makes it all the more surprising then that so many women in far less lucrative careers than yours keep having them, eh?
The resistance to the widespread changes in services being suggested by the Government is not, I believe, simply about people not wanting the 'welfare state' to change. There are inefficiencies and areas of deep deprivation that need addressing, and are clearly not being served by the current system. On that all sides agree.
Rather there is a deep – and in many cases, justified – mistrust of what will happen and how money is being spent. Will we get better services for the same money, or streamlined services for less?
Frankly, at this point, I no longer care
. I've resigned myself to the fact that the public sector will be a money-sink no matter what. I just want to stop paying the underclass to breed little replicas of themselves.
If there's one thing families don't need, it’s people who earn more in a day than they get all year telling them how to keep their noses clean. What they should eat, how many children they should have, how long their skirts should be.
Well, when the rest of us are paying, that's what's going to happen! Get a job, support their own children and they can happily go back to ignoring government advice like the rest of us.
But if they want to suck on the public teat, the government gets to tell them how long for and how hard...
What should we be doing? Talking to folks already on the ground providing services, and asking what resources will help them do their jobs better. More training, more staff, more equipment? Great.
Well, of course! Why didn’t I think of that? The answer is obviously
to ask the people doing the work if they want more resources…
They'll be honest about that, won't they?