A young 7 year old girl in Birmingham dies of neglect and starvation. The MP blames the social services, and so does the father. But of course the real problem here is the bloody parents who neglected their daughter isn’t it?
I quote Steve:
No, Mr Zaire, you never lifted a finger. It was you who did nothing. You chose to be somewhere else.
I’m not saying Birmingham’s social workers are blame free. They should have asked questions when the child had been away from school for so long. If they were unaware of this, then that is a system failure too. But Mr Zaire has some cheek to blame just about everyone else when, it appears, he had very little involvement with his children.
Family breakdown has become one of the biggest issues of our generation. Conservatives cannot stop harping on about it because it captures the sense of moral panic some people feel over issues (crime, unemployment, teenage pregnancies, abortion) and allows them to blame that on liberals and Labour governments.
The problem, you see, is apparently that liberals have created such a permissive society that people can do what they want and hence we have family breakdown! More recently, when the government voted to allow lesbian couples to have children through IVF, some said it meant father were deemed as irrelevant and that family breakdown was imminent.
There are a few problems with all this hypothesis: its a pile of crap.
The first problem is of course that the government is blamed for everything when actually it’s the parents fault. Why is Khalid Mahmood blaming social services instead of the parents? Not to say social workers are blame free but with so many cases there are bound to be slip-ups. The state cannot do everything and should certainly not be primarily responsible for the mistakes that people make.
In this article on Liberal Conspiracy, Unity shows how government legislation (other than allowing abortions) has had little impact on family breakdown because social values were moving in a more liberal direction anyway.
The changing nature of our economy that has had more impact:
What the data shows is the creation of the todayâ€™s social underclass and the frightening speed with which it came into being. It took only a decade of high unemployment and the near systematic dismantling of the UKâ€™s manufacturing base and the working class communities that depended on those industries for their economic well-being to wreck a generation and create an underclass in which a stable and secure family life is too often the exception rather than the norm.
Similarly, Chris Dillow points out that, kids need money not dads, and the evidence supports it. In other words, if you want someone to blame for ‘family breakdown’ and the growth of an underclass (thanks to growing income inequality) then you should look no further than Margaret Thatcher and the stripping out of Britain’s industrial base.
No doubt, Labour has done nothing to reverse that economic trend but the point is that the rot started ages ago.
Let me repeat: the problem is not a more permissive society. Abortion, IVF treatment, divorce etc have given people the opportunity to lead lives how they want to without being pressured into unhappy marriages or unwanted kids. That is a good thing.
If there kids being abandoned by their parents and dying of starvation, that is the fault of those who gave them life and then abandoned their reponsibility, not that of the government.
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