Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A question of child poverty

It is not often that SOYMB blog can concur with the views of the Daily Telegraph but we find ourselves in agreement with much of the TV review the Telegraph's Brendan O'Neill.

"Poverty is no longer treated as a social problem involving unemployed adults with insufficient incomes, but rather as a moral problem involving grubby-mouthed, empty-stomached urchins whom the chattering classes must tweet and blog their bleeding-heart concern for...If children are poor, it is because their parents are poor...Today’s myopic focus on “child poverty”, where politicians and documentary-makers are forever shining a light on teary-eyed hard-up kids but never once mention “adult poverty”...It rarely features adults – those complex, complicated creatures who for some inexplicable reason don’t have any well-paid work – in favour of turning the cameras on children and effectively saying: “Look at the poor little bleaters. Ain’t it sad?”...This documentary drains the politics from the issue of poverty and turns it instead into a moral peepshow for the gratification of middle-class viewers. The endless articles and blog posts about how the series has made people cry or pricked their consciences are testament to its real aim: to provoke empty moral handwringing rather than hard, testy debate...who needs a serious political debate about adult poverty and its causes when we can gawp at modern-day Oliver Twists and tell the world how sad they make us feel?"

We at SOYMB are sure in such a debate we would find ourselves and the Telegraph in opposition, but we can accept their conclusion that the Guardian and Independent "liberal idealogues" fear real questions about the causes and remedies of poverty.

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