Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Scratch a 'New' Conservative....

. ...and all the familiar prejudices come rushing out. Yesterday it was lesbians in the Conservative cross-hairs and today it is 'shameless' parents and 'scruffy' teachers. Tory work and pensions spokesman Chris Grayling is set to lambast mothers and fathers who do not know what good parenting is and follow the example of Frank Gallagher, the father in Channel 4's comedy Shameless.

Grayling said in a speech to the Reform think-tank that;

"I think many parts of our society no longer know how to bring up children. We live in a country where in many places Frank Gallagher-style parenting has become the norm and not the exception."

He attempted to soften the Tories approach to single-parents saying;

"Sometimes over the past 25 years the Conservative Party has seemed to be at war with lone parents. That should not happen again."

However, we can see clearly from his rhetoric that the Conservatives still do feel the need to stigmatise social groupings not quite to there liking. Just because the target changes does that mean the approach has? I think not and this was recognised by Clare Tickell, chief executive of children's charity NCH who said;

"use of negative labels to describe vulnerable parents risks stigmatising and isolating those most in need. Chris Grayling's use of the 'Shameless' analogy shows these negative attitudes are still widespread."

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