Saturday, 15 November 2008

In favour of levelling-up....

. Over on Alix Mortimer's blog I promised Asquith I would look over a thread on a blog he has been posting too relating to discussions we have had before. I also promised a blog in response so here we go....

If I maybe permitted his indulgence I will deal with the point's he made on Alix's blog and the ones he makes on To Miss with Love. Starting with this;

"It should have been obvious that Baby P’s mother shouldn’t have had a child. We will do no one any favours by tiptoeing around being nice & “sensitive”, overlooking the fact that so many ill-equipped, poorly educated & frankly inadequate people are reproducing, aided by the welfare state, because they have nothing else in their lives."

The first point is such a thing is only obvious to us; the people writing and reading in hindsight and via the information we have received about this case. Should it have been obvious to the professionals?? Of course we say because we have the full facts in front of us and have the benefit of the aforementioned hindsight. It is always easier to comment on a situation from the outside looking in than it is being on the inside and while I do not want to excuse genuine malpractice and lack of competence this is something we always have to be aware of when entering this debate.

If people are 'ill-equipped' then the right question to ask is 'how can we equip them' not issue blanket condemnations. I think, and I will go on record saying this, that the vast majority of people who are on benefits defiantly do not want to be; I know I can at least speak for myself in this instance. Apart from anything else filling in all the forms in my dreadful handwriting gives me slight writers cramp. Now, equally I accept that there are people on benefits who have 'prison wall syndrome' who are institutionalised on them (although I stress again I think this is a minority) so when dealing with them the correct question is how do we raise their horizons. It is a question of carrot and stick; too much of one doesn't work.

Now none of this should lead to blanket condemnations of the welfare state. It is necessary; it needs to be there for people in times of need. I know because personally speaking I am in a 'time of need'. Raising peoples horizons also incidentally means tackling issues like low pay and working conditions. This is the whole crux of the debate; I am in favour of 'levelling-up' not 'levelling down'. I am in favour of policies that allow people to 'thrive' in the way Asquith comes out for on 'To Miss'. However, we must constantly be levelling up people who get left behind.

However, we start with an uneven playing field and the state is the power; the body in a position to level that playing field. I don't think there is much disagreement between me and Asquith when it comes to concrete issues maybe most of it lies in the lables we would give ourselves...so, over to you Asquith :)

8 comments:

asquith said...

I think I've already said enough! I replied at A. Mortimer's site earlier on. I think I cleared up what may have seemed like an unduly harsh first post, by saying that I am not suggesting the welfare state should be dismantled or attacking single mothers per se.

I apologise for getting you a bit lost. I tend to forget that I'm the only one who knows what is in my head & no one other than me reads every last one of my comments!

Perhaps this is nature's way of telling me I should write posts of my own...

asquith said...

The phrase "aided by the welfare state" could just as easily have been left out. Then, it would describe the situation as it was in the old days.

"There has never, ever, been a time when the bottom 20% have had any faith in their ability to do things. This belief is reinforced by the fact that they get the worst housing & public services & this goes unquestioned", remember...

Darrell G said...

Asquith,

Yes you should in short...listern to nature and join us in the blogsphere :)

asquith said...

I have got a blog, as you see, & it might be updated at some stage. But it wouldn't feel right to refry comments. Commenting & writing original posts are two different things & imho it's rare that anything has crossover appeal...

asquith said...

Also, this is a debate that might interest you:

http://tomisswithlove.blogspot.com/2008/11/cutie.html

It seems me & Ken have got different priorities & are never likely to reach agreement...

Darrell G said...

So you have...it will be duly linked...keeping content up can be hard work...but worth it i think..this is the first blog where I have managed to maintain it....

asquith said...

You may wish to read the most recent update ;)

Darrell G said...

Asquith,

Will toddle over and have a look now...am playing catch-up when it comes to the blogsphere :)