Friday, January 02, 2009

What's the Government Doing About the "Ignored Poor"?

Hazel Blears has today expressed concern for what she calls the "ignored poor". She defines this group of people as the white working classes, who think they have been ignored by government. Haven't we heard this before though?

Well, yes. HERE in March, HERE in January, HERE in October 2006, HERE in November 2006, HERE in October 2008. I could go on.

This is not a new problem. Jon Cruddas has been one of the leading politicians to alert people to the issue, yet the government has done virtually nothing to address it. It's all very well for Hazel Blears to mouth syrupy platitudes but where's the action? But I can reveal all is well. According to the BBC...

Communities ministers are to hold a seminar with other government departments, councils already tackling this issue and leading academics.

That's all right then.

19 comments:

Blue Eyes said...

When will the left realise that most people would rather be left alone to make their own way in life? Why does there have to be a hand-out or programme for every socio-economic group?

lilith said...

o/t Iain, only slightly depressed after watching The Lives of Others? Slightly? I came away horrified, mainly because that is where New Labour plan to take us.

Wyrdtimes said...

Don't mention the E word.

Interesting how a report about "England's" poor has been hijacked and turned into "Britain's" poor.

Everything the British Brainwashing Corps does serves the Britishness agenda.

Wake up England.

Victor, NW Kent said...

The poor will always exist as poverty of means leads to poverty of spirit which leads to poverty of ambition which circles back to poverty of means.

Once there was an escape hatch for a few poor children - the grammar schools. I was a very poor boy who gained a grammar school place.
I do not pretend that is the only solution as the malaise of spirit is so ingrained that it would take generations of genuine upliftment to succeed. That cannot come from entrenching generations in the benefit culture nor by rebranding failing schools and pretending that they improve the community. But it is the children that efforts must start with - their parents are too immersed. Even then the inertia and inbuilt class hatred will cause many parents to resent better educated children.

It is doubtful that any Labour government could achieve anything realistic about poverty but any incoming Conservative government would have to concentrate some fine minds on it for a decade or more. Unfortunately any good Education Minister will move up the ranks and initiatives will become gradually diluted.

The message has to be preached that it is good for a child to be smart, educated and ambitious, not a social stain on a family in a poor area.

JuliaM said...

"It is doubtful that any Labour government could achieve anything realistic about poverty but any incoming Conservative government would have to concentrate some fine minds on it for a decade or more."

Do they have any...?

"The message has to be preached that it is good for a child to be smart, educated and ambitious, not a social stain on a family in a poor area."

How, when all they see around them (in showbiz, and in politics) are the dim, dumb and ambitious?

Unsworth said...

Marvellous! Another seminar! Fantastic news! That's just what I wanted - shame it didn't arrive before Christmas but still it's something to really look forward to, eh? And, even better, Leading Academics are to be involved. These guys in government really know how to get things going. We should all be immensely grateful for these luminaries, they know how to sort things out.

Blaad said...

Frankly, this government has an unblemished record of ignoring all groups of people.

Other than themselves and their friends.

Pete from Hull said...

Iain,
Have you fallen out of love with the Chipmunk ? (with apologies to your partner !)

Newmania said...

Yes well the 'ignored poor' is another way of saying I support the indigenous whites . Has Blears got a problem in her seat with the BNP ?This is not the first time she has made a coded criticism of multiculturalism as I reacall poiting out on 18DS many moons ago

Lola said...

They should think themselves lucky that they have been 'ignored by government'. Pretty well everyone the government has not ignored - w.t.e.o. state employees - is immeasurably worse off than if they'd been left to their own devices in the first place.

What is really happening is that the 'ignored poor' are invariably, for example, over taxed and discriminated against by government manipulations like the minimum wage.

The answer to helping the 'ignored poor' is for the bloody useless governemnt to ignore everyone else and, well basically, bugger off.

Raedwald said...

Without seeing the original report - and it doesn't seem to be on DCLG's website yet - it's hard to comment on particular points.

However, it's clear the cabinet spent December giving press interviews directed solely at readers of the Daily Mail, and I suspect this is just the continuation of that.

Balls and Byrne on the importance of dads and families, Blears before Christmas on institutional homes for single mums, Woolas on a shift in immigration policy, Straw pledging to deport dangerous foreigners and the rest.

All the clang of hollow vessels of course, but a well-orchestrated push to make inroads into this demographic.

Alan Douglas said...

"What's the Government Doing About the 'Ignored Poor' ?"

Taxing them ?

Alan Douglas

G said...

In “reconnecting” with white working-class people politicians should first admit that there has never been a genuine connection with them in the first place (White working class feels ignored over immigration, says Hazel Blears, 2 Jan). That is, even before immigration. As immigrants are continuously vilified by a barrage of uninformed assumptions it is unsurprising that studies have revealed “resentment over impact of migration.” It is not my desire to undermine the fact that some white-working class people are marginalised by society. What is pitiful, however, is the denial in which so many of them have locked themselves that they can only blame migration for their demise. Instead of challenging the rigid class system which has alienated them, throughout history, they confirm what most politicians think of them, they are not capable of being understood as people within their own right. Therefore, having resigned themselves to the knowledge that they can only stand up and be counted, by serving party politics, the white-working class vent their frustration at immigrants. What this latest government study should indeed represent is “a call to focus on the real core problems of worklessness, debt, welfare dependency, family breakdown and drug and alcohol abuse” as Lady Warsi suggests. Generations of white working-class people have been plagued by issues that have had little to do with immigration. Is it not easier though, to constantly divert blame to ethnic minorities because racism has made them easy targets? In her response to the government report, Hazel Blears may wish to remind white-working class people that even before ethnic minorities began leaving their homelands, many were kidnapped and coerced by invaders to fill labour shortages in the ‘developing’ worlds. Now that many of these white working-class people are able to benefit from the fruits of such labour, which includes their council estates, they seem to think that ethnic minority groups should carry a disposable attachment. Helped by the social structures, this purpose-built racism is perhaps the one thing that the white middle-class and white working-class people have in common. It is little wonder that while America wakes up in 2009 to the prospect of ‘Change’, Britain is still nursing a hangover. Is this because our government lacks the innovation, and will, to admit its role in promoting inequalities, and even better, to eradicate them from society? Until then, both ethnic minorities and white working-class people will forever be played against each other, by the powerful media and an even more powerful government, desperate to preserve its middle-class ideals, and covert racism. With respect, governments can always use surveys to do their dirty work.

Unsworth said...

Well, who has been 'ignoring' the poor for ten years or so? Is Blears affected by Rip Van Winkle Syndrome?

Neil Evans said...

"What's the Government Doing About the 'Ignored Poor' ?"

Bugger all is what they're doing - they've welfared the worst of the poor into a benefit whirlpool where it simply doesn't make economic sense for some of the worst off to find work, thus creating a generation of people who are stuck breadline poor.

Of course there are things to be said for people getting on their bike and finding a job, re-training, up-skilling and making the most of their talents, but in any society we've got to accept there's going to be people that don't have that entrepreneurial streak in them.

molesworth 1 said...

Listen, from what I know of the 'ignored poor', we are all reading Guido & stocking up on piano wire. Which should worry those amongst the middle-classes who fail to credit our indiscriminacy, once roused. Sold the AUDI yet?

David Lindsay said...

The white working class feels abandoned, Hazel Blears? Never! This realisation has only taken three and a half years since turnout in some of their areas was as low as one in three.

Someone is paying for the BNP, and I doubt that the BNP has the faintest who. Someone wants to get them into Strasbourg in June, so that association with them can be used to keep all sorts of things off the agenda. Mention those things, and you will "sound like the BNP". This has already started.

Anything addressing loss of sovereignty, whether to the European Union, to the United States, or to global capital. Anything adddressing the practical consequences of that loss, from the Common Fisheries Policy, to the Iraq War, to the imported credit crunch. Anything addressing the importation of a new working class whose members understand no English except commands, know little or nothing about workers’ rights here, can be moved around this country at will, and can be deported if they step out of line.

Anything addressing deference to Islam. Anything addressing the erosion of the traditional family and its values, not least on the airwaves in general and (because better is rightly expected of it) the BBC in particular. Anything addressing the proliferation of lap-dancing clubs. Anything addressing the de facto legalisation of cannabis. Anything addressing the deregulation of drinking and gambling. Anything addressing how the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have effectively lowered the age of consent to 13.

Anything addressing the Police not patrolling the streets. Anything addressing soft sentencing, the kind that gives rise to horrific calls for the restoration of the death penalty. Anything addressing the fact that the white working class has been left behind. Anything addressing the fact that no one ever mentions manufacturing, which still accounts for more than twice the GDP of the entire financial services sector, never mind the bailout-begging City alone.

Anything addressing the fact that the powers that be apparently cannot distinguish between the respectable working class and the characters from Shameless, so that council and housing association tenants are therefore to lose security of tenure in order for Shameless characters to be moved in next door to them, or even in place of them. Anything addressing the indiscipline in many schools serving the working class, the kind that gives rise to horrific calls for the restoration of the cane.

Anything addressing the concern that Scottish devolution has never been supported by the majority of eligible voters in Scotland, yet is presented by all parties there, both as “the settled will of the Scottish people”, and as “a process rather than an event”, a “process” which can have no logical end except one massively unwanted “event”.

Anything addressing the fact that a mere twenty-six per cent of the electorate ever supported devolution in Wales, where it is being used to entrench the rule of those who live in English-speaking areas but who speak Welsh as a cordon sanitaire.

Anything addressing the fact that the government of Northern Ireland has been carved up between a bizarre fundamentalist sect and a fully armed, highly active terrorist organisation.

And anything addressing the treatment of England, where there is now the kind of resentment that gives rise to crazy calls for an English Parliament, a potential BNP platform.

These valid and well-founded concerns are very widely, deeply and strongly shared within the visible ethnic minority communities. Yet the main parties are not addressing them. So the vacuum is being filled. By the BNP.

And when the BNP, heavily hyped by the client media, marches into Strasbourg, then these concerns will be off the mainstream political agenda once and for all. That is the plan.

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