The number of badly behaved teens in Asbo-type trouble, drinking, taking drugs and having too-early sex mirrors the proportion born poor in their generation. As Nick Pearce, the IPPR director, says, this is all about class - again. There is no great mystery, no strange British pathology or innate savagery in our genes. These aimless, uncared-for young people are the price paid (mostly by them) for gross inequality of opportunity and reward.Radical politics used to revolve around the belief that the poor are as good as the rich. In Toynbee's hands it has degenerated into the belief that the children of the poor - all of them - are a delinquent underclass. This is the crudest prejudice.
And Toynbee's answer? Inevitably, it is:
All schools should become "extended" 8am-to-6pm havens by 2010, offering breakfast, tea and after-school activities and activities that only the middle classes take for granted.Why not take the children of the poor into care and have done with it? Clearly, the less time they spend with their parents the better.