in the tightest budget this March poor children were the one cause Darling paid out to generously.But when Martin Amis wrote in his memoirs Experience:
I was very short of money when I was a baby. I slept in a drawer and had my baths in an outdoor sink. My nappies bore triangular singe marks where they had been dried on the fireguard. It was tough.it was a joke. Of course he was poor. All babies are poor. And if his early years were more straitened than most - which is unlikely, given that Kingsley Amis was a university lecturer - it was because his parents were poor.
To a large extent Labour's concern for child poverty is a way of attempting to preserve the welfare state by sentimentalising it. As if one could help children from poor families without helping their parents. Deborah Orr has said so. Chris Dillow has said so. For what it's worth, I have said so myself.
But there is a sinister side to it too. Again and again in her work Toynbee praises schemes like Sure Start and sees the fact that children are spending less time with their parents as a triumph. Most of us, if we were describing our utopia, would include happy family life. Not Toynbee.
At the back of her thinking is the idea that children have interests which are quite separate from those of their parents. And that those are interests are to be secured by the state acting through... well, people rather like Polly Toynbee, actually.