Friday, November 03, 2006

Polly Toynbee is a snob

Here she is in today's Guardian, commenting on the IPPR report on British teens:
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.


Liberal Neil said...

There is some truth in what she says - there is a clear correlation between the relative wealth of the household you grow up in and your educational atainment, likelihood of being convicted of crime, likelihood of teenage preganancy, life expectancy etc. etc.

That is not the same thing as saying 'all children from poor families will grow up to be drug taking, crime committing asbo getters' but the correlation still stands.

Where you are quite right is that we need to find liberal rather than statist solutions to change the situation.

Anonymous said...

How does "x is proportional to y" become "x equals y"?

And how does "schools should offer after school activities" become "the less time they spend with parents the better"?

And why do you assume the poor don't have jobs, so will be at home at 4pm when their children leave school?

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

To be fair on Polly, she was arguing for out of school activities precisely BECAUSE the parents are spending less time with their kids.