Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Metro Lays into Cameron.....BOTH!?!

Splashed across the copy of the Metro I've just picked up for free on my bus is the headline:

'Workhouses' for teenage mothers
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I'd hoped that this headline was going to be seen on every bus and train across the country but the Metro site indicates that the story is carrying the more conciliatory headline 'Gordon Brown Accuses Tories of having no hearts'.

After the headline sentence in my copy of the Metro it goes straight on to lash even further in to the 50,000 family ASBOs that Brown promised yesterday.

'What is the news in that?' you may ask. The Scottish Metro goes out into the Labour heartland of Glasgow and the central belt. So I'm wondering if the two different Metro headlines are being aimed differently at Labour and Tory territory? If so does this imply some sort of unspoken, burgeoning support for the Lib Dems from the nation's biggest circulating free newspaper?


Richard T said...

I was thinking that the Government might contract out the running of these homes to an agency with a proven track record of morality, kindness and care for the individuals in a completely non-judgemental way. The Roman Catholic Church springs to mind; its irish nuns have great experience in managing these feckless creatures.

Richard Gadsden said...

I think the Metro is running a different headline on the website from the papers - I saw the workhouses line on my paper this morning in Manchester

Cousin Rachel said...

We are both on the left of British politics but we are somewhere different within that - and this is an absolutely classic example of that.

Teenage pregnancy destroys lives - for generations to come. In so doing it destroys communities - and the rest of us - social workers, teachers, health visitors, doctors, youth workers, lawyers, probation infinitum...end up picking up the pieces.

This is not an issue to go all woooly and sandal-wearing on us.

Stephen Glenn said...

Ok Rachel I'm not about to get all wooly and sandal-wearing on you, but I'm going to point out the facts.

First this will only apply to teenagers aged 16-17 who are claiming Govenment support. Does that include child tax credit, which would suggest that the parents are working?

Assuming the couple are married at 16 which is legal. Assume that the mother has just had a child but the huband due to the harsh economic climate loses his job, would they then be shunted into supervised housing?

Assuming the carer of the child is a single parent, we would assume that is the mother. She is moved into the home and the father isn't. Is that not sexually discriminatory, in breach of the European convention on Human Rights on a number of level and also deeply condescending?

One final scenario for you to ponder. The mother has a child before she is 16, and lives with the family. The family all live on benefit. On her 16th birthday is she taken away and put into this Poorhouse by any other name?

It discriminates against the poor. It discriminates against young women. It goes against some of the ILP's early pledges to end workhouses.

One final thing you may want to consider, this is a policy of the BNP. Didn't you want to stop them earlier in the year? Now you're defending one of their policies. Where will it end?

Cousin Rachel said...

My views on this issue are based on 12 months' practice in Family Law - seeing first hand just how disintegrated our communities really are - and seeing the pain and anguish that children go through when their parents are at war or when they don't even know who they are.

People who live in disintegrated communities realise this but are frustrated with governments who just don't "get it" - and it's the "not getting it" that is making them prey to the BNP. I'd give my life to stem the tide of fascism in my local community, but stemming the tide of fascism is about more than telling people to vote for a mainstream party. It's about getting to the root causes of multigenerational multiple deprivation.

The only people branding this the "workhouse" and the "poorhouse" are the media and bloggers like you. This isn't about stigmatising young girls: this is about dealing with the fact that being a mother is the hardest job a woman could ever have - a job which the majority of 16 year olds(I'm sure there are exceptions) simply aren't mature enough to handle (whether or not they're married or in work).

BTW I'm not defending the minutae of this policy: I just think it's irresponsible for the media to be stigmatising these centres when teenage pregnancy and family breakdown are such major issues which have such major consequences. My question is: do you want to tackle these issues or not - and if so, how?

Stephen Glenn said...

Yes we want to deal with the problem of teenage pregnacy but not by the means of institutionalising them, based solely of wealth. The issue of teenage pregnancy is not confined to the poor though, ask some of the church youth group in London I used to lead. Single mothers who have the parental support will not be getting help in this situation and those that are on support will be further stigmantised.

It is a sad state of Labour thought that the line of attack is central control and institutional. Labour went for Anti Social Behaviour Orders, in some Lib Dem local authorities we implemented Anti-social Behaviour Contracts. The difference in approach is there, Labour issue and order to be obeyed, Lib Dems look for a contract which involved ownership from both parties.

Education is needed and support. But to put someone in a situation where they don't want to be is not the solution.


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