All entries for Wednesday 27 July 2005

July 27, 2005

Labour's Ineffective Social Policy

Columnist Jamie Whyte wrote a good article in The Times yesterday on government initiatives aimed at ‘improving’ society’s behaviour; in particular, the behaviour of children. Whyte links a poor worth ethic and lack of self sufficiency among some societal groups to the fact that the financial cost of poor parenting and poor behaviour is borne by taxpayers rather than the family in question.

The development of Labour’s social policy displays the same characteristic. Since coming to power Labour has produced an extraordinary number of micro-initiatives aimed at improving our behaviour. Its latest is the brainchild of Beverley Hughes, the Children’s Minister. As well as punishing bad children with the familiar antisocial behaviour orders, school expulsions and the like, the Government will also reward good children

Oddly, for a Labour Party in a nation that believes Marx to be history’s greatest philosopher, it has forgotten one of his most important teachings: the way we live is determined by the economic arrangement of society. There is so much antisocial behaviour in Britain because the values that might prevent it have lost their economic value.
Why do parents instil in their children habits of hard work, self-restraint and consideration for others? Perhaps they believe these values to be intrinsically worthwhile. But they also have an economic interest in raising well behaved children. If your child grows up to be an unemployable slob, he will be an economic burden on the family.

Given that the costs of behaviour deemed irresponsible (drinking, eating unhealthy food, not working) are paid for by the public as a whole, the government feels justified in proposing ever intrusive legislation. Unfortunately the public, seeking value for money, is happy to grant them permission.

Read the article in full here.

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