September 3, 2006

Tony Blair's Daddy State

Facing the consequences of 30 years hard work by the left in breaking down societal taboos and replacing it with a culture of permissiveness;

LONDON - British Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday the state should intervene early - possibly even before birth - to stop the children of problem families growing up into troublemakers.

One think-tank said the idea, the latest step in Blair's drive against crime and anti-social behaviour in Britain, verged on "genetic determinism".

In his first interview since returning from a Caribbean holiday, Blair told the BBC that teenage mothers could be required to accept state assistance with bringing up their children and could face sanctions if they refused.

Intervention might even be needed "pre-birth", he said.

"If we are not prepared to predict and intervene far more early then there are children that are going to grow up in families that we know perfectly well are completely dysfunctional, and the kids a few years down the line are going to be a menace to society and actually a threat to themselves," Blair said.

Blair is seeking to put the focus on his policies to try to halt a slump in his Government's popularity and shift media attention away from the question of when he will step down.

He said the Government could say to an unmarried teenage mother who was not in a stable relationship: "Here is the support we are prepared to offer you, but we do need to keep a careful watch on you and how your situation is developing because all the indicators are that your type of situation can lead to problems in the future."

Anastasia de Waal, of social policy think-tank Civitas, said: "It is teetering on genetic determinism this kind of saying that before children are even born they are labelled as problematic."

Oliver Letwin, policy director for the opposition Conservative Party, slammed Blair's idea, saying more state intervention and bureaucracy were not the answer.

"The only realistic way forward lies with social enterprise, charities and voluntary groups. It is no good the Government simply trying to run peoples' lives," he said.

On the other hand, it's not as though Blair's Labour Party has been altogether reluctant to assume the responsibilities of failed parenting - and then some. Flashback:
Mr Ternouth's thriller flooded back to me this week when I read of the Government's plan to spend £224million of your money and mine on setting up a database, recording details of the lives of all 12 million children in England and Wales.

Among other things, the Children's Index will record whether a child's parents are providing a 'positive role model', how the child is performing at school — and even whether youngsters are eating the daily five portions of fruit and vegetables recommended by the Government. Presumably, children will be questioned at school each morning on what their parents fed them the night before.

The database, we are told, will be made available to social workers, teachers and doctors, who will have the power to flag up 'concerns' when they think that children are not meeting the criteria laid down by the state.

Posted by Kate at September 3, 2006 8:46 AM

Deluded': Extraordinary attack on Blair by Cabinet

'Self-indulgent' PM urged to 'end the pantomime' as senior ministers meet to hasten his departure.

Stick a fork in him...he's done.

Posted by: Dave M. at September 3, 2006 8:38 AM

Studies definintely inidicate that good families produce good kids, not 100% but more likely than a "bad family". Meanin secure and loving environment.

But this is overkill, isnt the answer really to promote good families, rather than the state taking over the activities that a family does.

Now the state already, rightfully so, has the power to remove children from demonstrably abusive environments. Even that is tough and seldom invoked.

This is just wonky. Once again if the family as an institution was respected, which doesnt mean promoting the family just stop putting pressure on it and stop promoting alternatives to the family.

One day we'll wake up and understand that a family is the best place for humans to raise their children. Accept that and then build your strategy and tactics around it.

Posted by: Stephen at September 3, 2006 9:37 AM

...."genetic determinism"....

Sounds disturbingly similar to something I read in Tommy Douglas's thesis....!
Are British socialists really pushing that crap...?

Posted by: William at September 3, 2006 9:51 AM

"the left in breaking down societal taboos"

I would argue that the actions of the left over 30 years has been the exact opposite - not breaking down taboos, but creating new ones that better suit the lifestyles of their promoters.

All Blair is promoting is the age-old have/have not them/us argument. THEY are not like us and THEY will give US trouble so we will have to do something about THEM, and if we deal with THEM before THEY are born, well, how perfect for US would that be? Britain is in a death spiral that it may not recover from. George Orwell knew well of whom he spoke.

Posted by: Skip at September 3, 2006 10:30 AM

Having experienced a couple of examples of teen-mom responsibility (or lack thereof) in my family I almost welcome supernanny state intervention. Government is undo their past mistakes.

In both of my examples the "children of the children" have received huge amounts of care from their grandparents to meet basic needs and have been given numerous "extras" to help the kids have a real chance at developing into good individuals. The teeny moms were definitely not up to the task of handling the job themselves and the teeny fathers predictably took the zip line escape route. The unending sacrifices given by immediate family providing primary care to the kids of teenage moms is something I never hear anything about. They are true hero's from the remnants of our traditional families and go against the grain of a declining morally bankrupt society.

If the government really wants to discourage growth in the unwed mother population they have to take a stand for traditional families. This starts with forcing the responsibility on those that have the children...both the mothers AND FATHERS. The easy escape routes have to be removed...the child's father must be held equally accountable for care and if he's incapable or unwilling to provide sufficient care then forcefully put him in a situation to give financially to the people looking after his child (e.g. conscription into the army until his kid turns 18).

Also, unborn children need to be given the right to life. Removing abortion on demand will take the focus off of sex and put it where the focus belongs: on the family.

Many people in our society have become addicted to using people and the system to pick up after them. If there's consequences with a harsher reality to face when kids and adults "screw up" and make a baby they'll start taking responsibility over their actions sooner. They may even grow to want the challenge of raising children and wait until they are properly equipped to do so. Imagine that!

Posted by: Martin B. at September 3, 2006 11:15 AM

I find the thought of instinctive behaviour instilled by a bureaucracy rather laughable especially a left leaning one.
After all one has to chose between one action or another.
In the progressive grey world of rose gardens for all its like looking for morality, and personal responsibilty in thick fog, with a blindfold on.

Intervention pre-birth? How about a good kick in the a--.

Skip - I think in some areas of Canada we won't be far behind Britain. You just have to listen to some parents, and look around.
I think there is a whole generation of kids, that have no idea life is waiting with a "deadfall" for them to walk under.

Posted by: Mugs at September 3, 2006 11:38 AM

Extremely sad when the term Single Mom is worn as a kind of badge of honour.

Thank the Looney Left for that one too.

Posted by: Ralph at September 3, 2006 12:22 PM

And even while the british allow crinimals to run the streets and all the time the people cower in fear from vicious gangs they want to stop kids from becoming troublemakers? why dont they bring back good old fashion disapline and quit listening to the liberal wussies

Posted by: spurwing plover at September 3, 2006 8:32 PM

The thing is, there's no reasonable way of predicting the kids who need help, at least not yet. I'd bet we will figure it out ... but it is going to take time!

We now know that males who have both unusually low seratonin levels and bad attachment to their primary parent will account for the overwhelming majority of our violent criminals. We can say with some assurance that 70% of our violent criminals are boys who have both these traits. The thing is, at present there's just no way to predict which boys will have both traits!

Oh sure ... we can say that the sons of single mothers have higher odds of bad attachment and therefore are at increased risk of being in the target group. But, it is only increased risk, it is not a sure thing by any means.

We could increase the number of primary care fathers in the hope of reducing the bad attachments seen in single mothers: We must realize that in dropping the number of criminals in this way we increase the number of accidental deaths in teenagers as accidental deaths are more common in lone father families. Choosing to have more accidental deaths over having more criminals may be a good choice, but I'd want to have EVERYONE really think about it before making such a choice.

It just comes down to we don't know enough to intervene with any reasonable assurance that we're doing good and not harm!

Posted by: jw at September 4, 2006 5:44 AM

jw: "but I'd want to have EVERYONE really think about it before making such a choice."

JW, you're pretty good at do nothing blather. From the utter lack of substance in your comment I bet you don't have kids.

If you actually want to acquire a bit of substance to this issue try listening to an experienced social worker that deals with young single moms. They try to impact the lives of kids having kids every day and definitely know about intervening with reasonable expectations that they're doing good.

Maybe I'm too outmoded and simple for such a convoluted world where arguing to do nothing about serious problems gets paying jobs on Liberal social committees. But I prefer my simple beliefs to fuzzy spirit-numbing relativism which offers at best incomplete solutions but typically doesn't offer anything real at all...something like your comments.

Borrowing from my previous comment I believe, simply, that our government needs to work hard to encourage loving two parent "mom & dad" homes for all children. I also believe that if the baby makers can't or won't give a child a proper home that they should have substantial financial obligations to the kids that they create. Finally I believe that for the future good of our society the rights of the unborn must be legally recognized. Ultimately it's about taking away the option of not taking responsibility and obligating biological parents of children to contribute one way or another to their off-spring. Sounds more real to me than arguing over what constitutes a low seratonin level threshold.

What do you believe, jw? Or do you have to "really think about it before making such a choice." Are you afraid some kid might cramp your social life?

Posted by: Martin B. at September 4, 2006 7:36 AM

Do you really want anybody on the political left deciding what a positive environment for a child is?

Posted by: jerry at September 4, 2006 2:54 PM

In other words, would you want an NDP type deciding what's best for your child, considering their record in Ontario from 1990-95?Imagine what it would be like if the NDP decided what a positive envirnment for a child; that should scare anybody with a functioning brain.

Posted by: jerry at September 4, 2006 2:58 PM

The trouble with socialists is they never learned from their parent’s mistakes, they weren’t sterilized.

Posted by: Western Canadian at September 4, 2006 5:04 PM

Martin B. :: What's with the insults? Insults help nobody and in these matters end up hurting kids.

Look, we already KNOW, know beyond any doubt, that a two parent family is best. What we do not know is how to increase the number of two parent families! You have to know how to do something before you do it.

Oh sure ... if we could get women to listen to the men's perspective that would would gain a marginal increase in the number of two parent families. Any idea on how to do that? Hmmm?

Making divorce harder to get. That MIGHT, maybe, get us more two parent families ... the thing is we need HEALTHY two parent families not just homes with two adults. Making divorce harder only gets us homes with two adults, not healthy two parent homes.

I could go on and on and on ... We just plain do not know what to do.

WELL, one thing we do know, when in situations wherein we do not know what to do, is to talk, to throw out possibilities. Do what we engineers call fishboning. THAT, that more often than not will show some of the possible solutions to the problems at hand.

Frankly, the point at hand in the article is the Labor Party's idea to interfere in families with the hope of helping those at need. We do not know what to do to interfere for the better! We do not even know how to pick out the abusive families, never mind the one's with bad attachments. How in the name of hell can the Brits do anything constructive when they do not know what to look for?

Thus, the odds are that they will spend a lot of money, harm some innocents, find some perfectly obvious abusive families and generally make a mess.

Posted by: jw at September 5, 2006 4:05 AM

Nanny state family intervention aside, let me get this right: A government / political party / group of people who believe in a common philosophy of socialism / support human rights ad nauseum, want to socioeconomically profile parents and their children down to did they have eggs sunny side up or over easy for the good of the state and society, yet they are against racial profiling people (not 100% sure about England's actual current laws) who want to blow their precious utopian society to hell? (Fundamentalists probably not only get the virgins but heaven too, not the Zionists)

Give me a fu..king break!! And the kicker is they don't see themselves as hypocrites because they have become such fanatics in their drive to control us they have lost sight of all reality. And that is the bigger problem we face as a society. We have it coming from both sides, the Islamic extremists just have the forces of moderation to contend with in their homelands.

Posted by: Joseph Williams at September 5, 2006 10:25 AM

Boy howdy, is THAT a bad idea!

I'm amazed anyone was stupid enough even to advance it.

Posted by: mojo at September 5, 2006 10:55 AM

jw:"Look, we already KNOW, know beyond any doubt, that a two parent family is best." and "... We just plain do not know what to do."

Sounds like we do plainly know what to do: Encourage healthy two parent families in any way possible using legislation, taxation and information. The government should be able to help with those.

I agree with you that the Brit's are just re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic...they're not addressing the real core problems (see previous comments) and that's why their big brother initiative is a disaster in the making. However, that doesn't mean that government can't take on a critical role to breath life into what "we already know, know beyond any doubt" works.

I hope the child care boat in Canada can change it's course from the route the Brit's are following. But we need to have the guts to admit our mistakes and retrace the path to get back to what we know works.

Posted by: Martin B. at September 5, 2006 6:06 PM