Victorian values return

Even the Telegraph considers this government less than optimum; “We see only a ship of fools, and a plague ship at that.”

Others have suggested that it is a brains trust of the intellectually challenged.

Yet Johnson in the Commons, opined that the British taxpayer has the right to expect that we will achieve maximum value for every pound spent.

Apart from the failure to understand the monetary system, it is remarkable that he considers feeding hungry children does not constitute value. In view of his multiple unknown children – perhaps he does not consider them of any worth – never mind that children are actually our future?

The idea that that Conservative MP’s should vote to deprive ‘underprivileged’ (aka hungry) children of food might seem an odd concept – but sure enough there was a three line whip against this Labour motion:

Effectively this was a no food for children policy. Who on earth voted for that?

Most Tory MP’s were reluctant to oppose the motion, thank goodness.

Government whips later about turned and told Tory MPs there will be no whip to oppose Labour’s Opposition Day motion on free school meals. Thus it went through. This was Starmer’s first ‘victory’.

Of course, the disastrous cuts to tax credits and spiteful and obligatory delay to universal credit as well as the benefit cap – not to mention the two child limit – will not unfortunately, prevent childhood hunger. But at least this ‘victory’ helps.

It is ironic that when the government had asked a couple of months ago for footballers to step up and do their bit, one of them, Man U’s Marcus Rashford, actually very much has… Indeed it has been suggested he should be appointed (half seriously), the Minister for Common Decency.

Quite.

So we have an ideological government motivated by belief – unless it cannot stay in power without conceding.

Bluster, bluff and good time charlieism prevail – there is no substantive thought or empathy.

That is why we are reduced to Victorian values – a country reduced to considering slavery, racism and feeding hungry children.

In which case we would do well to take close account of the Victorian thinker, John Ruskin:

The first duty of a state is to see that every child born therein shall be well housed, clothed, fed and educated.

Even in this pandemic, it seems it is to be, quite remarkably, back to the future.

Comments

  1. David Howdle -

    The link to the Telegraph at the top is broken.

    1. Peter May -

      Amended, thanks.

  2. Bill Hughes -

    Agree with all your comments, a clear case of previous Tory callousness versus common humanity from everyone else including a prominent football star. Isn’t the child benefit limit 2 and not 3 children? In either case this is inexcusable, especially for lone parents with more than 2/3 children.

    1. Peter May -

      You’re right it is a two child limit. Originally I was going to mention that the third child got nothing but the editing was suboptimal!
      Now changed, thank you.

  3. B Gray -

    We have an equally maddening situation in the US. Pre-COVID, 1 in 6 children were food insecure and post-COVID that ratio has increased to 1 in 4. Our government has provided some relief but that is only temporary, and many republican states still put barriers in place to accessing benefits.

    What is most maddening in the US with our conservative party is the disconnect between the issue of abortion and benefits to children. Their argument is that while the state has a compelling interest to see that every conceived child is born, it has no compelling interest in seeing that those same children are adequately fed, housed, clothed, and educated.

    This would seem to be contradictory to most rational and empathetic people; however, the strategy behind this position has nothing to do with child welfare and everything to do with creating political wedge issues that appeal to Christians and Libertarians. These wedge issues (along with immigration, race/gender disparity, gun rights, etc.) are intended to divide the population against itself, as this is the only way that conservatives can retain power. It would seem our children and families are merely pawns in a winner-take-all political game.

    1. Chris Kitcher -

      You are so right. The only way in which the neoliberals can win is by dividing society. Sadly they do no care who they set against each other. Just so long as they win and continue to make money.

  4. Peter May -

    I fear the US has an even worse version of neoliberalism. But I think the advantage is that it seems to me it is more overt.
    The British system is more secretive and any queries are often referred back – speciously -to ‘tradition’…
    Identity politics is always dangerous if you’re progressive.
    That is why it is heartening (and also vital) to see so many non blacks on BLM protests.

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