Are these the dying days of New Labour? Popular opinion believes so. If this is the case, it is significant that New Labour shows no sign of altering its deep hostility to and mistrust of significant sections of the population. Devoid of any moral compass, symbolised by the infamous Mandelson’s resurrection, it continues to pursue managerial and often authoritarian responses to social issues and dilemmas.
Two differing examples involving young people have been highlighted this week.
Firstly, Gordon Brown’s conference speech moved the normally measured Ravi Chandimirani to exclaim:
Britain’s 12 million or so children and young people got boiled down to “teenage tearaways”, state-scrounging 16-and 17-year olds, in Gordon Brown’s speech.
He want to put away 16-and 17-year-olds who become parents and of course “get support from the state” – yes, that’s you, Mr and Mrs J Public – into a “network of supervised homes” where they can “learn responsibility”!
At this stage I have no idea how he plans to fund and deliver this network of homes. Socially it’s the most right-wing policy I can recall produced at a conference by any party of any colour. It might go down well with vast swathes of the electorate but it’s a sign of just how deeply desperate Labour has now become.
Ravi’s explosion of dismay has sparked a debate, Young mums to be put in supervised flats’, on the Children and Young People Now forum. In a couple of interventions I made the following points:
1. Amidst everything, simply to draw your attention to the policy resolution passed at the British National Party’s 2009 conference:
“…that there be no council flats and no welfare benefits available to unmarried mothers under the age of 21. Instead they will be placed in ‘mother & baby homes’. Here they will receive academic education as well as parenting classes, plus courses covering all aspects of their social development. The homes will be run by ‘matron’ type figures.
Meanwhile New Labour propose……………
the tone [of the proposed legislation] has more to do with the interests of copyright holders than with the rights of children.
And in their analysis set out the ways on which a restriction on household access to the internet, impacts children and young people – and runs counter to government efforts for digital inclusion, and internet access as a key part of learnin