Monday, 11 January 2010
CAMERON PROMISES BRIBES TO GET MARRIED AND MORE RESPECT AND DEFERENCE
There is no doubt in my mind that there is something wrong with some of the parenting in Scotland, or indeed in Britain, and I look forward to a challenging debate on how, in a new parliament, with a new government in London, we can make changes that will help children to have a happier and better start in life. Today David Cameron set out his stall on this matter.
In a departure from previous Tory administrations, Mr Cameron said that as Prime Minister he would promote active intervention in families to build a “responsible” society. The institution of marriage, the best environment in which to raise children, would be supported by tax breaks, and schools (a devolved issue here) would see a return to traditional values of respect and deference.
He called on the entire community to ensure that children picked up responsible messages, and warned businesses and advertisers that unless they stopped “sexualisation and excessive commercialisation” of young people, legislation could follow.
Mr Cameron pointed out: "What matters most to a child's life chances is not the wealth of their upbringing but the warmth of their parenting. Of course there's a link between material poverty and poor life chances, but the full picture is that that link also runs through the style of parenting that children in poor households receive.”
He also set out a new policy on Sure Start Centres for parents with young children. He said he wanted Sure Start to focus on the most “disadvantaged and dysfunctional” families, with staff paid by results.
Well... that’s enough to be going on with. A mixed bag of good, bad and indifferent here.
His warning to business and to advertisers is good. Stop treating children like adults. They are not. They have been exploited and sexualized for too long and it is a relief to hear someone, not so much in the pockets of big business as the current government, promise action.
I worry about a return to “respect and deference” though. Both of these things are good of course, and I’d love to see more of them, but before you encourage people to demonstrate them, there has to be something worthy of that respect and deference. I wouldn’t want to encourage kids to show respect to, for example, our lying, cheating politicians, just because they think themselves up there and us down here. Too much deference is the reason that they managed to steal so much from us without fear of being found out.
And I have a real worry about the mixed message Mr Cameron is sending. Children don’t necessarily thrive where there is more money, he tells us, but he proposes to pay couples to get married (children or no). Is this to please the Daily Mail?
Finally I note that after years of “paid by results” organisations, usually private sector ones, it still hasn’t got through to the people at the “top” that TARGETS DON’T WORK. I know. I’ve been there. Guess what Dave... Everyone, and I mean everyone, CHEATS. The people who really need help are ignored because it can take months, maybe even years, to tick just one box with them. The easy to help are helped, because within a week, all their boxes are ticked. Simples!
More thought required..... please!