The Ten Percent Party

This is fascinating. I really think that Lynsey Hanley is on to something here:

It\’s daft to expect that it might, given that there has never been a party of the truly poor, but it set me thinking what such a party might look like.

The annual conference of – let\’s call it – the Ten Per Cent party (10% being roughly the percentage of the population termed the "core poor") would need to be sponsored by Special Brew, for one thing. Nothing like being permanently drunk to take your mind off the fact that, in the last 30 years, you\’ve become increasingly likely to be isolated in areas of concentrated poverty and where your likelihood of being murdered has shot up, while everyone else has been getting "richer", "more confident", and safer.

Its chief spokesperson would have to know what it\’s like to have avoided most of secondary school without anyone noticing, and to enter adulthood without being able to spell, count, or communicate effectively. They would have to have raised their family in sub-standard accommodation. They\’d need to know what it\’s like to live in an area where they are in constant danger of attack from peers and neighbours. A criminal record, though by no means a universal characteristic of absolute poverty, would confer further authenticity.

It\’s a very reasonable set of rules that. Stay sober, stay out of jail and don\’t rely upon the State supplied sink estate for your housing nor the State supplied educational system for your literacy and numeracy and you won\’t be part of the bottom 10%.

More than reasonable in fact, eminently sensible. It\’s just odd to see it in The Guardian.

4 thoughts on “The Ten Percent Party”

  1. The subtext is that the poor are victims and need more. It implies the rich are to blame for poverty because they get richer.

    Slums are not built, they are made by residents. How many council developments begin as tidy rows only to end up a minefield of old matresses, car wheels, abandoned fridges, dog turds and broken glass.

    Who does this? The “rich”? No.

    It is the same old Socialist mantra – “Better the poor are poorer, as long as the rich aren’t richer”

  2. “don’t rely upon the State supplied sink estate for your housing nor the State supplied educational system for your literacy and numeracy”

    1) …and your advice to a newborn on how to achieve these worthy aims would be?

    2) I believe the 80% of people who are neither in the poorest 10% nor alumni of private school might view your latter point as somewhat excessive.

    Tim adds: Re 1), that we who are not newborn babes should improve such places: by taking them out of the hands of the State.

  3. 1) Choose your parents carefully.

    2) You don’t have to go to a private school to avoid relying on State education. You could, for example, go to the library to supplement your own education. Or find others interested in improving their education and form a study group.

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