Polly on Poverty

Tee hee, very good Polly.

It was a piece of breathtaking cheek and bare-faced larceny when David Cameron pledged to "Make British poverty history" this week, stealing Gordon Brown\’s slogan and Labour\’s policy stronghold. Cameron snatched the starting day of a month of action on child poverty, run by the End Child Poverty campaign, an umbrella group of 90 children\’s charities originally assembled by Gordon Brown himself, as a counterweight against other spending demands.

Most amusing. Getting all het up about one pol stealing the policies of another….when said pol hadd just stolen several the other way around, you know, the non-doms thing and so on. Most amusing: but what\’s really wonderful is that you\’re complaining about Cameron stating that he\’s going to do what you want. Is ending poverty something that is only a valid goal when pushed by Labour? How tribal of you!

Ofsted spelled out the stark social, economic and racial divide that determines how well children do at school: low-income children are half as likely to get five good GCSEs as the well-heeled.

Gosh, I wonder, could that be something to do with the structure of the school system? Does your beloved Sweden do this better? (They do not, for those interested, spend more money.) And if they do, what is the Swedish system…..why, it\’s a voucher system!

If nothing is done it will be lethally worse by 2050, and not just among the poor. Some sensible and easy things can be done – no more advertising of rubbish food to children on TV or anywhere else,

Will that be like the current ban on TV shows? The one where the bureaucrats were so incredibly good at deciding what was good and what was rubbish that Marmite may no longer be advertised to children? Because they based their salt numbers on 100 g servings? Instead of the 3-4 g that Marmite might be served in? We\’re going to work at that level of efficiency, are we?

What is needed now is nothing less than a national culture change, embracing every aspect of life. Step back and look which nations have the fewest obesity problems. You guessed it, it\’s the Nordic countries, where social divisions are narrower.

Excellent! We\’re going to be more like the Nordics! Vouchers! No inheritance tax! No national minimum wage! No National health service! Be more like Sweden!

Both these reports and the shocking Unicef revelations on UK children suggest another way.

You remember that UNICEF report? The one that was comprehensively trashed when it came out? But, see, this is how they work: it\’s now an accepted part of the Canon, a reference point. Used as a throw away line, no one now remembers all of the qualifications that need to be added to the conclusions of the report. That, of course, is why it was written. Not to provide a dispassioned analysis, but to provide ammunition after those caveats are forgotten.

With children as the focus, universal children\’s services would need to be good enough to be appreciated by rich and poor alike. That means the best childcare and nurseries, better subsidised for all, with breakfast clubs and extended afternoon schools that really do match the activities of middle-class children.

And there\’s the real aim. All children to be placed in State podding hutches, there to be propagandised into the social democratic way. For you to raise your own, as you wish, would be doubleplusungood now, wouldn\’t it?

22 thoughts on “Polly on Poverty”

  1. There is something wrong with the formatting of your webpage (I am viewing on Explorer). The left hand side of the page is unviewable and it gets worse the further down the page you read.

  2. “The problem is with your browser. The page displays fine with Safari or Firefox.”

    Yes, but guess who is going to have to change: Microsoft or Tim?

    Tim adds: The Devil is, well, sometime he will, sort this out.

  3. Well I don’t know about you, but I’m going to change my browser, get a new PC and if necessary move house because there’s no reason why Tim should be at all bothered to make his blog compatible with Explorer which is inly used by eccentrics anyway.

  4. Weird, I’ve just looked at the site with IE. It does approach being unreadable. But IE is crap and Tim’s writings are good, should the latter conform to the former or can we hope that this dilemma inspires others to use better browsers?

  5. I use microsoft ‘s IE7. (he DOES?????….HuuuuuuuHH?? ..Explorer?)


    I can see the whole of Tim’s stuff fine.

    Bill Gates brought most ordinary users of the world out of the darkness of uncomputing, through the dawn of dis-DOSness, (but I liked DOS-5 quite a lot) past the sharp rocks and abti-personnal-mines of alter-OS-Geekness, and towards a largely imperfect world of mostly-computing, most of the time, with mostly poor stuff (and Vista is awful) but this IS still the morning of the world. Why does everybody hate Microsoft? Better things will arrive in time, and in the meantime we should thank the guy, and pity him and his wife, for the UNdoogooders have got their teeth into the ankle of his fortune, and it will surely be wasted on Mercs-4-Jerks.

  6. David, I checked using IE6 so seems they’ve got their act together on the later editions.

    Besides, I’m doing all this on XP also so I can’t be a Microsoft hater. Though it is worth mentioning that I rolled back from Vista so I’m not a fan either. The argument was about browsers, not OSs. The opensource of firefox allows it to be easily customised using the add-ins of yourself or others (e.g. adblock, download toolbar). That function alone is worth the transfer. Tim’s blog is just a bonus.

  7. Philip,

    I’m using IE (v7, on XP Pro SP2) and it seems fine to me.


    “David Cameron pledged to “Make British poverty history” this week”

    I can do that: Poverty is henceforward to be defined as an absolute not a relative level.

    Ta da! I’ve made British poverty history.

  8. Par Part of the problem, is that many people don’t actually know what to do with fresh food. How about making basic cooking lessons obligatory for both boys and girls in 6th Form?It would reduce peoples’ dependence on ready-meals and so reduce their food bills and reduce obesity as well.

  9. “I had just assumed that we couldn’t read anything on the left here as part of some clever politcal in joke by Tim”


  10. It’s not so far fetched actually – it’s often been said that Tim reads the Guardian so that we don’t have to…

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  13. DK, on IE 6.0.26, I still see the text edging ever leftwards and progressively disappearing into the magnolia surround. Perhaps Tim should just put an “optimised for Firefox and IE 7.x” get-out at the top of his page.

  14. Polly wails that, “low-income children are half as likely to get five good GCSEs as the well-heeled.” Given that children in low-income families are likely there because their parents are sub-normal (intelligence is strongly correlated with wealth, and is also heritable), what is she complaining about? Feeble-minded poor people have feeble-minded offspring? Quelle surprise. Toynbee should Google the phrase ‘assortative mating’.

  15. So much angst… so much unrest and distrust. Can’t we all just get along? (gagging as that phrase crosses my thoughts) If you were real pseudo-dissidents, you’d already be bucking the establishment by browsing with Firefox (chuckling). We all know by not only how corrupt, but how fallible Mr. Gates’ products are.

    Public education is one of the saddest conundrums in existence… if you fund it too much you’re ‘feeding your children propaganda’, but if its is left underfunded, then you’re ‘dumbing down’ your future generations, so they’re more susceptible to propaganda.

    I’ll be in the corner drinking my Victory Gin…

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