In explaining the rise in inequality between young people in Britain, you dismiss “policy prescriptions driven by ideology” as a “retreat to dogma” (“Too many UK children are born to fail. Why?”, Editorial). As a consequence of this, you then fall into the trap that other proponents of the “end of ideology” thesis make and place the blame for the “problem” on to the “teenage mother who sometimes has no idea how to create a warm, safe, nurturing environment” and, subsequently, needs the help of a government better able to “get the balance between universal and targeted interventions right”.
The problem is the flawed pathology of the lone parent, in need of treatment. This indolent attempt at explanation denies the evidence that more and more working-class and ethnic minority youth find themselves in a world with vastly diminishing opportunities – a situation caused by economic, social and political changes fashioned under three decades of neoliberal restructuring.
To refute this historical and ideological reality is dangerous, for it distracts attention away from the only viable solution to ending this “social apartheid” – the abandonment of the neoliberal project, and a return to economic and social policies shaped by social democratic values and notions of solidarity, justice, democracy and inclusion.
Lecturer in Community & Youth Work Studies, School of Social Sciences
University of Hull
The only thing it’s missing is “We are all guilty”.