Thursday, 13 January 2011

“Think of the children” - the phrase that leads to wasted billions

“Think of the children” is a mightily overworked phrase, trotted out by bleeding hearted liberals (and quite a few sensible people) to justify leaving things pretty much as they are. (It’s up there, with “You can’t have people starving on the streets”, which performs a similar function.)

What both phrases actually mean is: keep power-hosing tens of billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money into a system which promotes fecklessness and reinforces failure. 

As the responsible people of this country finally begin to lose patience with a system that refuses to tackle bad behaviour, the children of the poor have, in effect, been turned into human shields by their parents and those adults who depend on them for a living – teachers, social workers, politicians and civil servants  -  and their fellow “Progressives” in the Media.  

According to the “Think of the Children” argument, if you stop pouring money into a cripplingly expensive series of educational schemes apparently designed to realise the  Marxist dream of an equality of outcome, you’ll be creating a generation of dangerous, anti-social criminals - as if that isn’t exactly what their dirigiste policies have already succeeding in producing.

Most of us are depressed by the fact that years of Liberal-Left social and education policies have turned Britain into an appallingly immoral, high-crime country. And we know that a large percentage of these crimes are being committed by juveniles from the lower economic strata of society. And we’d really like something done to stop it: it’s dispiriting and shaming. 

But every possible remedy is rejected with the response “Think of the children”.

You can’t fine the parents: they don’t have any money (well, none that doesn’t come from you and me). You can’t send them to jail, because that would mean taking their children into care, and we try not to do that (andit’s bloody expensive).

You can’t throw the parents out of their council flats, because (a) they might start dying in the streets, which would be embarrassing, and (b) the children would suffer.

You can’t send the children to prison – it’ll lead to a life of crime and it’s expensive, and the very thought makes Liberal-Left Bleeding Hearts cry into their pillows at night (in fact, they’re desperate to raise the age of criminal responsibility). 

You can’t exclude the little horrors from school: they’d only use their increased leisure hours to commit yet more crimes. 

You could, of course,  admit defeat with the present generation of junior Calibans and concentrate on the next generation by forcing moronic teenage Mums to have abortions - but we simply don’t do that sort of thing (Eugenics, Hitler, class war, human rights etc.).

Thanks to our admirable desire not to blight children’s lives, we stay our hand and, therefore,  many people get to lead lives seemingly devoid of consequences. The result is that just about any extra money poured into the state education system in poor areas might as well be incinerated before it’s spent, for all the good it will do. 

It’s hard to think of a better example of pointless spending than Nick Clegg’s “fairness premium” - which will take an extra £7 billion from people who look after their kids to be spent on children whose parents are either incapable of or unwilling to look after theirs. Of course, it won’t make a blind bit of difference. It never does. Ever. You could spend £30,000 a year on the education of the poorest children – the same as Eton – and, while one or two of those who would have been all right anyway will gain some benefit, the rest won’t.

The fundamental error all our “experts” make when it comes to improving the behaviour and therefore the prospects of our poorest children is to imagine it’s to do with telling them how to behave rather than showingthem. There is no point in telling kids that hard work, consideration for others, honesty, courtesy, a respect for private property, eating with your mouth closed, not producing children you can’t support, and not taking drugs or getting pissed all the time will lead to a better life - unless you demonstrate this to be the case by (a) punishing pupils who fail to behave in the recommended fashion (and ultimately excluding them if they simply refuse to wise up), and (b) punishing adults who similarly fail to behave in a responsible, civilsed manner.

I have some sympathy with old-fashioned educationalists who would argue that merely acquiring the discipline necessary to learn anything improves a child’s prospects. But when the rest of society, other kids in your class, and even your own parent(s) are proving every minute of every day that you can get away with utterly undisciplined, selfish behaviour based onnever deferring gratification and never having to pay for your mistakes, you’d have to be an extraordinary person to conclude that it’s better to do what the teacher says rather than what everyone else does

Children with that much innate strength of character are going to be fine, come what may. It’s the rest we have to worry about – and if the Liberal-Leftists who exert a stranglehold on Education, Criminal Justice and the Social Services continue to use “Think of the Children” as an excuse for failing - yet again -  to show young people that bad behaviour entails bad consequences, all the money in the world won’t help.  


  1. When I was at junior school, there was something called an Approved School next door, which was in essence a school for bad boys. The thought that any misdemeanour on my part might lead to being shipped 100 yards down the road to face unimaginable horrors was a powerful incentive to fit in.

    Of course, like borstals, they were abolished, no doubt because they stigmatised the poor unfortunates sent to them and reinforced negative self-image (or some such bollocks). There might be lessons to be learned going backwards on this one.
    Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 11:14 PM

  2. It’s like that exchange from A Fish Called Wanda:
    Wanda: I’m sorry about my brother, Ken. I know he’s insensitive. He had a hard life. Our father used to beat him.”
    Ken: “Good!”

    If they’re going to turn into career criminals in any case, it’s a comfort to know that they suffered along the way.

    I watched ten minutes of some reality show involving the chef, Michel Roux tying to train a mixed group of young “Britons” to become proper, professional waiters (like you get abroad). I had to switch over because the appallingly stupid, moronic, selfish, clueless behaviour of two of them almost caused me to employ some of the racial epithets I was discussing a few posts back. One of them – black and gay – used that give-away phrase “That’s just me” just before being kicked off the show for being what he described as “a strong personality” (evidently a synonym for “repellent” these days). Another girl – a black teenage single mother - kept turning up in high heels despite being told not to (after a French maitre d’ rightly told her she was setting her daughter an appalling example). The fact that our school system keeps churning out young people with an enormous and utterly unjustified level of self-regard, an inability to change their behaviour to suit the milieu they find themselves in, and a complete inability to take any form of criticism rather suggests they spent their schooldays being told they were utterly fabulous and that “being yourself” is all that matters in life. (I can’t remember Frank Miles telling me either of these things!).
    Friday, January 14, 2011 - 02:13 PM