Blair to tackle problem kids “pre-birth”

August 31, 2006

A predictable hoo-hah over Blair’s suggestion that the state should intervene early — possibly even before birth — to stop the children of problem families growing up into troublemakers. So Blair is importing his neocon proactive foreign policy for domestic use. Critics have wasted no time in lambasting it. One think-tank said the idea verged on “genetic determinism”. The Lib Dems said “Empty threats to pregnant mothers will do little to restore confidence in a government that has failed to tackle poverty, crime etc etc etc”. (Empty threats- what about some full threats then?) The Conservatives, predictably, have slammed Blair’s idea, saying more state intervention and bureaucracy were not the answer. “The only realistic way forward lies with social enterprise, charities and voluntary groups.” Yeah, cool, that’ll solve the problem no worries. And they’ll need bucket loads of tlc, presumably, too. The only people who seem to have supported it are a parent support charity but even they warned that ‘intervention must be “respectful”‘. Blair said the government could say to an unmarried teenage mother who was not in a stable relationship: “Here is the support we are prepared to offer you, but we do need to keep a careful watch on you and how your situation is developing because all the indicators are that your type of situation can lead to problems in the future.” Sounds a bit too respectful to me. While I don’t like the idea of government meddling in what potatoes we can eat and how we dispose of our rubbish I don’t see what’s wrong in the state having something to say about one of the most pernicious acts that people commit, i.e. spawning children they are unable to look after properly. More power to your elbow, Mr Blair, or whatever part of your anatomy you intend to use. Since children of unmarried teenage mothers are not the only problemns, though, perhaps we should also spot wealthy prospective parents who are unlikely to have time for their children (possibly even including those whose careers are in politics).

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