Friday, March 10, 2006

Nanny State

National has at times accused Labour of creating a 'nanny state' but we don't have anything at home to match the latest two intiatives being proposed in Britain at the moment. One of the proposals is designed to deal with troubled teenagers. The suggestion is that every teenager (age defined) be issued with a card that they can trade in for cash. Naughty teens have this priviledge designed. So, essentially Blair wants to bribe today's youth to behave? I suppose there's a certain poetic merit to that in today's capitalist society but still!
The second proposal is to deal with 'troubled families' - the kind that end up on the dole for years or the ones that 'bring down the tone of the neighbourhood' by getting loudly drunk at 3am each morning and spawning offspring who delight in nothing better each week than smashing up the headlights of every car on the street and delightedly pointing out that since they're only eight they can't really be prosecuted. The solution to this is to send in state-paid nannies/social workers. Bright and early each morning they are to gain access to the household, make breakfast, pack lunches, get the kids off to school and nag the lazy layabout parents to find work. They are to stay with the family for as long as it takes to turn them into model citizens. There are, of course, certain problems with this scheme beyone the enormous expense to the rest of the taxpayers. Firstly, there's those families who genuinely are down on their luck and are likely to be mortified and humilated by government interference. Secondly, there's those families who are likely to click to the fact that they're getting a nice, free service and someone else is getting the kids organised for them in the morning. The people who will inevitably milk the system for all it's worth. Then there's the people the project is really aimed at, the realy 'nasty pieces of work' and frankly - would you want to be the person trying to force access to their house? In a country where school kids are buying armour vests to wear under the school uniforms (sad but true) I'd be a little hesitant about rocking up to the UK equivalent of a Mongrel Mob house and telling them off like a bunch of naughty three year olds who haven't behaved at mat time. Whether the intiative gets funding approval and whether it actually works will prove interesting...


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