Broken Britain

 

broken_britainIn 1997 John Major handed over to Tony Blair arguably the most benevolent set of economic statistics any incoming government had ever inherited. But as Ken Clarke acknowledged ‘we are set to take over the biggest mess that a Conservative party has ever inherited from a Labour government’ and that does not just mean a country with the worst set of economic circumstances in the G20 but one with the worst social problems.  The term ‘Broken Britain’ is one David Cameron has used regularly since becoming  leader nearly four years ago. In the whole of Western Europe we come last on most aspects of child welfare whether that be poverty levels or how kids rate their lives. This is wholly unacceptable for a country of our tradition, resources and potential and we have to raise the question why Britain finds itself in such a position.

 I firmly believe that a strong family lays the foundation to equip us with the fundamental skills we are able to use in life.  However in recent years the family seems to be spiralling downwards and we now have many ‘dysfunctional families’ which include the fragmented (seperated or divorced couples) and the fatherless. Although this affects every group across the social spectrum, this decline now seems to be more common with the groups who are less advantaged in society. As a consequence children are now likely to feel neglected and grow up without that strong starting base, a situation which can be compared to a house built upon sand. As a result family breakdown is strongly correlated with issues such as high levels of teenage pregnancy and crime. The latter is a serious problem. Two years ago, Fiona Pilkington killed herself and her daughter because they were victims of anti social behaviour caused by groups of people who come from families i have just described. Many families and individuals across the country face similar abuse on a regular basis at the hands of these groups.

As David Cameron has made clear, we can only tackle this problem by addressing the problems of family breakdown. But what can a government actually do? One proposal is to recognise marriage and the importance of interdependence between family members through the tax system by rewarding these groups. Another is to instead of focusing on funding for teenagers to prevent crime and anti social behaviour,  perhaps we should target children when they are much younger as part of a more positively focused effort to radically improve their life chances. Whatever approach is implemented there is no doubting the challenge ahead in fixing ‘Broken Britain’.

Amil Khan

 

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3 thoughts on “Broken Britain

  1. I agree that we should recognise the importance of Family, but we must also recognise that many families are strong units but may not be composed in a traditional way.

    Regarding the comments about positivly focused efforts for young people, my view is that the state must be confident to become the parents if the parents are not doing a good job within a system that is much more effective than our current foster/adoptive service is. We need a service with love and security at its core.

  2. I’m not sure what tax cuts for married couples would achieve Amil. I believe it’s somewhat naive to think people would choose to remain together for taxation reasons. Worse still, the additional constraints this would impose on those wishing to leave an unhappy marriage is of dubious morality. And let’s not forget that in a society where resource allocation is a necessary evil, any government wishing to implement such tax cuts would have to divert large sums of money from other areas. Thsoe that need it, perhaps…

  3. Why should people be rewarded tax cuts for being “married”? There are a lot of people who regard marriage as an outmoded religious concept and have / will live many years in a happy relationship with their partner without the need of such a contract. As for “Broken Britain”… we’re simply seeing the results of successive years of conservative policies, continued in a slightly diluted form by the current administration, manifest into what Cameron has dubbed this “Broken Britain”. The “stuff you” economics that started with Thatcher and has continued, albeit in a mildly diluted form through the current pseudo-Labour administration, has simply come to fruition. Well done! At least we can look forward to more of the same when the short-sighted, forgetful clowns, sorry, voters, set fourth to vote Conservative at the next election. I can’t wait for the look of jaw-dropping realisation of what they’ve done when Theresa May “opens up” the “welfare system to market forces”. I hope the Conservatives have a trick up their sleeves to save us from the ramifications of Peak Oil and the collapse of large-scale, mechanised agriculture because if Britain is “broken” now, this is what will cart it off to the knackers yard. Maybe Cameron can get himself of a Permaculture course before he gets in. Anyway, I’ll look forward to the ‘mending’ of Britain – tory style. Good luck and “godspeed”…

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