I make no apology for reposting an entry from 2009. I said at the time it was a classic Bear Trap – and so it has come to pass – The government that didn’t have the spine to repeal the ridiculous child poverty target, which could only be attained by a version of communism, has now found that magically, they can’t meet the target either. Cue much wailing and renting of Guardianments.
The twin specialities of the Righteous, the ‘emotive’ platform, and ‘oppressive’ legislation, will reach a crescendo today as Mrs Ball’s lays down her bear trap. ‘Do as we tell you, not as we do’.
10 years after Tony Blair delighted his rapturous supporters with his grandiose claims to end inequality, end the class war, end poverty in Africa, end child poverty, Mrs Balls, with the merest hint of a whisper of an admission that a Labour government – which inherited a position of strength – increased by moving the goalposts to introduce a less challenging definition of that moving target ‘child poverty’, has signally failed to achieve its own reduced targets, but is about to commit future governments to meeting those same targets……..with the sword of Damocles, by way of judicial review, hanging over their heads.
The only route out of this predicament open to future – and hopefully Non-Labour – governments will be to return to parliament and loudly state their heretical desire of not wishing to end ‘child poverty’ to the braying opprobrium of the opposition benches!
Cooper said that if a future government felt it was unable to meet the targets, it would have to repeal the legislation and not simply say it did not have the resources to meet its goals.
The proposed bill, to be discussed in cabinet tomorrow, will establish four separate targets in primary legislation, Cooper, the new work and pension’s secretary, said. “I am absolutely clear that this is about reducing inequality, and being bold about what a future Labour government’s vision represents. It is not simply about reducing poverty. It will embed a desire to reduce inequality in our society in legislation.”
It is a classic bear trap.
‘Child poverty’ is one of those emotive phrases like ‘child abuse’, which encompass all gradients of evil, but which automatically conjure images of the most sinister possible versions of the definition.
In the UK, ‘child poverty’ amounts to being a member of a household that receives less than 60% of the median income. If your parents elect to live a life of self sufficiency on an idyllic small holding in the Outer Hebrides, with pollution free air to breathe, an abundance of organic food to ingest, and a crime free environment in which to thrive, but generate no income….then tough, but you just became a ‘child poverty’ case; it also means that if the country prospers, and independent entrepreneurs are able to drive up their rewards for their enterprise, then plop! as if by magic, several thousand more children will be cast into the Dickensian sounding ‘poverty’.
Government funded Quangos, from their position on the moral high ground, will then be free to attack the incumbent government as heartless capitalists, for failing to achieve the very equality that Labour failed to do.
This Bill is not about caring for children, it is about providing a stick for a disintegrating Government to periodically place a new Government on the ‘naughty step’.
And lo! It came to pass…the government is on the naughty step.