I am one of six children brought up by caring and loving parents in a small hill top village and I was 21 before I and the rest of my family moved to a house with a bathroom and inside Toilet. Of course there is always a danger when writing about ones childhood of sounding like Monty Pythons “Four Yorkshiremen’s Sketch”: But I don’t think that any time during my childhood did it to occur to me that we were poor, and that there were things we as a family lacked. Some of my friends were a little better of but we were had mostly the same lifestyle.
Actually I believe today’s children have it worst they live in a much more materialistic society where the lack of items such as a mobile phone Xbox(or equivalent) designer backpacks emphasises the poverty gap between them on their friends and can lead to psychological bullying. Indeed, it can increase the education gap, because the need for pupils to have access to computers and the Internet. That is why the plan (based on Plaid’s manifesto for the last Assembly elections) will be carried out is welcome.
There is a poignant article by Barbara Ellen in today’s Observer here. In which she condemns the programme “How the other half lives?” A series in which better off families aid less well of families. Babara’s analysis is bang on. We cannot solve society's problems by well meaning individuals (or those appeasing they conscience) in such way. But I suspect that the new Con-Lib government will follow previous governments in trying to shift their responsibility for child poverty to religious charities and the free market.
We need a government that address the causes of poverty, this includes:
Unemployment. At the moment for successive governments the line has been to blame the unemployed for their position.
A cycle of poor education: (if the system failed your parents than it is likely to fail you).
Transport: I cannot but help but ask why has there been no attempt to investigate the link between lack of easy access to reliable public transport or ones own transport and unemployment and poverty? What percentage of the unemployed can’t drive as opposed to the UK average?
What we need is action not pithy reality TV programmes or right wing responses.