Riot Disagreements

Having a little exchange elsewhere which I want to share here as I keep seeing same things being put forward. In short, the status was about how “grammar school pupils, 11 year olds and teaching assistants”  weren’t ‘dispossessed’ and it was actually about having ‘morals‘ and a ‘conscience’. My dashed off response:

The UK has some of the worst child poverty rates in the developed word, and inequality is at an all-time high meaning that relative poverty is huge. Some of the worst of this child poverty is in places like Tottenham, Hackney, Brixton, Salford, West Bromwich etc. That includes 11 year olds and grammar school pupils. Despite evidence that grammar schools fail to take in poor pupils and may in fact contribute to wider poverty (and most of the top state schools are grammar schools, reflecting their make-up) there are still around 4% of grammar school pupils who live in poverty. I’d bet good money that the % of grammar school pupils who’ve taken part in this is less than 4%.

Absolutely everyone who measures these things thinks child poverty is increasing *right now* due to this government. Interestingly, the majority (some 60%) of children in poverty live in working homes (ie, one or both of their parents have a job) which suggests the problem there is not laziness, immorality or a benefit culture but low pay. And speaking of low pay, many teaching assistants earn as little as £11,000 working *full-time* while in London it’s not unusual for them to earn £7, which is the ‘London living wage’ which allows a basic standard of life. Incidentally, in the past year this government has abolished the body which set teaching assistant pay, cut teaching assistant training and cut their jobs.

However, absolutely no one would or should claim that there haven’t been opportunists and that there are problems of education and ‘morality’. However, setting aside the many issues tied up with poverty and social deprivation, where is this moral lead to come from? The MPs who stole from us all and, far from being punished, get to become Prime Minister (Cameron took out a £350,000 loan backed by taxpayers and claimed £21,000 in mortgage payments for it in a single year – despite being a millionaire)? The media who hack phones, bribe those in power and lie about it repeatedly? The police who allow themselves to be bribed and kill innocent people without ever facing any consequences? ‘Morality’ and ‘personal responsibility’ in our society comes very far behind greed and looking out for yourself and this is hardly something confined to the underclass.

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