A friend recently told immaterialme that they would like to go into social policy-making in the future, not now, maybe in about 40 years’ time. Social exclusion and inequality will presumably still be present in 40 years’ time and therefore careers aimed at eradicating it will continue to exist too.
Currently Cameron is pedalling his favourite set piece on degeneration and deterioration in society, complaining that the riots exhibited long-term, ingrained and ‘festering’ evidence of moral decline. Apparently there is a golden age in our national history when everyone was morally impeccable and children and families behaved so faultlessly that even issues like crime, poverty and poor education couldn’t impact the strength of the moral unit. It would be useful if Cameron could at some point give us a history lesson and explain exactly when the moral decline began.
If enough people choose to believe his rhetoric and agree to his policy reviews, then yes, there will be plenty of jobs for people who want to alleviate social exclusion in forty years’ time.
Naturally when the topics of the family unit, commercialism, and gang culture are raised, the language of morality strikes a chord with everyone. It is not ok for an 89 year old barber’s self-employed business to be raided, destroyed and his cup and two combs to be stolen. That is undeniably outrageous.
It is equally outrageous however, that before communities have finished cleaning up, before magistrates have finished sentencing, before shops have taken down hoardings, the government decides what is wrong and how to fix it.
Apparently David Cameron has been saying ‘all along’ that moral decline is to blame for contemporary problems, his tendency towards clairvoyance does not seem to have helped him decide on a policy to change the situation before it blew up in his face. Nor does his insight seem to have helped him notice the inherent contradiction in his language of responsibility and respect. Because he is the role model of the moment, and for all his banging on about fathers, families, communities and the big society, he doesn’t seem to have noticed that if he follows that line of thought… he inevitably ends up at the top of the pile. As, how to put it? The big society’s big daddy.
By extension he has become the ultimate absent father: he abandoned many young men to a severe sense of loss on the first nights of the riots, having flown far from the nest and taking his time to return. When he did he confused the family with a variety of orders without really exerting any paternal control and now he’s ‘waging war’ on the same kids he sometimes wants to hug. No wonder young men are confused, directionless and in need of leadership.
If the government is going to continue treating society like a big ‘ole family knees up; (didn’t Kate look lovely?) then it can start thinking about making plans for when the children grow up, dad gets made redundant and nana needs a ground floor flat because she can’t walk upstairs.
At some point down the line Cameron won’t be Father-top-boss, but every generation in this society will still be in need of some kind of assistance. How about a review to put a penny in the jar for every time the government says ‘fix’ and a slap on the wrist every time it says ‘broken’?