I have been wondering whether there is a confluence between the Conservative Liberal Democrat coalition government’s insistence on local authorities/councils providing free school meals for the youngest children and, a societal abrogating of cash-poor parent’s responsibilities. Under the guise of ‘we all should care for those less well off’, those children who the government says: ‘whose education suffers if they are not getting proper meals’
What strikes me as odd with this particular Tory LibDem initiative is it doesn’t seem to sit very well with other aspects of its welfare (noticeably) and social (a little more subtly) reform of the state. Especially when poorer people – notably, benefits claimants – are being attacked so heinously through welfare reform and it’s associated multi-media propaganda
It makes me think: why look after the kids when the parents are, apparently, fair game? Is it because this government has a heart and actually cares about children?
Is it because children are innocent?
Is it because caring for our children transcends politics and, therefore, it is nothing to do with winning votes but just plain goddam caring for the little uns?
Or, are we getting to the stage where there is a pervasive agenda that social and educational expectations need to be reconfigured due to shifts in economic need rising out of the austerity agenda? Are we creating norms, to such a degree that institutions will feed (literally) the poor for, say, certain outputs? Are we there yet?
Is education for enlightenment and personal development, as opposed to performance, only for the rich?
Are we creating the environment where we won’t balk at kids ‘being put through their paces’ and the poorer children ‘being given every opportunity available in a tough economic environment’? Isn’t that what the current ‘Workfare’ initiative is all about? Like the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, are we seeing a modern prequel to a story we already know?
Are we there yet?
Are we creating workhouses?