Doubless Alec Shelbrooke would rather not have had his job-shuffle in September headlined in the Telegraph as Alec Shelbrooke: Tory MP red faced after ‘Northern Island’ Twitter gaffe.
This is why, I should think, Shelbrooke – who was born in Kent, unsuccessfully stood for election in Wakefield in 2005 (Mary Creagh won – the Shadow Environment Secretary), and won Elmet and Rothwell as the first MP in a new constituency created by the Boundary Commission in 2010 by a margin of 8.1% (4,521 votes) is trying to make a name for himself in some way that doesn’t bring back “Northern Island” jibes. If only half the people who voted LibDem last time vote Labour next time, Shelbrooke will be ousted in 2015.
17th October is the UN’s Day to Eradicate Poverty.
From Steven Sumpter’s second post on the dreadful plans to card “troubled” families, I learned that the government have decided that a troubled family is one that meets five out of seven criteria:
- Low income
- No one in the family who is working
- Unable to afford basics, including food and clothes.
- Poor housing
- The mother has a mental health problem
- Parents who have no qualifications
- One parent has a long-standing illness or disability
As LatentExistence and many others have pointed out, what this amounts to is that a troubled family is one that’s living in poverty.
And the ESRC have come right out and stated that the government have basically made up their own minds about what it all means. They said ”In the term ‘troubled families’ it deliberately conflates families experiencing multiple disadvantage and families that cause trouble.” The definition that the government are using does not mention child truancy, criminal records, ASBOs, police call outs, drug abuse, or any of the other things that they claim to be addressing.
Imagine this. A middle-aged man who, forty years ago, was removed from his family at the age of 7, sent to one “approved school” after another, the last with a reputation for violence, at which he was a troublemaker and learned to take illegal drugs. After he left school he joined a gang of thugs who regularly got drunk and violent. He straightened up, more or less – got married, had children, one severely disabled for whom he claimed benefits: he ran a chain of nightclubs that specialised in getting people very drunk at a cut rate. He became leader of a powerful organisation with strong links to crime, accepting large financial gifts from people who made their money in very shady ways. Despite this, he lives in state-owned housing and claims more than thirty thousand a year. A few months ago, he and his wife were out drinking and abandoned their young daughter in the pub when they went home, and still more recently, one of his close associates was convicted and jailed* for swearing at police officers. This is a problem family.