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conscience conscience

VIEWS: 14 PAGES: 19

									progressive
the
 the



    conscience
    conscience
  SPRING 2010




CLASH GENERATIONS     OF
                      THE
David WILLETTS Rafael BEHR
Matthew TAYLOR Tim MONTGOMERIE




CLASH                  OF
                       THE
GENERATIONS
 David WILLETTS Rafael BEHR
 Matthew TAYLOR Tim MONTGOMERIE


       bright blue
       bright blue                SPRING 2010
                                    image   ian muttoo
                     Contributors                                                                                Contents
                     Anushka Asthana is the Policy Editor of The Observer
                                                                                                   Page 6        THE PROGCON ESSAY
                     Rafael Behr is Chief Leader Writer for The Observer
                                                                                                                 David Willetts calls on the babyboomers to act
                     Damian Collins is the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Folkestone
                     and Hythe and founding director of the Conservative Arts and Creative         Page 8        THE INTERVIEW
David Willetts
                     Industries Network
                                                                                                                 Danny Kruger reflects on his journey from Team Cameron to theatre with
                     Tim Gill writes on childhood. His book No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse                 ex-offenders
                     society was published in 2007
                                                                                                   Pages 11-22   OPINION
                     Nick Hillman is the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge
                     and author of Quelling the Pensions Storm                                                   Matt Warman ponders over the post-bureaucratic age
                                                                                                                 Rafael Behr on decentralisation and collective identity
                     Danny Kruger is a former speechwriter to David Cameron and co-founder of                    Lucy Stone wants a greener future for our children
                     OnlyConnect                                                                                 Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain on faith schools
                                                                                                                 Anushka Asthana applauds the modern man
Matthew Taylor       Penny Mansfield is Director of One Plus One, the relationship research                      Tim Gill returns to his childhood
image: David Devin   charity
                                                                                                   Page 14       THE POLITICS COLUMN
                     Fiona Melville and David Skelton run Platform 10, a blog which campaigns
                     for modern, liberal Conservatism                                                            Fiona Melville and David Skelton say the modernisation of the Tories is the
                                                                                                                 only way forward
                     Tim Montgomerie is Editor of ConservativeHome
                                                                                                   Pages 23-29   THE THINKERS
                     Yvonne Roberts is a Senior Research Associate at The Young Foundation
                                                                                                                 Penny Mansfield reflects on changing attitudes towards families
                     Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE is Minister for Maidenhead Synagogue and                       Matthew Taylor suggests how we can bring people together
                     chair of the Accord Coalition, which campaigns for inclusive faith schools                  Yvonne Roberts tackles the NEET problem.
Rafael Behr
                     Lucy Stone leads UNICEF UK’s climate change work with political strategy
                     and innovative funding                                                        Page 30       SOCIAL JUSTICE CORNER

                     Matthew Taylor is the Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the                          Tim Mongomerie believes Conservative means will achieve progressive ends
                     encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)
                                                                                                   Pages 31-34   THE DOERS
                     Matt Warman is the Consumer Technology Editor of The Daily Telegraph
                                                                                                                 Conservative Candidates Nick Hillman and Damian Collins on students and
                     David Willetts is MP for Havant and Shadow Secretary of State for                           businesses
                     Innovation, Universities and Skills. His new book, The Pinch: How the baby
                     boomers took their children’s future, was published earlier this year
Anushka Asthana
                                                         E D I TO R I A L                                                                                                                        E D I TO R I A L

The Voiceless Need Representation
By Ryan Shorthouse                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Progressive Conscience
                                             stert toooooooooooooooooo                     what matters most is people: not sys-       er over public services is too concen-        are not taking a stand – 56% of 17-25            is produced and published by
                                                                                           tems or ideology. The Tory mission really   trated in bureaucracies such as White-        year olds are not on the electoral roll.
                                                                                           should be about empowering people to
                                                                                           lead more independent and flourishing
                                                                                                                                       hall and Town Halls. We need a radical
                                                                                                                                       decentralisation of power: real power
                                                                                                                                                                                     They need to start talking. Shouting,
                                                                                                                                                                                     even. The Tory’s leading thinker, David             bright blue
                                                                                           lives, less dependent on the state in the   to the people. So many Tory proposals         Willetts, has published a book called
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           with the support of
                                                                                           long-run.                                   are very welcome. Allowing co-opera-          The Pinch, providing insightful analysis
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd.
                                                                                           Of course we have to fix our frightening    tives to manage state services. Letting       of how the actions of baby boomers –
                                                                                           public debt. Savings can and will have      parents and philanthropic groups set up       though not deliberately – have made it
                                                                                           to be found. But let us not fool our-       and run schools. Outcomes-based com-          harder for the next generation.                 The Progressive Conscience
                                                                                           selves that redistribution of wealth via    missioning so people shape their ser-         Indeed, younger workers have been hit
                                                                                           the state fails. Increased benefits and     vices, rather than being dictated from        the worse during this recession. Over         Editor: Ryan Shorthouse
                                                                                           tax credits have lifted more people over    above. More voluntary organisations,          the past few decades, a more flexible
                                                                                           the poverty line since 1997. The state,     with the money from Government, de-           labour market has made youth employ-          Advertising: Victoria Chamberlin
                                                                                           when it works well, is good.                livering programmes. Greater flexibility      ment less stable and earnings have de-
                                                                                                                                       in contracts for third sector organisa-       clined relative to older workers. Get-        Design: Peter Chamberlin
                                                                                               “The Tory mission                       tions. This will give people the freedom,     ting on the property ladder remains a
As the General Election fast approach-       sters cannot access a decent education            really should be about                  power and enthusiasm to innovate their        distant dream. Debts from education              The Bright Blue Executive
es, the political parties mudslinging and    to get on in life and escape the wretch-          empowering people to                    services and make lasting impact in de-       and high livings costs means savings for
hyperactively announcing policies to         ed environment of their childhood.                                                        prived communities.                           tougher times are often non-existent.         Tim Flagg
woo the so-called Motorway Man, we in        These people have no suited and booted
                                                                                               lead more independent                   We need a new approach to support             Assets and wealth have become increas-        tim@brightblueonline.com
politics must not forget who we should       lobbyist to represent them. They are the          and flourishing lives, less             the voiceless. With its commitment to         ingly concentrated higher up the age
really be fighting for.                      voiceless – they have been for genera-            dependent on the state in               decentralisation, the Tories provide an       scale. Coupled with our massive public        Jonty Olliff-Cooper
It cannot be right that – as more of us in   tions. And we must stand up for them.             the long-run”                           answer. But there will be those around        debt and ageing population, the young         jonty@brightblueonline.com
Britain enjoy longer, healthier, wealthi-    David Cameron’s new Progressive Con-                                                      Cameron sceptical, calling for the same       will be more burdened taxpayers.
er lives than ever before – there remains    servatism recognises this. But he should      But too often rigid rules and targets       old – and failed - libertarian methods.       But if Willetts and his front bench col-      Ryan Shorthouse
people who are caged in miserable pov-       be careful of the ideologues who urge         have thwarted the innovation and pas-       So the Conservative Party, if in Govern-      leagues are serious about a fairer distri-    ryan@brightblueonline.com
erty, entrapped in dire and unthinkable      him to attack the state, say it has failed    sion of people working on the ground        ment, will face its own clash of the gen-     bution of wealth and power across the
circumstances, unable to even taste the      to tackle the unacceptable levels of pov-     - in hospitals, schools, Sure Start cen-    erations. We in Bright Blue hope new,         generations, this raises questions about      Victoria Chamberlin
opportunities so many of us take for         erty. Politically, this is a mistake. About   tres, social services - to support our      progressive thinking will prevail. In fact,   policy direction on university tuition        vikki@brightblueonline.com
granted.                                     one in five people in this country are        most vulnerable. Labour has done well       the reason why Bright Blue was created        fees, inheritance tax and lowering the
We should be angry. Very angry that          public sector employees. Many of them         to build up the framework that provides     was to fight for such thinking.               voting age.                                   James Marshall
so many children in our country live in      work for the state because they are           the all-important raw materials. Yet,                                                                                                   james@brightblueonline.com
                                                                                                                                                    Young People
homes so depressing that their health is     driven by an overwhelmingly desire to         for the past ten years, we have seen a                                                    I do hope you enjoy the first edition of
appalling and they lack the love needed      do public good. They will be angry, quite     rise in stubborn, extreme poverty. We       In a different way, many young people         The Progressive Conscience, exploring         Liam Scott-Smith
to grow into emotionally and socially        rightly, if they are described as failures.   now need real activism and passion by       today are also voiceless. Children can-       the clash of generations. The magazine        liam@brightblueonline.com
competent people. Angry too that peo-        And they will be fearful for their jobs if    people in the state and voluntary sec-      not vote – so they cannot shape the po-       would not have been possible without
ple are so fearful - or forgotten - that     Cameron talks about cutting the state         tor to transform hard-pressed communi-      litical direction of our country. Instead,    all of the creative and passionate Bright     Peter Chamberlin
they are locked in their homes, a strang-    without saying exactly where.                 ties. This is where the Conservatives are   they can only hope that the generations       Blue team – Tim, Jonty, Vikki, Pete, Liam     pete@brightblueonline.com
er in their own neighbourhood, unable        Too often the Tory mission has been car-      needed in the next chapter in the fight     that come before them leave an envi-          and James. And I am particularly grate-
to forge friendships and participate in      icatured as just wanting a small state        to end the evil that is poverty.            ronmentally and economically sustain-         ful to Pete for designing what I hope you     http://brightblueonline.com
society. Angry more that so many young-      – and all good will derive from this. But     Cameron’s team is right to say that pow-    able future. Even those who are eligible      will judge a fantastic magazine.
4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     5
                                                T H E    P R O G C O N      E S S AY                                                                                                   T H E   P R O G C O N     E S S AY
The Broken Contract
The contract between the generations has broken. Conservatives must find a way to heal it.
By David Willetts MP
I welcome the launch of a new group           away the coat of prejudice, and to leave       evidence sometimes emerging from
devoted to fresh Conservative thinking.       nothing but the naked reason; because          whole new disciplines is deployed. That
Some Conservatives are of course in-          prejudice, with its reason, has a motive       can really enrich our understanding of
stinctively suspicious of such a danger-      to give action to that reason, and an af-      our society and open up a far more so-
ous activity, which they may regard as        fection which will give it permanence.”        phisticated debate about policy than
deeply unconservative. So for example                                                        ever before.
Dr Johnson dismissed the Toryism of the       Especially nowadays there is no alterna-       It is particularly needed at a time like
great philosopher David Hume, saying:         tive to reason, evidence, and argument         this when over 80% of people believe
“Sir, Hume is a Tory by chance.”              – and that is what Bright Blue is devoted      our country is heading in the wrong di-
He meant by this that Hume had reached        to. But it should be respectful of popu-       rection. They are desperate for change
his Toryism by a process of intellectual      lar wisdom. This is where social science       and that is what the Centre Right must
argument not because of a deep instinct.      is changing. Indeed one of the most ex-        offer. Our argument is that our econo-
The danger, they may fear, of depending       citing developments at present is the          my, our society and our politics are all
on evidence and rational thought is that      maturing of relatively new disciplines         broken and need to be fixed. This must
the conclusions one reach could change        such as game theory and evolutionary           rest on a deep understanding of what is
- hence the suspicion that these are          biology. These are transforming our            going wrong with our country and why.
weak foundations on which to erect any        understanding of for example how co-           My new book tries to rise to this chal-
political programme.                          operation works, the role of institutions      lenge. It goes back to deep-seated and
We can understand the point. Conserva-        and traditions, and the environment in         very human concerns about the kind of
tives respect the traditions and institu-     which a modern market economy func-            world we are passing on to our kids.
tions of a society and are understand-        tions.                                         I am convinced that the most powerful
ably wary of the arrogance of changing                                                       measure of what is broken in our soci-
all that just because of an idea. Edmund
                                                   “As our links with other                  ety is the breakdown of the contract        on debt and borrowing. This is revealed     and power the boomers have ended up         All these failures are possible because of
Burke resolved this problem in a mas-              generations have weakened,                between the generations. It means our       in extraordinarily low levels of saving     shaping a society and an economy which      a third failure – a broken polity. It is one
terful statement of the true conserva-             we have become more                       society is marked by a deep distrust be-    over the past decade. In fact, OECD         works for them but not for the younger      in which inter-generational exchange
tive approach:                                     dependent on the family”                  tween the generations. And this is not      figures show that British households        generations.                                and communication has reduced. All
                                                                                             just a wider trend in the Western world,    were running negative savings in each                                                   too often the media caricature them
“We are afraid to put men to live and         In addition the increase in the sheer          it is particularly acute in Britain. Sur-   year from 2005 to 2008. This is virtually         “All too often the                    as a problem when they are our future.
trade each on his own private stock of        volume of affordable computing power           veys across Europe ask adults if they       unprecedented in the modern western               media caricature them                 Young people are not likely to vote so
reason; because we suspect that this          is enabling social scientists to analyse       would intervene if they saw a 14 year       economy. Even in the US their net sav-                                                  they are caught in a vicious cycle in
                                                                                                                                                                                           as a problem when
stock in each man is small, and that          far more detailed data sets and de-            old vandalising a bus shelter – in Ger-     ing rate did not go negative like ours.                                                 which their voice is not heard as clearly
the individuals would do better to avail      tect deeper patterns of cause and ef-          many 65% would, in Spain 52% and in the     This is a catastrophic failure to value           they are our future”                  as it ought to be and that leaves them
themselves of the general bank and cap-       fect than ever before. All this activity       UK just 34%.                                the future. It means that even if there                                                 even more disengaged from politics.
ital of nations and of ages. Many of our      is not necessarily exploding Conserva-         The generation gap within the family has    is physical investment in our country, it   We can appeal to their better natures       This suggests that one of the central
men of speculation, instead of exploding      tive “prejudices” but often providing a        healed but outside it has broken down.      does not belong to us as others provided    to set things right. And we can appeal      tasks for the next Conservative Govern-
general prejudices, employ their sagac-       much deeper understanding of, for ex-          This means that, paradoxically, as our      the capital. This in turn threatens the     to enlightened self interest too. After     ment as we try to repair our broken so-
ity to discover the latent wisdom which       ample, the significance of the family or       links with other generations have weak-     standard of living of future generations    all the boomers will end up depending       ciety will be to repair the broken con-
prevails in them. If they find what they      the efficiency of social conventions.          ened, we have become more dependent         who will not be endowed with the capi-      on the younger generation and should        tract between the generations. I hope
seek, and they seldom fail, they think        I hope therefore that what will make           on the family.                              tal they need to enjoy rising prosperity.   remember that great American bum-           Bright Blue will play a leading role in
it more wise to continue the prejudice,       Bright Blue really significant and per-        It is widely understood that what has       It is not that the baby boomers are bad     per sticker, “Be nice to your kids - they   thinking about how we tackle that and
with the reason involved, than to cast        suasive will be the way in which all this      broken our economy is our dependence        people. But by virtue of their sheer size   choose your nursing home.”                  other such challenges.
6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         7
                                                         T H E   I N T E R V I E W
    Connected to the Community
    Danny Kruger talks to Ryan Shorthouse about his departure from the inner circle to being centre stage with young offend-
    ers in his charity Only Connect.
    Ryan Shorthouse So, it’s been nearly
    four years since you wrote the “hug a
    hoodie” speech for David Cameron.

    Danny Kruger As you know no-one ever
    said anything about hugging anyone.

    RS But it was quite a surprising, signifi-
    cant speech for the Tories – a real shift
    in tone from just sounding tough on
    criminals – to understanding, empathis-
    ing even, with the turbulent history of
    people who turn to crime. Is that still
    the right approach?

    DK I think we need to show young peo-
    ple that they matter, that they are sig-
    nificant and valued - the reason they
    go wild is often because they haven’t
    heard that message loud enough in the
    families and communities they grew up
    in. But as we also said in the speech,        erty, unemployment, addiction - then        same time and it wasn’t fair to my em-
    young people need firm boundaries and         the child is already in trouble, and the    ployer - the Conservative Party. I simply
    clear penalties for crossing them, which      breakup of the family is just another,      found I was more excited and passion-
    is why this wasn’t a ‘soft on crime’ mes-     really serious, problem that is added.      ate about growing our little charity than
    sage.                                         Of course when middle class parents         about the eighth draft of a speech about
                                                  split up there’s not much added chance      helping the voluntary sector - honoured
    RS I just want to pick up on what you say     of criminality in the children. But the     as I was to be writing those speeches
    about families. Because there’s a strong      lack of a dad is directly linked to other   the excitement of actually churning
    narrative out there at the moment             social problems, for boys and girls. It’s   them out tends to pall after a while
    which says family breakdown can lead          common sense but it’s also empirically
    to really serious problems like increased     proved.                                     RS You left just before the economic
    criminality. But is it really the case that                                               crisis. Before some say sunny, optimistic
    if a child’s parents split up they are go-    RS You left David Cameron’s office in       Cameronism was replaced by talk of an
    ing to end up in some gang? What do you       2008. When the Tories were high in the      age of austerity. Has he taken a wrong
    really mean when a family has broken          polls. Power was in touching distance.      turn?
    down?                                         There wasn’t family breakdown in Team
                                                  Cameron, was there? I mean: why did         DK I think we still need a positive, can-
    DK It depends on the context. When            you turn your back on it?                   do alternative to the grim gloominess
    parents split up partly in consequence                                                    of late-stage New Labour. The topic of
    of other negative stuff going on - pov-       DK I was trying to do two jobs at the       politics has shifted from social to eco-
8                                                                                                                                    9
                                                  T H E     I N T E R V I E W                                                                                                                    O P I N I O N
nomic policy, but we still need to focus    DK None of us follow a straight path in      tion to their character. Ex-offenders
on restoring the broken parts of our so-    our lives and our members are battling a     are pretty unprejudiced about people’s       Open Data, Smaller Government?
ciety - not least because the taxpayer      lot of demons. But yes we’ve seen some       background and I can honestly say I          Matt Warman asks if a new post-bureaucratic age will mean people demand a diminished role for the state.
can’t afford to go on bailing out social    hugely inspiring changes - long-term         don’t think any of our members know,
failure for ever.                           crack addicts beating the habit, parents     or are remotely interested in, what          When David Cameron opened YouGov’s           powerfully, and more conservatively,           knowing you could make some money
                                            reconciled to their children, people         school I went to.                            conference on The Post-BureaucraticAge,      the notion of competition is introduced:       cruising the streets of Much Binding once
RS Interesting that you say parts of so-    getting jobs for the first time ever. But                                                 he spoke of the practical consequences       my building’s saved more money than            a month might be a useful motivational
ciety are broken rather than a broken       the most inspiring thing is seeing some-     RS I agree. Any budding Colin Firth’s in     of using technology to cut through red       yours. The advantages of greater public        tool, and it might relieve the council of a
society.                                    one who came in aggressive and hostile,      the group?                                   tape, empower individuals to feel like       accountability are obvious. Make this          task that’s either a burden or perhaps a
                                            holding their head up and looking like                                                    they make a real difference and to move      approach widespread, it’s argued, and          useful way of subsidising the perennially
DK I do think we have a broken society      they feel good about themselves - and        DK Some of our members are phenom-           away from big government.                    the advantages are plain to see and vast       unprofitable collection of the fridges in
but some parts are more broken than         all without doing anything illegal.          enally talented. I don’t think Colin Firth   That last one’s surely the most              in extent.                                     Little Binding.
others - obviously.                                                                      is quite the comparison though. They         interesting for a Conservative audience      There’s a second dimension to the public       If the whole service is axed because it’s
                                            RS I hear you even lived with some of        tend to play somewhat grittier charac-       – no government has ever, after all,         availability of data on things such as         simply no longer viable, however, costs
RS I remember you saying you wanted to      them?                                        ters.                                        stated its desire to bureaucratise and       this, however: not only will it make how       of clearing up after fly-tipping might
do something practical rather than the-                                                                                               disempower – but it’s worth unpicking        taxes are spent more obvious than ever         increase – release more data, introduce
oretical to help quell social breakdown.    DK We did have a project where Emma          RS Yes. Quite. Have you learnt anything      why this new idea will mean a smaller        before, at a granular level, but it will       completion without consideration and
So why theatre?                             and I lived with a bunch of ex-offenders.    from them?                                   state, and just how far it might go. The     also stoke the forces of competition.          there’s the risk of the unsightly problem
                                            It was fun while it lasted but we have a                                                  ramifications for politics, for leadership   For example, take a Parish Council’s           of the fridges of Much Binding in the
DK The arts are simply the most effec-      baby now and we need our space               DK Yes I have learnt a huge amount           and for technology can hardly be             precept: in the post bureaucratic age,         marsh.
tive way to engage alienated and trau-                                                   about growing up in chaos and the ways       overstated.                                  the council’s treasurer is likely to have to   Or how long would it be before parties
matised young people, and therefore         RS Sorry to sound like a tub-thumping        you learn to cope - not all of which are     First, however: just what is the “post-      put his accounts online, mainly because        or campaigners gathered data together
start the process of transforming their     Labour backbencher but how can on old        bad. Beyond the often awful aggres-          bureaucratic age”? Will Straw, the           some other parish council up the road          on a range of small issues, pointed out
lives. People who have failed in conven-    Etonian like you - or David Cameron for      sion and criminality, out of sight of the    left’s leading blogger, argues that it’s a   will have started doing it already.            to voters that it added up to a certain
tional education respond hugely posi-       that matter - understand these people?       public, is a remarkable warmth, a spirit     loaded, party political term for an idea     It might reveal, for instance, that there’s    amount of council tax per year, and
tively to creativity. It helps them see                                                  of getting along, a respect for charac-      with obvious cross-party appeal. But,        an annual grant made to the parish             stood on an electoral platform based
themselves and their world in a new         DK The key to everything is relation-        ter, an appetite for life in the moment,     in short, it means transparency about        magazine, because it is the main vehicle       on saving people that amount in tax,
light and also gives them an opportunity    ships and if you’re around someone long      which educated people from safe back-        decision making, devolved down to as         for publishing minutes of parish council       because those specific services could be
to be applauded - something we all need     enough you forget what colour they are       grounds often lack. It’s invigorating be-    low a level as is reasonably practical.      meetings. But if enough residents don’t        cut? The politician’s prerogative to lead
as much as possible.                        or how they speak and you pay atten-         ing around them.                             So every government contract under           like the parish magazine’s partisan line,      could be profoundly changed, especially
                                                                                                                                      £25,000 would be published online,           now - more easily than ever before -           if confronted at the ballot box by pure
RS I really agree with that. So should                                                                                                there’d be a public reading stage for        they can lobby against that grant and          economics.
there be more opportunities to be cre-
ative in schools? Would that help?
                                              Only Connect                                                                            parliamentary bills, and the ongoing
                                                                                                                                      use of technology to make as much data
                                                                                                                                                                                   argue that they should pay less tax to
                                                                                                                                                                                   the parish council. The idea of citizens
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The hope, of course, is that the people of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Much Binding will realise that it’s worth
                                                                                                                                      public as possible. That way, it is hoped,   taking control of their politicians, at        paying for a better environment, free
DK The best schools manage to mix tra-        Founded:         2006                                                                   what Mr Cameron called “gentle social        every level, has never been more stark.        of dumped fridges. And that technology
                                              Founders:        Danny and Emma Kruger
ditional rigour with real creativity - I                                                                                              pressure” can be applied on individuals      Or take a larger scale model: many             will drive forward new ways of analysing
                                              Location:        King’s Cross
rather think the two are linked, like the     Website:         http://www.onlyconnectuk.org/
                                                                                                                                      and institutions.                            councils offer a service to collect            and publicising data. Perhaps it’s even
wild sonnets of Gerard Manley Hopkins         Works with:      Prisoners, ex-offenders and                                            A case in point is at local councils         large waste items such as fridges, for         the role of a government in the post-
that actually follow traditional rules of                      young people at risk of crime                                          such as Maidenhead: simply publishing        a supposedly nominal fee. Release the          bureaucratic age to make sure that
poetry                                        People involved: 100 prisoners a year in workshops or plays                             energy usage figures for government          data, and it will be obvious that Much         data is presented to the public as
                                              Performances: 10 theatre productions since 2006                                         buildings has encouraged staff to be         Binding has a large number of white            effectively as possible. Either way, the
RS What difference has Only Connect           Proudest         Seeing prisoners applauded by the public for doing                     more energy efficient. If you might get      goods that it disposes of every month.         post-bureaucratic age is about treating
made to young people? Have lives been         achievements: something positive                                                        caught, people are more likely to do         Suddenly the rag and bone men might            voters like grown ups – it’s an approach
transformed?                                                                                                                          what they ought – but perhaps more           just be able to come out of retirement:        that’s so long overdue.
10                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        11
                                                           O P I N I O N                                                                                                                    O P I N I O N
Plural Problems                                                                                                                    neighbour as a benefit - by extension of    c                                           lllllllllllllllllll
An increasingly pluralistic society needs collective identity. Brown’s Britishness                                                 community interest - to himself.
bombed, argues Rafael Behr, but Cameron’s decentralisation poses problems                                                          Then, as public services cease to be
The corridors of Whitehall are haunted         And yet progressive politics cannot so                                              viewed as a shared endeavour, social
by the ghosts of New Labour initiatives,       easily dismiss the solidarity deficit in Brit-                                      cohesion becomes even harder to main-
conceived of the need to grab a day’s          ish society. This is not some social hernia                                         tain, with all sorts of associated haz-
headlines, delivered in poorly attended        that suddenly occurred when a tiny mi-                                              ards.
speeches, soon abandoned. These starve-        nority of religious fanatics turned to ter-                                         Consider, for example, Michael Gove’s
ling policies are soon forgotten by all but    rorism. It is the expression of gradual but                                         education plans for a new generation of
the unfortunate civil servants whose pro-      massive cultural change in British society,      “Although the ambition might       independent, state-funded schools. The
fessional obligation it is to take what min-   brought about by a wide range of forces:                                            idea is to allow providers from civil so-
                                                                                                be to empower the sensible         ciety to compete for pupils, thus driving
isters say seriously.                          mass migration; the digital revolution;
That is how most people would judge Gor-       economic globalisation; social liberalisa-       majority, the current climate of   up standards. That is a perfectly ratio-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    flickr.com/bixentro
don Brown’s various calls for a renewed        tion; changes in family structures.              political apathy favours a well-   nal and admirable goal.
concept of “Britishness”. Remember a           The national identity question is, in that       mobilised fanatical minority”      But there is a risk that, even with the     leaning services? Must they be spelled      consumer choice.
new British Day? It was going to be our        sense, also an expression of inter-genera-                                          obligation to teach the national curricu-   out in law? And if so, does that not lead   That offers an intellectual challenge
4th July, except not commemorating a           tional conflict. The children of globalisa-                                         lum, the new schools are “captured” by      a Conservative government back into         – and an opportunity - to Progressive
defeat. The idea bombed.                       tion have a kind of consumer power in the                                           proponents of ideas that make main-         the New Labour trap of central com-         Conservatism as a movement. What is
It was much derided as an attempt to           formation of their identities that their                                            stream British society squeamish: cre-      mand-and-control?                           its approach to the dilemmas of social
neutralise English voters’ (largely imag-      parents struggle to appreciate. They are                                            ationism; radical Islam; ethnic national-   None of this is to say that Conservative    cohesion in an atomised society? Can
ined) wariness of Brown’s Scottishness.        also subject to powerful supra-national                                             ism.                                        plans are bad. The implicit faith in the    it find a way to express the tension be-
Besides, it takes a leader with charisma       forces wanting to influence their loyal-                                            The same risk applies to Conservative       good sense and moderation of the UK         tween the ambition to trust people with
and a clear democratic mandate to lead a       ties, from commercial brands to radical                                             plans for new schools are “captured”        public is refreshing, especially when       power at a local level and the need for
debate on symbols of nationhood. Brown         religious sermons on YouTube.                                                       by proponents of ideas that make main-      compared to the homogenising bludgeon       national government to command moral
was unqualified.                               That has radical consequences for the                                               stream British society squeamish: cre-      of New Labour’s regulatory approach.        authority?
That doesn’t mean Brown was wrong to           way society confers its loyalty on public                                           ationism; radical Islam; ethnic national-   The traditional Left often conflates the    It is, of course, possible that Britain can
see disorientation in national identity as     bodies. In the past, they would have had
                                                                                                “A group of people that has no     ism.                                        values of the nation with the functions     muddle along without a clear sense of
an issue. A Conservative government will       some intrinsic authority simply by virtue        profound sense of collective       The same risk applies to Conservative       of government. That is a mistake. It        identity indefinitely. Britishness has al-
end up grappling with the same ques-           of being part of the institutional fabric of     identity is disinclined to pool    plans for elected police commissioners      leads to the assumption that, for ex-       ways been fluid, defined, to some ex-
tions.                                         the nation. In essence, national identity        its capital”                       and cooperative ownership of other ser-     ample, insufficient national loyalty can    tent, by its unwillingness to submit to
For Brown the driving argument was se-         automatically included deference to his-                                            vices. Although the ambition might be       simply be remedied by teaching “citi-       definition. But it is possible that, in aus-
curity. Speaking in 2006 about the terror      toric institutions, including government                                            to empower the sensible majority, the       zenship” in schools and confecting na-      tere economic times, these questions
attacks on London the previous year, he        and the constitution.                                                               current climate of political apathy fa-     tional holidays.                            will cease to be abstract. A government
said: “[The terrorists] were British citi-     But increasingly, the relationship be-                                              vours a well-mobilised fanatical minor-     The Right, meanwhile, is deeply suspi-      that inflicts painful cuts will need moral
zens, British born apparently integrated       tween citizens and public authorities is                                            ity. Radical entryism could undermine       cious of state involvement in fostering     authority. It must be felt to be acting on
into our communities … We have to be           purely transactional. What, the citizen-                                            the project and corrode trust in vital      identity, believing nationhood is trans-    behalf of the nation as a whole, or risk
clearer now about how diverse cultures         consumer asks, is in it for me?                                                     institutions.                               mitted through cultural and civic insti-    being overwhelmed by public anger.
which inevitably contain differences can       In policy terms that has important fiscal                                           What assumptions, if any, can govern-       tutions separate from government.           Gordon Brown showed that a weak prime
find the essential common purpose also         implications. A group of people that has                                            ment make about the reasonable pa-          But those institutions constitute a tra-    minister, wedded to central state solu-
without which no society can flourish.”        no profound sense of collective identity is                                         rameters within which a new generation      ditional Establishment whose author-        tions, cannot lead a debate on what it
That was a fair point, but it set the de-      disinclined to pool its capital. A disunited                                        of service providers will set their work-   ity is not guaranteed when power is         means to be British. That doesn’t prove
bate in terms of patriotism and loyalty,       society resents paying taxes. The individ-                                          ing ethos? What beliefs would be consid-    devolved in a society characterised by      the debate is unnecessary. It just means
which sounded too much like traditional        ual becomes less likely to see the provi-                                           ered beyond the pale for a provider of      religious pluralism, cultural diversity     another generation will have to look for
nationalism for most liberal sensibilities.    sion of public services, or welfare, to his                                         education or health or, for that matter,    and the largely unchallenged power of       the answers.
12                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   13
                                               T H E    P O L I T I C S    C O LU M N                                                                         T H E   P O L I T I C S   C O LU M N
Progressive Party People
We had to modernise. We still need to go further. But the next generation belongs to progressive conservatives.
By Fiona Melville and David Skelton.
In 2005, the Conservative Party suffered      have liked some individual policies,           related problems: the brand, the poli-                                                                  People with progressive values and a be-
its third landslide election defeat in a      they did not trust the Conservatives to        cies and the voice.                                                                                     lief in fairness are once more welcome
row. This was unprecedented – it had          deliver them either competently or with        Determined action on the brand meant                                                                    in the modern Conservative Party. ‘One
been the governing party for two-thirds       compassion – as soon as they found out         surprising people with Conservative                                                                     nation’ and ‘social justice’ are Conser-
of the twentieth century, never out of        that the policies belonged to the Tories,      support for environmental action, in-                                                                   vative watchwords again. The leader-
power for more than a few years at a          support dropped away. The Conserva-            ternational development and fighting                                                                    ship team is once more a team of all
time, and generally seen as a moderate        tive brand had become ‘contaminated’           poverty.                                                                                                the talents, with the likes of Ken Clarke
centre-right party – a party for ‘people      – people were turned off policies they         Determined action on the policies                                                                       and William Hague both returning to the
like us’, who wanted to do well and who       would otherwise have been attracted to         meant focusing relentlessly on the NHS                                                                  fold.
wanted to do the right thing, but who         because they were Conservative poli-           and schools - the services that voters                                                                  Modernisation is an ongoing process.
understood that you can’t do it alone.        cies. To many people who would pre-            actually come in contact with every                                                                     More still needs to be done. There are
The ‘natural party of government’ res-        viously have been considered natural           day. Most voters do not care about the                                                                  still too few candidates from deprived
onated with the British public – some-        Conservatives, voting Tory had become          intricacies of European policy. They do                                                                 backgrounds. There are still too many
times leading them, sometimes being           anathema.                                      care whether their children have a high                                                                 MPs and members who refuse to under-
led by them, but never far away from          By 2005, the party realised that it had to     quality education and whether they and                                                                  stand that there is no alternative to
them.                                         stop this downward and self-reinforcing        their family are assured of high-quality                                                                making sure that the Party reflects the
Crushing electoral defeats in 1997, 2001      death-spiral. It had finally sunk in that      healthcare when they need it.                                                                           country it seeks to govern. There are
and 2005 meant that sluggish turnover         being uncompromisingly on the fringes          Determined action on the voice with                                                                     still too many observers, commentators
of MPs and members artificially skewed        of where voters are is no way to win an        which the Tories spoke had to be less                                                                   and political participants who want to
the Party in favour of those who were         election. There was a realisation that         that of an uptight Sussex spinster and                                                                  continue to carry out old politics rather
more extreme. The Parliamentary Par-          the Party had to modernise and move            more that of a working mum of two                                                                       than the new approach that is required.
ty was not renewing in the numbers it         away from being a pressure group for           from the Midlands. And it meant chang-                                                                  Perhaps most significantly for a poten-
would have done had the Party been in         narrow interests. Most Conservative            ing the way that the Tory Party looked.                                                                 tial Cameron government, there are
Government. Membership was dwin-              members realised that the best chance          For too long, the Party had been very                                                                   too few people who really understand
dling - being on the losing side is never     of winning again was to vote for David         male, very public school and very white                                                                 the extent to which and the premise on
fun. In Parliament and in the country,        Cameron as leader.                             – egged on by a membership that want-                                                                   which he has led the modernisation of
the Party was increasingly narrow, in-        His basic challenge was this: how to re-       ed its MPs to be very male, very public                                                                 the Party.
creasingly right-wing and increasingly        frame the electoral conversation when          school and very Thatcherite. So there                                                                   There is little doubt that this will be
out of touch. The Party in Parliament         for so long the brand had been so dam-         has been concerted action to start the                                                                  tested further by the pressures of gov-
and in the country looked and sounded         aged and held in such mistrust, even           process of removing this bias.                                                                          ernment. But modernisation is real and
increasingly unlike modern Britain, and       contempt? The Party had to move back           Modernisation has meant broadening                                                                      it is deep. It is appealing to people who
was faced with Labour’s most elector-         into the centre-ground – where the vot-        the Conservative coalition. It has never                                                                haven’t thought about voting Tory be-
ally successful leader ever.                  ers are and elections are won – and            been about abandoning the voters we                                                                     fore and has put a Party once thought
Despite initially encouraging attempts        ensure that it focused on what voters          already have, but appealing to the vot-                                                                 to be at an electoral dead end in with a
to modernise by William Hague, Iain           actually care about. And it had to funda-      ers we need to win an election. They                                                                    real chance of returning to Government
Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, bad          mentally alter its outlook on the world        are people who have never voted Tory                                                                    at the next election. The Party is, once
poll numbers always pulled them back          – Britain is a greatly changed place since     before or abandoned the Party fifteen                                                                   more, in tune with the British people. A
to the extremes, in an attempt to at          the last heyday of the Conservatives. If       years ago. This means that the Party                                                                    progressive Conservative Party in oppo-
least halt the decline by guaranteeing        voters feel that they are being judged         must continue to emphasise how peren-                                                                   sition will also be a modern, progressive
a minimal number of ‘core’ votes. In          and held in contempt, they will simply         nial Conservative values apply to the                                                                   Government.
both 2001 and 2005, while voters may          switch off. So there were three, inter-        things that those voters care about.       flickr.com/urimland

14                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          15
                                                       O P I N I O N                                                                                                                      O P I N I O N
A Greener Future                                                                                                                and how would a shift in social norms        ational justice and radically transform     local issues should also be a focus.
Moving towards a low-carbon economy immediately, argues Lucy Stone, is the only way to rectify the greatest injustice to        achieve this?                                the policies and commitments of those       Ultimately, tackling climate change in
our children.                                                                                                                   Programmes in developing countries           in power. Children themselves recently      a manner that values intergenerational
Growing concerns about the ageing pop- disillusioned with the climate change on future governments and economies                that involve children in planning and        issued a declaration to coincide with the   justice will only happen when social
ulation in industrialised countries tend agenda. Climate change caused by already pushed to the limit.                          preparing for weather related disasters      Copenhagen climate negotiations that        and personal values prioritise long-term
to focus on health and financial burdens greenhouse gas emissions is a symptom The economic analysis of climate change          can have a powerful impact. Research         included the statement: “we commit          sustainability. Understanding scarcity of
on the working population. Yet perhaps of a deeper problem: a short term bias by Sir Nicholas Stern was an influential          shows that children involved in these        to personal lifestyle changes that place    natural resources and valuing heritage
the biggest intergenerational inequality to lifestyle choices and resource use. Of argument for placing a near equal value      programmes are not only less likely to       the common good above our individual        are examples of cultural norms that
has already taken place - the consump- course, many might argue that it is hu- on future generations as the current             be in danger of fatality or injury, but      desires and current way of life.” Polls     have perhaps become less commonly
tion of resources and the legacy of cli- man nature to value the present more population when weighing up how much              they themselves can create change            in the UK show that young people - 80%      experienced in an age of high consump-
mate change. Children growing up today than the future. Yet we should point to we should pay for climate change now.            within their community in addressing         of 16-24 year olds - have high levels of    tion that assumes perpetual abundance
are coming to realise that their parents intergenerational values already under- Intergenerational justice requires that        risk. Investing in programmes now that       concern about climate change, and feel      and values novelty. Education and a de-
and grandparents will leave them with pinning prevailing attitudes that exist there be distributive justice between             build children’s resilience to climate       that individuals and communities should     sire for sustainability for all, not just for
a heavy debt. The era of cheap energy in society today: pension schemes and generations and that the rights of gen-             change can be a cost effective interven-     play a strong role in tackling the issue    children, will be an essential to ensure
and food, not to mention cheap money, personal sacrifices made by parents for erations, to a clean environment for              tion reducing the level of funds required    alongside government and technological      that intergenerational equity becomes a
is ending with the next generations left their children, the preservation of heri- example, should be considered equal          when disasters do strike or to support       innovation.                                 social norm, particularly in the context
to pick up the social, economic and en- tage and opposition to inheritance tax.      over time. This argument has since been    development objectives. Already de-                                                      of climate change.
vironmental tab.                                                                     strengthened as the estimated cost of      velopment assistance is being diverted       “If children and young people were          Our response to climate change and ap-
There is still a window of opportunity for  “We should point to                      climate change continues to increase.      away from core development areas such        consulted on wind farm planning             proach to sustainability now, will pro-
the current generation responsible for      intergenerational values already         Using this low discount rate in policy     as education and health into emergency       applications, this might change             foundly affect the quality of life of our
high fossil fuel consumption to counter     underpinning prevailing attitudes        and fiscal decision making would lead to   and distress assistance; up from 4.8 %       the rate at which they were                 children and future generations, yet the
this massive inequality and demonstrate     that exist in society today”             more commitments like the recent UK        from 1990-94 to 7.8 per cent in 2003.                                                    principle of intergenerational justice
                                                                                                                                                                             successfully passed”
its commitment to stewardship. There                                                 law to reduce national emissions by 34%    For every $1 invested in ‘Disaster Risk                                                  has not been at the heart of climate
is a tremendous opportunity right now As greenhouse gases accumulate over by 2020 and 80% to 2050. This commit-                 Reduction’ programmes $13.38 is gen-         Providing children with effective politi-   change policy and behaviours. Although
to stimulate global recovery in a man- time, resulting in progressively greater ment was supported across the political         erated. And this is not including the        cal representation and involvement is a     most people would hope that the next
ner that is sustainable and equitable. stress on the ecosystem, children will spectrum, showing a common support                social benefits, such as reduced anxi-       core child right that the UK government     generation inherits a world in no worse
Shifting from non-renewable to renew- be particularly vulnerable and child for long term action.                                ety amongst children and maintained          has committed to, and yet it is rarely      shape than the one they themselves in-
able sources of energy, technological in- survival will be increasingly threat- While in their rhetoric political leaders       schooling.                                   implemented. For example, if children       herited, when we examine our choices,
novations and sustainable products can ened. The Stern Review found that recognise the importance of intergen-                  Legal tools to ensure intergenerational      and young people were consulted on          behaviours and lifestyles, it is clear that
stimulate job creation, innovation and climate change could cause anywhere erational justice, these words repeat-               principles are upheld include enshrining     wind farm planning applications, this       at the moment we fundamentally and
enterprise, and can be exciting and at- between 40,000 to 160,000 additional edly fail to be put into action, as the            environmental and intergenerational          might change the rate at which they         repeatedly fail to ensure that this oc-
tractive to investors and consumers. In- child deaths per year in South Asia and consequences of climate change will            rights in national legislation or interna-   were successfully passed. Children have     curs.
vesting our current accumulated wealth sub-Saharan Africa through GDP losses mostly occur when they are no longer               tional agreements. Legislation or trea-      the right to be consulted on how public     There will always be trade-offs between
in a radical shift towards a low carbon alone, under a scenario of minimal cli- in power. The focus remains on the im-          ties can provide guiding frameworks for      policy and major infrastructure decisions   current needs and future interests. A
economy and in climate resilience in the mate change. Children currently born in mediate costs of emissions reduction,          policy and behaviour but their primary       are taken. Being involved in designing      first step would be to make these trade-
most vulnerable countries would ensure industrialised countries must also adapt which not only ignores the rights of fu-        use is likely to be a means for recourse     their community and their future should     offs explicit so that we can have a more
that all children will grow up in a safer, to the changes caused by their parents’ ture generations, but also misses the        after the act. Other legal methods for       be a given. The Department for Energy       honest debate about the solutions. We
cleaner and fairer world.                  and grandparents’ generations. Previ- benefits of making an early transition to      safeguarding intergenerational princi-       and Climate Change has been a rare ex-      have an unprecedented opportunity to
For anyone wanting to ensure children ous, and current, short term thinking, a thriving low-carbon economy, greater             ples include mandatory environmental         ample of open consultation with young       decide the future world we want to see.
have a fair chance in life, support for a whether through lack of information or energy security and independence, im-          impact reviews for policy or business        people on this issue, recognising the       Investing in low carbon development
green economy is essential.                simple greed also has clear financial im- proved air quality and greater health      development and citizen action under         specific concerns of children. But even     now is a huge opportunity to implement
After the disappointment at Copen- plications. The costs of reducing emis- and well-being. So how does a politician             environmental law.                           these opportunities tend to focus on        the rights of all children, to survive and
hagen, and the recent confusion over sions and adapting to climate change obtain public support for this intergen-              A child rights approach to climate change    macro level, or global questions. Involv-   thrive, meaningfully and to improve in-
climate science, many will be feeling are set to impose a heavy fiscal burden erational approach to climate change,             would take the principles of intergener-     ing children in devising solutions and on   tergenerational justice.
16                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 17
                                                           O P I N I O N                                                                                                                         O P I N I O N
Faithful Education                                                                                                                                                                  untary Controlled and Voluntary Aided         ciety, faith schools educate a dispropor-
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain says we need our faith schools to encourage a new era of unity.                                                                                            schools, with VCs answerable to the lo-       tionately small number of young people
                                                                                                                                                                                    cal education authority over admissions,      at the lowest end of the socio-economic
One of the astonishing developments           that religion still has something to of-     nected with faith schools - but, unfairly                                                employment and curriculum, whereas            scale’.
over the last decade is faith schools be-     fer, want to send their children to them     or not, they made people look again at                                                   VAs have considerable independence -          Still, there are also positive conclusions
ing a subject rarely mentioned in public      to obtain what they themselves cannot        the increasing number of faith schools                                                   including wide powers of discrimination       and a report published late in 2009 by
to being a contentious part of the politi-    give their offspring.                        - the pledge to build one hundred new                                                    in all three areas - yet both almost to-      Elizabeth Green for Theos on the impact
cal agenda.                                                                                Christian ones, the expansion of Jewish                                                  tally state-funded.                           of schools with a Christian ethos argues
They have been around a considerable
                                               “If you colour-coded Britain                ones, equally of Muslim schools, and the                                                                                               that students at many schools with a
time in Britain, with Christian schools        according to each religion in the           recent appearance of the very first Sikh
                                                                                                                                                                                     “It really is time we had a National         Christian ethos generally display a more
established for centuries and the first        1930s and again in the 2000s, then          and Hindu ones.                                                                           Curriculum for RE”                           positive attitude towards religion and a
Jewish school since 1732.                      the map of the UK will have changed         They worry such schools might produce                                                    Another pressing issue is that although       better spiritual health.
           The public’s view                   from virtually monochrome to a              a climate in which those like the bomb-                                                  RE is a statutory subject and has to be       In addition, it says that there is some
                                                                                           ers could flourish.                                                                      taught, there is no National Curriculum       evidence that students at maintained
It seems that there are four reasons why
                                               kaleidoscope of colour”                     The battle-lines are well rehearsed:                                                     for RE. Moreover, although each area          church schools achieve more highly. This
faith schools have become much more           Thirdly, society has also changed in         proponents of faith schools praise the                                                   has its own locally agreed syllabus, faith    is not due to their selecting pupils who
controversial. One is that whereas they       another way, no longer being predomi-        way they work at producing good round-                                                   schools can opt out of them.                  are more likely to achieve. There is a
started off as private endowments, they       nantly Christian with a small Jewish mi-     ed citizens, while opponents condemn                                                     It really is time we had a National Cur-      real ‘school effect’.
are now publicly funded, and so much          nority, but now consisting of a plethora     them for ghettoising the children and                                                    riculum for RE, so that although faith        However, none of these and other re-
more answerable to the taxpayer.              of faiths. If you colour-coded Britain       fragmenting society. But rather than en-                                                 schools may teach more about their            search projects deal with the schools of
Of course, that has been the case for         according to each religion in the 1930s      gage in stale arguments, we need to lo-                                                  own faith, they also have to inform their     minority faiths and their impact both on
at least a hundred years, but public          and again in the 2000s, then the map         cate larger principles that will give guide                                              pupils about other religious and non-         pupils and on society - so we are still in
scrutiny is so much higher today than         of the UK will have changed from virtu-      us into the future more accurately.                                                      religious beliefs - simply as a matter of     fairly unchartered waters when we try
it was a century ago, with demands for        ally monochrome to a kaleidescope of         I shall therefore not laud the brilliant      only preserves their particular identity   minimum standards and basic general           to cater for that kaleidoscopic map of
transparency and accountability placing       colour.                                      CofE school that teaches its pupils not       but does so in harmony with all the oth-   knowledge.                                    religious and secular Britain. It makes
not just faith schools but all institutions   That is wonderful in many ways and           only the Gospels but also about Yom           er identities swirling around them? And                     Research                     the current debate on faith schools,
- the BBC, NHS, police force - under a        enormously enriching, but has led to is-     Kippur, Ramadan and Diwali, and is            from society’s point of view, produces a                                                 their current growth, what they teach
much more rigorous spotlight than ever        sues being raised that rarely surfaced       genuinely interested in religious diver-      generation that is diverse yet coherent,   An indicator of the importance of our         and how they should be regulated even
before.                                       before - particularly over integration,      sity. Nor shall I rant about the Catholic     that values social cohesion and is able    topic is the leap in the amount of re-        more important.
Secondly, the tax-paying society of to-       and whether separating children of dif-      School that does cover other faiths - but     to function effectively?                   search that has been undertaken on            As a rabbi I am strongly in favour of faith
day is very different from that of 1870       ferent faiths, which can also often mean     only very occasionally and as part of its     We have to take account of individual      different aspects of faith schools in the     but am concerned about the discrimina-
when the great transition occurred in the     of different ethnic backgrounds, into        class on Heresy. We need to avoid citing      families and their traditions, but we      last few years.                               tory way many faith schools currently
Education Act of that year with Church        faith schools encourages integration or      best and worst practices and concen-          also need to consider the overall social   Many of them pick up concerns about so-       operate. The organization I chair - the
schools receiving funds from the state.       inhibits it?                                 trate on trends.                              health of Britain at large.                cial inequalities, such as the IPPR in 2007   Accord Coalition - seeks to promote
Amongst other changes, it is a much less      The fourth reason for why faith schools                A modern approach                   Assuming that we are to continue to        which showed that ‘where faith schools        inclusive schooling and urges the Con-
religious society, both in terms of obser-    is now such an issue is partly due to con-                                                 have faith schools - and I suspect even    are their own admissions authorities [ie      servative Party to tread the fine line of
vance and knowledge.                          cern from particular events : the Brad-      There is no doubting the extraordinary        their most ardent opponents secretly       Voluntary Aided schools] they are ten         honoring religious commitment but not
Curiously, this lessening of faith has had    ford Riots; then there was 9/11 in the       debt that the school system today owes        know that they are an ineradicable part    times more likely to be highly unrepre-       at the price of social division.
a polarizing effect on the general pub-       USA, whose shock-waves hit harder here       to the religious institutions that laid is    of the landscape - there are some big      sentative of their surrounding area’.         It is not a matter of being for or against
lic with regard to faith schools : with       after the July 7 bombings in London.         foundations. But given the society we         questions looming.                         That is a serious charge, and backed up       faith schools, but of creating an envi-
some members being opposed to them                         Unity and division              are in 2010 - multi-faith, multi-ethnic                                                  by the Runnymede Trust’s report in 2008       ronment where children of different
                                                                                                                                                 Reforms for the better
on the secular grounds that they are bi-                                                   and with many of no faith - what is the                                                  which concluded: ‘Despite high level          backgrounds grow up as neighbors rath-
ased and doctrinaire; others, knowing         Let me state very clearly that there is no   way to educate the next generation            For instance, are pupils best served by    pronouncements that suggest a mission         er than strangers, and forge a society
their own lack of religiosity but sensing     evidence that the bombings were con-         which from the child’s point of view, not     the current distinction between Vol-       to serve the most disadvantaged in so-        that is at ease with itself.
18                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        19
                                                           O P I N I O N                                                                                                                                          P R O G O M E T E R
The Rise of The Modern Man                                                                                                               to enormous benefits for families them-
Men want to spend more time with their children, says Anushka Asthana. For
their sake - and their relationships - we have to find ways to let them.
                                                                                                                                         selves. A study published in December
                                                                                                                                         from the University of Western Ontario      The Progometer
                                                                                                                                         revealed that couples that shared re-       Ryan Shorthouse checks the progressive pulse of Conservative Party policy
The dramatic decline in the male-             As for evidence, an EHRC report re-          ...................................           sponsibility for domestic work had high-
breadwinner model is a reality that is        cently showed that almost half of all                                                      er levels of happiness and life satisfac-   Introduce a pupil premium
sure to accelerate. Speak to a handful        men failed to take-up their meagre of-                                                     tion than those in other family models.     Michael Gove MP and Nick Gibb MP have promised to extra school funding for
of female graduates and you’ll soon rea-      fering of two weeks paternity leave for                                                    The researchers found that although         children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This will give schools with Acad-
lise they have ambitions just as lofty as     £246.12. Most felt unable to afford it.                                                    the traditional breadwinner role was        emy status – which Gove wants to greatly expand – the opportunity to attract
their male counterparts.                      So the question comes down to whether                                                      still dominant, in more than one in four    the best teachers by paying them more. And evidence points to the quality of
But to a woman who works full-time and        Delingpole is right: that men just aren’t                                                  cases, families were organized in such a    teaching being the biggest determinant of the quality of education
brings in a substantial – perhaps the ma-     made for housework. Or, and I’m much                                                       way that each partner did between 40
jority – slice of a couple’s income, life     more convinced by this, is it that our so-                                                 and 60% of unpaid work. This arrange-       Full funding for apprentices aged over 19
at home has to change as well. For too        cietal attitudes are so in-built it would                                                  ment was most likely where women            Not everyone aged above 19 can get full funding for a work-based appren-
long the expectation and welcome en-          take a huge effort to shift them.                                                          were better resourced and the couple        ticeship. David Willetts MP and John Hayes MP have promised full funding
couragement of women to succeed in                                                                                                       less religious.                             – direct to employers - for 77,000 work-based apprenticeships so older stu-
work has not been matched by a com-            “We hear again and again that in                                                          Shared roles, the study concluded, were     dents have a second chance in life at a high-quality vocational education.
mensurate shift in cultural and political      Sweden things are different”                                                              advantageous to society in terms of
attitudes about their role at home.                                                                                                      gender equity and maximizing wealth.
Survey after survey has concluded that        So where do we start? Can changing                                                         It meant women were less vulnerable in      A ‘Right to Move’ for social tenants
                                                                                                                                         the case of separation, divorce or the      Too many people grow up and die in the same sink-estate. Grant Shapps MP
while men may be doing more on the            policy lay the foundations for such an
                                                                                                                                         death of a spouse.                          wants to introduce a comprehensive national mobility scheme which will
domestic front than ever before, women        enormous change in attitude? After all,
                                                                                                                                         To promote the family-model, research-      allow good social tenants to demand that their social landlord sell their cur-
still carry the bulk of the burden. Some      we hear again and again that in Sweden       -tion. And one thing they liked was the
                                                                                                                                         ers said policies should support equal      rent property and use the proceeds, minus transaction costs, to buy another
say it is just the way men and women          things are different. That there, where      recent promise from Labour of transfer-
                                                                                                                                         opportunities for men and women, en-        property of their choice – anywhere in England. This will allow responsible
are made. Like the journalist James Del-      men and women are given similar, and         able maternity and paternity leave of
                                                                                                                                         sure access to education and work, cre-     citizens – trapped by poverty – to escape hardship.
ingpole who argues that for men “self-        far superior, leave following birth nine     up to six months.
esteem and happiness depends far less         out of ten men take up at least some of      For their part, the Tories are also bang-     ate the conditions that help work-life
on how good we feel as parents than on        the benefits.                                ing the drum for parental – rather than       balance and – importantly – promote         Flexible parental leave
how well we feel we're doing out there        It is not because they are designed dif-     maternal – leave. Their policy allows         greater involvement of men in house-        Women still face a motherhood penalty, leaving a gender pay gap in the UK
in the big, nasty, competitive, aggres-       ferently. But the truth is it took a huge    parents to share 52 weeks of maternity        work and childcare. And for that, it        which is a third higher than the European average. Meanwhile, men want to
sive world of money-making. It's the way      effort to achieve that shift in Sweden.      of which 39 is paid. The first 14 weeks       found, government needed to create a        spend more time with their children. Theresa May MP will change maternity
we're designed". His sex, he concluded,       One academic I spoke to said: “they al-      go automatically to the mother, but it        society with adequate childcare facili-     leave so parents can decide how they divide 39 weeks of parental leave
just weren’t interested in childcare.         most had to force men to take the time”.     is up to parents what they do with the        ties and equal opportunity to parental      between them, giving parents power over how they juggle their work and
It is not a reality I recognize among my      So it needed policy and then something       remaining 38. The couple could take off       leave.                                      family commitments.
peers. But if even a sizeable minor-          more than that – but eventually it did       26 weeks together if they choose to.          So policy change is heading in the right
ity share Delingpole’s attitude, it is an     appear to work.                              All very welcome although it will be in-      direction. But it is for government and     4,200 Sure Start Health Visitors
enormous obstacle for those women that        That raises the question, could the same     teresting to see to what extent David         employers to ensure that the offer of       The number of Health Visitors has declined and these professionals report
want to ascend the career ladder unim-        happen here? Because policy change is        Cameron holds this women-friendly line        parental leave is something that men        that their caseloads are too high to protect the most vulnerable children.
peded. It is a view that feeds straight       in the air as both parties chase after the   if in power. After all, he did vote against   feel able and encouraged to take up.        Maria Miller MP has promised to reinstate a universal Health Visitors service,
into that ever sturdy glass ceiling. Or, as   vote of 30-something, career women. A        introducing paternity pay as part of the      That might require a few more men to        providing non-stigmatising support to all parents and increasing the chances
Nicola Brewer described it in 2008 when       poll released earlier this month found       second reading of the Employment Bill         admit that it doesn’t matter how you        of giving children from the most challenging backgrounds a healthier start
she was Chief Executive of the Equality       that 47% of professional women in Lon-       in 2001.                                      are designed: looking after your child or   in life.
and Human Rights Commission (EHRC),           don had not made up their mind about         But one thing is clear: any attempts to       participating in the home is part of be-
one made of “reinforced concrete”.            which way to vote in the general elec-       move society in this direction could lead     ing a good father.
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                                                             O P I N I O N                                                                                                                       T H E   T H I N K E R S
Changing Childhood                                                                                                                              Fluid Families
Today’s children do not enjoy the free-                                                                                                         Families have changed tremendously over the past thirty years. Our attitudes towards family life have too. Penny Mansfield
doms of the past. Tim Gill calls on au-                                                                                                         thinks we need 21st century support for 21st century families.
thorities to create child-friendly spaces.    .............................................   bottom of the well-being                          Marriage rates began to decline from unfortunate minority who were unable mantic terms. It was “what most people
We now know that family-friendliness                                                          .....................................             the high levels of the 1960’s. Yes, that to marry - because they couldn’t get did”, the beginning of a sequence lead-
will be a key theme in the Conservative                                                                                                         decade, the Swinging Sixties, was in a divorce - or the choice of an excep- ing to “an independent life”, “your own
manifesto. But what does this imply                                                                                                             fact the golden age of marriage. Mar- tional few who were anti-marriage. But place and “a family of one’s own”. A
for the way we shape the spaces our                                                                                                             riage was almost universal and spouses in the 1980s, moving in together as the powerful sense of the future permeated
children grow up in?                                                                                                                            exchanged their vows young. Whatever final phase of courtship became popu- their perceptions of marriage.
The beginnings of an answer to this                                                                                                             the new pop music idols said and did, lar, especially for older more educated “The Beginning Of The Rest Of Your Life?”
question can be found in a 2008 report                                                                                                          sex outside of marriage was disapproved brides. However, most childbearing still was the title of a book I co-authored. As
on childhood written by David Willetts.                                                                                                         of and if there was a baby on the way occurred within marriage. In the nine- the 1980s kicked off, marriage was still
The report’s provocative title - More Ball                                                                                                      there was pressure to rush to the altar ties that too began to change.              the symbol of adulthood, marking the
Games – flags up its equally provocative                                                                                                        or Register office.                                                                 move from being your parents’ child to
message: getting children out and about,                                                                                                        But attitudes were changing and the            “Marriage was still the              being a spouse, and soon enough, your
playing and socialising, is an aim worthy                                                                                 image: Play England   1970s saw the demise of the shotgun            symbol of adulthood,                 own child’s parent.
of serious political attention.                                                                                                                 marriage. The stigma of illegitimacy           marking the move from                Over the centuries marriage has served
Such a vision should be uncontroversial.      services have been left out.                    bottom of the well-being comparison               had lessened and there was less pres-                                               many functions: ordering kinship, es-
After all, it fits perfectly with the         Some question the premise, insisting            - the Government and Big Lottery                  sure from parents to marry. In 1972, just
                                                                                                                                                                                               being your parents’ child to         tablishing roles and identities within
memories of almost anyone over the age        that children have more freedom today.          have earmarked over £380 million to               over four out of ten pregnant teenag-          being a spouse, and soon             families, regulating sexual behaviour,
of 30, of a childhood unfolding in local      However, they are confusing appearance          improve parks and play areas. Market              ers married before the child was born.         enough, your own child’s             attaching men to their offspring, sup-
parks, streets, fields and - yes - building   with reality. For the past thirty years or      research shows that the new facilities            By 1982, less than two out of every ten        parent”                              porting the care of children, organis-
sites. David Cameron himself has noted        more, childhood prior to adolescence            are enormously popular with children              pregnant teenagers chose that option.                                               ing the flow of economic resources and
that “just one in five children regularly     has been characterised by shrinking             and families. The wider community, far            In the 1980s the two equally favourite In the last thirty years, family life in mutual aid between generations. Before
play outside in their neighbourhood.          freedom of action for children, and             from being hostile, often welcomes and            options for a pregnant teenager were Britain has been transformed; the num- the mid 18th Century there was no con-
The rest are denied the chance to get         growing adult control and oversight. For        values the improvements, and some of              legal termination or giving birth without ber of marriages has halved, divorces sensus about how legally binding mar-
out of the house and have the everyday        instance, in 1971, nearly all 8-year-olds       the best designs have created places              marrying the father - at least before the doubled and extra-marital births qua- riage ceremonies should be conducted
adventures that – to people of my             went to school unaccompanied. Today             that people of all ages can enjoy.                birth.                                    drupled. Today, the common sequence and many couples opted for private ver-
generation – are what childhood is all        few of that age are allowed outside             We know that, no matter which party               Women began to marry at later ages as of family formation is cohabitation fol- bal contracts, valid ‘in the eyes of God’
about.”                                       their front doors on their own.                 holds the purse strings, budget cuts will         the rapid rise in women’s earning ca- lowed by marriage and parenthood. It is but unenforceable in the courts. The
Children today value freedom just as          This loss of freedom has serious                be the order of the day. Yet there are            pacity relative to men’s reduced the predicted that if current trends contin- 1753 Marriage Act ended any legal rec-
much as their parents and grandparents.       consequences. Robust studies show               still levers of power as yet untouched by         benefits of marriage. For young men hit ue, within five years the majority of ba- ognition of informal marriage rites such
Contrary to popular belief, most would        rising levels of emotional problems             central government, such as shaping the           by the recession, unemployment dimin- bies will be born to unmarried parents. as common-law marriage in England and
happily spend less time in front of screens   amongst teenagers. Experts say this may         planning system, and setting relevant             ished their eligibility in the marriage                                             Wales. From the 19th Century the pen-
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Changing attitudes
if they had a real choice. Likewise most      well be because they have been denied           standards for schools, childcare and              market.                                                                             alties of bearing illegitimate children
parents would like them to.                   the chance in their earlier years to learn      extended services.                                The reform of divorce law at the end of When I began researching family forma- were heavy and for the next one hun-
And yet the goal of expanding children’s      coping mechanisms that would help               Our metaphor for childhood should not             the sixties allowed many people trapped tion in the early 1980s, in the interviews, dred years Europe and America came
horizons is often met with great              prepare them for life’s ups and downs.          be the battery chicken but the salmon.            in unhappy marriages to start afresh. just three months after their weddings, as close as any society has ever done to
resistance. Local planning regulations        International comparisons of child well-        The truth is that the presence of children        The number of marriages between a new spouses were asked why they had making formal marriage mandatory.
often mean that a single complaint            being confirm that in the countries that        of different ages enjoying public space,          single person and someone previously married at that time in their lives. “Be- The pendulum has now swung the other
about an upgrade to a playground can          score highest – the Netherlands, Sweden,        like the presence of wild salmon in a             married increased – one in five single cause we fell in love” was the common way. The Millennium Cohort Study gives
halt investment, while the merging of         Denmark – children enjoy far more               river, is one of the best indicators of           women marrying in their late twen- answer. Yet, as they described their further insight into how families are
social services and education in Local        autonomy than their British peers.              the quality of the environment in which           ties, married a divorced man. Cohabi- courtship these young men and women forming in 21st Century Britain. While
Authorities means that sometimes play         Since 2007 – when Britain came out              they live.                                        tation had been the predicament of an spoke about getting married in less ro- two out of three of the 18,500 babies
22                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       23
                                                                                                                                                                                         T H E   T H I N K E R S

                                                                                                                                    The explanation may be that this age         gether and staying together, with huge      such unions. The marriage rush of the
                                                                                                                                    group is at that point in their lives at     implications for children and the wider     1960s did not result in more stable and
                                                                                                                                    which they or their peers are divorcing.     family network. Yet as the importance       enduring unions. On the contrary.
                                                                                                                                                                                 of formal marriage has declined its sym-
                                                                                                                                     Different roles for men and women                                                               21st century family life
                                                                                                                                                                                 bolic significance as a confirmation of
                                                                                                                                    Another major change in attitudes is to-     commitment may have increased.              It is very difficult to make policy on
                                                                                                                                    wards homosexuality. The proportion of                                                   these broadly social but intensely pri-
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Marriage
                                                                                                                                    people saying that sexual relations be-                                                  vate issues. Tolerance rules. But separa-
                                                                                                                                    tween two adults of the same sex are         The very informality of contemporary        tion as a result of poor relationships and
                                                                                                                                    always or mostly wrong has declined          relationships creates challenging issues    poorly managed break-ups is costing
                                                                                                                                    from 62% in 1983 to 36% in 2007. There       both for public policy and the families     us economically and in terms of adult
                                                                                                                                    was a slight increase in prejudice in the    themselves. A substantial body of evi-      and child wellbeing. The quality of chil-
                                                                                                                                    late 80s when we became less tolerant        dence indicates distinct advantages in      dren’s lives is affected by the quality of
                                                                                                                                    of homosexual relationships following        being married for men, women and for        their parents’ relationship. If the quality
                                                                                                                                    the AIDS epidemic. This century regula-      their children. On average married men      is good it offers protective factors. But
                                                                                                                                    tions have been put in place to make it      and women enjoy better physical and         if it is poor it is associated with poorer
                                                                                                                                    unlawful to discriminate against work-       mental health, do better socially and       parenting and poorer parent –child rela-
     Steve Punter                                                                                                                   ers because of sexual orientation and by     economically than men and women who         tionships.
                                                                                                                                    2005 the Civil Partnership Act came into     are not married, and, their children do     One advantage we have in the 21st cen-
were born to married parents and one        ble. A slightly different question posed    between 1998 and 2006. Interestingly,       force enabling same sex couples to ob-       better too. Is it simply the status of      tury compared to 25 years ago is com-
in four to cohabiting parents, 15% of       in the BHPS since 1998 asks individuals     those aged 60 or older in 1998 have be-     tain legal recognition of their relation-    marriage that creates these advantages      pelling evidence that stable harmoni-
babies were born to mothers not liv-        about their agreement or disagreement       come relatively more liberal than any       ships. In proposing the legislation gov-     or the quality and durability of the re-    ous relationships improve the quality of
ing with a partner. Of this 15%, about      with the statement: “It makes no differ-    other age group in that period. The au-     ernment said it would be an important        lationship between the two individuals ?    life for adults and children and growing
half described themselves as ‘closely       ence to children whether their parents      thors of the 2010 BSA report suggest that   equality measure and stabilise family        Clearly there is an association between     knowledge about what makes relation-
involved ‘ with their baby’s father and     are married or just living together”. On    this may denote the impact of personal      life.                                        the two.                                    ships work, how to improve them and
nine months later a quarter of the          that issue we as a nation are equally       experience – as an increasing number        Meanwhile inside marriage men and            There is also a selection effect. Certain   how to cope when they go wrong. There
‘closely involved’ parents were cohab-      divided. Younger generations are more       of older people become grandparents         women no longer have fixed attitudes         people – men and women from eco-            is much still to learn about how to de-
iting. For a small but growing group of     likely to agree than older generations      to children whose parents are not mar-      to what He does and She does. Stud-          nomically and emotionally secure back-      liver that knowledge in accessible and,
parents the transition to parenthood        that the marital status of parents makes    ried.                                       ies show that over the last fifty years,     grounds are more likely to marry and        most importantly, acceptable ways to
now coincides with the transition to liv-   no difference to children.                  Attitudes to staying in an unhappy mar-     there is less emphasis upon the gen-         sustain satisfying relationships. Both      21st century families.
ing as a couple.                                                                        riage or getting divorced have been con-    der specific roles of husband and wife,      personality and upbringing contribute to    In 2008, we at One Plus One developed
What we do is reflected in what we                                                      sistent since the mid 1990s. The British    and more emphasis upon mutuality and         our capacity to form and maintain close     a new relationship support service th-
                                                “Self fulfilment of the
believe. According to the British Social                                                Household Panel Study shows that in         equality. This more companionate rela-       supportive relationships. Unmarried         ecoupleconnection.net designed to put
Attitudes (BSA) Survey and the British          individual partners is                  2006 four fifths of us agree that it is     tionship – the marriage of good friends      parents are mostly, younger parents,        that knowledge directly into the hands
Household Panel Study (BHPS), over the          increasingly the reason                 better to divorce than to continue an       - has emerged in part as a challenge to      in more socially disadvantaged groups,      of couples. The service has reached
last quarter of a century we have as a          for getting together and                unhappy marriage. There is some dif-        the power of the wider family where          men and women who have partners and         around a quarter of a million couples
nation become more tolerant of a range          staying together, with huge             ference between the attitudes of older      family interdependence was based on          children from previous relationships and    so far, the majority of users are men
of relationships, heterosexual and same                                                 and younger generations - with the old-     the authority of older generations in        have experienced the breakdown of           and women between 20 and 40, about
                                                implications for children and
sex.                                                                                    er showing less support for divorce. The    the family and deference to it. Couple       their own parents’ relationships. Would     2/3rds are parents. And frontline prac-
The proportion who say that those who           the wider family network”               very young and those aged 45-60 were        relationships are more flexible but more     their children enjoy the benefits of con-   titioners working with families are using
want to have children should get mar-                                                   slightly more likely to agree that an       expedient. Their essential purpose has       tinuing relationships with their parents    the materials with families directly or
ried, declined from almost three quar-      There is a clear period effect with all     unhappy marriage was preferable to di-      shifted from the social to the personal.     simply because their parents were mar-      signposting them to the online service.
ters in 1989 to about half in 2002. Since   generations becoming a little more lib-     vorce while those in their 30s and early    Self fulfilment of the individual partners   ried? It is unlikely that getting married   A 21st century approach to strengthen-
then attitudes have remained very sta-      eral in their views on cohabiting parents   40s were more likely to favour divorce.     is increasingly the reason for getting to-   alone is the glue needed to consolidate     ing 21st century families.
24                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    25
                                                    T H E   T H I N K E R S                                                                                                                T H E   T H I N K E R S
The Junked Generation                                                                                                                offer training opportunities?                 NEETS include young people with vary-        boosts the number of under-privileged
Just guaranteeing young people any old job does not solve the NEET problem. We need to invest early and give the vulner-             However, even greater attention needs         ing needs – the most challenging of          young people moving into higher edu-
able the competencies and pathways which will ensure long-term success. By Yvonne Roberts.                                           to be paid to prevention and to a much        which is the 38% who believe ‘it’s too       cation as a result of intensive support
                                                                                                                                     stronger and dynamic recognition that         late for me’. A 2008 report by the British   and Local Employment Access Projects
When Labour came to power, 702,000          ticularly hard, depleting social capital,    by a housing association, Working Rite      the young unemployed are anything but         Chamber of Commerce gave a number of         or LEAP , a charity based in North West
young people were unemployed. In            and - as the Government’s Social Exclu-      matches young people with an older          homogeneous. Different groups need to         reasons why some young people become         London that focuses on ‘tough love’,
2005, not for the first time, Tony Blair    sion Task Force argued - it means that       self-employed tradesman for a six           be supported in diverse ways, and some        NEET – they include educational disaf-       discipline, motivation and employment
said: “Long term youth unemployment         some families hand down an inheritance       month placement in a work environ-          may require support for the very long         fection, family disadvantage and pover-      in jobs with opportunities. Both, how-
has been virtually eliminated under         of hopelessness, for generation after        ment. 75% of young people who go on         term - support that does not lend itself      ty, being in care, teenage motherhood,       ever, are attempting to correct the mis-
this Government.” Today, the figure is      generation. So much so that education        the scheme move into employment or          easily, for instance, to target driven        special educational needs, becoming a        take that the system has already made.
943,000. Almost one in two young black      has no currency. The tragedy is that,        further training. The Tories would also     goals and current evaluations. When           young carer, belonging to certain BME        What else might help? Improving the
youths aged 16 to 24 is out of work, one    in parts of the UK, that scenario has al-    offer tax breaks to employers for hiring    that diversity is not sufficiently recogn-    groups and participating in crime and        education system, including embrac-
in three Asians and one in five white       ready arrived with teenagers growing         young people and the expansion of ap-       ised, paradoxically, the measures to re-      risk activities.                             ing the potential in vocational educa-
youths. The number of young people          up in households in which neither their      prenticeship and training places.           duce joblessness may mire those at the        An analysis of 6,000 who had been            tion and giving extra investment in the
who have been looking for work for lon-     parents nor grandparents have known          Labour introduced the Future Jobs Fund      bottom of the pyramid even further into       through the New Deal for Young People        acquisition of life skills very early in a
ger than twelve months has risen by 50%     regular employment.                          - a £1 billion fund - at the 2009 Bud-      a world without work, hope and self re-       found that 80% had at least one of these     child’s life. Providing intensive and sus-
in the past year.                           Both Labour and Conservatives have ac-       get and aims to create 150,000 new          spect.                                        markers of disadvantage. 40% had ex-         tained support for some young people
Graduate unemployment has also soared       knowledged the scale of the crisis with      jobs, 100,000 of these aimed at young       Prevention means investment in the ear-       perienced multiple disadvantages. Many       particularly in the transitions from
since 2008, with one in ten who graduat-    a raft of measures but, for a number of      people.     The Young Person’s Guaran-      ly years and an urgent reconfiguration        of these young people in spite of, or as a   primary to secondary school and from
ed in the summer of 2008 out of work in     reasons, many of these polices amount        tee provides a guarantee of a job, work     of our education system. David Cam-           result of an entire lifetime of experienc-   school into further training or work.
the following January, the highest rate     to increasing the size of the sticking       focused training or ‘meaningful’ activ-     eron, understandably, says he wants a         ing profound challenges, also have resil-    Adopting a path, already followed in
since 1995/96. This level of carnage to     plaster instead of addressing the ques-      ity to young people aged 18-24 before       return to the teaching of British history.    ience which could be the life blood of       Scotland, of getting employers involved
the job prospects of young people ob-       tion of why the wound is refusing to         they reach the 12 month stage of their      What he also needs to address is the ca-      this economy if channelled effectively.      in primary schools. Widening the expe-
viously has ramifications for their indi-   heal. The social injustice on youth to-      claim for Job Seekers Allowance. Other      pacity of many young children to learn        At present there is a plethora of schemes    riences of young people - a civic three
vidual health, wealth and wellbeing.        day cannot easily be repaired without        measures include raising the leaving age    anything at all.                              to help young people – over 270 in Lon-      week national service is a start, but too
A young person who is out of work for a     radical measures focused as much on          from education and training to eighteen,    Work on two longitudinal studies that         don alone. Too many, however, are short      little, too late - so they can break out
lengthy period will pay a financial for-    prevention as cure.                          reviewing current qualifications, intro-    followed young people born in 1958 and        term and lack rigour, evaluation and a       of the cocoon of impotence that unem-
feit of between 10-15% in middle age,       The Conservatives have outlined that         ducing new qualifications and expanding     1970 show that in just over a decade,         clear consensus on the outcomes that         ployment often weaves around an en-
according to economist David Blanch-        Get Britain Working will replace La-         apprenticeships and moving responsibil-     personal and social skills - the ability      are required as a test of success. Get-      tire community. All these are measures
flower.                                     bour’s Flexible New Deal programme.          ity for children up to eighteen to local    to exercise self discipline, motivation,      ting a job is not the same as staying in a   which, as part of a coherent strategy,
The young unemployed tend to drink          A key proposal is that the young unem-       authorities.                                understand others, develop relation-          post for a lengthy period of time, devel-    linked across Government departments,
more, have poorer health, higher rates      ployed will be given personalised help       The value of spending wisely on cust-       ships, interact positively, communicate       oping capabilities and acquiring qualifi-    might contribute to a solution. As would
of suicide and smoking, become in-          after six months without a job, deliv-       omised support to get young people into     effectively and believe that what you         cations. At one stage in the New Deal,       an improvement in the employability,
volved in crime and suffer much more        ered by the voluntary and private sec-       work is beyond doubt. The difficulty is     do does make a difference - became            half of those given help were back on        persistence and motivation of graduates
from depression. This sets up a chain re-   tor, paid to get individuals into jobs for   that not enough help is sufficiently cus-   33 times more important in determin-          benefits within a year.                      so they offer more of what employers
action: young people with health prob-      up to a year. The Tories will also create    tomised for a sustained period of time,     ing life chances at the same time as          A recent study of worklessness shows         seek.
lems have less success in finding jobs      a new network of academies supported         and tailoring is compromised by targets     they were less likely to be acquired by       how the unqualified dip in and out of        Youth unemployment isn’t a set of sta-
and are also more likely to lose or leave   by business and industry experts such as     that show little understanding of the       many young people as a result of family       poorly paid work that fails to elevate       tistics – it is the weathervane of the
their jobs. In the West Midlands region,    Travelodge, Tesco and Microsoft.             scale of the challenge. In addition, em-    and social change. Any education sys-         them out of poverty or allow them to         kind of society in which we wish to live.
for instance, 15,000 young people were      Working Rite, a Community Interest           ployers need to do more. Sixty thousand     tem that fails to address this loss of life   make incremental steps up the ladder         A signal of the investment – or lack of it
claiming Incapacity Benefit in 2009 -       Company, established by Sandy Camp-          young people are in jobs with no pros-      skills early enough in a child’s develop-     of opportunity. The wonder in that con-      - in our collective future. And a test of
60% of those on IB have been claiming       bell in 2001, and now supported by           pect of training. The Government is a       ment will continue to create an alumni        text is why any bother to seek employ-       the compassion and innovative thinking
for over 5 years.                           Learning Launchpad at The Young Foun-        powerful contractor – why not stipulate     of NEETS – young people not in educa-         ment at all. Some initiatives are excel-     of our politicians. A test that, at pres-
Unemployment hits communities par-          dation, will also be expanded. Hosted        no contracts with employers who fail to     tion, employment and training.                lent such as Career Academies UK, that       ent, they are failing.
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                                                    T H E    T H I N K E R S                                                                                                                              S O C I A L   J U S T I C E    C O R N E R
Power to the Networked People                                                                                                          this regard there is a fascinating, but as
                                                                                                                                                                                     The War On Poverty
Cameron’s vision of active citizenry needs state support and sophisticated thinking about strengthening community networks.            yet only tentative, finding from our re-      Tim Montgomerie laments the rise in poverty. The vulnerable need a fresh
By Matthew Taylor.                                                                                                                     search. It appears that a characteristic      approach: neither Labour nor libertarianism, but compassionate conservatism
The big question for Cameron Conserva-      pretty much every time that a Conser-         the connections between people has           of the people that are most often cited       Under Labour something went badly           right thing.
tives is how to reconcile a commitment      vative Government has left a progres-         been building for many years. Robert         in other peoples’ networks is that they       wrong in the war on poverty. 900,000        A traditional right-wing or libertarian
to social justice with a determination to   sive legacy it has done so by adding to       Putnam’s social capital theory argues        are inclined themselves to value neigh-       more people fell into extreme poverty.      approach to poverty would end at this
reduce the reach of the state. Talk about   the functions of government rather than       that nature of social bonds is an impor-     bourliness.                                   More kids failed at school. Brown missed    point of listing the poverty-defeating
cutting waste and burning quangos may       by subtracting from them”.                    tant influence on the well-being and         Nicholas Christakis cites research sug-       his child poverty targets. The disposable   behaviours. A young person in the brave
work rhetorically but given the scale of                                                  life chances of members of a particular      gesting a significant genetic component       income of the poorest families fell.        libertarian world is left to sink or swim.
both challenges no one seriously thinks                                                   community. More recently Connected           in people’s networking propensities, and      What should concern us all is that these    That can’t be a compassionate conser-
                                                       “Our own behaviours                                                             this may be reinforced by socialisation.
this would resolve the dilemma.                                                           by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler                                                    reverses happened during years of plen-     vative’s approach. Compassionate con-
Writing in The Times, my old Number                    are shaped not just by             has brought together evidence for the        This suggests that every community will       ty. Labour lost another generation to       servatives need to be different in two
Ten colleague Philip Collins summed                    the people we know,                way our own behaviours are shaped not        contain people who both particularly          poverty even though the economy was         important ways. First, we need to ac-
up the problem neatly: “As a                           but by the people                  just by the people we know, but by the       enjoy, and are particularly adept, at         growing and tax revenues were flooding      tively encourage good behaviours. Sec-
matter of historical record,                           they know”                         people they know.                            networking. These people are obviously        into the welfare state. George Osborne’s    ond, we need to build what David Cam-
                                                                                          Looking at social networks themselves        a huge potential resource. Yet those re-      soundbite – “Labour didn’t fix the roof     eron called “the nation of the second
                                                                                          there are some simple rules to distin-       sources may not be being tapped to the        when the sun was shining’”– should only     chance”.
                                                      A few days ago I went to an         guish those most likely to provide em-       benefit of the community as a whole.          begin to capture the anger we should
                                            impressive event on gangs hosted by           powerment and resilience. They contain       Circumstance or misfortune may mean           feel at Labour’s thirteen wasted years.            “A young person in
                                            The Centre for Social Justice. Although       many hubs, that is, people and places to     these people are marginalised - they          Years during which the poor got even
                                                                                                                                       may, for example, be housebound. It
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the brave libertarian
                                            there was much emphasis on the role           which many people connect. There are                                                       poorer.
                                            of the charitable sector, I couldn’t help     many peripheral links, so that people in     could be that the networks they engage        If compassionate conservatism is to suc-           world is left to sink
                                            noticing that the CSJ recommendations         one network are connected to people          in are anti-social (the Mafia has loads of    ceed it has to offer something very dif-           or swim. That can’t
                                            on gangs included new national pro-           in other networks. And there are many        social capital). Conversely, it might also    ferent from Labour’s approach. It can-             be a compassionate
                                            grammes and targets. Even if the third        links out from the community to the ex-      be that those who we tend to assume           not mean more of the same. We have                 conservative’s
                                            sector has a bigger role it will inevitably   ternal world, providing what Putnam re-      are the most significant figures in the       to bring new weapons to the war on
                                                                                                                                       community lack networking skills.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        approach”
                                            rely heavily on being commissioned and        fers to as “bridging social capital”.                                                      poverty.
                                            funded by the state.                          Current RSA research among the resi-         If we could be better at discovering, en-     Our fight against poverty starts with the
                                            The Tory answer to this conundrum is to       dents of New Cross Gate in South East        gaging and supporting those in who have,      basics that Labour has neglected. We        First, there’s the challenge of help-
                                            tap into what another former Number           London finds a predictable pattern.          what might at a stretch be called, the        need to create a society that nurtures      ing people do the right thing. It’s not
                                            Ten insider, David Halpern, has recently      There are many “social isolates” with no     “people gene” our interventions could         the behaviours that defeat poverty.         enough to say that a good education
                                            called “the hidden wealth of nations”.        connections and many others who have         be much more powerful. This wouldn’t          Evidence suggests that three behav-         is important. We need to put extra re-
                                            This is our capacity to provide care,         a network of just one or two. The hubs       mean that these communities didn’t            iours matter most. Leaving school with      sources into the disadvantaged commu-
                                            love, and trust as well as more formal        which exist tend to be public service        still need a great deal of support from       at least a basic skills set. Taking paid    nities that might otherwise struggle to
                                            types of philanthropy. For this idea to       institutions – like the school – or public   the state but it might mean we could          work, however low-paid, but getting on      recruit good teachers. We need to en-
                                            be credible, the Conservatives need an        employees - like the dustman or local        ensure public investment spread further       to the ladder for something better. And     courage diversity in education so that
                                            account of the factors that strengthen        MP. Many networks are closed with few        and was more likely to help people sur-       building a stable family for your part-     those who are not academically gifted
                                            communities; what is it that contributes      if any links to other networks or outside    vive bad times and grasp new opportuni-       ner and your children. Other important      can acquire vocational skills. We need
                                            to our collective capacity for what can       the locality. The purpose of this RSA Con-   ties.                                         poverty-defeating behaviours include        to give headteachers the powers to en-
                                            inelegantly be called ‘pro-social’ behav-     nected Communities project is not sim-       Even if it is confirmed in the eventual re-   staying away from debt, drugs and alco-     sure schools are places where discipline
                                            iour?                                         ply to map networks but to explore how       search findings, this insight won’t on its    hol. This might seem like an obvious list   is strong.
                                            The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) is not        local people themselves can strengthen       own resolve the Tory dilemma of how to        but Labour has systematically rewarded      The same conservative interventionism
                                            alone in offering social networks as the      their ties and exploit the capacities of-    help poor communities without spend-          people who do the wrong thing and ig-       can be applied to the family. That’s why
                                            answer. The evidence for the power of         ten hidden away in their midst. And in       ing more on them. But it might help.          nored or penalised those who do the         I support David Cameron’s willingness
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                                           S O C I A L   J U S T I C E   C O R N E R                                                                                                        T H E   D O E R S

to invest in relationship education pro-   need to end the perverse disincentives      Justice has formulated a variety of other
                                                                                                                                     Creative Thinking is Needed to Support Small Businesses
grammes, as delivered by the private       within Labour’s welfare system that ac-     policy measures that will underpin the        Supporting small businesses need not be the job of Whitehall. Local solutions can revitalise local communities.
and voluntary sectors. Children from       tually encourage two parent families to     most reliable pathways away from pov-         By Damian Collins.
broken homes need to learn basic par-      live apart.                                 erty. The CSJ’s Dynamic Benefits report       Running your own business, like owning      beat their larger competitors on price.     without the investment to improve the
enting and relationship skills. We also    Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social       offers the most important of these – rec-     your own home, is at the heart of the       So instead they must offer something        quality of this shopping centre it would
                                                                                       ommending a simplification of the wel-        aspirational economy. It is not only a      else – whether it is expertise, local       be difficult to attract new businesses,
                                                                                       fare system that will ensure that work        measure of personal fulfilment but often    knowledge to spot a new market oppor-       and with them new customers.
                                                                                       always pays more than benefits.               a driver of innovation in the economy       tunity or a more creative approach to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Local solutions
                                                                                       The second key feature of compassion-         and creator of jobs. And the fact that      the sourcing and presentation of their
                                                                                       ate conservatism is to help those people      Tesco started on a stall and Google in      goods and services.                         High street and village centre businesses
                                                                                       and families who find themselves in pov-      a garage, show that entrepreneurs are       In the past, if you wanted to understand    are part of the communities they serve.
                                                                                       erty despite best efforts or no efforts. In   often better at spotting new opportuni-     the social scars of business failure, you   They employ local people and often
                                                                                       a speech to the CSJ in early 2006, David      ties than Governments are.                  went to the old industrial heartlands.      buy goods and services from other local
                                                                                       Cameron said that he wanted to build          But if you want to see how the great-       So Margaret Thatcher went to Teesside       businesses. It has been estimated that
                                                                                       the nation of the second chance. “For         est recession in modern times has af-       and the London Docklands. Enterprise        50% of the money taken over the coun-
                                                                                       the mum who got pregnant as a teenag-         fected life in Britain today, you can       Zones were created to attract new pri-      ter by a local business will go straight
                                                                                       er the nation of the second chance will       walk down the high street of most towns     vate sector investment and create jobs.     back into the community. Measures to
                                                                                       enable her to study when she’s 35,” he        and shopping centres. According to the      There was an acceptance that to re-es-      encourage local enterprise can be con-
                                                                                       said. He continued: “The nation of the        Local Data Company’s 2009 report, in        tablish a viable market economy, that       sidered not just as business support, but
                                                                                       second chance will offer rehab to the         towns like Margate and Wolverhampton,       investment needed to be attracted from      part of the regeneration of the whole
                                                                                       man who has frittered away his twen-          around one in four shops are empty. In      outside. Similar problems now exist in      community.
                                                                                       ties on drugs. The nation of the second       Folkestone in my own constituency, the      our town centres.                           Business support measures also tend to
                                                                                       chance will find a warm home and a job        rate is estimated to be around one in       In many older town centres which have       benefit individual companies, whereas a
                                                                                       for the man who has slept rough since         six. This decline has been driven in the    been suffering from decline for a num-      key part of the survival of a local com-
                                                                                       he ran away from the father that abused       recession of by the loss of independent     ber of years, dilapidation has become a     munity business could be the strength
                                                                                       him.”                                         businesses, as well as larger national      problem. This means that the premises       of its neighbours. Local businesses will
                                                                                       At the heart of this offering of a sec-       chains like Woolworth and Borders.          are in such a poor state that it would      cluster together knowing that the com-
                                                                                       ond chance is a reinvigorated voluntary       These are difficult times for all busi-     cost too much to restore them. In Fol-      bination of their offer will help to at-
                                                                                       sector. Conservatives need to develop         nesses, but I fear we have reached a tip-   kestone, the Creative Foundation estab-     tract customers, not just their ability to
                                                                                       new models of voluntary sector funding        ping point where shops in town and vil-     lished by the Roger De Haan charitable      make themselves a destination in their
                                                                                       so that more innovative not-for-profit        lage centres are struggling to be viable.   trust has bought a number of properties     own right. This is just not the case with
                                                                                       groups can flourish. Matched funding ar-      They have suffered the triple whammy        in the Old High Street and area near to     local food businesses - where a butcher,
                                                                                       rangements, voucher systems and ven-          of the rising burdens of tax and regula-    the harbour. They have invested in reno-    baker and greengrocer will sit together
                                                                                       ture funding must all be a bigger part of     tion, competition from larger retailers     vating the properties and then trying to    in the same high street. The creative
                                                                                       the future than direct grant streams.         and the internet, and the steady retreat    attract creative businesses like artists,   economy works in a similar way. Com-
                                                                                       Helping more able-bodied people to live       of local institutions like bank branches,   designers and florists into them at dis-    mercial photographers will often like
                                                                                       independent lives will ultimately reduce      post offices and pubs.                      counted rents. However, the size of the     to work near picture editors, advertis-
                                                                                       the burden on the taxpayer. Taxpayers                                                     investment required bringing the prop-      ing and marketing companies, casting
                                                                                       will be able to keep more of their hard-                  New challenges                  erties up to scratch is currently well      agents and web designers because they
                                                                                       earned money and that which does go           We cannot turn back the clock, nor          ahead of what the local property mar-       may benefit from working together and
                                                                                       into the welfare state will go to the         should we try. All businesses have to       ket could afford. The rents you would       referring customers. This is as impor-
                                                                                       most needy and most deserving – the           adapt to changing times and we cannot       need to charge to repay the investment      tant in a major centre like Soho as it
                                                                                       very sick, the very old and the very dis-     recreate the high streets of the 1950s.     in the buildings would mean that a fully    is in emerging centres like the new Me-
     Garry Knight                                                                      abled.                                        Independent businesses will struggle to     commercial rent would be too high. Yet,     dia City in Manchester, Brighton and the
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                                                                                                                                                                                            T H E   D O E R S

new Creative Quarter and Foundation in       ........................                   tives....................................                                                                                             ness regeneration bodies should also be
Folkestone.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   partnered with greater independence of
The decline of businesses at the heart of                                                                                                                                                                                     operation and their ability to seek and
our communities requires a bigger solu-                                                                                                                                                                                       give advice and support from a wider
tion than the manipulation of tax rates                                                                                                                                                                                       range of sources.
and relief from heavy handed regula-                                                                                                                                                                                                        Creative ideas
tion alone. It requires creative thinking                                                                                                                                                                                     There are a number of large companies
to develop an effective local plan to                                                                                                                                                                                         and not-for-profit organisations pio-
regenerate businesses. It means involv-                                                                                                                                                                                       neering new ways to support business
ing councils, landlords and businesses                                                                                                                                                                                        development. However, there is often
in that area. But for these plans to suc-                                                                                                                                                                                     the complaint that Government-run ser-
ceed, policy makers need to consider a                                                                                                                                                                                        vices like Business Link are reluctant to
number of reforms.                                                                                                                                                                                                            refer people to a service that is only of-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              fered by one or two private companies,
          Supporting localism
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              even if it could be of benefit. For ex-
Local authorities have had no direct in-                                                                                                                                                                                      ample, Microsoft runs schemes to sup-
centive to invest in reviving high streets                                                                                                                                                                                    port new high tech business start ups,
and local business centres. This is be-                                                                                                                                                                                       but this is not offered by all technology
cause they do not keep the business                                                                                                                                                                                           companies. We could also help promote
rates they collect for the Government.                                                                                                                                                                                        local awareness of organisations like
Therefore the level of business activity                                                                                                                                                                                      ‘Pub is the Hub’ which is supported by
in their area has little direct financial                                                                                                                                                                                     the Prince of Wales and works with com-
impact upon them. With council bud-                                                                                                                                                                                           panies, agencies and in some areas lo-
gets under pressure any money spent on                                                                                                                                                                                        cal government to help keep local pubs
business support initiatives must come                                                                                                                                                                                        open by increasing the diversity of the
from other services or from additional                                                                                                                                                                                        service they provide - for example, en-
increases in council tax. Conservative                                                                                                                                                                                        couraging a local food shop or post of-
policies to allow councils to keep part                                                                                                                                                                                       fice under threat to trade from part of
of an increase in business rates if new                                                                                                                                                                                       the premises of a pub.
businesses are encouraged into an area                                                                                                                                                                                        The regeneration of businesses in the
will give local authorities an incentive                                                                                                                                                                                      community requires urgent and creative
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gwydion Williams
to support business development.                                                                                                                                                                                              thinking. It is not a matter of returning
In Folkestone in the week before Christ-     council gets nothing back from this.       tives to approve more business devel-       welcome, can be relatively short term        If the council decided to invest in re-      to a way of doing business that is past,
mas, Shepway District Council paid for       The policy has cost it lost parking rev-   opment away from a struggling town          when an area might need more consis-         ducing parking charges, or funding a         but instead embracing new ideas and
three days worth of free parking in the      enues. Business groups have long criti-    centre. In a recession, budgets for local   tent help over a number of years and         marketing campaign, this cost could be       planning for the future. But key to this
town. This led of an increase in the         cised parking charges as something that    marketing, promotion and events to en-      across a business cycle. It could be more    recouped from increased business rates       is to give local bodies an incentive to
number of shoppers in the town cen-          depresses trade, but councils have an      courage visitors may also be one of the     effective instead to use resources at a      across the area if activity was a success.   support business growth and the tools
tre of 11% against the same period in        incentive to charge as much as they        first areas of spending to be cut.          local level, so that authorities are given   It may be possible that this work would      to provide more local assistance. With a
the previous year, and when the na-          think they can to subsidise other areas    Regional Development Agencies can           an incentive to take the lead in support-    not have to be underwritten by the lo-       local plan for a new local economy, we
tional trend over was actually a fall in     of their work.                             support regeneration projects in town       ing local business growth. So if the coun-   cal authorities, but perhaps by a not for    have the opportunity to support a new
customer numbers. The local traders          In a similar way, developers of new        centres, but the decision makers in         cil want to support the renovation some      profit company comprising of a variety       generation of businesses in the com-
regarded this as a great success: an ef-     retail parks pay councils following a      this process of allocating funds can be     run down shops, it could recover that        of local business interests, working with    munity, and perhaps create a business
fective measure to stimulate trade in a      planning approval, known as Section        distant from the local economies they       investment when tenants had moved in         the support of the local authority.          ownership revolution, to rival the home
recession. But other than gratitude, the     106 agreements, which creates incen-       could support. Their support, whilst        and were paying business rates.              The ability to create new local busi-        ownership revolution of the 1980s.
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                                                        T H E   D O E R S                                                               A D V E RT I S E M E N T
The Young Ones
Yes, young people have got a raw deal.
But what are we going to do about it?
Nick Hillman offers his suggestions.
Perhaps the hardest question I have
been asked since becoming the Con-
servatives’ Prospective Parliamentary
Candidate for Cambridge was from a
17-year old sixth-former. He asked me,
and the other parties’ candidates: “why
should anyone from my generation vote
for you, when your generation have
mucked up the country and left us in so
much debt?”
The implication behind the question
was a bit harsh given that, in my case
at least, I have never (yet) voted for
the winning party at a general election.                                                                        flickr.com/ginza_line
However, there is a powerful truism at
its heart: today’s politicians have left a   get that is currently spent on those in     ising a certain level of pension at the
gigantic mess for the next generation to     work to the provision of more appren-       end. In the schemes open to younger
pick up. The intergenerational contract      ticeships, pre-apprenticeship training      employees, the individual takes all the
has been stretched to breaking point.        and further education college places for    risks and may face penury in retirement
At the election, the biggest single issue    those yet to enter the labour market. In    depending on the future state of the an-
is likely to be the eye-watering levels      practice, that means a shift of resources   nuity market. This has to be changed if
of debt the Government have built up         down the age range.                         pensions are not to be grossly unfair to
which – one way or another – will have       Second, savings and pensions. While         younger workers.
to be dealt with by the taxpayers of the     the current fiscal crisis may necessi-      Thirdly, in my view, we should give 16-
future.                                      tate some reforms to the Child Trust        year olds the vote. If people are fearful
This problem was captured well in those      Fund, we should not lose sight of its key   that the baby boomers might unfairly
Conservative posters saying “Dad’s Nose.     strength: that it promotes the building     outvote other age groups in the battle
Mum’s Eyes. Gordon Brown’s Debt.” But,       up of assets among younger people in        for public resources, then extending full
to date, much of the focus on intergen-      poorer families in a way that has not       democratic rights lower down the age
erational equity has been on assessing       occurred since Margaret Thatcher sold       range is a good idea. Indeed, giving the
the problem. That is the right starting      off council houses in their thousands.      vote to 16 and 17-year olds should be
point, as the issue must be understood       We should also do more to promote           a higher priority than giving it to pris-
before it can be tackled. But we need to     good pensions. Currently, older work-       oners, as has been suggested in recent
start thinking about the policy prescrip-    ers - and public sector workers - tend      months.
tions that will help that 17-year old too.   to have access to gold-plated pensions,     Whether or not these specific policies
Here are three possible ones.                while younger workers tend to have ac-      are implemented, one thing is certain:
First, we should think about where the       cess only to inferior ones with very low    for the sake of our future social cohe-
training budget is best directed. In par-    or no employer contributions. In those      sion, politicians should be looking at
ticular, it would make sense to shift        schemes open to older employees, the        bold policies that are designed to give
some of the £1 billion Train to Gain bud-    companies take on all the risks by prom-    younger people a fairer deal.
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