Tony Blair’s Daddy State

Facing the consequences of 30 years hard work by the left to break down societal taboos and redefine “family”;

LONDON – British Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday the state should intervene early – possibly even before birth – to stop the children of problem families growing up into troublemakers.

One think-tank said the idea, the latest step in Blair’s drive against crime and anti-social behaviour in Britain, verged on “genetic determinism”.

In his first interview since returning from a Caribbean holiday, Blair told the BBC that teenage mothers could be required to accept state assistance with bringing up their children and could face sanctions if they refused.

Intervention might even be needed “pre-birth”, he said.

“If we are not prepared to predict and intervene far more early then there are children that are going to grow up in families that we know perfectly well are completely dysfunctional, and the kids a few years down the line are going to be a menace to society and actually a threat to themselves,” Blair said.

Blair is seeking to put the focus on his policies to try to halt a slump in his Government’s popularity and shift media attention away from the question of when he will step down.

He said the Government could say to an unmarried teenage mother who was not in a stable relationship: “Here is the support we are prepared to offer you, but we do need to keep a careful watch on you and how your situation is developing because all the indicators are that your type of situation can lead to problems in the future.”

Anastasia de Waal, of social policy think-tank Civitas, said: “It is teetering on genetic determinism this kind of saying that before children are even born they are labelled as problematic.”

Oliver Letwin, policy director for the opposition Conservative Party, slammed Blair’s idea, saying more state intervention and bureaucracy were not the answer.

“The only realistic way forward lies with social enterprise, charities and voluntary groups. It is no good the Government simply trying to run peoples’ lives,” he said.

On the other hand, it’s not as though Blair’s Labour Party has been altogether reluctant to ferret out problems caused by irresponsible parenting – and then some. Flashback:

Mr Ternouth’s thriller flooded back to me this week when I read of the Government’s plan to spend £224million of your money and mine on setting up a database, recording details of the lives of all 12 million children in England and Wales.

Among other things, the Children’s Index will record whether a child’s parents are providing a ‘positive role model’, how the child is performing at school — and even whether youngsters are eating the daily five portions of fruit and vegetables recommended by the Government. Presumably, children will be questioned at school each morning on what their parents fed them the night before.

The database, we are told, will be made available to social workers, teachers and doctors, who will have the power to flag up ‘concerns’ when they think that children are not meeting the criteria laid down by the state.

FILED UNDER: Europe, General
Kate McMillan
About Kate McMillan
Kate McMillan is the proprietor of small dead animals, which has won numerous awards including Best Conservative Blog and Best Canadian Blog. She contributed nearly 300 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and June 2007. Follow her on Twitter @katewerk.

Comments

  1. Alex Knapp says:

    The rise of crime in Britain has little to nothing to do with the “breakdown of the family”. After all, America has supposedly been facing the same problem, and crime is LOWER in the United States now than it was 30 years ago.

  2. Tano says:

    What were the indications that lead you to conclude that the “pre-birth interventions” had anything to do with “genetic determinism”, rather than simply identifying poor, unwed mothers-to-be and tracking them into social service support programs as early as possible?

  3. just me says:

    The rise of crime in Britain has little to nothing to do with the “breakdown of the family”. After all, America has supposedly been facing the same problem, and crime is LOWER in the United States now than it was 30 years ago.

    But US studies indicate that kids most likely to have trouble in school and get in legal trouble are kids who are living in a family with a single female head of household.

    Although seems like encouraging dad’s to get married to the mother’s of their children and being involved with their children is where the focus should be, not another government program.

  4. I see the dark hand of the fourth horseman of the GOP apocalypse here.

    ‘British Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday the state should intervene early – possibly even before birth – to stop the children of problem families growing up into troublemakers’

    Can’t you see the clear reference? This will be profiling on steroids. What group can so easily be identified before birth as being those who will grow into troublemakers than the Muslims in England. And we all know how Armitage would ‘stop’ them from becoming troublemakers. If you can’t figure it out, just look for the one state action on crime that has a 0% recidivism rate.

    Of course the press is happy to support Blair in his quest to repeat the Holocaust that never happened.

    (p.s. So how did I do? Did I capture the right tone or should I have mentioned something about the UK being in Iraq as the cause for all crime in England?)

  5. Kent G. Budge says:

    Perhaps this is not such a new phenomenon:

    “Wherever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.”

    -Benjamin Disraeli