I was commissioned to write this a few years ago for the Central European House of Photography in Bratislava (and thank you to all the photo...
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Beyond Caring: It's the women that's to blame!
We know that BBC's Newsnight is dying a slow death. Now Today is following suit if this item on Social Mobility is anything to go by.
Listen to this.
So the only non-mobile person that is interviewed is a mother who left school at 13 after being in a children's home and has never worked. She has a child who wants to either be a policeman because he can arrest people (to make the world better) or work in a shop. All very good, but it is a bit lazy and pointless.
Meanwhile Evan Davies gives University and Science minister, David "Half-a-brain" Willets, a ridiculously comfy ride. Willets imagines that Social Mobility has decreased because of more women going to university and that the answer to making the UK more mobile is getting more students to do traditional A-levels, so increasing their ability to get to 'competitive' universities - the very phrase is an oxymoron and revealing of an attitude that is antithetical to all that is good, clean and honest in life.
Willets also believes in increased access to Further Education courses and old qualifications - but this is coming from a government where any in-work or post-compulsory education is being cut to the bare bone, where every FE department is living in fear of its very existence, where the confluence of cuts in education spending, housing benefits and jobseekers allowance are making a perfect storm of lost opportunities for a generation of the most disadvantaged and poor. Besides whichThe very phrase competetive universities is so revealing of a mentality that is antithetical to all that is good in life.
The problem is the 'competetive' universities themselves and the people who go there, the problem is the 'competetive' schools and the people who go there. The problem is with the people who think of their children's futures and send them to private schools - schools where one of the underlying attractions is one of exclusion - where children of certain backgrounds, certain colours and, in particular, certain economic backgrounds, are not included. It is the ghettoisation of childhood along class and economic lines. The interesting thing is these schools do not exclude particular difficulties. Go to any private school and the range of behavioural difficulties is astounding. Depression, lack of self esteem, eating disorders are prevalent, more so even than at state schools. Go to any girls' school in Britain and you can spot the eating disorders a mile off. Depression? Of course, because whilst half the children are there because their parents want them to 'do well', the other half are there because their parents don't really like them that much.But that's alright because, these are Upper-Middle Class ailments so don't really count do they.
God help us all with the kind of half-baked ideas that David Willets is coming up with. This is a government that believes that their is not enough ethnic/religious integration in the country - and thinks a solution to this problem is to have more religiously divided schools. God help us all.
Oh and the question to tie all this in with photography is, where is the photography related to the cuts in spending in the UK, the slow murder of the voluntary sector, the impending ending of EMA, the closing of university access to poorer students (please don't say that you don't have to pay off the loans etc. That's not the way it works in reality.), the increased quotas to force people off higher-paying benefits. Who is doing work on this kind of thing? Who is planning to do work on this? Let me know, send a link and I'll put it up..
In the meantime, a blast from the past with Paul Graham's Beyond Caring.