The United Kingdom – a nice place to visit, but don’t bring your kids!

May 5, 2009

A recent report on Child Wellbeing has ranked the UK 24 out of 29 European countries with only Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Malta doing worse. Poland, with an overall rating of 20th, beat us by 16 places on the issue of Child Health (Poland 8th place, UK 24th place); which puts the BNP lie about Poles coming to the UK for a better life in perspective.

The UK has one of the worst rates of Child Poverty in the industrialised world; over 30 per cent of children in the UK – close to 4 million kids – live in poverty. Looking at the percentage of children growing up in relative poverty across 24 OECD countries the UK ranked 23 out of 24, with only the USA having a higher rate of child poverty. The UK and US also share high rates of teenage pregnancy, drug & alcohol abuse, violent crime, anti-social behaviour, single parent families, neurosis, depression, suicide, etc., etc., etc., – welcome to the ‘free world’.

As we’ve mentioned many times before, despite claims of social mobility and the lie that we’re now somehow all middle class, childhood poverty remains the best predictor of lifelong socio-economic circumstances. The life expectancy of a child born in Calton in Glasgow, Scotland is 28 years less than that of a child born a few miles away in Lenzie. 28 years! That’s not inequality, it’s fucking manslaughter!

All the evidence shows that More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better; both in economic and environmental terms (eco-toffs take note!). But the UK remains committed to serving the interests of the middle (voting/parasitic) class at the expense of the majority of the population.

Likewise our low position in the Child Wellbeing table should be seen as a form of institutionalised child abuse. If, as Ghandi said, ‘poverty is the worst form of violence’ then how should we feel about 1/3rd of UK children living in poverty?

Given how comparatively wealthy the UK is as a country, our child poverty rate is not just ‘unacceptably high’, as UNICEF describes the situation, it is downright criminal. There is much talk of ‘social justice’ in alternative political circles, but where are the militant anti-child-poverty campaigns?

C’mon anarchists – surely this is something worth fighting for!


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