15 April 2007

Am I missing something?

I've now seen two people comment (not on this blog) something to this effect:

The proposals are okay because it's reasonable to insist on education/training as a condition of receiving state support.

Two possible interpretations, both potentially important.

1) We've missed something, and they are probably intending to restrict compulsion to those who want to get state benefits. In which case, we had better know about it as it affects the campaign in a fairly fundamental way, so please comment if you think this is true. I have not seen anything in the Green Paper to suggest this.

or

2) There is a widespread misapprehension to this effect. Which might help to explain why there isn't more resistance to the proposals. Even if people don't think anything as definite as this, there may be an underlying feeling of the following kind: "Why shouldn't those lazy, stroppy 17-year-olds be made to do something useful. Otherwise they're just causing trouble." Unfortunately, that is how key civil liberties tend to get lost: because there is resentment against a particular social group, so that government actions which would normally be regarded as unacceptable somehow acquire an air of legitimacy.

2 comments:

Terri said...

I think a lot of people don't realise how rare it is for someone under 18 to get state benefits. (See eg http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/life/benefits/young_people_and_benefits.htm)

Normally there has to be a reason for their living away from their parents, and even in the case of young people who have run away from an abusive home, their parents will still be approached for a letter of disownment before any benefits are paid.

Roger Thornhill said...

Good. Why should we pay benefits to under 18's living at home?

If they were at school they would not get it (except for this EMA bribe/grant) so why bribe them with benefits NOT to attend school and sign on? Daft.