Thursday, December 02, 2010
Why SHOULD mothers on welfare have countless children when I can only afford two?
Asks British mother
My daughter Sasha, five, was puzzled. ‘Mummy,’ she said. ‘You know you say you work so you can buy us nice things?’ ‘Yeees,’ I replied, wondering what argument she about to skewer me with. ‘And you know you say I can’t have another brother or sister because we don’t have enough money?’ ‘That’s right.’
‘Well, I don’t understand. Kayla’s mummy and daddy don’t work. But Kayla has far more things than me. ‘She’s got a Nintendo and a Wii and a trampoline and a dolly with her own potty. And Kayla’s got three brothers and her mummy’s having another baby. So how do you explain that?’ Sasha folded her arms and gave me her most piercing Rumpole Of The Bailey stare.
How could I explain? Kayla’s mum and dad can afford endless luxuries because they’re all paid for by the generosity of the state.
Last week, the newly appointed Tory peer Howard Flight was forced to apologise after declaring cuts in child benefit for higher taxpayers were unjust. ‘We’re going to have a system where the middle classes are discouraged from breeding because it’s jolly expensive, but for those on benefit there’s every incentive. That’s not sensible,’ he said.
The Government disowned his comments and the bleeding hearts went wild. How dare the nasty man say the poor should not be allowed to ‘breed’? This was eugenics, the first sign of a totalitarian state. Yet, in middle-class houses across the land, abodes populated by two hard-working adults and two or three children, the question niggled — isn’t a totalitarian state one where people aren’t allowed to speak their minds? And wasn’t Mr Flight just voicing what many of us were thinking?
Of course, not only the middle classes should be allowed to become parents. But forget about the style: what about the substance?
My husband James and I have two daughters. We’d love a third child, but we’ve decided we can’t afford one. This may sound ridiculous. We live in a lovely house and our children are well-fed and clothed. What is stopping us? Well, we are both self-employed, meaning our earnings vary wildly from year to year. With such uncertainty, we feel having another baby would be irresponsible. Yes, it would be cute and we would adore it, but the extra expense would also leave us no financial cushion.
In the trendy London suburb where we live, few people seem to share our scruples. Thanks to the crazy rise in house prices, we’re surrounded by the very rich — who can afford the six-figure sums needed to buy a family home. But we’re also bordered by a less salubrious suburb, so my children also go to school with many children whose parents live in council accommodation.
Both these groups have no worries about mortgages. In wealthy circles, having four or more children is a status symbol — like having a villa in Barbados. Meanwhile, women who have never worked a day in their lives know ‘the social’ will pick up the tab. It may not pay much, but when compared to many jobs on offer it appears an easy option. This crazily entitled point of view is one a huge chunk of the population subscribe to. Six million Britons are living in homes where no one has a job and where, according to a report by MPs, ‘benefits are a way of life’.
Meanwhile, middle-class couples are feeling pinched by mushrooming utility bills and taxes — taxes benefit claimants don’t pay, but which support their families. It’s incredibly unfair.
Some tell me I’m crazy to limit my family because of financial concerns. They say that ‘we’d manage’, and when presented with a new life, money worries would seem petty.
But I don’t think it’s superficial to worry about money; it’s sensible. If we had another child, we would want a bigger house and car. Note my use of the words ‘want’ not need — I realise children can share bedrooms and cars aren’t vital. But our council appears to think otherwise. Just the other day, Sasha’s friend Uma suddenly left her school because her mother was pregnant with her fifth child.
Neither of Uma’s parents has ever worked, but they drive an enormous people carrier and now, I learn, ‘the council has moved them to a bigger house at the other end of the borough’.
‘How can I work?’ a mother of four who’s been on benefits since she left school asked me recently. ‘I’ve got all these children to look after.’ But her children weren’t dropped on her doorstep by the stork. She may have got pregnant accidentally the first time, but after that it was her decision to get pregnant again and again. Without benefits, would she have had such a cavalier attitude?
The average UK childbearing age now stands at 29.3 years, the highest level since records began in 1938
Our welfare system was set up as a safety net for the needy — disaster can strike any family. The fact short-term help is available is something to celebrate. That’s what makes the abuse of the system so depressing.
Don’t get me wrong. I count my blessings to have two healthy children, rather than mourn those that never were. I would far rather know the satisfaction of working hard and contributing to society than sit back and be spoonfed. I’m relieved that I graduated before the introduction of tuition fees and I got on the housing ladder 20 years ago when a flat in a good area was within my means.
The people I feel desperately sorry for are young couples who would rather scrub lavatory floors than be dependent on the state. They are the ones deferring having children — how can they not when they have student grants of £30,000 to pay and it’s impossible to buy their first home because they cost an average £135,000, more than four times the average salary.
According to a survey by the BabyCentre website, only one in 25 women imagined having just one child, but that’s what nearly a third end up with — and 45 per cent say they couldn’t afford a larger family.
The irony, of course, is that such women would make excellent mothers. But by the time they are able to support a family, they will be in their 30s — their most fertile days long behind them. Meanwhile, their peers who had their first children at 16 are debt-free and living in council accommodation.
It’s those same middle-class couples who contribute most in terms of taxes, but take least from it. Alarmed by the state of our schools and hospitals, we tend to pay twice to give us access to the private option.
Told we should be self-reliant, we went out and organised virtually worthless private pensions.
Now we’ve learned that university tuition fees are to be trebled. Again, the extra bills won’t trouble the rich and the poor will be subsidised, but the grafters in the middle will be expected to make yet more sacrifices if we’re to help produce the next generation of diligent professionals.
Wanting a child is an all-consuming urge. It would be cruel to limit children to high earners. But how many children should any mother have? Once we’ve produced one or two, most keep our broodiness in check. But this argument holds no water with the brigade who insist it’s their ‘right to have a baybee’.
Babies aren’t a right, they’re an enormous responsibility. My three-year-old would love a pet giraffe. My five-year-old, as we know, would love her busy parents to be more like Kayla’s mummy and daddy, at home all day and still able to buy her a trampoline and a dolly with a potty. But we can’t have everything we want.
Sasha will get the dolly for Christmas — paid for from my post-tax earnings rather than by other taxpayers.
Teach us about family values, say British teenagers: How to be a parent is their sex education priority
Teenagers would rather be taught about family values than about sex, a survey has found. They see the responsibilities of being a parent as the number one ‘fact of life’ – ahead of sexual intercourse, contraception and sexually-transmitted infections.
The findings suggest the current emphasis in schools on the mechanics of sexual intercourse including how to use a condom does not match the priorities of youngsters. Nearly half of girls say they want sex education to focus on the consequences of pregnancy, not the biology of sex.
The survey of 13 to 16-year-olds also found that more than a third of boys want to know what ‘being a parent’ is all about and that no issue was deemed more important by so many.
Experts from Hull University said they were surprised the majority of teenagers they surveyed support ‘moral’ ideas about having sex. Most believe their first sexual relationship should be special and that sex should only take place in long-term serious relationships.
The survey was carried out by Dr Julie Jomeen and Dr Clare Whitfield of the university’s faculty of health and social care. Dr Jomeen said the findings were important because a national strategy to cut teenage pregnancy had failed, while sexually-transmitted infections among young people are rising.
Labour pledged in vain to halve the rate of teenage pregnancy while in government – spending £246million in pursuit of its target – and the UK still has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe.
Dr Jomeen said: ‘There is quite clearly sexual activity in school age children. Knowledge obtained from sex and relationship education and other sources might not stop that activity but it does seem that those children with a greater insight are more likely to use safe sex practices, such as seeking advice about contraception, and to engage more with health services.’
The survey of sex and relationships among 2,036 teenagers from nine schools in both affluent and deprived areas found 46 per cent of girls and 38 per cent of boys rated being a parent as the most important topic to know more about.
In second place for girls was the morning after pill, with 41 per cent wanting to learn more, while 34 per cent of boys wanted more information about sexual intercourse.
Ways in which HIV can be passed on was the third most important topic for 33 per cent of girls and 28 per cent of boys.
In fourth place was sexual feelings for around one-third of teenagers, followed by abortion for one in three girls and the morning after pill for one in four boys.
The survey, commissioned by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and NHS East Riding of Yorkshire, also questioned attitudes about sex and relationships.
Around three-quarters of boys and girls agreed ‘you don’t have to have sex to keep a partner’ and a relationship doesn’t have to include sex.
More than two-thirds of boys and girls said ‘first sex should be both special and planned’.
Three out of five girls and almost half of boys said they would only have sex in a long term serious relationship.
Fewer than one in six boys said sex was the only way to be satisfied in a relationship, with just one in 20 girls agreeing.
Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, said: ‘Young people are clearly tiring of the negative messages they are receiving about pregnancy and parenthood from sex educators obsessed with contraception. ‘For too long, government policy has all too often been encouraging and facilitating casual sex.'
SPLC: The Wolf Who Cried ‘Hate’
Prior to November's secular-socialism rollback, America's ever-shrill "progressive" machine contorted in a desperate effort to paint the Tea Party movement as a horde of hateful, inbred racists. Judging by the results, it was an epic failure.
Instead, and thanks at least in part to the left's overreaching smear campaign, the grass-roots Tea Party groundswell - representing every facet of traditional American values - grew to become a political force of nature.
Now the frays of the fanatical fringe have done it again. These so-called "progressives," led by the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center SPLC, have gifted the American mainstream with yet another teachable moment. The SPLC is a small, hard-left political activist outfit known for promoting a panoply of radical liberal causes. The center holds itself out as an objective monitor of potentially violent or subversive hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, skinheads and other white supremacists. But in recent years - and with increasing abandon - the SPLC has leveraged (abused, really) its rapidly decreasing political capital and waning credibility to target and undermine organizations that, rather than dealing in the business of genuine "hate," instead pose a direct threat to the advancement of postmodern secular-socialism generally - and to the Democratic Party specifically. This is what we in "the biz" call "political hackery."
In sum, the SPLC has become an extremist wolf in "watchdog" clothing. Mark Potok, a columnist with the liberal Huffington Post, doubles as SPLC director. When he's able to find time away from long walks on the beach, reading poetry and maligning Grandma Ann, Uncle Dan and other Tea Party patriots as "right-wing extremists - shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism" - Mr. Potok can usually be found, like a yappy little pug, chasing after some of the largest and most reputable conservative and Christian "mail trucks" in the country. Apparently having become frustrated with the relative ineffectiveness of the SPLC's more subtle "guilt by false association" scheme, Mr. Potok evidently has decided to gather his last remaining credibility chips and go "all in."
Following to the letter Saul Alinsky's admonition to "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it," the SPLC, in its most recent Intelligence Report, has "officially" labeled a number of highly influential mainstream conservative and Christian organizations as "hate groups."
Most notably, the SPLC has placed alongside the Klan and other neo-Nazi organizations, the Washington, D.C., based Family Research Council (FRC) and the Mississippi-based American Family Association (AFA). Their crime? "Anti-gay ... propagation of known falsehoods" (read: recognition of stubborn, politically incorrect scientific and theological facts that are beyond serious debate). I say "most notably" because these two groups alone contain membership rolls in the millions.
Moreover, the FRC and AFA play host to presidential candidates, lawmakers and top conservative leaders from around the world at Washington's annual Values Voters Summit - one of the largest conservative political gatherings of the year.
OK, so the yappy little pug finally has latched onto the bumper. What now, champ? I guess this means nobody will come next year? Can't be caught consorting with an "official hate group" now that the SPLC has picked, frozen, personalized and polarized the opposition target.
So, center-right America: If you happen to believe in the sanctity of natural marriage and that, as a culture, we're best served by honoring the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic of our forefathers, you're now an official "hater." Officially - a hater. It’s official.
Of course, the tired goal of this silly meme is to associate in the public mind's eye mainstream conservative social values with racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazism. The ironic result, however, is that, as typically occurs with such ad hominem and hyperbolic attacks, the attacker ends up marginalizing himself and galvanizing his intended target (I'm rubber, you're glue and all that). Hence, beyond a self-aggrandizing liberal echo chamber, the SPLC - and by extension the greater "progressive" movement - has become largely, as it stews in its own radicalism, just another punch line.
It's often said that the first to call the other a Nazi has lost the argument. Congratulations, conservative America: They're calling you a Nazi. Carry on.
Racist political party planned in Australia
But black racism is OK, of course
AUSTRALIA'S first indigenous political party will be officially registered early next year and could one day form government, the man behind the move says. Indigenous rights campaigner Maurie Ryan has applied to have the First Nations Political Party registered with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).
The former Labor party member says the new party will eventually field candidates in federal, state and territory elections and "it will grow". "Political parties are created to govern and I hope one day this political party will be in power," Mr Ryan said today.
"There are first nations political parties all around the world. "But in Australia there hasn't been any representation of indigenous people except the times of Neville Bonner, Aden Ridgeway and now Ken Wyatt."
Mr Ryan said that fact was an indictment on mainstream politics. He ran as an Independent in the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari at the 2007 and 2010 federal elections. The seat is named after his grandfather, early land rights activist Vincent Lingiari, and presently held by Labor minister Warren Snowdon.
"Warren's been there 20 years and done nothing," Mr Ryan said. "I'll be contesting against him next time and I'll have a political party behind me."
Mr Ryan said First Nations was needed because both major parties proved they were racist by suspending the Racial Discrimination Act in order to roll out the NT intervention. The new party would be open to everyone and campaign on wider issues than simply indigenous rights.
To date First Nations had more than 2000 members, Mr Ryan said. The AEC advertised the party's application this week. Any objections have to be lodged by January 4. Mr Ryan hopes the party will then be officially registered in the following weeks.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.