Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Deconstructing Rosa

nancylebov has pointed me at this lj post by rosamicula, which I disagree with quite profoundly. It's interesting because I believe it sets out the Tory standard line which will emerge on the riots. I will analyse it to show you what I think is wrong with it. My excerpts (in italics) are to orient you in the piece - if you think I have taken quotes out of context, read the whole thing. It is - by the way - a million times more subtle and well written than the normal Tory comments that one reads. But its message is poison in my opinion.

13 to 20% of kids ... walk away from school with no qualifications and very limited numeracy and literacy skills... This is not a recent development; those kids at the bottom have always been there.
The implication of this is false. A small proportion of the population are congenitally incapable of learning to read - so what - society must have a space for these people to live safely. And these do not make 1 in 5 human beings. The 13-20% may be people who have the capability to learn to read but have not learned, and they can be helped by intensive educational programs - but these programs must dovetail with larger systems of full employment and social participation, so that there is a point to them. The programs to help develop literacy have been deliberately closed down by the Coalition government. I know people who have literally lost their job teaching literacy in the past month, because of deliberate policy. This is serious and bad.
All governments of all hues since the seventies have failed to address this problem; the only difference between them is the narrative they have fed their respective voters about it.
Simply untrue. The Tories are currently deliberately dismantling Labour-established programs such as Connexions. This will not save money in the long term; it is being done for ideological reasons.
black single mothers who are part of that underclass hated no one more than 'the Polish'. When Southwark council flyered our flats with letters about racist abuse and attacks in the area, those same women assumed it was white on black racism. They can't countenance any other sort. The one concrete ideal they gained from school is that most of the problems in their lives can be blamed on racism.

Oh, privileged white people lap this up, don't they. 'Blacks are the real racists'. There is some racism among poor people, though in Britain multi-ethnic friendships are most common in the least privileged sections of society. When a poor black woman shouts a racist thing this is bad, but it is less bad than the polite, subtle, 'never say a bad word' racism of middle class people like those of us who read lj.
I have seen such idiocy spouted about this over the last few days... the simplistic reactionary notion that that this is all the Tories' fault, left-wingers spouting class hatred and bigotry
It may not be all the Tories fault, and yet they bear significant blame. And they should own their fault. In any case, such an argument is not 'reactionary'. If you disagree you have to say why. Criticising the rich, as I have done, is not 'hatred and bigotry'. It is saying our society can not afford to keep funneling money at them. It's just not sustainable. And slightly higher taxation will not hurt or destroy them. At the most it will be an irritation. They will still have much more than you or I will ever have. And welcome to it.
I turned down a lucrative corporate job in order to teach in the most badly paid, underfunded, politically insignificant and catastrophically mis-managed sector of the education system: the FE sector.
Bizarrely, so did I. I did exactly that. I did it under Thatcherism. The dismantling of FE under Thatcher and Major was a deliberate act of vandalism. We now see the results.
I've taught the 'unteachable', despite being punched, kicked and having chairs thrown at me.
Don't pat yourself on the back too hard about that. I have been everywhere you have been, yes including prison lessons, and I have never been treated with anything but respect everywhere I go. If that kind of violence was a common feature of your teaching experience, then I think you need to examine your practice.
one of the many reasons I became a Tory is that when I was part of the underclass, the right-wingers in positions of power around me offered me a hand-up, whereas the left-wingers merely offered me a handout.
Seriously? A University education is just a 'handout'? You did not achieve your life in isolation from the systems which enabled it, which you want to close. You don't even see how the social programs you want to shut down are the very ones which allowed you - and me - to climb out of there.
Right and left are meaningless in terms of what has happened over the last few nights. If you genuinely think that this wouldn't have happened if the coalition had been Labour/Lib Dem you need to get off the internet and get out more.
Right and left wing are not meaningless terms, and saying that if I disagree I should 'get out more' is no kind of argument. As a Labour-led coalition would not have initiated the deliberate sabotage carried out this year by the Tories, then the same things would not have happened, because the safeguards woudl still be in place. And - furthermore - things can still be made better, so we are not helpless. Even a Tory government can start to do better, but only if they accept there is a problem.
That 13 - 20% have no respect or concern for or interest in any government, and probably can't even distinguish between the range of worthies in suits who have ruled us during their lifetimes.
Possibly. That does not mean political decisions have no impact on them.
Politics does not concern the 13 to 20%; criminality is their norm, just as it was their parents' norm.
This is the echt Tory essentialism. 'The underclass are like Orcs'. They are criminal, and their parents were criminal. I do not need to tell you where this kind of thinking leads.
They are not part of the society the people reading this belong to.
Yes they are. If you are British yes they are.
it is about bad parenting, to the extent that when the 13 to 20% become parents they have no aspirations or responsibilities for their children to inherit. That won't change if you treat merely them as victims, and enhance their sense of entitlement to trainers and TVs
What I propose, what the left proposes, is not indiscriminate handouts of consumer goods, but a society where people with less money are respected and have a meaningful life. I left advertising research specifically because I hate the reduction of social worth to ownership of goods.
If you think you are an idealist, get off twitter, put down your placard, stop gazing at your navel to examine your privilege. Put your money and time where your mouth is. Go and volunteer
Fine. Whatever. If this stimulates a couple of Tories to go volunteer alongside the rest of us, great. But if you urge people to work for free just to protect rich people from having to put their hands in their pockets, then ultimately it is a futile exercise.
Social peace and integration do not come for free. They must be paid for, by more privileged people. The job you have in FE is paid for by taxes. By campaigning for cuts you are cutting the branch you sit on. Unless you have left already.
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