British government spends on nuclear weapons, not on child poverty

This video from Scotland is called SCRAP TRIDENT MARCH – GLASGOW 13TH APRIL 2012.

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

How come we can’t fix child poverty but we can spend billions replacing Trident?

Politicians ignore the plight of young people at their peril. If the Scottish referendum showed us anything, it’s that teenagers can get angry fast

Lauren Laverne

Sunday 12 October 2014

Life is hard for British kids. According to some reports, by next year most of them will be growing up in poverty, waiting to inherit a future of shrinking possibilities. Why is it, then, that the youth of the 80s seem so determined to give them a kicking? A handful of PPE graduates lucky enough to spring from the fertile soil of well-to-do 80s Britain are currently vying with one another to run the country, each promising different ways to tighten the screws on Britain’s young people.

The Tories are slashing £3,000 from the benefit cap and banning 18 to 21s who have been unemployed for more than six months from claiming jobseeker’s allowance or housing benefit. Labour will cut and means test out-of-work benefits for 18- to-21-year-olds. That old chestnut about incentivising people – as usual the old and rich get the carrot, the young and poor get the stick.

Life is mostly stick for British kids at the moment, and not the good end. Why are Britain’s ruling elite so keen to allow, even exacerbate, this situation? The usual answer is that young people who are eligible to vote tend not to, so from a political point of view they don’t exist. This is quite true. Policy is not designed around people who don’t vote.

I think there’s more to it, though. I think it’s fear. Politicians understand that, like all apex predators, they are especially vulnerable to changes in their environment. A new political ecology, which would leave them stranded like a polar bear on a melting iceberg, is not what they want. They fear politically engaged young people: idealistic, optimistic, unafraid to ask questions SW1 sophisticates would consider naive. Such as: if you need money, why not get it off rich people instead of poor people? If we’re broke, how can we still afford to go to war? No. A load of opinionated babies with ballot papers would be very bad. Disengagement will do nicely. Some might wonder whether disempowerment might suit them even better.

Too cynical? Take one example: child poverty. Do you know how expensive it is? I don’t mean for the children themselves – the kind of cost they pay doesn’t translate so well to an infographic. I mean for the rest of us. Last year the Joseph Rowntree Foundation asked social policy researchers to draw up a conservative estimate of the annual cost of child poverty to the British economy. Their calculations included the direct cost, and the expense of clearing up the fallout, of problems linked to poverty (educational failure, ill health, antisocial behaviour, crime, becoming a victim of crime…) They then added lost tax revenues and earnings. They found that it costs us £29bn a year to let so many British kids grow up poor. We could, they added, fix it for less.

We won’t, of course. Who would run on a policy of spending billions of pounds on helping poor families at the moment? Who would vote for them? It is impossible to imagine. How easy, on the other hand, to picture a government happy to spend £15bn replacing Trident.

One is pie in the sky and the other seems inevitable. Not for any intrinsic reason, but because the narrow scope of British politics says so. It is a system that only “sees” what it needs to perpetuate itself, and that simply doesn’t include disadvantaged young people. Yet. Westminster’s denizens recently received a painful lesson in the consequences of habitually ignoring those they supposedly represent, courtesy of 1,617,989 Scots (who haven’t finished yet). Perhaps Britain’s young people will be their teachers next.

ALMOST half of children living in poverty had to skip a school meal through lack of money, a study by the Children’s Commission on Poverty (CCP) revealed today. The CCP figures show how 19 per cent of children in homes that were “not well off at all” sometimes missed school meals: here.

Today’s debate in Parliament is a rare chance to put Britain’s hidden world of nuclear weapons under scrutiny, says JEREMY CORBYN: here.

UK child poverty rising as government seeks cuts to tax credits: here.

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