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The Feckless and the Feral

January 3, 2010

I am so sick of the continual practice of stigmatising single parents!  Especially when I find it perpetuated on a feminist blog!

The F-Word, which is one of my favourite feminist blogs, has a new guest blogger who describes herself in an intro post thus:

I have a particular interest in women affected by poverty in the UK, particularly single parents (I’m not one, but was brought up by one). I’m proud to be a member of the Labour Party but never afraid to criticise the government.

Excellent I thought.  Obviously not excellent about the New Labour;Shower of Shit pride (who can be proud of a party which condones, participates in and covers up torture), but I was pleased to think poverty and single parents would get some feminist analysis.

But then I read the text quoted below, which is part of a pretty good post about how young people are penalised by the minimum wage and state benefits despite 12 years of New Labour’s take on equality:

There is a way that all of these rules [benefit and minimum wage] won’t apply to you, and I’m sure a lot of readers have spotted it. Depending on your circumstances…you could have a baby. You’d move up the council housing list; you’d get more housing benefit; and you’d get tax credits.

Really!?!  So I might move up a ten-year waiting list for social housing.  So what!  And how much more housing benefit exactly would I get, especially if I am aged under 18?  (answers below).  Would this mean I could rent a property which is in good general repair?  A property which isn’t really a slum?  Gosh, I am looking forward to reaping the massive welfare rewards for having a baby.  It must be true because I read it in the middle class media all the bloody time!

I’m pretty nervous about putting the words ‘baby’ and ‘council housing’ close together. Please don’t misunderstand: the reason families get more support is that they need it. I’d never suggest we withdraw any that support. There should be more.

If you are nervous about writing lies, then why write them?  I have never misunderstood a bit of single parent bashing, and young single parents get it worse than I do.  And I’d like to see the ‘more support’ that families get.  Where is it so I can go get some?  And by the way, the financial support of Income Support is being withdrawn every day.  Just look at the punishments embedded within the Welfare Reform Act 2009 if you don’t believe me.  Way to go with the campaigning for more support by writing lies dreamt up to further stigmatise those you would like to help more.  Not my kinda tactic but hey, I’m only a single parent so who cares what I say.

I’m certainly not suggesting that young women get pregnant in order to get housing and benefits. Every week I meet a lot of young people with children, and I’d take a lot of persuading that any of them did it for the money.

Again – why write the lie then?

But faced with a system that disadvantages young men and women alike, having a baby is one option some women have. (And men too, I know – but it’s different, and I could do a whole separate post about why.) I think they should have more options. And I think, incidentally, that it would take a lot of pressure off social housing if they did. But that’s another post right there.

So, if ‘they’ had more choice, rather than being feckless and producing feral children then there would be less pressure on social housing.  Thought you said earlier that you weren’t suggesting we single parents had children for housing?  Must have changed your mind by the last paragraph then.  What a lovely first guest post from the feminist child of a single parent.

Some ideas for the next guest post:

– Single mothers are all feckless and their children are feral.  They cause Britain to be ‘broken’ (nothing to do with neo-liberalism and the ruling class)

– Teenagers don’t know what they are doing when they have babies.  They should all have forcible abortions and be sterilised.

– Working class women don’t deserve an university education, we need them to remain uneducated so we can blame somebody for Britain being ‘broken’.  It looks bad if we put vast numbers of them in prison, like we do with working class men, so we’ll let them look after our middle class children earning piss poor wages while we continue to enjoy our professions and rightfully profit from them.

– Bringing up children isn’t work.  Work can only be considered work if it is paid.  This one is found all over feminism like a rash, so no problem here.  Plus, we all know that bringing up your own children is verbotten these days.  No economic growth to be found here by politicians and policy makers, so if you choose to do it or think it is necessary to bring up your own children that you have chosen to bring into this world, then obviously you should be punished by poverty.  There can be no other responsible way.  Plus, who is going to look after those middle class children or their houses for piss poor wages…

– It is necessary to call the children of single parents feral.  As we all know, actual ‘feral children’ are those who have been inexplically brought up by actual animals, such as dogs.  But these single mothers are so disgusting with their fecklessness and all, they can rightly be called animals, instead of human.

– How to bring back the original mark of stigma (Stigma is a Greek word that in its origins referred to a kind of tattoo mark that was cut or burned into the skin of criminals, slaves, or traitors in order to visibly identify them as blemished or morally polluted persons. These individuals were to be avoided or shunned, particularly in public places) as sometimes these single parents dare to look normal instead of like Waynetta and we all get terribly confused and upset.

It’ll be nice to see these posts couched in nice New Labour language.  Oh wait – a lot of this is NL:SoS language.  In the words of my son, oh heck!

Benefit rates per week from April 2009

Income Support main rates

Personal allowances
2008/2009
2009/2010
Single – aged under 18 – usual rate 47.95 50.95
Single – aged less than 25 47.95 50.95
Single – aged under 18 – higher rate payable
in specific circumstances
47.95 50.95
Single – aged not less than 25 60.50 64.30
Lone Parent – aged under 18 – usual rate 47.95 50.95
Lone Parent – aged under 18 – higher rate payable
in specific circumstances
47.95 50.95
Lone Parent – aged 18 or over 60.50 64.30
Couple – both aged under 18 47.95 50.95
Couple – both aged under 18, one disabled 47.95 50.95
Couple – one aged under 18, one aged 18 to 24 47.95 50.95
Couple – one aged under 18, one aged 25 or over 60.50 64.30
Couple – both aged under 18, with responsibility for a child 72.35 76.90
Couple – both aged 18 or over 94.95 100.95
Dependent Children – from birth to day before 20th birthday 52.59 56.11

Jobseeker’s Allowance Income-Based – Personal Allowances

 

Income-Based – Personal allowances
2008/2009
2009/2010
Single – aged under 18 47.95 50.95
Single – aged 18 to 24 47.95 50.95
Single – aged 25 or over 60.50 64.30
Lone Parent – aged under 18 – usual rate 47.95 50.95
Lone Parent – aged under 18 – higher rate payable in specific circumstances 47.95 50.95
Lone Parent – aged 18 or over 60.50 64.30
Couple – both aged under 18 47.95 50.95
Couple – both aged under 18 – one disabled 47.95 50.95
Couple – one aged under 18, one aged 18 to 24 47.95 50.95
Couple – one aged under 18, one aged 25 or over 60.50 64.30
Couple – both aged under 18, with responsibility for a child 72.35 76.90
Couple – both aged 18 or over 94.95 100.95
Child or Young Person from birth to the first Monday in the September following the 16th birthday 52.59 56.11
Child or Young Person from the first Monday in the September following the 16th birthday 52.59 56.11

Fancy that – lone parents under 18 find it cheaper to bring up children!  They really are to be admired.

Housing Benefit – Personal Allowances

 

Personal allowances
2008/2009
2009/2010
Single – aged less than 25 47.95 50.95
Single – aged over 25 60.50 64.30
  • entitled to main phase ESA
60.50 64.30
Lone parent – aged less than 18 47.95 50.95
Lone parent – aged over 18 60.50 64.30
  • entitled to main phase ESA
60.50 64.30
Couple – both aged less than 18 72.35 76.90
Couple – at least one aged more than 18 94.95 100.95
  • claimant entitled to main phase ESA
94.95 100.95
Dependent children 52.59 56.11
Pensioner – single/lone parent – 60-64 124.05 130.00
Pensioner – couple – one or both – 60-64 189.35 198.45
Pensioner – single/lone parent – 65 and over 143.80 150.40
Pensioner – couple – one or both 65 and over 215.50 225.50

And lone parents under 18 can even make rent cheaper.  Amazing!  They obviously don’t deserve the same rate as over 18 year olds what with how they brought it all on themselves by having sex and being fertile, the fecund fuckers!  And nobody deserves Housing Benefit which actually covers the rent, and social housing – ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, we sold all that off and pocketed the money.  How do you think those duck houses get clean?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. polly permalink
    January 3, 2010 17:39

    Yeah it’s bollocks. One of my nieces had a baby at 18, one at 17.* Both lived with their parents.

    *And this particular bit of my extended family is the posh bit, living in a fuck off house worth over half a million, and privately educated kids. Even middle class girls are fertile tha knows.

  2. January 13, 2010 17:05

    FUCKING WELL SAID! And backed up with facts. Come on!

    I don’t read the F word very often, pretty much ever since one of their (childfree, of course) writers decided to tell us all what childbirth was like because I think either her sister or her pet rabbit or something had given birth and breastfed and so she knew all about it and was going to TELL US AT GREAT LENGTH.

    Anyway.

    I’m also a single Mum, though only as of last year (I left my emotionally abusive husband. I’m sure NuLabour would have preferred me to stay with him though so my child doesn’t become FERAL!!!111ELEVENTYONE) and jesus christ god I’m already sick of all the stupid stereotypes, and being treated like I’m a danger to my child (thanks, my local hospital, for treating me like a child abuser when I told you I lived in a different house to my child’s father!)…

    Why does it not surprise me that feminism, which is pretty ambivalent about mothers in general (you know, cos the seat of ALL OPPRESSION EVER is presumed fertility, or whatever it is these days, and no one could ever possibly *choose* to have a baby therefore) is hugely massively fail-y on single mums?

    Another thing in that post that pissed me the fuck off is the idea of “we need to give girls more choices”. The idea that they might have actually had more choices than “just” having a baby (you know, to get a council house…) and considered those choices and actually, y’know, *chosen* to have a baby… well, no one would do that would they? Actually want a child? Without a father around? (Cos, no one would ever choose to have a child without a man around, you know, ‘cos queer Mums don’t exist and single Mums are just desperate for a man or something, like Jackie Tyler just waiting to pounce on the plumber or whatever).

    Ye gods I’ve rambled. Sorry. But I just wanted to say thanks for writing this. I’m so pleased I’m not the only person who is sick to the back teeth of this kind of shit.

  3. January 15, 2010 16:09

    Argh – just wrote a long reply and the server went down as I pressed submit and it disappeared. Will try again later.

  4. January 28, 2010 08:07

    Lol still waiting for your “long reply” 😉

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