Tuesday 22 June 2021

Once again the Tories are hiding their own culpability behind vapid 'culture war' nonsense

Boris Johnson's Tory government have opened up a new front in their nauseating culture war, by trying to blame the term "white privilege" for catastrophic failings in the educations system, that leave working class kids (white and non-white alike) at huge disadvantages in comparison to kids from wealthier backgrounds.

I'm going to give a non-exhaustive list of other factors that are infinitely more damaging to the prospects of working class kids than this term, but first I'll briefly explain what "white privilege" actually means.

The term certainly doesn't mean that all white people are wealthy and privileged, only a fool or someone who is trying to fool you would try to argue that.

It means that in a still-racist society there are advantages to being white.

White people are obviously less likely to suffer institutional racism like being harassed by the police or denied painkillers when seriously ill; we're less likely to have our CVs immediately thrown in the bin for having non-white sounding names; and we don't have to face disgusting examples of inter-personal racism like the majority of non-white people have experienced in their lifetimes.

This obviously doesn't mean that life is a bed of roses for all white people, because there are all kinds of other forms of discrimination such as classism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of anti-queer bigotry, ageism, persecution of the disabled, persecution of the neurodiverse ...

Only those with malicious intentions would even try to portray recognising that whiteness is an advantage in a racist society as some kind of attack on poor white people, which brings us to the Tory government, and their woeful efforts to hide their own catastrophic failings behind yet more culture war bollocks.

So here are eleven things that are infinitely more damaging to the prospects of working class kids than the existence of the term "white privilege".

1. Education cuts

Ever since the Lib-Dems enabled them back into power in 2010, the Tories have been inflicting brutal cuts on England's education budget, with the worst cuts of all concentrated in the poorest areas of the country. This means that working class kids have borne the brunt of this deliberate Tory strategy of under-funding the education system, and trashing the nation's future economic potential.

How dare they pretend to give a damn about the prospects of working class kids, when their own longstanding policy is to systematically underfund the schools these working class kids attend?

2. Tuition fees

When the Tories and Lib-Dems colluded to triple university tuition fees, and bring in rip-off new repayment terms (inflation +3%) they ensured that kids from poor and ordinary backgrounds would need to drive themselves tens of thousands of pounds into debt just to get their degrees, and that the vast majority of post-2012 graduates (83%) would never be able to pay these debts off despite making entire working lifetimes of repayments.

Is it even possible to think of a better way of putting working class kids off academic attainment, than telling them they'll have to suffer an entire lifetime of unpayable debt if they aspire to go to university?

3. Youth service cuts

Anyone who claims to give the slightest damn about kids in deprived working class communities should be championing youth services aimed at honing kids' talents, giving them social skills, and keeping them away from crime and drugs.

The Tory government has been relentlessly slashing youth services budgets to the bone (70% cut in less than a decade).

4. Sure Start

If you want to give kids the best possible opportunities in life, it's crucial to begin the positive impact as soon as possible, which is why, despite their many other faults, the 1997-2010 Labour government did a great job in setting up Sure Start.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that Sure Start is extremely beneficial to kids' prospects, the Tories have slashed it to pieces since 2010, resulting in 500+ closures, and once again, the worst cuts have been reserved for the most disadvantaged areas.

5. Free School meals

Anyone who claims to care about the prospects of working class kids wouldn't hesitate for a second over providing free school meals during a global pandemic, because there's mountains of evidence that well-fed kids concentrate better and get better grades, while starving hungry and malnourished kids often fail to live up to their academic potential.

But we've all seen how the Tory government repeatedly voted against providing free school meals during the coronavirus pandemic, and had to be shamed into action by the footballer Marcus Rashford, on more than one occasion.

6. Social security cuts

Since 2010 the Tory government has implemented round after round of savage social security cuts. It hardly takes a genius to understand that policies like slashing working tax credits and cutting entitlement to child tax credits and child benefit would end up having profoundly negative consequences for children in the poorest families.

But there's just something in the Tory mentality that gives them a perverse sense of pleasure at the idea of punishing the poor for their poverty, and ensuring that their kids grow up even poorer too.

7. Adult education cuts

Since 2010 the Tories have relentlessly attacked adult education spending, even though any sane government would be investing in adult education in order to ensure that the economy has a skilled and flexible workforce, and so that workers have the means and ability to retrain should they lose their jobs.

The Tories clearly don't want a modern, flexible, highly-skilled workforce, they want to minimise retraining opportunities, and ensure working class people who lose their jobs end up languishing in exploitative low-pay gig economy jobs, working for capitalist mega-corporations, because their retraining options are so severely limited.

And to make things even worse, despite all of his cheery rhetoric about investment and upskilling, Johnson's government is pressing ahead with yet another round of cuts to adult education spending.

8. Wage repression

After the Tories came to power in 2010 they imposed the longest sustained period of wage repression since records began

There's basically no better strategy to erode the prospects of working class kids, than to spend the best part of a decade systematically eroding the real value of their parents' wages, and ensuring that when these kids do eventually enter the workforce, they'll be earning less in real terms than those who were entering the workforce a decade previously!

9. School privatisation

Since 2010 the Tories have been overseeing an extraordinary programme of school privatisation in England, to such an extent that 75% of English secondary schools are now controlled by private profiteering pseudo-charities called "Academy Chains" (many of them owned and operated by major Tory party donors).

These profiteers aren't allowed to leech profits out of the education system in shareholder dividends because of their so-called charitable status, but there are loads of other ways of soaking cash out of our kids' education budgets into private pockets, not least vastly inflated six figure salaries for profiteering academy chain directors and their cronies, and endless tides of massive untendered supply contracts handed out to their friends and family.

If you think that the existence of the term "white privilege" has more to do with working class academic under-achievement than this widespread looting of education budgets by Tory party donors and assorted other spivs and profiteers, there's something seriously wrong with the way you're looking at the world.

10. Soaring child poverty

Several of the aforementioned issues, like social security cuts and Tory wage repression have combined to drive half a million more kids into poverty over the last five years, with a shocking 75% of all the kids in poverty, now living in a household where at least one adult works.

It's utterly obscene for the Tories to pretend that they give a damn about working class kids, when their own policies have resulted in hundreds of thousands more kids growing up in dire poverty, and literally millions of kids learning the very early life lesson that 'work doesn't pay', because they see their parents struggling in destitution, despite having jobs.

11. Classism

Britain has one of the most rigid and persistent class hierarchies in the world. The wealthy privately-educated 7% minority are vastly over-represented in politics, corporate media, the judiciary, corporate boardrooms, and the top-paying public service jobs.

Two of our last three Prime Ministers went to the exact same elitist private school, which charges vastly more than the average annual salary in yearly fees.

People still use ludicrous anachronistic terms like lord, baroness, and sir in all seriousness, and we've still got unelected hereditary peers in the House of Lords for pity's sake.

The evidence shows that people from working class backgrounds, with regional accents, are routinely paid thousands of pounds per year less than the posh, for doing exactly the same work.

And the current Prime Minister is a hateful elitist, who used incredibly derogatory language to attack working class children as "ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive, and illegitimate" in a disgusting tirade in which he also derided working class men as "drunk, criminal, aimless, feckless, and hopeless".

Is it any wonder at all that society is geared to fail working class kids, when we insist on picking sneering elitists like Johnson to run the show?


If you look at their actual track record in government, it's obvious that the Tories have been conducting class warfare against the working class. 

They've slashed education budgets, handed control of schools to a bunch of sleazy profiteers, gutted youth services, ruined sure start, smashed the adult education system to pieces, and imposed rip-off unpayable student debts.

Beyond their outright vandalism of the social ladder, to make it so much harder for working class kids to escape poverty, they've also been actively making the poverty worse with their twin agenda of wage repression and social security cuts.

And these Tory vermin think that they can just hide this dreadful and downright malicious track record behind a smokescreen of vapid and divisive culture war bollocks about the term "white privilege".

The reason they think they can get away with pushing this absolute gibberish is that they're confident that the majority of the lower orders (as they see us) have been leaving the education system with such under-developed critical thinking skills, that we won't even notice that we're being duped into blaming "woke teachers" or whatever, rather than the powerful elitists who actually run the country, and are obviously to blame.

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