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Saturday, 11 June 2016

Could 'disaster capitalism''s adoption of Education, Health & Care Plans be levering in more forced separations of children from poor families?

The below is adapted from an email letter sent by Dude Swheatie of Kwug to his local ward councillor. Please note that the 'David Cameron' paragraph below has been substantially amended and improved upon since the original was written. 

It should be very clear that the Christianity of Prime Minister David Cameron differs considerably as an ideological 'locus of control' from that of Council Tax protester Revd Paul Nicolson. http://www.taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/the-need-for-active-participation-in-divine-gratuitous-love-never-greater-than-in-the-current-millennium/

Hi, Cllr

The Department for Education & Skills has published figures for take-up by local authorities (LA's) throughout England regarding statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Education, Health & Care (EHC) Plans for children.(1) Disability News Service has drawn attention to low take-up of SEN statementing as suggesting that LA's are struggling with funding.(2)

Meanwhile it strikes me that councils' execution of EHC statementing may impact along the lines of 'papering over the cracks' in their agendas and thus collude with Conservative Government agendas toward forcing more adoptions of children from poor families against the ideological framework of Milton Friedman's 'Holy Trinity' of neoliberal economics. That 'Holy Trinity', as highlighted in Naomi Klein's 2007 book The Shock Doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism, consists of
privatization, deregulation and cuts to social spending -- in which governments …. abandon public ownership, reduce taxes, eliminate the minimum wage, cut health and welfare spending, and privatize education. She calls the means of achieving this goal "disaster capitalism" and describes how it has resulted in a worldwide redistribution of income and wealth to the already rich at the expense of economic solvency for the middle and lower classes.(3)
I further argue that 'disaster captialism' turns vulnerable service users into commodities. This has already been observed in the 'welfare to work' industry's secondment of economically vulnerable people in a new slavery industry,(4) and in the privatisation of social services in general.(5) There is also, of course, the sell-off of social housing to private investers that displaces whole communities.(6) I believe that this conversion of vulnerable people into commodities may now be a factor in councils' adoption of EHC's as a rationale for a surge in forced separation of children from their parents, a surge that has been highlighted by Legal Action for Women.(7)

In housing advice services funded by LA's, it has been standard practice for some years to not allocate legal advice to people facing the prospect of eviction until an eviction notice has been served. That practice leads vulnerable families and individuals to crisis point and often to eviction before alternative accommodation can be found. Now, the Housing and Planning Bill 2016 raises the prospect of an even greater surge of evictions of vulnerable people.(8) And the most recent Queen's Speech raises the prospect of more forced separations of parents from their children; state intervention into the lives of families at breaking point as the walls close in on them is far more likely to focus on forced separation of families than supporting of the family unit.(9) 

It would seem that David Cameron's Government does not regard burgeoning promiscuous sanctions against economically vulnerable people as in any way suspect but entirely corrective..(10) In other words, his focus is entirely upon the violence committed within poor people's homes without regarding the actions of an oppressive State as a root cause and role model. What I have observed and identified as 'burn out' symptoms in people who have been denied benefits by accident or by design has made me somewhat glad that I have only been a one-person household in those times.  People can get very irritable and irritating when they are denied basic rights, and such behaviour is all too easily regarded as the fault of the person's nature rather than how they are treated. Gandhi observed: "Poverty is the worst form of violence." And it is often easier to 'lash out' in anger at those most easily to hand rather than to acknowledge just how much we have been abused by supposedly legitimate authority. [Author's note: The link text for (10) and text up to this point has been amended and extended since original publication this morning.]

Caroline Lucas MP (Green Party) has said of that Queen's Speech:
"Just a few months ago we had another eye watering budget — and further cuts to local services are now hitting hard. The idea that the Government can build social reform on the carcass of a gutted welfare state is a fallacy."(11)

Maybe it all depends on what sort of 'social reform' that government desires?

Thus I ask you as my ward councillor to contact Legal Action for Women toward scrutinising how much [my local council] might or might not be colluding with an agenda of privatising parenthood and reducing the rights of poor people in favour of those whose social worth is supposedly enshrined in their finances.(12) Yet it is a very unequal world that we are living in. With privatisation of adoption services and parenthood, children become commodities in a form of legalised human trafficking.

In conclusion, I would point out that supporting families in the face of poverty can be an example of what 'Pedagogy of the Oppressed' (1970) author Paulo Freire called 'authentic liberation', whereas forced adoption can be regarded as an example of 'false generosity'. I would also argue that in cases where there is domestic violence, that domestic violence is pioneered by oppressive attitudes and practices by the State against hard pressed parents.

Your constituent


NB: The constituent's home address helps validate their writing to a particular ward councillor or councillors. As Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group is focused on the London Boroughs of Brent and Camden, the respective 'find your local councillor' page links are 

TheyWorkForYou.com has a form for helping you identify and contact your local Member of Parliament.(15)


  1. Reference to Housing & Planning Bill 2016 pending

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