Poverty covers a multitude of conditions. Discussion and remedies are easily sunk into definition, measure, relativity, morality. So cutting to the chase:
Poverty is powerlessness. Subjection to an unremitting control exercised over income levels, housing, food, employment, social attainment, and thought. As early societies were, naturally, left behind with time's passing, we thought we might overcome what Beveridge, that greatest of Liberal politicians, identified as giants of our social, economic and political worlds. But those giants are animated by the hunger for power over others.
If you have no means of personal defence against personal attack; if you have no shelter but shelter derived from the most fragile of institutional arrangements that can be altered on government whim or market change; if you eat by exchanging tokens for a pre-limited range of goods, if you derive your tokens from tax-provided state funds, whether employed or workless, if you cannot educate yourself or your children from lack of resources and government interference, if you are prevented from speaking or even thinking beyond categories defined by received, hierarchically determined priorities, then you are poor. And if you avoid and evade all those statuses you are the target of regime impoverishment policies.
As a comment on the previous post notes, the question always put is how can state schools be improved? Not whether they should exist at all. It should be remembered that the most important outcome of state school provision is widespread impoverishment, both in life-choice and in intellectual attainment. Another commenter points out that if the National Health Service delivered today's patient with the service available in the 1800s there would be outrage, yet anyone receiving an education more than a century ago would emerge at least numerate and literate, unlike 40% of today's state school leavers.
Any young person now seeking housing so as to establish themselves in a family life would have enjoyed a far better chance in the Conservative, One Nation 1950s and '60s, apart from enjoying a better, universal education opportunity. In seeking employment, there has been great loss to resident working people in terms of individual wages, of social wages, and of employment opportunity, to the advantage of employers and owners in migrant receiving countries. And look at the technical literature on labour migration and its effects before crying 'racialist' (or racist as nowadays is cried). I have not touched on the sociocultural effects of the migrations of peoples.
If most people are now caught in a very clear and horrible poverty, even if not absolute or worse than statist, first world poverty (though third world poverty is starting to appear too), those who have escaped because of their social and economic independence are now being defined as 'terrorist', 'deviant', 'suspect', 'incorrect', 'unsuitable', and are being excluded, and deprived of their social powers and autonomy.
We began our resistance with the classic defence against the growth of the Fascist state - the rientro nel privato - (the very phrase is in Italian, mother of fascism), and moved back discreetly into our own provision and our own lives. But so many have seen and are following us to the exit from the overarching authoritarianism of New Labour and its glorious sunlit uplands of realised serfdom that the regime is in full cry.
We are going to have to stand and fight, and if the only weapon we will need to use is the vote, then that will be a great relief.
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