Caliban asks how did the Tories’ Troubled Families project aimed at addressing what they saw as the cause of the 2011 riots get on?
Five years since the riots this week. Interesting fact- you remember the government blaming the riots on “broken families” and launching a scheme to “turn them around”? You remember them announcing a couple of years later that near 100% of them were successfully “turned around”? Well a study has just been released, pretty much universally endorsed, which has shown that “turned around” didn’t mean anything, and that in fact far from being “turned around” the families in question have seen no discernible improvement in employment, school attendance, achievement any bullshit sociological factor you care to arbitrarily identify.
How did this incredible, as a Radio 4 commentator put it “North Korea level” discrepancy between the reality and the government discourse on the success of the scheme come about? Stick with me, you’ll like this.
It turns out that what the government did was it went to local authorities and it said “look here, your borough is full of scummy proles, we’d like you to focus services on x number of these feckless garbage people and, you know, get around their houses and shout at them a bit to buck up. If you can turn them around, we’ll give you some money to run the welfare state we turned into a smoking husk”. And, here’s the clever bit, in a master-stroke of modern political bullshit they elected not to meaningfully define what “turned around” means.
So consequently the local authority were free to determine whether a family had been successfully “turned around” by whatever criteria they felt like. Both shoes on the correct feet today? Turned around! Still breathing and upright? Turned around! Saw the last season of Game of Thrones? Turned around! And, do you know what? Pretty much every single family that was targeted in the scheme was found to have been “turned around”. Still desperately poor, under employed, alienated, struggling to get access to basic services while simultaneously being harassed and patronised by devious conniving jobsworths, but none the less, in some higher, undefinable, spiritual sense only perceivable to the architects of The Big Society- TURNED A-FUCKING-ROUND.
And yet, and yet- and yet – the government intends to massively extend the scheme! This scheme- which they claimed had a near 100% success rate while in fact, in what must be totally without precedent in the history of social interventions, has had apparently 100 actual real life percent FAILURE across the board to improve life for any family in any discernible way, this scheme that is being paid for at great public expense by a government that has made cuts that would have made the entire cast of a Japanese slasher epic stop in their tracks and be like “fuck mate, that cuts a bit harsh”- is being driven ahead in the midst of this alarmingly quiet scandal.
Meanwhile, youth provision has been laid waste, grants to higher education have been finally and completely assassinated, community centres from Brixton to Seven Sisters are being trampled beneath the heel of rampant gentrification and, above all, the murderous state continues to persecute, humiliate and ultimately terminate young black lives. We said it last time, we’ll say it again- a reckoning is coming for this blighted state and its broken government, its feckless and idle ruling class, its disordered family of elites. You watch. WE CAN TURN THIS SHIT AROUND.