As anyone who has grown up with a single parent knows, their parents are complete layabouts, and by virtue of not being in a socially accepted relationship, have no work ethic and have taught us to mooch off the system. So apparently concludes this British Problems article, because there was a spike in single mothers (oops, sorry! Single fathers are perfect parents; it’s just single mothers who are a drain on society) during the 80s, and now there is (mostly and in some places) a spike in NEETs.
NEETs – 18 to 24-year-olds classed not in education, employment or training – has soared over the last five years. This is clearly due to the uber-chavs, a class of “offspring of the first big generation of single mothers … in the 1980s” who are now adults.
Being an ’88 birthday and 25 years old, this is a quick calculation for me, and the conclusion obvious: any 18-24 year old NEETs are NOT born in the 80s, or are born in the second half of ’89. So mathematically, it makes no sense to blame single mothers of the 80s, as their children are not the crime-causing, dole-stealing, social delinquents the article is discussing. But apparently we’re not supposed to notice this mathematical discrepancy. Um, sorry, who is socially unproductive and a drain on society?
This is the kind of conclusion which leads me to say, very firmly, that science pwns belief. Every time. Because here we have a clearly at-odds situation, and no one is convinced that the same set of people were born both in the ’90s and the’80s for the apparent conclusion to make sense. But most wouldn’t bother with the calculation and just read another article condemning single parenthood and go away carrying that prejudice.
I don’t for a minute mean to suggest that single parenthood is awesome. It’s hard work. And it’s statistically disadvantaged, largely because of the social disadvantage of women in society coupled with the fact that many single parents are accidental parents, or even teenage parents. But I’m not even trying to make a point about my beliefs about single parents here, dear though the issue is. The key point is that they are a [blame category] for social imperfection that breeds prejudice and prevents us from confronting real problems. Often, a [blame category] is deliberately constructed to prevent the constuctor from feeling guilty or uncomfortable about their own failings.
What does this mean in this context?
It means that in 2008 there was an economic crash, and we still haven’t recovered from it. Anyone who has been seeking employment in the last few years knows that, and knows how hard it is, especially if for some reason (e.g. being a parent, but let’s not go there) you are tied geographically. And a lot of people could be considered responsible for that, but essentially it was a middle-aged, middle-class problem which affected young, working class people most. And so there is still a mass unemployment problem with geographical hotspots and a young person spike, especially amongst those leaving school and university… because now the job market is so competitive that experience is a clinching factor… and guess who doesn’t have it?
So let’s blame single mothers. Let’s make the unemployed sign on every day to prove they DESERVE it (and not mention the fact that ritual demeaning procedures like signing on significantly diminish your self-respect to such a level that it will decrease your chances of obtaining work anyway), and if they don’t sign on, assume they’re not overwhelmed by time or cost, but are only jobless out of laziness. Because that makes it their problem, not society’s, and certainly not yours.