Today’s columnist, Patrick Meleady: Robbing Peter to pay Paul

Patrick Mileady
Patrick Mileady
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For far too long, imbalances in true equality have been not only tolerated, but frequently overlooked by governments and big business.

Gestures at varying times have been made to drive forward ‘programmes’ to support educational attainment and to redress social inequalities, but these ‘programmes’ have primarily been driven by blame games.

These have been informed by deficit models of working class people, who are obliged to apply for welfare benefits, and lone parents, disabled people, members of our BME communities, young people etc.

It is clear that blaming those being subjected to inequalities, is much easier for those holding power and influence and the nation’s purse strings, than addressing the structural inequalities and policy failings , along with the big business drivers that underlie and feed and fester upon the maintenance of inequalities and the societal divisions this creates.

It is correct to say that imbalances have become unsustainable, especially when we consider the impact it is having on our younger populations and their wellbeing and for the long term too.

Failings to properly invest inour children and young people, who constitute the national future leaders, visionaries, workforce and tax payers, is a shocking disgrace.

We have seen the systemic dismantling of community children’s services, the depletion in opportunities to play, explore and to take risks, all so vital to children’s and young people’s cognitive, social and moral and creative development and we are being told by central government that there will be more austerity cuts to come.

Unless the United Kingdom can equip all of our nation’s children and young people to have rich childhoods and to succeed, the UK will experience widening inequalities, skills shortages, fractured communities and growing pressures on societal support systems, with fewer people in the jobs market with their payroll taxes to support those in our society who need this support.

Often we have seen politicians advocating either or positions, with calls for a levelling of playing fields by redirecting resources to redistribute to others, from those who they presume are able to scale the ladder, even if they too come from families struggling to pay the mortgage despite having two parents/carers working.

Investing in our nation’s children is not and never should be a matter of robbing Peter to pay Paul, but bringing Paul up to the same level as Peter and investing rightfully in all.