Sunday, December 30, 2007

If you pay people to do something...

... then they will do it: it's that simple. And so we get, via The Englishman, a wonderful juxtaposition of stories in the papers this morning. First up, The Scotsman.
SEX education lessons should be given to schoolchildren as young as five as part of a bid to combat soaring levels of teenage pregnancy and sexual disease, Scotland's most senior public health doctor said last night.

Part of Scotland's problem is that, whilst sex education is compulsory, teaching children about contraception is not. This Fucking Stupid Initiative was something that I reported back in January 2006.
One of my friends is a teacher in the upper ends of a primary school, and she told me something that made me repeatedly bang my head off the table in frustration and frenziedly clench and unclench my fists in impotent rage. Now, as we all know, for bookdrunk has spelt it out numerous times (and god knows it is obvious enough), that if you wish to curb STDs and unwanted teenage pregnancies, then you need to educate the kiddies.

The government and the Scottish Executive have made much of their improved sex education, and obviously they are to be lauded for these efforts. Unfortunately, some of it is completely pointless, as my friend explained.

She is not allowed to teach her kids about contraception.

Yes, you did read that right. She is allowed to teach them about sex, but not contraception. She can teach them about how babies are made, but not how you can have sex without getting pregnant. She can teach them about Sexually Transmitted Diseases, but not how they might protect against them. She is supposed to get them to talk to their parents; she can, indeed, direct them to their parents, but she, herself, is not allowed to tell them about contraception.

You have to teach, as it were, both sides of the equation, you know.

The second amusing article comes from the Telegraph.
Sex education initiatives are failing to control the spiralling teenage pregnancy crisis, ministers have admitted for the first time.

Actually, as Timmy points out, the rate of teen pregnancy is actually down by 11.4% so it is hardly a "spiralling" crisis.

However, there are an undesirable—undesirable if, like me, you think that children attempting to raise children is a bad thing—number of teenage pregnacies occurring but the reason is really quite simple: the government pays women to have children.
What's the government doing to discourage teenagers from having babies? Well, setting up targets and spending £100 millions a year on quango's and advertising no doubt.

And, more pertinently, what's the government doing to encourage them?

Er ... offering them £175 a week guaranteed net income (plus other bits and pieces) plus priority in allocation of council housing [PDF]? OK, under-18s get slightly less than that, but they only have to wait a year or two for the full amount to kick in.

And once you in the lone parent trap, the welfare system is designed to keep you there.

Furthermore, this guaranteed income is going to appeal to the young and the poor more than the rich and well-educated because it is, relatively speaking, a larger amount of money to them.

Thus you have the young and the poor churning out children whilst the well-educated and well-off wait until they can afford to pay for the children themselves.

You want the rate of teenage pregnancies to come down? Fine: stop paying young girls to have children.


Anonymous said...

Given that there were quantam leaps fewer underage pregnancies, and pregnancies outside marriage, before the state got involved in "sex education", one can only assume that the current rudderless chaos can be chalked up as one of the socialists' rare successes.

Anonymous said...

Labour and, to a lesser extent, the ScotNats can't afford to have contraception taught in Scottish schools because it would alienate the Catholic church and, by extension, the Catholic voters (primarily of Irish, rather than Scottish, descent) who form the basis for Labour's stranglehold on the west of Scotland.

Anonymous said...

Sex education, in the socialist context, is sex propaganda and sex promotion.

Humans had hundreds of thousands of years with no sex education and the next generation always managed to get born, and families and tribes were developed. We moved forward and prospered in a secure, structure society. Then along came the socialists. I would support the death penalty for those seeking to destroy society through socialism.

Anonymous said...

I strongly suspect that "planning" doesn't come into it at all with low-income teenaged pregnancies. Whatever you think about state handouts to single-parent families, ultimately it isn't the child's fault. If someone can work out a way of paying benefits that doesn't penalize the child then fair enough but just reducing the benefits paid to the parents wont achieve that. Maybe some sort of voucher scheme ...

PS: Verity - why don't you fuck off to Sudan where I think you'd be quite happy.

Anonymous said...

The Americans use food stamps and vouchers - long-term welfare recipients don't get money. As I've noted before, the terms are strict. They cannot buy a Coke or a toothbrush with food stamps. Food solely. This removes the incentive to have more children to get more allowances.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Having done some work at the coalface, the number of young girls who view breeding as their ticket to freedom is quite shocking.

Anonymous said...

It is a Left-liberal lie that teenage girls do not deliberately get pregnant so as to live on state benefits.

In the deeply rural town where I (sometimes) live, teenage motherhood, with the consequent council house and guaranteed lifetime income, is seen as a recognised career path for working class girls.

The social disapproval of single parenthood has been consciously eroded by the media during the past three or four decades, enabling the statist Left to secure an immovable rump of compliant supporters, happy to live at other people's expense.

None of this has happened by accident.

Anonymous said...

Why not adopt the Chinese system ?
Their politicos have managed to prevent 250million births since 1980

Of course, [female] infanticide is tacitly accepted in order to make the policy work, not to mention enforced abortions and draconian financial penalties - mind you, our abortion rate already tops 185,000 cases per year, so perhaps any further adjustment might not be too difficult ?

Incidentally, are the Chinese "socialists" ?
It's almost impossible to know what this term denotes nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Hello, G Cooper! How nice to see you!

I agree with you (now there's a surprise!): None of this happened by accident. It wasn't ineptitude. It was misguided policies. It was the calculated destruction of the underpinnings of a civilisation.

Anonymous said...

That's supposed to read "It wasn't misguided policies", in case anyone's thinking, "Huh>"

Anonymous said...

It is as they say "performance related pay" like NR if the bonus scheme works fill your boots/prams and damn the consequences.

Anonymous said...

gcooper: I look forward to reading the statistics that you, presumably, have to back up that assertion.

Of course, in America where they have food stamps and minimal welfare, there is hardly any incidence of teenaged pregnancy at all, is there.

I know it's radical, but how about governing based upon facts rather than ideological. You know pragmatism, not dogmatism. Most of the damage this govenment has done is because they think that you can "manage" your way out of every situation (see fucking ridiculous targets for the NHS, the police etc). I'm sorry, but life isn't like that. Social attitudes are not shaped by policy, they are shaped by society - i.e. the community in which people live. These problems are not produced by the government, they are produced by the people - who, incidentally, can vote for the government.

Anonymous said...

Herring - There is teenage pregnancy everywhere in the world. In Britain, they make a career of it because it is well paid and has perks.

The socialist government has deliberately cultivated lawlessness and the uncertainty of punishment, staggering numbers of illegitimate births to girls as young as 11 and 12, a grotesque number of abortions - culling the indigenes to make way for the Stone Age immigrants.

The problems are produced by this malicious government, deliberately. All the old toking Trots who never moved out of the common room, are ordering the world.

Your mal-assumption comes when you note that people can vote for the government, as though that were going to change anything. That is the whole idea. Layabout fathers and chippy litte 17-year olds with two children in tow are going to vote for the government that will continue to reward them for an improvident lifestyle. That is the whole point. This is why they give them free housing and money for booze, cigarettes and lottery tickets. As a reward for voting.

Anonymous said...

verity, I am not making any assumptions, let alone "mal-assumptions". I am interested in facts.

Some things that I coule safely predict though are that 17 year old layabouts aren't voting the government in. What with them being under 18 and therefore inelligible to vote.

I don't say that there aren't any teenaged single mothers living off the state, but given the population of the country and the demographic distrubution, I'd be fairly confident to say that they're costing us less than, say, useless mangement consultants in the NHS or the Iraq war.

The fact is that countries like Sweden, with a more generous benefit system than the UK have a lower teen pregnancy rate and that countries like the US, which have a far harsher benefit system have higher teenage pregnancy rate. (I'll leave you to google that one yourself rather than suppliying a "biased" link).

The conclusion that I draw is that teen pregnancy correlates more with lack of education than with generousity of the benefits system.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Thanks for the link! It's a tedious point but it must be made again and again and again.

Little Black Sambo said...

Lack of "education" is always blamed for the increase in promiscuity among children and the increased rate of bastardy. There is more and more of this "education", so where are we going wrong?

Anonymous said...

Herring - which assertion? Surely you're not being so obtuse as to deny that teenage pregnancy is seen as a career path in the UK?

Not only have I first hand evidence of this through personal observation and social contact, but just three years ago, actually sat on a train heading into London Bridge, overhearing a gaggle of teenage girls weighing up their council housing options, should they decide to get pregnant.

Those are facts - not the exquisitely massaged nonsense trotted out by government departments and tame Guardian journalists, derived from the wish-fulfilment games played by sociologists

If you don't have any personal experience, I strongly advise you to get some. The opinions you hold are clearly based on the sort of 'evidence' that has got us into this mess.

Yes, education (or a lack thereof) does have a part to play - but the educational establishment in this country has operated on the 'this isn't working - we must do more of it!' principle for fifty years. Increasing sex education, wider availability of contraception and endless publicity have done nothing to halt the growth in teenage pregnancies. Unless one is mad or stupid, the only possible conclusion is that it simply isn't working.

Fifty years ago, British children had almost no sex education and there were few teenage pregnancies. Today, no child can escape it and now there are many. I suggest, therefore, the conclusion you draw is wrong.

Equally, if you believe that the removal of the social stigma militating against having children outside marriage hasn't had a profound effect on British society, then I wish you and the deep hole in the ground in which you must live a very happy New Year.

In passing, hello, Verity! Good to see you are still around, fighting the fight.

Anonymous said...

gcooper: I was riding on the train the other day, and there were no people wearing red jumpers in the carriage. This is clearly proof that nobody in the UK wears a red jumper.

OK, to rephrase that: surely on the basis of your limited observations, you cannot be so obtuse as to declare that teenaged pregnancy is a popular career path in the UK? (2003 figures show ~8,000 pregnancies in women under 16 - and a DK observes the rate is falling).

Also, as DK observes, in many places teachers aren't allowed to teach about contraception.Let's face it, this current government has been so cowed by "religious groups" that they're probably afraid to - the useless fuckers that they are.

I wouldn't argue with the assertion that sex education as it is being taught in some places isn't working. To say that sex education, per se, doesn't work is totally without foundation.

Yes, there is less social stigma attached to pregnancy out of wedlock now than there was 50 years ago. Nobody batted an eyelid when my wife any I got married accompanied by our four year old son (mid-thirties probably doesn't count as teenaged pregnancy though).

Scandinavian countries (like Sweden) do have far more comprehensive sex education, they do have far more generous welfare systems and yet they do also have far lower rates of teenaged pregnancy. Oh, and even less stigma concerning unmarried parents.

Oh, and to close off, no I don't like this governemt at all either but I beleive that the way forwards is the working of the brain, not the jerking of the knee.

Anonymous said...

herring - You can jeer at personal evidence all you like, but I'd back my direct observation of life, split between inner London and a poor, rural community, against your liberal certitude, any day of the week.

As for this much-touted decline in UK teenage pregnancies, it may be true, but presumably you are aware of the rise in abortions among the under-18s? According to reliable sources; 'During 2006, 18,691 abortions were performed on girls under the age of 18, of which 3,990 (21.3 per cent) were performed on girls under the age of 16.' Similarly, we learn, 'Department of Health figures released during the summer show that over the past decade, the number of first abortions performed on young women and girls under the age of 18 has risen by over 16 per cent, while second abortions have risen by 42 per cent from 939 in 1997 to 1,341 in 2006.' (Family Education Trust - but taken from HMG statistics - sources: Department of Health, Statistical Bulletin, Abortion Statistics: England and Wales 2006, and HC Hansard, 19 July 2007, col 597W.)

Meanwhile, you are, of course, equally wrong about the failures of sex education. Pace DK and his comments about education in contraceptive methods, it remains the case that the vast majority of children today know more about contraception than did their grown-up grandparents. It is not, whatever you might like to believe, any lack of education that makes them choose not to use it.

How would you account for their failure to do so, when more than adequately armed with the knowledge?

To suggest that a direct connection between an increase in sex education coinciding with an epidemic of STDs, teenage pregnancies and teenage abortions is 'without foundation' boggles the mind.

Anonymous said...

gcooper: I think my whole point is that I'm not certain - I can look at evidence at where it came from and draw conclusions, but I can't make assertions about what is or isn't the motvation for the actions taken by individuals.

I suspect that you are right about the factual knowledge of these kids about contraceptives, but factual knowledge isn't all of it - as we know.

The problem isn't the government handing out benefits and it isn't the school failing to teach. The problem is the environment that these kids grow up in that make this sort of behaviour acceptable.

Doubtless the government will try and legislate and set targets and fuck about with the teachers' workload again but ultimately as long as these kids think it's OK to have a drunken knee-trembler with a guy with no name and no condom, they will.

Just to delineate, this bit is the leftie rant:
The govenment doesn't put pictures of Britney and her sister in the newpapers. No, Mr "Bread and Circuses" Murdoch (who controls the government) does.

Why do you think people choose a life of being a single-mother on the benefits? What else is there? All the "low skilled" jobs have gone to India. How did that happen?

Anonymous said...

Herring shoots himself in the foot by making mention, above of "8,000 pregnancies in women under 16".

There are no "women" under 16. These are underage girls. The men/little boys who made them pregnant are criminally liable.

Are they ever charged?

Herring writes: Let's face it, this current government has been so cowed by "religious groups ...".

Thank you!! We are at the nub of Herring's Weltanschuuang!

Militant atheism is on its angry march! One more fundamentalist atheist! Y-a-a-a-w-n-o-rama. So what's new?

Plus the socialists', as G Cooper pointed out, dull determination to indoctrinate prebusescent girls and young girls into a sexual world they are not ready for, ably assisted by the 'funded at the point of a gun' BBC. (Such indoctrination is known as paedophilia, except when the British state and the BBC does it.)

Britain is squalid. It allowed itself to degenerate so far by dint of paying hommage to New Age, e.g., not funny, comedians. Or, more likely on the Left, "commediennes" who are as funny as a toothache. It was fascism because Jo Brand - a former mental nurse, was forced down the 'funded-at-the-point-of-a-gun' BBC viewers' throats and prsented as somehow inevitable.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Well, I would say that it's a combination of all the factors mentioned. However, a few points...

"The problem isn't the government handing out benefits and it isn't the school failing to teach. The problem is the environment that these kids grow up in that make this sort of behaviour acceptable."

One has to ask what has made that environment?

First, a change in morality has made it more socially acceptable to sleep around (not something I have a problem with) and to have children out of wedlock or, at least, a relationship (not so good).

However, there has also been a severe economic change: that is, the government benefits. As well as leading to the moral change described above -- through the attitude that if the state is willing to fund certain activities, then they must be morally acceptable -- but also because the financial impact is on the credit and not the debit side.

In other words, were there no child benefit and the parents were forced to pay for their child's baby, they would be far warier about what their children were getting up to, who they were sleeping with and whether they were taking precautions.

But this is not what happens: what actually happens is that the state provides the young girls (and their parents) with a guaranteed income (or, if the girl wants to move out, the state provides somewhere to live).

Thus, not only is there not a financial pealty, there is a financial reward. This is not only an economic consideration but, as I have pointed out, also a moral one.

Why do you think people choose a life of being a single-mother on the benefits? What else is there? All the "low skilled" jobs have gone to India. How did that happen?

It's called globalisation. There are, in fact, loads of jobs out there but there several factors that don't help.

First is the marginal deduction rates of benefits, which can be as high as 92%, which do not encourage those on benefits to find work.

The second is the minimum wage: anyone whose labour is worth less then £5.35 an hour to companies will not get a job. That's simple supply and demand.

However, it is worth pointing out that, if Eastern Europeans can afford to come here and work as barstaff, and live and (if we are to believe certain reports) send money home (or save for their return east) then why do our native population not take these jobs?

Whatever your outlook, Herring, it is an inescapable fact that benefits are, at best, a double-edged sword.


Jennifer Broadley said...

Most of the damage this govenment has done is because they think that you can "manage" your way out of every situation.
The social disapproval of single parenthood has been consciously eroded by the media during the past three or four decades, enabling the statist Left to secure an immovable rump of compliant supporters, happy to live at other people's expense.

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