miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Politicians are always talking about how they want to help Hard Working Families. Lib Dem politicians have been doing this for some time now. I suspect they continue doing it because research tells them it goes across well with the majority. I suspect they also don't ask themselves WHY it goes over well with the majority.

Myself, I blame the press. The press have spent decades demonising the jobless (workshy scroungers, rather than people living in areas with no work to get) the disabled (workshy scroungers who pretend to be ill to get benefits) the LGBT+ (who don't have families, they have sordid frightfulness), single mothers (who don't count as families because they don't have MEN in them) women who choose not to have children, etc.etc.etc.

The phrase Hard Working Families purposefully excludes and marginalises anyone who doesn't have a job, and anyone who doesn't have a traditional family. This goes across well with the general public because they are used to anyone who doesn't have a job and anyone who doesn't have a traditional family being demonised. It fits into their worldview. It's a dog whistle to the sort of person who says "I've worked hard all my life and paid taxes and why should my taxes go to pay for wheelchairs when I haven't got a new car this year?"

With the deepest of respect to the leading lights in our party, I think that sort of person needs educating, not pandering to.

UPDATE: Tim Farron has listened, heard, and understood, as one can see from his twitter stream in which he states that Caron (who also blogged on this) and I are "100% right" and he will, from now on, use different wording. I don't always agree with Tim (he's an uber-Christian football fan, to give you an idea of some of the areas of difference ;)) but I respect that he is always willing to listen to criticism, and when he finds that criticism to have a point he always acts quickly and responds. Tis the mark of a proper Liberal.

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 10:33 am (UTC)
ext_550458: (Default)
From: [identity profile] strange-complex.livejournal.com
Exactamundo. Thanks for spelling it out in easily-shareable format. :-)

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 10:42 am (UTC)
pseudomonas: Dragon from BL manuscript of C14 French Ḥumash (Default)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
Yes! The reason that we should care about people is because they are human beings, not because they fit some (spurious) template of virtuous behaviour. It all shades into deserving and undeserving poor.

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 10:45 am (UTC)
missdiane: (Default)
From: [personal profile] missdiane
Well said!

It kind of reminds me of why at holiday season, I refuse to participate in the "adopt a family" bullcrap at work. Someone tried to guilt trip me about it and I looked them straight in the eye and told them that being single, I know that just one small slip and I could be destitute - but I'm not a "family" by their definition so I guess I wouldn't qualify for their special sparkly family help. I give to food banks, clothing donations and other things that don't discriminate against people that aren't "traditional families."

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 10:51 am (UTC)
ginasketch: (surprise)
From: [personal profile] ginasketch
I'm never having kids. This is what I think of people who tell me I must have a family in order to be a respected member of society:

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 10:56 am (UTC)
drunkwriter: Me in South Park form. (Default)
From: [personal profile] drunkwriter
It's a truly odd phrase in that it manages to marginalise just about everyone not in a 2.4 semi-detached. Last time I checked, 'hard working families' already get more tax breaks than I do as an unmarried childless man in a full-time job. That's not something that bothers me in the normal scheme of things (people who complain about where 'their' taxes go make me very uneasy - they do know they're not going actually to get a cheque back or anything if we stop 'wasting taxpayer money' on non-issue of the week, right?), until the sprogged-up hordes begin to be held up as society's model beings. So my opinion is worthless unless or until I've knocked up my girlfriend? That's... wow.

When a phrase even manages to irateify and exclude a straight, white, middle-class, professional male, you have to assume that they're not really thinking about it at all...

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 11:18 am (UTC)
drunkwriter: Me in South Park form. (Default)
From: [personal profile] drunkwriter
I spent a couple of minutes trying to convey how I feel about MRAs in such a way that I won't trip the office's internet sweary filters...

****less whining *****s who need to **** themselves in the **** and grow a pair.

Best I could do, but I hope you get the gist.

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 11:26 am (UTC)
drunkwriter: Me in South Park form. (Default)
From: [personal profile] drunkwriter
Aw thanks, so are you! And yay Rimmer/Lister! Approaching squee pitch for October 4th now...

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 12:15 pm (UTC)
drunkwriter: Me in South Park form. (Default)
From: [personal profile] drunkwriter
I'm really glad that excitement seems to have replaced trepidation as transmission has loomed closer. They all worked so hard on it. I've been chewing off various appendages to keep quiet about stuff since January - there's a photo of me in front of the bunks that's so becoming my Twitter/DW/LJ/Facebook picture once the series is underway.

And from a purely selfish point of view, if Red Dwarf X hits big, someone might finally broadcast Doug's other pilot and I'll get to be on telly :)

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 11:47 am (UTC)
ginasketch: (smug)
From: [personal profile] ginasketch
A picture might also suffice:

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 12:16 pm (UTC)
drunkwriter: Me in South Park form. (Default)
From: [personal profile] drunkwriter
Brill!

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 11:35 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Any chance you could repeat this in the debate on the Equal Citizenship motion at conference please? That's assuming you're going of course - if not then is it okay if I steal parts of it please?

- George Potter

Date: Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 01:22 pm (UTC)
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
Yup, I agree with you, and thank you for expressing some of my uneasiness about the dreaded phrase - my last attempt wasn't nearly so good. I particularly appreciate you bringing out the dogwhistle aspects.

I am going to conference and if I do speak on this motion, I will owe a great deal to this post. (And yes, I will credit you!)

I haven't yet worked out what I am even going to try to speak on yet; every card I put in needs several hours preparation for me, plus this time it means putting N into the creche for the duration and he is too small to do that too often :/

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 12:32 pm (UTC)
sir_guinglain: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sir_guinglain
Lib Dems talking about hard-working families is a sign that the current leadership has forgotten about breaking the mould of British politics (oh, for the Alliance of yore). I find the phrase patronising and exclusive, the top of a stair which leads back to property qualifications as some Tea-Partiers advocate in the US.

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 01:06 pm (UTC)
ext_51145: (Default)
From: [identity profile] andrewhickey.info
I can see why they started doing it -- the first time I saw it was in a policy paper by Clegg shortly after he became leader, and in context it was very clever, as the paper as a whole managed to recast very firmly Liberal ideas into Daily Mail language, in such a way that had they read it it would have won over quite a few instinctively-conservative-but-not-actually-evil people to decent ideas. But more recently they've been using it more and more, and with less and less attention paid.

Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012 04:07 pm (UTC)
bagfish: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bagfish
When Nick Clegg used the phrase in an email prior to the last election, I emailed back along the same lines as the above, how the phrase marginalises many sectors of British society. It's a phrase that really, really pisses me off because as someone above says, it smacks of the division into deserving and undeserving, and as far as I can tell, people without children or in unconventional living arrangements are deliberately excluded.

I got some mealy-mouthed reply saying that of course he doesn't mean it in the way that it sounds:

"Nick actually hopes to be able to reclaim the term 'family'; he feels that the word has become over-associated with a very specific, narrow set of assumptions about a typical unit or household. We would like to see people recognise the whole web of interpersonal connections in our society and understand that families really do come in all forms, including those who live as single individuals – who do, after all, also have parents and relatives – or in couples without children."

That's all very well, but he hasn't exactly tried very hard to redefine the word family, and meanwhile the Mail-readers of this world continue to apply it solely to "deserving" conventional families.

Date: Friday, August 31st, 2012 03:27 pm (UTC)
marrog: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marrog
"Nick actually hopes to be able to reclaim the term 'family'; he feels that the word has become over-associated with a very specific, narrow set of assumptions about a typical unit or household. We would like to see people recognise the whole web of interpersonal connections in our society and understand that families really do come in all forms, including those who live as single individuals – who do, after all, also have parents and relatives – or in couples without children."

That's all very well, but he hasn't exactly tried very hard to redefine the word family, and meanwhile the Mail-readers of this world continue to apply it solely to "deserving" conventional families.


This was my thought - in that order. As in, I went, "Well, now, I'm part of a hard-working family - [personal profile] erindubitably and me are a family, we're just childless."

Then I thought, "Yeah... they don't mean me, though. Do they."

Reclaiming the word family

Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 08:26 am (UTC)
ext_392011: (Default)
From: [identity profile] rankersbo.wordpress.com
I'm likening the reclaiming of the word family to the tough choices rhetoric.

The "we're flattered that you think as the minority party do more than we can" line was sort of spoilt by the Lib Dem front bench (from my perspective) never actually expressing any discomfort whatsoever with any of the stuff they voted for because they had to. It was always lots of non-specific "Well we're in the minority in this government, we can't have everything" rather than admitting "X is against party policy, we're not happy with letting it through but we've done as much as we can to minimise it."

Date: Saturday, September 1st, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] po8crg
As a lazy, single person (but with a job, and earning enough money that I now have a hand clasped around my throat*, so not normally someone that the right disapproves of) it spectacularly pisses me off.

Really, I'm not hard working. It's Saturday, I'm watching highlights of the Vuelta and drinking a shit load of red wine. And I'm supposedly on-call this weekend. Ah, fuck 'em!

* mort gage = death grip (lit.)

Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 08:31 am (UTC)
ext_392011: (Default)
From: [identity profile] rankersbo.wordpress.com
I think that sort of person needs educating, not pandering to.

I agree with this entire post.

Becasue of where I lived when we moved here from England my MP is an ex-army tory, who often raises the issue of immigration on the grounds that some of his constituents express "concerns" about it. I think your sentiment also applies to those people.

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