We’ve an interesting little example of people getting hoist upon their own petard here.
Child poverty, by any absolute standard, simply does not exist in today’s United Kingdom. We dealt with that absolute want back in the 1950s, thankfully. And yet we’ve got those who insist that the Tories (The Bastards!) would haul back the chimney stuffing and stale crust begging that so disfigured the land before we did.
At which point McDonnell suggests certain things he would do:
But poverty is on the political agenda, and has still not been completely eradicated, so what to do about it? John McDonnell has some ideas. He argues that Labour has a plan ‘to tackle the root causes of child poverty’ – this, as The Guardian points out, includes free school meals for all primary school children, expansion of free childcare, guaranteeing a right to food, improving pay and workers’ rights and tackling the housing crisis.
The problem though is that, other than the pay issue, none of those things would change child poverty. For the measurement today is incomes below median. Yes, free school meals, childcare, and a right to food will make poor people less poor. But according to the way child poverty is measured, they won’t change the number in that state by one single tot or anklebiter. The measures are rather hoisted by the petard of how we measure the poverty to be alleviated.
If poverty is now measured by household income less than 60% below median then no poverty alleviation attempt which has no effect upon household income relieves poverty, does it? But we can only claim that we’ve got poverty if we use the income below median method.
Bit of a petard problem there.