21st Century Victorian Holocausts

From Daniel Margrain

Road To Somewhere Else

By Daniel Margrain

Author Milan Kundera’s aphorism that “the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”, might well have been written for the starving, poor, sick, mentally ill and disabled whose suffering the vast majority of the political-media class are attempting to wipe from the pages of history.

One rare exception is the Daily Mirror who occasionally report on the plight of world’s “unpeople”. I will never forget, for example, their courageous coverage of the Iraq WMD debacle or the fact they were the only corporate daily paper at the time to give prominence to John Pilger’s insightful journalism. Also, to their credit, shortly before the last General Election, they availed their readers of the attempts by the Tories to cover-up rates of suicide among Britain’s sick and disabled people who the government deem fit for work.

The Mirror’s revelations underpinned the Department for Work…

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Poverty has devastating impact on children’s mental health

Politics and Insights

imagesUniversity of Liverpool research – published today inThe Lancet Public Health shows that children who move into poverty are more likely to suffer from social, emotional and behavioural problems than children who remain out of poverty.

The UK Government has recently questioned whether the relative measure of income poverty used in this research (a household income that is less than 60% of the national average) is a good indicator of children’s life chances.

The Government has claimed that it is better to increase the number of parents who are employed, than use the social security system to prevent children moving into poverty. 

Exploring the impact

This research challenges this view finding that moving into poverty adversely affected children’s and mothers’ mental health even if there was no change in the mother’s employment status.

Researchers from the University’sDepartment of Public Health and Policy explored the impact that…

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The still face paradigm, the just world fallacy, inequality and the decline of empathy

from Kitty S Jones

Politics and Insights

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UNICEF’s reports have consistently put the UK at the bottom of the child well-being league table. See also: UNICEF criticises UK’s failure to tackle child inequality as gap grows.

pie-wealthSource: The Equality Trust 

The still face paradigm and inequality

Before Christmas I read an excellent and insightful article by Michael Bader called The Decline of Empathy and the Appeal of Right-Wing Politics, which was about Edward Tronick’s Still Face experiment in part. Tronick is an American developmental psychologist at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. His studies illuminate the importance of trusting relationships and consistent human responses in children’s development and learning.

Tronick’s experimental design was very simple: mothers were asked to play as they usually would with their six-month-old infants. The mothers were then instructed to suddenly blank their face: to make their facial expression flat and neutral – completely “still”  – and to do so for…

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The unsung revolution

Fear and loathing in Great Britain

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There are many people who cannot give praise, encouragement or a kind word. It’s almost as if they are regarded as sparse commodities that might run out.

The point is that they are a give, a gift, from one person to another (or many others), they are the expression of an innate regard for the well being of another, but not in a way that’s self denial because giving the gifts of kindness, care and consideration to another puts us firmly in the frame. We have to be there to give the gift. We are the well spring from which it is drawn up and given, we are only selfless in that moment in that our ego is necessarily muted. If it isn’t the whole thing reeks of self interest and is received as fake.

Do goodery is not the same thing as kindness and it is well said that…

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The dumbing down of truth

Fear and loathing in Great Britain

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The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has announced its 2016 word of the year – “Post-truth”: “Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief,” apparently first used in a 1992 essay by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich in The Nation.

Speaking to the Guardian the OED said, “Given that usage of the term hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, I wouldn’t be surprised if post-truth becomes one of the defining words of our time.”

I think activists, investigative journalists and all of us who are very much in the business of challenging the mainstream dialogue and propaganda need to be very wary of its re-emergence at this time and take steps to repudiate it.

To put it bluntly, it is a propagandists’ wet dream and in an era of Tory Britain, Trump, global neoliberalism…

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