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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The benign glade of Anarchy

Fear and loathing in Great Britain

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Some years ago I likened anarchy to a forest glade, each form of life flourishing in its own sovereign way as it is able, calling no ‘other’ master. Of course nature has no use for democracy and yet in the glade is democracy in its purest form. It is exercised subject only to the laws of nature which gave rise to it and sustain and support it and without which the glade would not exist. Plants and animals use the natural resources present in the system for their survival, even predators, and all without deception or guile nor wilful exploitation. Nature never lies and is always true to itself.

The common misconception of anarchy is that it is lawless and chaotic and the dominance of that misconception is no accident, it’s roots lie in the propaganda of those who exercise control over human lives and who will protect that dominance…

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The poor are superfluous to requirements

Fear and loathing in Great Britain

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If there is one thing I have learnt over a long lifetime it is that ordinary people are the donkey engine, the powerhouse, that drives the nation in war and peace and that for those in power, our lives are entirely expendable. In war it is we who are sacrificed and in peace we are (or were) the industrial heart of the nation, and in both war and peace, we pay.

It was ever thus, but we are now in the era of neoliberalism, capitalism with the gloves off, and they are wringing us dry for ever greater profits that they neither need nor care about the harm they cause.

Ordinary people are both the sacrificial lambs for rampant greed and also the cash cow that feeds their greed.

Inequality is raging across the world, last year it was reported that just 62 people had more wealth than half the…

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