A2: Faith still a potent presence in UK politics – Nick Spencer

Image result for Vladimir Putin The Russian president has increasingly presented himself as a man of serious personal faith, which some suggest is connected to a nationalist agenda. He reportedly prays daily in a small Orthodox chapel

From The Guardian:

Faith remains a potent presence at the highest level of UK politics despite a growing proportion of the country’s population defining themselves as non-religious, according to the author of a new book examining the faith of prominent politicians.

Nick Spencer, research director of the Theos thinktank and the lead author of The Mighty and the Almighty: How Political Leaders Do God, uses the example that all but one of Britain’s six prime ministers in the past four decades have been practising Christians to make his point.

So, this is a very good example of how the extent of secularisation has perhaps been exaggerated…

Image result for theresa may religious

Read on: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/13/religion-faith-still-a-potent-presence-in-uk-politics-says-author?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Email

 

GCSE + AS Family: Benefit changes: Who will be affected?

Image result for budget 2017

Hundreds of thousands of UK families will be affected by cuts of £12bn in the UK’s welfare budget announced by the chancellor.

  • The benefit cap will be reduced from £26,000 a year to £23,000 a year in London, and £20,000 in the rest of the country.
  • Any family which has a third or subsequent child born after April 2017 will not qualify for Child Tax Credit, which amounts to up to £2,780 a year per child.
  • Most working age benefits will be frozen for four years from April 2016 (The measure is expected to save £3.9bn a year).
  • From April 2017, those out of work between the ages of 18 and 21 will not be automatically entitled to claim housing benefit.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33429390

Benefit changes ‘could push 200,000 children into poverty

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39455078

 

GCSE and AS Family: The kingdom of women: the society where a man is never the boss

“Imagine a society without fathers; without marriage (or divorce); one in which nuclear families don’t exist. Grandmother sits at the head of the table; her sons and daughters live with her, along with the children of those daughters, following the maternal bloodline. Men are little more than studs, sperm donors who inseminate women but have, more often than not, little involvement in their children’s upbringing…”

Read on: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/01/the-kingdom-of-women-the-tibetan-tribe-where-a-man-is-never-the-boss?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Email

 

GCSE and A2 Crime + Deviance: The Guardian: Beyond the blade: the truth about knife crime in Britain

Here are the headline findings from Gary Younge’s article on ‘knife crime’:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/28/beyond-the-blade-the-truth-about-knife-in-britain

Image result for knife crime uk

Knife carrying on the rise?

  • Between 2014 and 2016 the number of children carrying knives in London schools rose by almost 50%, while the number of knife offences in London schools rose by 26% (Metropolitan police 2017).
  • Centre for Public Safety:  In London, ‘the number of victims of youth violence and knife crime injuries have been on a steady if fairly gradual upward trend, and are now back to where they were five years ago‘.

‘Knife crime’ in the news

  • The term ‘knife crime’ has only recently entered popular use:
  • 2000 – only mention of knife crime in national press and London Evening Standard
  • 2003 – 24 mentions
  • 2008 – 2,602 mentions
  • Post 2008 – huge decrease in mentions

Why does this matter?

  • ‘These statistics bear only the vaguest correlation to the frequency of knife crime – which peaked in 2011, by which time the media had begun to lose interest’.

Why is the reporting so far from the truth?

  • ‘National data on the number of children and teens killed by knives in any given year is not publicly available’.

Ignorance isn’t bliss

  • ‘As a nation we are conscious that there is something out there known as “knife crime”, but as yet we lack any coherent or enduring national response‘.
  • ‘Without accessible official data, or well-informed discussion, our understanding of the problem is cobbled together from a mixture of personal assumptions, media representation and political projection’.

Knife crime as a social construct

  • ‘Knife crime” is a construct. It does not simply mean, as one might reasonably expect, crimes committed with knives. It denotes a certain type of crime committed by a certain type of criminal in a certain kind of context: It is a crime committed by evil kids – not kids who do evil things, but kids who are quite simply evil’.

Young black male thugs?

  •  Youth Justice Board research of 32 London boroughs, illustrated that when other relevant social and economic factors were taken into account, race and ethnicity had no significance at all. Crime is more prevalent in poor areas, and since black people are disproportionately poor, they are disproportionately affected – as perpetrators and victims. It’s class – not race or culture – that is the defining issue.
  • Ministry of Justice: the number of young people entering the criminal justice system for the first time nationwide is at the lowest rate for a decade.
  • The proportion of children who say they have tried drugs halved between 2001 and 2014 and those between the age of 11 and 15 who had tried alcohol is now at its lowest since the National Health Service started asking in 1988.
  • The Metropolitan police last year revealed that the overwhelming majority of children and young people who carry knives are not gang members. Many are just scared and carry them for protection.

Moral panic

  • ‘Take the construct as a whole and you have the ingredients for a tabloid-induced moral panic, in which young black men, who reside outside our basic moral norms, roam crime-infested, hostile cities in pursuit of hapless victims’.

Why?

  • According to a recent Unison report, between 2010 and 2016 £387m was slashed from youth services; between 2012 and 2016 a total of 603 youth clubs were closed.
  • Last year, research by the thinktank CentreForum revealed that these mental health services turn away, on average, 23% of the children referred to them for treatment by GPs, teachers and others.