Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More of the UK Nanny State

From this FOXNews article:

Some of Britain's most socially incoherent families are in danger of being plucked from their homes and dropped into 'managed properties' that will teach them the values of being good neighbors, according to government housing plans announced on Wednesday."
"The 'respect agenda,' an effort introduced by Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2005, will set up 53 'managed properties' across the country. Their occupants will be identified as apathetic parents, rowdy ruffians and petty criminals. They will be allowed back into their communities if social workers from the Home Office determine they are fit to do so."
"They will be monitored by 'supernannies' who will conduct daily patrols on families and offer parenting advice and support.

I personally find this incredible. Perhaps there are many details of which I am unaware. Going simply off of what was in the article, it sounds like the idea is "let's find all of the worst people in terms of neighborly civility we can find, put them all in one place (referred to as "projects", no less), and wait for them to get better. Oh, and since it probably won't be an automatic phenomenon, let's through in some TV-style 'supernannies' to tell grown people how to act."

It seems to me that, for this project to even have a snowball's chance of working, there would have to be some compelling incentive for these people to "improve" or some compelling deterrent for them to remain the same. I don't really detect mention of either one of those in the article. Oh sure, they will be forcibly relocated, but I would guess that they're actually going to end up in nicer places that those which they left. No incentive/deterrent there. Again, I might not have all the facts, but there is also no mention of what happens if/when people don't "shape up" in a given amount of time. Are people confined to their supernanny's care indefinitely? Could they spend the rest of their lives there? Will the public continue to house them at no cost?

Oh wait, there's an incentive! Oh, darn, but it's an incentive for the wrong end. Oh well, we're the government, unintended consequences are part of our charter.


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