Gordon Brown - Asshole of the Week Award | The Jackal

21 Aug 2011

Gordon Brown - Asshole of the Week Award

I had the displeasure of reading an article in the Taranaki Daily News today written by Gordon Brown. He's rubbishing a report (PDF) prepared by Infometrics Ltd for Every Child Counts, a coalition of organisations led by Barnardos, Plunket, Unicef, Save the Children and Te Kahui Mana Ririki.

Brown pretty much cover's all the bases of ill informed opinion that we so often see from far right commentators.

He believes there isn't any real poverty issue in New Zealand because he chooses to not believe the statistics. He also believes that the children who need breakfast provided at schools all have parents who waste their money. It's pretty easy to dispel these myth's.

Brown fails to understand that the model used to gauge how many impoverished children there are in New Zealand is robust and practiced uniformly in 30 other OECD countries, of which New Zealand rates 28th worst. If Brown actually did some research instead of mouthing off, he would realize New Zealand has a substantive problem with child poverty, which should not be ignored or lost in prejudiced right wing rhetoric.

Nact often uses the same meme as Brown in reasoning designed to ignore the problem. Just like John Key in Parliament on Tuesday, Brown is attacking the mechanism that highlights a failure of capitalism, instead of addressing the fact that there are too many people falling through the cracks. National has made a calculated decision to not make any substantive changes to help, instead their policies have increased inequality markedly.

Despite National's plans to impose food stamps, the families who cannot look after their children because they do not have enough money (through no fault of their own) will still be impoverished. But instead of addressing the main issue, the debate has largely stalled with the right wing's denial that the issue exists at all.

Throughout his detritus scribblings, Brown regular makes inference that it's the fault of the parents in what is the usual blame the victim mentality all too often practiced by bigots!
"Why do more kids need breakfast provided at schools on Mondays, after the weekend? That's an easy one. Most money is spent on booze, gambling and all the other 'social' activities, that their parents indulge in. Why is there no sustained public outcry at that? Oh, that's right, it's the other mob who do all the whining. We're just labelled as "beneficiary bashers" and there's no need to debate the issue. So we just work harder and take it on the chin," Gordon Brown writes.
What sanctimonious rubbish! There are many people working to reduce gambling, alcohol and drug addiction, which affects the entire community not just those on welfare. Brown's straw man argument plucks at a heartless middle-class that cares not for their fellow Kiwi. In this he is speaking for a minority, who are not particularly silent.

Brown's argument is ultimately detrimental to the debate. Instead of making an argument on the specifics of how the data might be incorrect, he dismisses it outright without giving it a second thought. His focus then turns to name calling and denigrating those who advocate for a reduction in child poverty, using a divisive tactic that is based on class distinction. I'm surprised his article made it to print.

Child poverty is not an industry... Gordon Brown is a fuckwit, and clearly deserving of this weeks Asshole Award.