New Labour swept to power with promises to help the ‘socially excluded’ and promptly set up the Social Exclusion Unit. Sadly for the country, its methods of doing so have achieved very little. Now there is to be a new Social Exclusion Minister, will there be a new approach?
BBCi analyses changing attitudes to "the politics of exclusion":
"There is a growing mood on all sides of the debate that
civil servants and ministers in Whitehall may not have all the answers
and that a centralised approach is not the answer. Socially excluded people tend to lead complicated and
chaotic lives and are not necessarily the easiest people to help with
initiatives and task forces."
Today’s Telegraph leader takes this notion further:
"The poor today suffer a poverty of the spirit, no less
– a poverty of relationships, of opportunity and of access to the
supporting associations that simultaneously soften the blows of life
and stiffen the individual to withstand them. "Social
exclusion" is the opposite of that old-fashioned term
"neighbourliness", the sense of belonging to a moral community that
both extends charity and expects self-reliance."
Hopefully, the Conservatives’ Social Justice policy group will come up with some innovative policies which will genuinely tackle the root and branch causes of social exclusion.