James Forsyth

Harman thinks that parenting skills are all about income

Harman thinks that parenting skills are all about income
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There’s a quite astonishing quote from Harriet Harman in The Sunday Times today:

“you can’t separate out good parenting skills from family income.”

Now I doub’t anyone would disagree that it is easier to raise children if you do not have to worry about money, but the idea that how good a parent you are is determined by your family income is absurdly economically determinist. (I also think it is offensive—imagine how Labour would react if someone said middle class people were better at being parents than working class people) Harman’s quote, though, reveals what is wrong with the Labour’s policy approach in this area. It is all about money and the fails to see the importance of family structures, love, boundaries and the rest.  Just for the record, here’s the full Harman quote as reported by The Sunday Times:  

Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader, said last night: “[The report] provides an incontrovertible basis for us to move beyond inaccurate assertions made by the opposition ... David Cameron says that the differences in child outcomes between a child born in poverty and a child born in wealth are statistically insignificant when both have been raised by confident and able parents. “But what he fails to say is that you can’t separate out good parenting skills from family income. The two are so strongly correlated. So this is an utterly misleading portrayal of the evidence.”  

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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