on the Shad

Posted: September 13, 2012 in This is the Voice of Lefty Reason

A depressing Panorama this week as the team spent a few months on the Shadsworth Estate in Blackburn, northern England.  All too familiar reporting of drug-blight, unemployment and that media favourite, feral youth.  The estate dwellers were exclusively portrayed as white, (non) working class, depressed and caught in the (Tory-Loved) “benefit trap”.  Thing is, try as they might, and boy will they have tried, the programme makers couldn’t make the residents into the monsters they wished to portray.  After four months filming they managed to catch a few kids throwing stones, one or two drug deals “going down” and the odd street altercation.  Most of those filmed came across as quite normal albeit without the chances and opportunities that we would like to think all British citizens enjoy.  The “feral” kids spent their time on bikes around the playground and one youngster summed up his situation with the words “we are being brought up surrounded by drugs and hatred”.  The families portrayed ranged from the feckless to the committed; but all spoke eloquently of their desire to give their kids a better chance than they themselves had been given.  It is obviously not an easy life on the bleak, under- funded, and largely disregarded sink council estates of Britain but the programmes desire to depict the community as “broken” and beyond redemption failed miserably.  There was enough humour, decency and normality to suggest at least a glimmer of a brighter future for those who lost out in the lottery of birth.

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Comments
  1. Karen says:

    We have been discussing this programme at work. One of our colleagues shared the following info with us:

    Jobseekers costs the country £3.75 billion per annum.

    The banks have cost the country £456.33 billion in cash and guarantees so far. That could pay for the JSA bill for over a century (121 years and 6 months to be exact)…. Panorama’s ‘The Estate’ was designed to demonise the underclass (the result of severe neglect, poverty and deprivation) in support of Conservative and IMF policy.

    Sources:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11466178

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/nov/12/bank-bailouts-uk-credit-crunch

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