Showing posts with label The Scheme. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Scheme. Show all posts

Thursday, June 02, 2011

poverty porn

Last year Socialist Courier posted about The Scheme now the Onthank housing scheme in Kilmarnock, featured in the BBC Scotland's documentary series The Scheme has become a tourist destination.

At one point residents erected a sign charging "all scheme tourists £1 entry" - with a view to erecting a children's playground with the proceeds (only for East Ayrshire Council to haul it down within hours as illegal "fly-tipping" and as one resident said the fastest response to dumping "rubbish" ever recorded in the scheme.)

"The reason we put up the first sign is you will pay to go into a zoo or safari park, and they are coming here likes it's a safari park but with human beings on show. That's why we put up the sign, as a joke," said Karen McLean

Author and social commentator Peter York said it was understandable that the television programme would draw in spectators: "...the white working class has become the one group that can be baited and no-one complains as they would any other social class, and you have a situation where people want to see these people as they would animals in a zoo."

The Scotsman commentator Mark Smith writes "The characters in The Scheme are the alter ego of the filthy rich. They are the casualties of our capitalist society, the flawed consumers, those who, through little fault of their own, cannot step up to the plate at the altar of the free market. Yet still we deride them for reaching out to grasp some of the spoils from the rich man's table: the mobile phones, the 40in televisions, the designer gear." He goes on to say "To identify the human misery apparent in The Scheme as a symptom of the unequal nature of society is uncomfortable. It requires that we look at ourselves and at our positioning within that unequal society. It is far easier to cast judgments, to bemoan the depravity of the poor."

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Scheme - Poverty Porn ?

The Scheme , a 4--part series ( the final two episodes of the series have been postponed indefinitely because a 17-year-old male resident featured in the shows had been charged with assault) is a fly-on-the-wall documentary of life in half a dozen households in Onthank, a housing estate in Kilmarnock. Condemned by some as little more than "poverty porn", it has provoked debate.
In its depiction of six families in the Ayrshire community, a myriad range of social problems have been shown on screen, from poverty and unemployment through to addiction and anti-social behaviour. In the north-west pocket of Kilmarnock where Onthank lies, the statistics make for even more alarming reading. There, compared with other parts of East Ayrshire, four times as many children live in households where no adults work; almost three times as many adults are unable to work due to disability or illness; and nearly twice as many adults die as a result of heart disease.

Douglas Hamilton, head of Save The Children in Scotland explains "The face of child poverty in Scotland has been brutally exposed in The Scheme. For many viewers, I am sure that this programme has been an eye-opener to the experience of some of the poorest children growing up in Scotland..." he added "It is shameful that 95,000 children in Scotland live in families surviving on less than £33 per day."

However , many community leaders have called for The Scheme to be taken off air.
Social commentator and Herald columnist Pat Kane described it as 'poverty porn' and 'middle-class BBC television'. He told Newsnight Scotland: "I thought it was cartoonish. I thought it picked people who social work would clearly have to embrace over a long period of time and concentrated on them" .
Local MSP Willie Coffey condemned the series saying it lacked balance. He said: "The danger with programmes like this is that they give a misleading impression of an entire community..."

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that nearly two-thirds of the British public think poverty is either an inevitable part of life or related to an individual's own laziness but the organisation also predicts that, in any 10-year period, half the population will live in government-defined poverty for at least 12 months.

Similar deprivation and destitution can be experienced by other people on other housing estates in other cities and towns.
Many people will readily condemn those who live off Social Security and the benefits system when they could be working, but yet will vigorously defend the rights of those people who live in luxury yet never work because they own capital.
We need a revolution because the reformers, social workers, charitable individuals, priests and other well-meaning folk have all failed.
They are like medics on a battlefield, all they do is to keep wrapping on the bandages as the bloody slaughter continues around them.

The death of capitalism will be the beginning of a truly human society where we can relate to each other as members of a real community.