Last Tuesday the Young Fabians held a roundtable discussion looking at Labour’s commitment to end child poverty in a generation. There was an interesting discussion around a lack of understanding as to what was meant by “end child poverty” and whether low media interest was perhaps the cause or effect of this. However, there was also talk about public apathy towards the issue and what struck me most about our event was the turnout. For me, child poverty is an issue that should be at the heart of Labour policy, surely it’s the very embodiment of social justice, yet there were fewer than twenty people in the room.
It left me wondering, is it that the young just don’t care, perhaps they don’t believe poverty really exists in the UK, or is it that the banner “end child poverty” leaves people uncertain as to what the issue is? I don’t know, but I’m hoping it’s the latter, because if we stop caring about something as fundamental as children’s life chances then I’m not sure what, as a party, we’ve left to offer?