Father Poverty; The Latest Trend

 In Social Life

It was the East End gym owner who fostered this post. He was asked by a television interviewer why so many kids were carrying knives. It’s father poverty, he said. As a person who experienced father poverty, I then thought about my two knives. I have two Swiss models, those multi purpose implements but they have spent their lives unused in a drawer. I often look at them and feel user guilt, an impotency in finding them some purpose. It never occurred to me that I could have bought them to stab someone.

Father Poverty

It is not good being fatherless. Father poverty in the 1950’s was relatively unusual. I didn’t realise that I was trendsetting. Then, as now, father poverty holds hands with economic poverty. At the tender age of fifteen, I realised that work was my only way out. The wage that I earned was menial but overcame economic poverty. The father poverty I tackled by identifying good qualities in the men I worked with. These surrogate fathers, knowingly or unknowingly, were my role models and mentors.

Black Economy

The fatherless East End kids say that there are no jobs for them. What they really mean is that the available work is menial. They now have an alternative, the compulsive and thriving black economy. That puts them into a world where knives are with it, woke, as they would say. Also, where role models and mentors are all negative. Menial work, grafting and starting at the bottom has little appeal.


Today, if you don’t go to university then our society labels you as a failure. Sadly, fatherless children are the least likely to go to university. Worse, neither does society value and respect menial work. It is essential for community cohesion and yet poorly paid? A degree has no more value to society than a pair of dirty overalls.


My Pagan Ancestor Zuri had only flint knives. She lived in the late Stone Age, the Neolithic, as it met the Bronze Age. When she saw her first gleaming copper knife, she was full of misgivings about the impact of this new metal substance. The knife that she saw was owned by the Amesbury Archer, perhaps the first man in Britain with a warrior status. That warrior image has come to haunt us over 4,000 years later; it is essentially a male problem.

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