Into the Dangerous World by Marina Warner - review by Jane Ellison

Jane Ellison

All Thatcher’s Fault

Into the Dangerous World


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‘Shut your gob, Jason you little blighter, or I’ll shove your Big Mac down your bleedin’ throat. Kids these days. Who’d have ’em? Jason get them french fries off Kylie’s ’ead. Give over or I’ll belt you. Hang on. We’ve got an audience. Who’s that stuck-up bag starin’ at us over there? Something wrong with us? Who the hell does she think she is?’

Relax Tracey Boggis, one-parent family and ungrateful recipient of child benefit, family credit and the social fund. That sophisticated, rather lovely creature staring at you is Marina Warner, a distinguished writer and critic, and someone of whom you will not have heard at all. Warner has been walking up and down her local High Street rather a lot lately, staring at people like you. She is doing some ‘research’ for a pamphlet (58 small pages) which will argue that children are failing to thrive in ‘Thatcher’s Britain’. It is partly your fault, Tracey. Indeed, the sight of you, red-faced, greasy, shoving a dirty dummy into Kylie’s mouth, was the unlovely inspiration for Into the Dangerous World, as its author admits: ‘It was the reason I wanted to write this pamphlet, that mothers in the streets round me behaved so angrily with their children.’

But it is not really your fault. You, Tracey, are a victim of Tory economic policy and that is really why you are such a dreadful mother. Your child benefit has stayed frozen at £7.25; your Family Credits are wholly inadequate. You leave Jason to play in unsupervised play spaces,

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