Tyler Clementi – the victim of murder? Involuntary manslaughter? His own low self esteem, thin skin and inability to take a joke? Gravity?
Livestreamed by his room mate from a hidden camera, Tyler was exposed on the internet having sex with another man. His subsequent suicide, declared in his final facebook status, is a tragedy for him, for his family and for our generation. The media is labelling this as just another instance of cyber bullying, but the perpetrator could get several years in prison.
So what’s the problem here? The easy access to publicity that makes total humiliation simple? The latent homophobia that made it an even better scoop for his room mate? Or original low self esteem and a feeling of isolation that affects so many freshers and other young people? Our generation needs to prove that we’re better than this.
Contrary to the pre-election promises of both the Tories and the LibDems that child benefits were not to be called into question, they are now to be cut to all those individuals earning over the 40% tax rate. Obviously these middle to high earners won’t miss the hundreds or thousands of pounds they should have been entitled to as much as lower earners. This child benefits cut is therefore “not as bad as it could have been”, as opposed to those that will follow it, which I fear will be bad, worse and ugly.
While this policy compares favourably with Victorian conservatism, when the lower classes were discouraged from having children in order to leave greater space and resources for the “better quality” middle class offspring, it doesn’t show much of a departure fro recent Tory policy. It still manages to hit women hardest, especially by discriminating against single mothers. The massive loophole meanwhile, maintained for purposes of “simplicity”, allows for high earning couples to benefit, as long as each partner earns less than 44 thousand alone.
It also leaves the coalition sending the public yet another mixed message – marriage is good, raising children is bad. I’d be excited to find out the rest of Gideon’s plans for our families, if I wasn’t too busy quaking in my boots.