The outline of a new media is discernible – even if only in outline form – online and in video, music file and performance. DestiNation is one such sprouting. As newspapers waver, and Lobster marks its last print publication, change is afoot. Julie Hepburn writes on ‘The Poverty of Ambition’ in the latest issue online now:

“It would be unwise to either romanticise or demonise ‘the poor’ in society. In 21st century Scotland a multitude of avenues lead to poverty and that poverty can take many different forms. It is also unhelpful to focus on the issue of fault; to distinguish between the deserving and undeserving poor.

Many people are indeed victims of circumstance; their lives shaped by the family circumstances into which they are born, the state of their physical or mental health, or by unfortunate events. One fifth of children growing up in Scotland today are doing so in poverty (1), through no fault of their own. Equally, there are individuals who have never worked and do not want to work. That attitude is not to be condoned, but it is possible to see where it stems from. If you grow up in a family, or even wider community, where participation in the labour market is regarded as an alien concept, as a mug’s game, then it is understandable. Why work all hours for the minimum wage when you can claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and so on? Some people living in poverty may indeed be the architects of their own misfortune, but we must reflect on the circumstances that influence their choices and also how real those ‘choices’ were.

It is a sad fact that when we allow the market forces of capitalism to shape the society we live in, poverty is an inevitable consequence. Unless we seek to counter the effects of capitalism with policies such as the pursuit of full employment, then unemployment and poverty will remain permanent features of our society…”

* see also Reframing the Poverty Debate the New Labour Way