The Scots were once amongst the greatest self-improvers in Britain. When a teenager I worked as a volunteer. The Glasgow alcoholic in his fifties who was a regular at the place where I donated my services was no surprise. What was astonishing to me at the time was the depth of his erudition; quotes, many of them accurate, from the classics and the names of philosophers and political economists introduced casually and without showing-away into normal conversation. His handwriting, when he was not afflicted with the shakes, was extremely well formed and fluent. His vocabulary was highly developed. He had, in other words, all the attributes of a highly educated product of grammar school and university, yet had left school at 14. All the rest was self-improvement; Scots families such as his that could barely afford meat on the table nevertheless subscribed to the 'Everyman' library, bound in cloth and printed on Foolscap octavo, and books and learning and their great power to improve and liberate were valued above all else.
That generation has long gone.
As a one-nation conservative I have never had difficulty in subscribing to Beveridge's crusade against the great Evils of want, disease, idleness, ignorance and squalor. Beveridge offered a ladder to climb out; Labour have pulled up the ladder and imagine throwing the nation's cash into the hole is policy enough. Beveridge's crusade has long been abandoned by Labour. Fraser Nelson writing in the Speccy writes of an East Glasgow he knows well; one of Labour's welfare ghettoes where half the working age population are welfare slaves, and which has an average life expectancy of 54 years, below that of Gambia, Ghana, Pyongyang, Gaza, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Sudan.
Labour's destructive welfarism has not only caused a poverty from which our fathers and grandfathers fought to liberate our people, it has robbed them of the drive and hunger for self-improvement, stalled social mobility and locked generations into painful welfare slavery. A curse on Brown and on Labour and all its dullard minions.
Not only in East Glasgow either; in the East End of London where multi-drug resistant TB, bedbugs, outrageous levels of infant mortality and a squalor born of overcrowding and ignorance thrive, our people are also dying early and living lives of desperate hopelessness.
Labour's Chardonnay socialists have not only abandoned the most disadvantaged in the realm, they have used all the mendacities of the State to hide them from shameful view. Whilst Brown stands at the dispatch box and mechanically recites yet another ream of tractor production statistics or launches yet another five year economic plan people are living in squalor and dying in poverty in dark corners.
I have no doubt that if Beveridge rose from his grave today he would dismiss Brown and his Labour fools with scorn and anger. Right now there is only one successor to Beveridge on our political horizon, and it's Iain Duncan Smith.