I'll read James Purnell's White Paper on benefit reform carefully before I comment, but any thought that reform will happen rapidly is entirely misplaced.
Just visit Catford during the working week as I did yesterday. Fat young white women with infants in buggies, but inarticulate to the point we used to term 'educationally sub normal', physically uncoordinated, swearing and screeching at their infants. What place in what office could they ever fill? West African village girls likewise all carrying or dragging infants, semi-socialised, shouting Yoruba at eachother on their mobiles. Sulky Afro-Caribbean young men resentful of any authority, alive to any hint of disrespec', forming a barrier of threat and belligerence around themselves. Who would want to employ them? Thin chested men in their thirties looking and smelling dirty, a decade or more on sickness or disability benefits having robbed even the light of aspiration from their eyes and in contrast to Obama's message they just exude 'No, I can't'. Some are the third generation of their dysfunctional families on benefits. They breed, they drink, they fight, they demand of the council and of the State but the one thing they don't do is to work.
After more than a decade of wasted socialist redistributive policy - tax the working classes and throw the money at the feckless and unsocialised - our society has become far worse. Labour's spin suggests that they might finally have realised that welfare causes poverty, but how true a Damascene conversion is this? Sure, it will play well with 'Mail' readers whose sympathies are reserved for the deserving poor, but do they mean it? I'll wait to read what Frank Field thinks, for a start.
One thing's for sure, though. There's no quick fix. It will take two generations to undo this harm.