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Saturday, 6 December 2008

IDS in tune with the zeitgeist

The Telegraph is on form today. Iain Duncan Smith summarises the pernicious effects of the growth of the underclass in Britain and Heffer comments in his usual forthright and robust manner; both are worth quoting;

This object lesson in our vile underclass in all its glory reminds us of the abject failure of our welfare state. For Matthews, her seven children were simply an income-generation scheme.

How much longer will our politicians allow this to go on? It proves Dave's point about a broken society; but will he have the courage to argue that the ready availability of state cash incentives to breed out of wedlock creates odious people such as Matthews, and they must be abolished?


A glance at the figures should show how we are already paying for this growing social breakdown. Over the past ten years the cost of policing has risen by 40 per cent, prisons and the courts by 46 per cent, youth justice by 45 per cent and working-age benefits by 25 per cent.

Some forecast that the scale of this problem will double in the next 15 years. How will we afford that?

Which is precisely the point made on this blog; I'm not interested in making a moral judgement on the lifestyle of the underclass, or on bastardy, but the economic and social cost to the rest of us is already vast, will get much worse during the recession and is simply unsustainable in the long term.

There is a simple truth that Brown and his party are just too thick to understand, and it's that welfare causes poverty. The most effective measure in tackling poverty is restricting welfare. Clinton's reforms in the US have won for millions the dignity of work and the benison of belonging that the caustic effects of welfare had taken from them.

Bold and radical action is needed, and quickly if this destructive downwards spiral is to be broken. And since we can never build enough prisons, and cannot let people starve or allow children to be abused and neglected, only a move as heroic as Community Settlements will answer.


Nick Drew said...

not interested in making moral judgement

OK as a 'neutral' way into the topic, but consider the need for a heightening of overall societal norms, so that self-restraint (and self-policing, see comment to earlier post) and belief in the dignity of work take hold once more

all with particular reference to the welfare class

the traditional solution to this includes the introduction of what these days we should probably call a normative narrative, or 'morality' as it used to be known: that's certainly the climate in which the workhouse operated - your Community Settlements may need to avail themselves of it as well

(it may also include some rather harsher fall-back mechanisms)

perhaps your motivation is just that we can't financially afford to run society otherwise (though I suspect you are making moral judgements as well; why shouldn't you ?)

but whatever the motivation, it seems to me the means will include morality

(incidentally R, your 'Community Settlements' remind me of Templer's New Villages in Malaya: though I don't imagine you'll be using the 'white areas' terminology ...)

Anonymous said...


You are correct in identifying the nature of the problem but I think you make one serious error. When you say things like "There is a simple truth that Brown and his party are just too thick to understand", there is an unspoken implication that the breakdown of family life is in some way the result of failed policy or governmental incompetence. You are wrong. The underclass is not a bug but a feature.

One must recognise that there exists in Britain a particular group of left-wing theorists for whom Thatcher's greatest crime was not her destruction of union dominance or the introduction of the monetarist policies of the Chicago School. Rather, for these sociologists and ideologues, Thatcher's greatest evil was her promotion of traditional family life.

Starting from the not unreasonable principle that there are many types of family and that it is unfair to penalise them simply for not conforming, these leftist statist theorists reached a point in the early 1980s where they stopped championing the rights of "non-traditional families" and actively became the enemies of traditional family life.

They have their field of study a title; they called it "family and the new right" (google it). It was a branch of feminist-driven socialist societal theory championed, for the most part, by female sociologists, most of whom were products of New Universities who later went on to teach at the post-1992 universities and, needless to say, most of those involved in promoting anti-family policies were themselves "non-traditional" in some manner. Like most leftists and like most sociological pseudo-academics, these people knew that they knew best for everyone. They knew that their lifestyles were the only acceptable ones and that any deviation from the norms they laid down was innately evil. The irony in their assault on family life, needless to say, escapes them entirely. They know they're right. They know that non-bastardy is something to be destroyed, as is wedlock (except for gays). They know that single parent households and the exclusion of men from the raising of children are entirely and unarguably good things.

These people and their warped theories are the heart of Labour and, despite the superficial gloss of the Blair years, they never left the party. They stayed in its bosom directing its social policy. The creation of a violent dependent underclass is, for them, a wholly worthwhile price to pay for the destruction of traditional family life. If you point out the lives ruined by drugs, crime, violence and raw hopelessness in the sinkhole estates they've created, they'll shrug their shoulders and say it's a price worth paying to ensure that womyn are not oppressed by heteronormative attitudes. They'll shriek about the evils of the Victorian-style families that the Evil Tories want to impose.

I know this to be true because I have spoken to them, I've posed the questions you asked, I've begged them to consider the human cost and I've received their brutal unthinking statist equation of the end justifying the means no matter what the cost to society or to the individual.

The theory triumphs over all.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Labour are being thick at all.

Just two supporting points:

1. Who do you think Karen Matthews and her like vote for?

2. How many of them are there?

Now go an check the Opinion Polls - Tory lead down to 1%.

Mistaken, certainly; evil, possibly; but thick, no.

Anonymous said...

I don't think these people vote for Labour,most of them are to lazy to go out and can't be arsed to vote for anyone.
John Gibson