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Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Welfare reform will take two generations

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.


The Great Simpleton said...

I can't be as generous as you and wait for the white paper.

Labour has had 10 years of growing economy to address this problem and didn't. Purnell also got a very easy ride on Today, where we also had a lack of the usual suspects who would have been out in force had the Tories made the same proposals.

This has to be grand standing to placate the Daily Mail tendency in the run up to a general Election.

Anonymous said...

The only thing Labour's spin suggests to me, is that they've realised they need the votes of those Daily Mail readers.

And the ploy seems to be working.

Nick von Mises said...

I'm hoping for a Russia-style die-off among the scum class.

Anonymous said...

Welfare reform could be accomplished in a couple of years if politicians would just embrace the simplicity that is Zyklon-B.

hatfield girl said...

Worklessness is a terrible burden. There was a report some months ago that settlements centred on dead local economies should simply be abandoned (that was supressed very quickly by all parties).

'Whatever it takes' isn't just a Brownian belief. If you have no chance of economic independence, home, family except from accepting the offer from New Labour's client state development agency, what would you do?

The depravity lies with the gaolers not the prisoners. Looking at the children in the small HGs classes at comprehensive mostly what I felt was an intense desire to get hold of the people who stunted those lives and the lives of their parents before them and...too long a comment sorry.

Nick von Mises said...

Nah. The problem is public sector crowding out. If you deliberately set up a client state in a deprived area you are making it impossible for the private sector to compete with such a subsidised behemoth. For well over a thousand years humans have figured out a way to create local economies without the dead hand of government. Let them rediscover the skill.

Even with low material consumption (i.e. poverty) this will help them avoid crappy life quality (i.e. squalor).

hatfield girl said...

That's why dead local economy settlements should be emptied. No point in textile towns when the mills are shut for ever. But social, free housing freezes the poorest into place. And distance reduces their life chances of employment. So they rot. Welwyn and Hatfield suffered a dreadful blow when the aerospace industry was run down to nothing. Two things saved the communities:
proximity to other major economic activities; and a high level of technical education. There was work on offer and they were able to take it, and able to have aspirations for their children which forced a response from the schools and colleges of further education.

There are high levels of diverse family structures, but none of the problems associated with that coupled with worklessness. Solid Conservative seat, Welwyn and Hatfield. And solid working class.

marksany said...

Some great comments, folks.

This from Mark Wadsworth today: "The real point is that welfare claimants' have no strong motivation to find a job because they lose more in benefits than they can earn in net wages. Until the Powers That Be grasp this simple fact, all this tinkering achieves nothing."

Anonymous said...

While I pretty much agree with the description of Catford (I have the joy of working there)you're laying the blame at the wrong door.

This was once a lively, functioning,traditonal working class area. What destroyed it was the (a) disasterous town planning which reduced the environment to a brutal unhuman landscape and (b) the total destruction of the fabric of mutual society, traditional British values by the disasterous Thatcher government.

Almost every decline in society we suffer from now can be layed at the door of that destructive, corrupt government that deified greed and indifference.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon @ 10:28. Nothing is anyone's fault or anyone's responsibility, except Margaret Thatcher. Everything is her fault, including my haemorrhoids. The fact that she's been out of power for 18 years and the Conservative Party has been out of power for 12 years is neither here nor there. It's all Maggie's fault. The failure of the Labour government to do anything to improve the situation of the thousands of Catfords we have in this country is, likewise, Maggie's fault. Similarly, Labour's commitment to failed and uncompetitive high-industrial economic models, which ultimately led to the collapse of the British economy in the 1970s and forced the implementation of supply-side monetarist policies, is also Maggie's fault.

Quite parky today, don't you think? Fucking Thatcher at it again.

JuliaM said...

I lost a button this morning. 'That bloody Thatcher!', I said, as I sewed it back on...

Anonymous said...

Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles is on in ten minutes and my wife wants to watch some guff on the other side.

Margaret Bloody Thatcher strikes again.

Umbongo said...

" . . . traditional British values by the disasterous Thatcher government."

Even the inability to spell "disastrous" correctly is the fault of Maggie and those toffs who ran this country into the ground until Gordo created the wonderful boom we are enjoying today.

The Great Simpleton said...


That's a very good point; I hadn't factored in the boom in educational standards since Tony and Gordon came to power.

Now in this new land of milk and honey where all children can flourish without the dead weight of Thatcher all are getting A******++++

All hail to the great leaders

Anonymous said...

I just farted and followed through a little bit.

Bloody Thatcher.