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?
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.
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?
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.