Peter Hitchens hits the nail on the head again today. Under the headline "Our drug-addled louts are the REAL reason we need migrants" he runs through the four plagues withering Britain:
- undisciplined, fatherless children;
- the failure of the education system to differentiate - not to access the same learning in many different ways (turning teachers into overworking, PC-ridden drudges), but to teach what is most suitable to that child's abilities, including vocational skills;
- giveaway welfare, and a laissez-faire approach to the habitual intoxication that lets youngsters grow up feckless and feral;
- courts that don't enforce the law
Michael Heseltine appears to second Hitchens' solution. While he now says "There have to be controls on immigration across Europe" - which I think is a forced change from his previous position - he points out the shortage of manpower in the public services:
"There is no alternative supply of skilled labour from our own population...It would take a decade to train up enough British workers to fill the gaps."
Fine, do it. Yes, let's admit foreign labour to remedy our shortfalls, but let's also tackle the real problems we have in our disorderly society. Because if we don't, goodbye the Welfare State.
75 years ago, William Beveridge produced his report, aiming to slay the "five giant evils of society": squalor, ignorance, want, idleness, and disease. We now have them again, but in a different guise - their modern versions are voluntary.
The long-term solution is not more immigration. The country is already incapable of feeding itself without massive food imports, which will become much more expensive for us as the differences in global pay narrow. If somebody comes in and pays less in taxes (direct and indirect) than he and his family take out, the wealth of the country declines; especially if by coming in ready and able to work he helps cement his British underclass counterpart in toxic idleness.
Our system doesn't challenge enough. The social workers I meet think that for a client to have a need is to have it met, and I'm not hard-hearted enough to say that underfed children should continue to sleep on sofas in dingy, dogbeshitten houses; but nobody seems to want to strengthen the family by enforcing marital/quasimarital responsibilities, particularly on men - but even if they did, where's the work and training? Where are the negative consequences for crime? What, other than pleading, wheedling and emotional manipulation (and they are trying, believe me), are teachers allowed to do to enforce discipline in the classroom?
People respond to game rules:
"I have a little boy, younger than you, who knows six Psalms by heart: and when you ask him which he would rather have, a gingerbread-nut to eat or a verse of a Psalm to learn, he says: 'Oh! the verse of a Psalm! angels sing Psalms;' says he, 'I wish to be a little angel here below;' he then gets two nuts in recompense for his infant piety."
- Charlotte Bronte, "Jane Eyre", Chap. 4
The rules are long past due an overhaul. We've helped create the underclass in pursuit of other objectives: Labour and the LibDems, riding their hobby-horse of melting-pot immigration; the Tories, exploiting their opponents' Johnny-Head-In-Air idealism to bring in cheap labour and swell the bottom line of their business backers. Who defended our industry and its domestic ownership, our intellectual property, our R&D, our trade in real things?
If the decline continues, Beveridge's wonderful system will crack.