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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Welfare State, meet your end

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.


wiggiatlarge said...

As there is no sign that third world immigration is being seriouly tackled, the welfare state will crack, the continual influx from the Indian sub continent with dependants is a burden to far.
The percentage in that sector that are tax providers is small and the unemployment for men is over 50% and has worsened over the years, the majority are beneficaries of the welfare system.
The figures are not easily accessible but a good example is Sweden or Denmark where the amount of welfare being used to fund immigrants is colossal and already unsustainable, the old mantra, "you can have mass immigration but you can't have the welfare state" still stands.

Sobers said...

The problem is that in order for incentives to work, you have to allow people to fail. And in terms of welfare that ultimately means people starving on the streets if they refuse (or are unable) to comply with the rules. If one implements a system whereby in order to get welfare you must do X, Y and Z, and people don't do X,Y and Z, then you have to let them starve because if you don't you're back to square one, where we are now, whereby people know that however much they f*ck up, however much they abuse the system, however much they break the law, however much they abuse alcohol or drugs, the State will ALWAYS provide for them.

This is the paradox of welfare safety nets - by preventing people who fail through no fault of their own from suffering the ultimate consequences, you create incentives for people not to even try to succeed, indeed to fail precisely because of their life choices, as the State always provides. And as society gets generally wealthier, the standard of living that can be sustained by those on welfare gets better and better, so more and more people are happy to live dysfunctional lives on welfare. A life on welfare today probably gives you a better standard of living than a working man had 40-50 years ago.

jack ketch said...

" A life on welfare today probably gives you a better standard of living than a working man had 40-50 years ago"

Bollocks does it! If I wanted to live in that kind of poverty, the soul destroying grinding povery of Granddad's era, I'd go get a job....and yes I am genuinely on benefits. We pull in something like £1k a month cash in hand and the rent is paid. Going to work is a luxury many can't afford, that's the stone cold truth. Which is of course all kinds of 'wrong'.

Recently I had cause to use a Food Bank (I'll just say 'change over to PIP'). I was gobsmacked at the amount of food they gave us but what really made my jaw hit the floor was when they asked me if I had brought our gas and electric cards with me cos they could top them up for us and did I need any help carrying the 5 HEAVY bags of food out to the car? (love the way too they assumed I'd have a car).

barnacle bill said...

I feel that also a look needs to be taken at making work a more attractive option from a pay packet point of view.

I mean who in their right mind is going to take a job where their income is going to drop because they have lost certain benefits?

The State also plays a role in this as well as employers with regard to the burden of taxation it places upon both employer and employee. Unfortunately there are too many vested interests in welfare nowadays for a proper solution to this problem to be arrived at.

Sackerson said...

@jack ketch and barnacle bill: I agree, we have a problem with the benefits trap and it's not new. In the mid-70s I had a menial job as a hospital worker and after b&b rent, bus fare and very basic food (bread, jam, coffee, no milk because no fridge) I was only a fiver better off than signing on. And that's with no dependants. But unemployment drove me crazy, so I was happy to do it.

But that's why there needs to be some control over trade, if we want to have reasonable pay and near-full employment. If we calculated unemployment figures now in the way we did then, what would the figures be?

wiggiatlarge said...

This from Migration Watch shows why the state will fail regards welfare, those paying into the system will beasked for more to support the ever growing numbers that "demand" welfare.
In the early days those unfortunate enough to fall on hard times had mostly paid into a system that would reciprocate by helping the same back to work, that has long gone but we now have this and it ain't pretty reading.

"In 2014, the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at UCL produced a finalised paper on the overall impact of migration from all countries between 1995 and 2011. Their findings were that immigrants in the UK had resulted in an overall fiscal cost of between £114bn and £159bn over the period, with a negative contribution from recent arrivals from Eastern Europe after 2008

jack ketch said...

@Sackerson "But unemployment drove me crazy, so I was happy to do it."

Yeeees but a fiver was actually worth something back then! I'd love for a chance to get bored, to be driven crazy by inactivity. I care for my crazy wife 24/7 and that is the toughest job in the world,trust me on that one.

Anna Raccoon, of blessed memory, actually sat down and started working out what I would have to earn to escape from the benefits trap and she came up with sums that would have required my retraining as a doctor or a lawyer.

Sackerson said...

Even then, a fiver (very approx.) wasn't that much - I saved up for a weekly two-ounce burger, and smoked rollups - that dizzying hit as you have the first one at the end of the day.

But I'm not arguing with you about the benefits trap, I do sympathise. Especially when you have family responsibilities.

Just imagine, once it was possible for an ordinary man to maintain a wife and children on his income alone.

Sackerson said...

JD comments:

I looked at the Hitchens piece after reading your own take on the subject. There are too many causes of what we have today and all of those causes have been argued forever without any sort of consensus emerging.

You have a large crowd there with a wide, very wide range of opinions which illustrates my point. Too many reasons for where we are and as many 'solutions.'

One thing which nobody mentions is the effects of one of the three pillars of the slogan of the French Revolution those being liberté, égalité, fraternité.

As you know it is possible to enact legislation to enforce the first two but impossible to force anyone to comply with the third.

But it was liberté which was followed most enthusiastically and was thus transformed into the nonsense of "I am free to do whatever I like" And not just among the hippy-drippy eejits. I first noticed the corrosive effects of this in the 1968 film "Coogan's Bluff."

Yes, the rot had set in as early as that! Clint Eastwood's character was exceedingly unpleasant. He did exactly what he liked and broke all the rules, both moral and legal, in order to do his job of law enforcement. The end justified the means in his eyes.

A very amoral film and the first of many which followed. A police officer or sheriff really needs to be above such things in order to have the trust and respect of the people. What I saw in that film (and subsequent films like Dirty Harry) was the beginning af a downward spiral which has resulted in the current suspicion and mistrust of authority.

OK, that doesn't address the whole issue but it is part of the problem.
For as long as I can remember those who 'lead' us have had a fear and loathing of the people, especially the 'lower' class. The reason the 'authorities' did nothing about the so called grooming and abuse of young girls was not for fear of offending a particular ethnic minority, it was because the victims were white working class girls and so were not important. The same reason why everyone turned a blind eye to Jimmy Saville and others.

Another of Hitchens' permanent rages is drug and alcohol excess. I have already shown why people 'excape' into their own personal oblivion in the recent post about work. "Where work had once been vocational it had now become repetitive and boring and tedious. The worker thus has no outlet for creative energy but that energy does not disappear, it will be transformed and manifest itself as dis-ease"

In a way the above mentioned fear and loathing is manifest in the attitude to drug/alcohol abuse also. In the TV show "Absolutely Fabulous", two wealthy middle class women get staggering drunk and misbehave and fall out of taxis and this is portrayed as highly amusing and a bit of a lark. But when working class women (and men) do the same and stagger around town centres at night, the Daily Mail among others are horrified and outraged in their sanctimonious hypocricy. Double standards?

Your final comment should provide food for thought. "Just imagine, once it was possible for an ordinary man to maintain a wife and children on his income alone." How and why has that happened? It is quite possibly the most important question we should be asking.

There are lots more questions of course but another important question is one I have written about in these pages before. Fritz Schumacher in his book "A Guide for the Perplexed" wrote "The modern experiment to live without religion has failed"

Wolfie said...


"massive food imports, which will become much more expensive for us as the differences in global pay narrow"