Philip Davies is right of course

But so profoundly unfashionable that no one will say so:

Philip Davies, the MP for Shipley, claimed the disabled or those with mental health problems were at a disadvantage because they could not offer to work for less money.

Relaxing the law would help some to compete more effectively for jobs in “the real world” in which they are “by definition” less productive than those without disabilities, he claimed.

The remarks stunned MPs on all sides and forced Downing Street to distance the Prime Minister from Mr Davies. Charities and equality campaigners condemned the suggestion as “outrageous”. During a Parliamentary debate, Mr Davies told MPs that the minimum wage of £5.93 per hour meant disabled people who wanted to work found the door being “closed in their face”.

The minimum wage does indeed mean that those who do not offer £5.91 of output per hour do not get jobs.

Take a not entirely hypothetical example. A Down\’s Syndrome lad employed by a supermarket to carry customers\’ groceries out to the car, round up trolleys and so on.

We could certainly argue that this is good for him. Out and about, yes, we do all know that Down\’s is associated with a cheery and gregarious nature. Work, his own income, fun being had by all.

Is it worth £6 an hour to the supermarket? Dunno. But that isn\’t actually the point.

If it\’s only worth £3 an hour to the supermarket then the job is only going to exist, our lad is only going to be out and about and chatting to people, if the supermarket can pay him no more than that £3 an hour.

But wait! No one can live on £3 an hour!It\’s immoral to be paying that little!

Sure, no one can live on £3 an hour. And it may or may not be immoral to pay that little. But markets, as we all know, are amoral. They really don\’t give a shit about morality: either that job pays £3 an hour or that job doesn\’t exist.

So, what should actually happen? Me, callous bastard that I am, say that the supermarket should be able to pay the £3 an hour, employ the boy as both he and they would be happy to do. The not enough to live on bit, well, that\’s us as a society saying that it\’s immoral, so it\’s us as that society who have to top up those wages. We have to put our hands in our pockets directly and give money to the lad.

Both for the moral reason that we should be willing to pay for our sense of morality and also so that the costs of our sense of morality are made plain and clear. Hell, if we really do think this is moral then we\’ll actually enjoy paying the extra: self-righteousness is a most enjoyable emotion.

And yes, this is true of all and any, disabled or not, whose production is not worth £6 an hour. Insisting that they be paid that means they don\’t get jobs at all. Allowing them to sell their labour for what it is worth then topping up their incomes directly from our pockets is the only moral method of dealing with low value labour.

The MP was warned that he would be questioned over the remarks by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

And they can fuck right off. Since when has the freedom of speech of a Member of Parliament in Parliament been subject to the questioning of bureaucratic race mongers?

Hang them, yesterday.

37 comments on “Philip Davies is right of course

  1. Ah, but you’re forgetting that if he sits at home on some sort of benefit, there’s an opportunity for an army of do-gooders to be paid (much more than £6/hr) to consider his ‘welfare’ and ‘facilitate his independent living’ etc etc.

    If he was out there, earning some money, interacting with people, getting on with life, he might not need all those State funded ‘helpers’ so much, and that would never do, would it?

  2. A commission spokesman asked: “Is he arguing that Richard Branson, by definition, is less productive than people who don’t have dyslexia?”

    Maybe we should fill the EHRC with adults with autistic or Down’s Syndrome adults? We could pay them the same as the current residents, not much would get done, which in their case, would be a good thing.

  3. so it’s us as that society who have to top up those wages
    —————————–

    Or, just pay people a living wage in the first place. Like, the minimum wage.

    I couldn’t give a crap if it means corporations are loosing out this is more important. With the minimum wage at least everyone is loosing out equally.

  4. Exempting employer contributions for NI for the registered disabled would make them 10% cheaper to employ (not that it should exist at all, of course).

  5. “I couldn’t give a crap if it means corporations are loosing out this is more important.”

    Well of course not; selfish people like you never give a shit about giving away other people’s money.

    “With the minimum wage at least everyone is loosing out equally.”
    Ah, the “morality” of socialism writ large.

  6. Megan:

    Your intuitive, straightforward grasp and exposition of a complex subject is nothing short of astounding. If it were only possible to get both the government services and the body of elected representatives persuaded by your penetrating analysis and sharing your generous
    attitude toward the less fortunate, most of the problems called ‘economic” could have been readily solved yesterday, so that today, we’d be living in the “happily ever after.”

    Most surprising is that you haven’t run and been elected to office.

  7. I totally agree with what Mr. Davies is saying.

    I’m 49 years old, have Asperger’s syndrome and have never had a job.

    I need to be able to offer an employer something so that he will at least just consider giving me a job; and I reckon that his being able to pay me less than statutory minimum wage might just do it.

    I doubt I would be any worse off than actually being paid a proper wage because of the complex interactions between the various benefits I receive and the amount of money I have to pay to social services for my care. In effect a wages subsidy would be in operation.

    I desperately want to work, and need to work, so that I can fully contribute to, and participate in, society; and strive to become the best person I’m capable of becoming – and the minimum wage legislation is hindering me in my search for employment.

  8. Problem is, of course, as soon as you start “topping up” wages, wages fall because the employer knows they will be “topped up”.

    I expect most Down’s are either living with their family or in sheltered accommodation, so the rate of pay doesn’t really matter. My experience is they want to work. Government shouldn’t be standing in the way.

  9. So you subsidise the employer up to the value of the minimum wage? This isn’t going to work. It only works if you pay everyonet he same amount, ie a CBI, and as we know the numbers for that never work out, unfortunately.

  10. You get around don’t you Lee?

    Anyway, the cherry-picked example of a person with Down’s Syndrome might have some validity if Mr Worstall and Mr Davies didn’t have to contend with the reality that Autistics are the most disadvantaged group in the job market there is. Most Autistic adults could easily out-perform any non-Autistic in unskilled or semi-skilled work and yet employers aren’t exactly scrambling to hire us. Productivity isn’t the issue; employers have other reasons they don’t like to admit.

    Oh and the market only exists because of people, the market only does anything because of participation. The market is not amoral; people are responsible for what goes in and what comes out.

  11. “Since when has the freedom of speech of a Member of Parliament in Parliament been subject to the questioning of bureaucratic race mongers?”

    Since the last government. And what have iDave’s bunch done to repeal any of it?

    Yup, like I figured. So I won’t shed any tears over it biting them in the bum, just as I won’t shed any tears over Andrew Bridgen.

    Bet that ‘anonymity for rape accused’ bill is looking a lot more fair now, eh, Andy boy?

  12. And ‘Megan’ is a plant, right?

    Even the hard-core socialists usually have enough nous not to state their system’s drawbacks quite so obviously…

  13. Apart from the fact that you are joining in with Davies’ cheap stereotyping of people with disabilities (cheery and gregarious? All Downs people? All the time?) you are forgetting that the employer/employee relationship is not simply a function of the market, although I’m sure right wingers would like it to be.

    The world of work is as much a societal matter as economic. Society expects its citizens to work to support themselves if they are able to and in return it expects employers to treat employees reasonably. As such employment is highly regulated with laws preventing discrimination, unfair dismissal and including an obligation to make reasonable adjustments for disabled workers and pay the minimum wage. Amongst many other things of course.

    I am sure there are plenty of ‘able bodied’ workers who could be said to not be producing £5.91/hr’s worth of productivity. Just like there are plenty of chief execs who could hardly claim to be worth the £1.5m plus share options they receive despite steering their company into receivership.

    As far as your particular example is concerned, and even applying a market based analysis, it’s difficult to see how any person who reasonably effectively does the groceries carrying and rounds up the trollies could not be worth £5.91/hr, it’s hardly a princely sum. And if a person with Downs can do it effectively then they should be entitled to the same wage as an able bodied person would get. There are plenty of reasons why an able bodied person might not be that productive, you’re not talking about a job that is super motivating or interesting.

    In the end a disabled person’s supposed less favourable negotiating position is down to presumptions of lower ability i.e. prejudice which may not have any basis in fact. Allowing employers to pay a person lower wages just because they are disabled is a license for exploitation and discrimination.

  14. Where is the evidence that employers are not hiring competent disabled people because the minimum wage is ‘too high’? Where is the evidence that an employer would employ a competent person in a wheelchair to be a clerk on sub minimum wage but would not employ him on minimum wage?

    Davies’s end game here is the abolition of the minimum wage, which would accelerate a decline in wages for both abled bodied and disabled alike. The question is, who picks up the tab for paying sub-subsistence wages? Does the tax payer subsidise poor exploitative employers by topping up a wage of say £2.50 an hour into something that an adult can actually survive on? Still Davies has done us all a favour in demonstrating what sewage lurks in the backwoods of the Conservative Party despite the legerdemain of Cameron. For that illumination we owe him a debt.

  15. As far as your particular example is concerned, and even applying a market based analysis, it’s difficult to see how any person who reasonably effectively does the groceries carrying and rounds up the trollies could not be worth £5.91/hr, it’s hardly a princely sum.

    Excellent! I’ll be ’round in the morning to start my job of counting clouds in front of your house, for which you will pay me £5.91/hr. After all, it’s hardly a princely sum. Deal?

  16. Megan (#6) said “With the minimum wage at least everyone is losing out equally.”

    No, dear, that’s precisely Timmy’s point.

    With the minimum wage people don’t lose out equally.

    If your work is worth more than the minimum wage, it doesn’t affect you much at all. If your work is worth less than the minimum wage, it makes you unemployable.

    That’s hardly affecting everyone equally.

  17. Andy,

    The world of work is as much a societal matter as economic. Society expects its citizens to work to support themselves if they are able to and in return it expects employers to treat employees reasonably. As such employment is highly regulated with laws preventing discrimination, unfair dismissal and including an obligation to make reasonable adjustments for disabled workers and pay the minimum wage. Amongst many other things of course.

    Reality is that you’ve just made UK workers more expensive, or more risky than workers in Hyderabad or Guangzhou through all that.

  18. “Society expects…”
    Who says so?
    How does Andy know?
    Society is just a word for all of us. Andy cannot read my mind. Can he read yours?
    The sheer arrogance of Andy is breathtaking and his ignorance of simple economics is equally so. How much are you personally prepared to pay for someone to collect trolleys? How many trolleys could be collected by underemployed staff during quiet periods when all the shelves are adequately stacked? In a lot of towns trolley collecting is a part-time job for someone doing other unskilled jobs in the supermarket.
    Job Seeker’s Allowance is £67.50 per week for over-25s, £53.45 for under-25s. 40 hours at £3 per hour is £120. So your Down’s syndrome, or autistic, individual will be getting nearly, or more than, twice as much he would from the JSA. His DLA will be the same.
    So does Andy believe that “reasonable adjustment” means paying someone twice what they earn? And how many of the “‘able bodied’ workers who could be said to not be producing £5.91/hr’s worth of productivity” are still working? How many of their firms have gone out of business? Like most of the UK textile industry. Can anyone remember Courtaulds? It used to be one of the biggest companies in the UK. Or Carringtons? Or English Sewing Cotton? Dewhirst? M&S used to source 99% of their garments from UK manufacturers prior to the minimum wage legislation

  19. @Julia

    iDave didn’t just not repeal the New Labour “innovations”, they happily implemented the Harperson Act even though it wasn’t yet law and could have been stifled.

    Bunch of useless Progressives.

  20. “Excellent! I’ll be ’round in the morning to start my job of counting clouds in front of your house, for which you will pay me £5.91/hr. After all, it’s hardly a princely sum. Deal?”

    Well no. I don’t need a cloud counter but if I ever do, you’ll be the first to know.

    On the other hand, supermarkets do need trolley collectors, just to stick to the example.

    “Who says so?
    How does Andy know?”

    Well my evidence is the existence of legislation designed to ensure such things. If the Tories went into the last election on an overt policy of abandoning the minimum wage they would not be in government.

    Like it or not society exists and it relies on settlements which do vary over time. If the settlement goes too far against the majority’s interests then serious social unrest will result. I suspect you all believe in free police protection.

    Here’s something from your capitalist friends about inclusive and diverse workforces.

    http://www.btplc.com/today/art86961.html

    Tim adds: “On the other hand, supermarkets do need trolley collectors, just to stick to the example.”

    No, actually, supermarkets don’t need trolley collectors. If labour to collect trolleys becomes too expensive they can palm the cost off onto their customers for example. You have to make a £1 deposit to get a trolley, you get that back when you return it. This is the way that all supermarkets in Portugal work for example (although obviously, it’s €1, not £1).

    Similarly, if labour to run the tills becomes too expensive you can automate the task. Which is what those self check-out machines do.

    Almost without exception paid labour can be substituted for. Which is why the long term efects of something like the minimum wage will be different from the short.

    Next time you’re in a supermarket count the number of self checkout machines. They’re diret evidence that rising labour costs reduce the number of jobs.

  21. Andy demonstrates his left-wing credentials by saying
    “your capitalist friends”, so it is hardly surprising that he claims legislation passed by a party that got 35% of the votes is evidence that “Society” i.e. everybody wants something. His claims to omniscience include forecasting what would have happened “if…”
    The Americans have a word for it: “Bullshit”
    “Like it or not Society exists” – Descartes made the case for this over a century ago. To try to suggest that I deny that Society exists when my post states *what society is* looks like a pretty incompetent smear.
    “I suspect you all believe in free police protection.” No I don’t – it would be nice if it existed but it does not; never once have the police done anything to protect my autistic son from the local yobs. I do not believe in things that are clearly false so I suggest that Andy ought to stop spouting lies and shut up about things of which he knows nothing and stop pretending that he can read my mind.
    I shall not respond to any more of his suggestio falsi because he has demonstrated that he either does not know what he is talking about or is deliberately lying to provoke.

  22. Andy(#): “… it’s difficult to see how any person who reasonably effectively does the groceries carrying and rounds up the trollies could not be worth £5.91/hr, it’s hardly a princely sum.”

    If this is true then why is it that almost no UK supermarkets employ grocery baggers and minimum wage, yet at the base commissary there are usually 5 baggers for only 3 tills and yet the baggers are there voluntarily and only collect what they make in tips? I think that example alone blows your theory right out of the water.

  23. Tim,

    One small flaw in your thesis.

    “A Down’s Syndrome lad employed by a supermarket to carry customers’ groceries out to the car, round up trolleys and so on”

    Next time, you’re in the UK, try to spot a teenager with Downs. The last time I did was in Dublin, in 2009. You may have been motivated to use that example by seeing them in Portugal.

    Believe me, you don’t see many of them here any more. And of course the United Kingdom does not practice eugenics.

  24. And BTW, attempts to cast the disabled as the new Poles in the cheap labour lobby’s eternal war on the low-waged will not pass unremarked.

    Would Davies ever dream of suggesting that black people should be permitted to opt themselves out of the minimum wage for no reason other than they they are black? Of course he wouldn’t, and quite rightly so. So why should he be permitted to suggest that of disabled people?

    There’s a lot of shitty right-wing smugness in some comments on this post, most of it I imagine uninformed by the experience of having to survive as a disabled person in the workplace. I get the feeling that a lot of people posting here would freely admit, in good conscience, that they’d be quite happy to see the return of slavery, if it thought that that they could save a bit of money in the process. Just one of you go ahead and admit it, for the longer you deny it the more revolting the stench of your hypocrisy becomes. You are hypocrites, so confront and acknowledge your hypocrisy.

    The level of ignorance is also staggering – take Roue le Jour –

    “I expect most Down’s are either living with their family or in sheltered accommodation, so the rate of pay doesn’t really matter.”

    Re the ongoing existence of people with Down’s Syndrome, see my comment immediately above. However, let’s pretend for a moment that people in the UK with Down’s Syndrome constitute a stable demographic – for pretend is all we can do on that subject – and let’s see where this idea that the disabled should be able to enserf themselves will take us. If you’re in sheltered accommodation, you have to pay rent. If you’re not working, you receive Housing Benefit. When you’re working, your HB is either diminished or removed. Would those disabled who elect to enserf themself by working for less than minimum wage also be able to opt out of paying rent? Probably not. Or be given the option of claiming Housing Benefit while working? Probably not. In all likelihood, what would happen would be that their HB would be removed as soon as they started working. Because they’re earning less than they need to pay their rent, they’d rack up rent arrears, lose their homes and probably also lose their jobs. But they wouldn’t be costing some of the shits on this thread any money for a while, so none of that would matter.

  25. ” I get the feeling that a lot of people posting here would freely admit, in good conscience, that they’d be quite happy to see the return of slavery,”

    Why don’t you stick to telling us what you think rather than telling us what we think. When you start trying to tell other people what you reckon they think you start sounding like a prick.

  26. “Would Davies ever dream of suggesting that black people should be permitted to opt themselves out of the minimum wage for no reason other than they they are black? Of course he wouldn’t, and quite rightly so. So why should he be permitted to suggest that of disabled people?”

    Because the two suggestions are sufficiently different that comparing the two is pointless. Would he ever dream of saying black people shouldn’t fly passenger planes? Almost certainly not. Is the suggestion that disabled people shouldn’t fly passenger planes an unnaceptable one? No. Its usually a pointless exercise to ask what the reation would be if someone said something that they did not in fact say.

  27. “When you start trying to tell other people what you reckon they think you start sounding like a prick” –

    I’ll say what I like about you or anyone else. Is that your best shot?

  28. Martin says, “I’ll say what I like about you or anyone else. ”
    Yet he also says,
    “Would Davies ever dream of suggesting that black people should be permitted to opt themselves out of the minimum wage for no reason other than they they are black? Of course he wouldn’t, and quite rightly so. So why should he be permitted to suggest that of disabled people?” Emphasis added to illustrate hypocrisy.

    I don’t know whether Davies would suggest that black people should be permitted to opt themselves out of the minimum wage, but I would. And white people, and any other coloured people. It’s their business, not yours.

  29. Pingback: Paying off the disabled « Decline of the Logos

  30. Natalie,

    My apologies for perceived hyposcrisy, and of course for my greater sin of failing to abase myself in front of a crowd of oligarchical Darwinist libertarians on the cheap labour warpath. Actually, I don’t see where the hypocrisy exists. Philip Davies is an MP talking unpleasant but legally privileged rot about the conditions he would like disabled people like me to have to work work under, while I’m posting blog comments. The comparative circumstances under which our different remarks have been made are separated both in fact and degree by unbridgeable gulfs. I was responding to a commentor who was, to all intents and purposes, telling me to shut up. The only correct response to such aggression is to meet it with greater aggression, which I understand is also the training philosophy of the SAS. I did this, and they’ve run away. Point made

    Oh, and by the way, they don’t even note what they were talking about. They wrote,

    Would he ever dream of saying black people shouldn’t fly passenger planes? Almost certainly not. Is the suggestion that disabled people shouldn’t fly passenger planes an unnaceptable one? No. Its usually a pointless exercise to ask what the reation would be if someone said something that they did not in fact say.”

    From Wikipediam, concerning Tourette Syndrome –

    “Oliver Sacks uses the pseudonym Carl Bennett to describe real-life Canadian Mort Doran, M.D., a pilot and surgeon with severe TS, whose tics remit almost completely while he is performing surgery”.

    But does he take sugar?

  31. I suppose the silence from the oposing camp means that I have won this one.

    As ever, Tim, my thanks for being a gracious host to an intermittently ungracious Weegie. God bless.

  32. Martin

    You have been repeatedly rude about and unpleasant towards other commentants on this post.

    A word of advice – if you go around telling people they are vile, and suggesting they would love to engage in what are widely considered disreputable activities just because you happen to disagree with them then you can expect to attract a critical response.

    You may wish to re-read your posts, count the number of insults, ad hominem slurs, etc, and compare that to the (lack) of them generally form the other posts.

    Either you desire that effect (you are a sad little troll), or you do not (in which case you need to learn a calmer style of writing. Decide you goal for posting, write accordingly and accept the consequences in people’s responses.

    Ta ra for now.

  33. I find it interesting that so many people consider it hostile to and prejudiced against disabled people to suggest that they be allowed the freedom and reponsibility to choose what conditions to work under. I’m with Natalie: I would suggest the same measure for black people, and for white people and short people and red-heads and gay one-legged jugglers. Because it’s not a bad thing.

    I’m nowhere near the minimum wage now, but I was once. My first ever job was the best I ever had: picking raspberries. The pay was tiny, but I was a teenager and didn’t need to pay rent, so it was pocket-money, it was more than enough, it was welcome, and the job was utterly fantastic. Our lords and masters wish to “protect” me from having to do such a job. Bastards.

  34. Pingback: The architecture of prejudice (or how we’re not talking about the political science of Darth Vader here) » 21stCenturyFix.org.uk

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