This is an interesting point Polly

People no longer trust one another, the state or any authority: only 35% trust others, compared with Sweden\’s 70%.

So which comes first? The trust that allows a high tax high benefit society? Or the high tax high benefit society that engenders the trust?

It\’s a fairly important question too. If it\’s the first (which I rather suspect it is) then you cannot impose that high tax high benefit system upon a society without that necessary trust. As has been pointed out elsewhere Sweden, just as one example, is a highly conservative society socially. Much more so than this country.

It\’s a bit of a bugger really isn\’t it? The idea that successful social democracy depends upon the underlying attributes of the society, rather than causing or shaping them?

This is good too:

The £435m Work Programme emerges as less effective at finding jobs than doing nothing.

So let\’s do nothing then, eh?

43 comments on “This is an interesting point Polly

  1. Notice Polly contributes to that lack of trust all the time. The only way to maintain trust is to maintain a belief the system is fair. Which means punishing the people who break the rules.

    Polly has never seen a benefit cheat or a criminal that she did not think deserve to get away with it. She cannot want us to have high levels of trust while at the same time doing everything she can to undermine that social cohesion.

    And that is not even mentioning her dislike of the British which causes her to support unlimited immigration. We can have high trust or we can have lots of immigrants. Not both.

  2. It’s at least possible that Swedes trust each other more because they are dealing pretty much all of the time with other Swedes, or people they see as such.

    It’s still a much more homogenous country than the UK.

    In my village, where most of the families have either lived here for the last three or four hundred years or have moved in because it’s more, er, English, we still stereotypically leave our doors unlocked etc.

    Trust here is more like 100 per cent.

  3. Spain

    Let’s pay more taxes so that politicians can:
    vote to continue travelling Brussels-Madrid first class
    bankrupt our regional sort of mutually-ownedlocal savings bank through corruption, politiacal ambition and incompetence
    build fully operational airports with no flights (and not just a couple)
    allow the 2 major parties have aprox. 200 cases of corruption each actually in the courts…
    not resign for anything less than being caught with your hand actually in the till
    support a bankrupt airline against the only one making a profit to the tune of €200million (plus all we haven’t heard) to further petty regional ambitions..
    giving grants to force up energy prices.
    take decisions on what hits the headlines
    and so on for a very long list..

    You want me to trust politicians and pay more taxes?

    Shall we do the same with corrupt crony capitalism cuddling up the above politicians, publicly over-fed corrupt unions, the fringe members of the royal family, political correctness in social engineering.

    You want my trust?

    Who the hell are you kidding?

  4. I read a nice summation a while ago that the fundamental difference between right and left wings is that the right view human nature as a bit depressingly rubbish at times and try to set policies that reflect it and limit the downsides, whereas the left regard human nature as essentially plastic and open to manipulation by the right policies set by the wise and impartial until we all reach the sunny uplands of socialistic thinking.

  5. Sweden is interesting in that it is really quite conservative but has a reputation for being really quite liberal (for the ne plus ultra of this, see The Netherlands). But then they have a population of bugger-all, which probably helps.

    Good friend of mine is Norwegian and constantly telling me how much better-organised things are in Norway. It’s difficult not to respond a) “that’s because you have a population of five people and a dog called Colin” and b) “in which case how come you live in Surrey?”

  6. [Sweden is] still a much more homogenous country than the UK.

    No it isn’t. 19.6% of the Swedish population was born to non-Swedish parents, and 14.3% was born outside Sweden. Whereas 16.65% of the population of England and Wales is classified as not “white British”.

  7. PaulB – “No it isn’t. 19.6% of the Swedish population was born to non-Swedish parents, and 14.3% was born outside Sweden. Whereas 16.65% of the population of England and Wales is classified as not “white British”.”

    Well he should have said “Until recently”. Because that is certainly the case. Britain’s elites embraced their quest for national extinction in the 1950s. The Swedes much later. So:

    According to Eurostat, in 2010, there were 1.33 million foreign-born residents in Sweden, corresponding to 14.3% of the total population. Of these, 859 000 (9.2%) were born outside the EU and 477 000 (5.1%) were born in another EU Member State.[10][11] The largest groups were:
    Finland (166,723)
    Former Yugoslavia (155,166)
    Iraq (125,499)
    Iran (63,828)
    Poland (49,518)
    Germany (48,442)
    Denmark (44,951)
    Turkey (43,909)
    Norway (43,058)
    Somalia (40,165)
    [12] The number of Assyrians in Sweden is about 100,000 – 120,000.[13][14] Christian Assyrians are in fact the majority of people from Iraq in Sweden.
    The fastest growing groups of foreign-born residents in Sweden between 2010 and 2011 were the following nationalities:
    Iraq (+ 3738)
    Afghanistan (+ 3069)
    Somalia (+ 2319)
    Thailand (+ 2235)
    Iran (+ 1708)
    Poland (+ 1692)
    Eritrea (+ 1663)
    China (+ 1659)
    Syria (+ 1599)
    Turkey (+ 1382)

    They have gone from non-Swedish people who are all but Swedes in origin to people who will never be Swedes. That is going to end well. As the groups indicate Sweden’s openness to being a minority in their own country started in the 1990s with wars in Yugoslavia, Somalia and so on.

  8. What PaulB says. Sweden and Norway aren’t particularly homogeneous any more (although Finland is).

    If we could see the breakdown of this “trust” survey, we might gain an insight into the underlying reasons. Do low-trust people live in cities? Are high-trust people older or more settled? Is trust higher or lower depending on income, both absolute and relative?

    I expect the answer is that people are more trusting of others when they know that everyone is playing by the rules, and that those rules are fair. Trust is high in squeaky-clean Scandinavia, and abysmally low in corrupt Greece. For many in the UK there is a perception that the rules are unfair.

  9. Who says that lots of trust (especially in government) is a good thing?

    Trusting governments too much tends to lead to large scale wars

  10. I expect the answer is that people are more trusting of others when they know that everyone is playing by the rules, and that those rules are fair.

    IIRC there is research that suggests this is true. Also, the higher the perceived level of rule-breaking, an increase in willingness to become a rule-breaker.

  11. Polly doesn’t seem to understand which order policies should be in. If people in a nation distrustful are towards each other, then this is going to be a large barrier to higher government spending, which inevitably involves trusting other people to spend your money well.
    Flatcap Army has stated a great summation of the different views that the two ends of the political spectrum have. I’d recommend to anyone interested to read Thomas Sowell’s “A Conflict of Visions”, which sets out this idea brilliantly.

  12. PaulB: “19.6% of the Swedish population was born to non-Swedish parents, and 14.3% was born outside Sweden”

    Yes, but that is still a fairly new thing. What’s more, the first big wave of immigration was from neighbouring Finland, which, as a former part of the Swedish kingdom, is effectively not so “foreign” (it’s more like having any Irishmen counted as immigrants in Britain).

  13. PaulB

    Disingenuous as ever – the UK stats fail to incorporate those from the subcontinent who are second and third generation, classifying them as ‘British’, although many hold no loyalty to the country ( four Lads one sunny day in July ’05 spring to mind).

    Also Sweden’s smaller population is a good way to use statistical sleight of hand to imply they are more diverse than we are. However, the phenomenon is much more recent in Scandinavia, and we’ve seen, with the actions of Anders Behring Breivik in neighbouring Norway last year, that a serious shift in the previously tolerant attitude of the Scandinavians is definitely coming….

  14. PaulB – to be fair to you, I was a bit loose with my language (it only being a very quick comment on a blog).

    I did say ‘with other Swedes, or people they see as such’, but then I also used the word ‘homogenous’.

    By ‘people they see as such’, I meant a lot of the other Scandis and northern Europeans who have migrated in. I know there is a lot of (recent) more obvious migration (though the immigration rate is still miles below the UK’s), but there’s a lot of difference, culturally, between a Swedish-Finn or German or Dane and a Swedish-Iraqi. I suspect the ‘trust’ among groups in the Swedish cities is a bit lower. They do seem to have developed an interesting rape phenomenon.

    My aforementioned village has a number of Scots and Welsh, an Aussie and a couple of Kiwis; they’re pretty much the same as us. But if a Somali family moved in, that would probably be different.

    I don’t know if this counts as racism, or just human nature?

  15. OK. Now to really upset some of our more ‘liberal’ readers.
    SMFS’s list of Swedish immigrants. Notice what’s missing? Pakistan, Caribbean, Romania (meaning Roma, if you’ve Romanian friends you soon learn to distinguish)…
    Sweden does have Somalis as Swedes have been known to mention. With some venom.
    It really does matter what immigrants you’re getting…
    And VP’s comment.

    (Waits, unrepentant, for a slagging…..)

  16. PaulB, one problem with your figure of 16.65% “not white British” for the UK is how we classify the Irish.

    The 16.65% has only 1% of the population as being of Irish descent, but (as the report itself says) many people of Irish origin class themelves as “White British”.

    The 2001 census gives more than 1% just for people born in Ireland; realistic estimates are that 10% of the UK population has an Irish grandparent.

    Now, arguably most 2nd or 3rd generation Irish don’t matter in terms of cultural homogeneity, as with Swedish Finns. But if we’re comparing the UK with Sweden, if UK-Irish and Swedish-Finns are counted differently then the statistics won’t be comparable.

  17. But yes, interesting that Sweden is becoming a lot more ethnically mixed.

    It’ll be a very interesting experiment to see how Swedish trust, tolerance and social attitudes change over the next ten years.

  18. ‘It’ll be a very interesting experiment to see how Swedish trust, tolerance and social attitudes change over the next ten years.’

    I might be being cynical, Richard, but I suspect that the official figures will probably show that they haven’t changed – maybe even improved.

  19. Ah, here we are. 52% of all those with a grandparent born outside the UK still describe themselves as “White British”:

    http://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/publications/iser-reports/2011-12/how-diverse-is-the-uk

    “Thus the composition of the UK looks substantially more diverse if we take into account the parentage of the UK population going back just two generations”

    In fact with 52% describing themselves as “White British”, the true figure for ethnic diversity is actually twice the official one; more like 30% than 16%.

    And that’s only going back 2 generations.

  20. VP:

    Disingenuous as ever – the UK stats fail to incorporate those from the subcontinent who are second and third generation

    .
    No. There’s an “Asian British” category which is not included in “White British”. It’s not that I’m disingenuous, it’s that your prejudices are getting in the way of your reading comprehension.

    Richard: now that you mention it, two of my grandparents (whom I never met) were born outside the UK. And I tick the “White British” box, because what else am I supposed to do, being white and British? I’m at a loss to understand how this is relevant.

  21. My aforementioned village has a number of Scots and Welsh, an Aussie and a couple of Kiwis; they’re pretty much the same as us. But if a Somali family moved in, that would probably be different.

    I don’t know if this counts as racism, or just human nature?

    The two propositions aren’t mutually exclusive.

  22. I suspect trust is diminished not only by immigration (particularly from obviously different ethnic groups) but also by population density.

  23. @ V_P (14)

    “although many hold no loyalty to the country (four Lads one sunny day in July ’05 spring to mind).”

    You say ‘many’. So far, you’ve come up with four. And even there, you’re looking at people who put loyalty to their faith ahead of loyalty to any country. Loyalty to faith and loyalty to country are two entirely different things (or, at least, I think they are… I’m, admittedly, not best placed to comment on account of having precisely none of either).

    Note: that is not to say that there isn’t something to be said for being in a nation where most faith-based slaughter was gotten out of the system a few centuries ago, and our ‘traditional’ faith’s modern idea of radical fundamentalism is not letting gays share a room in a B&B. I don’t want psychotic Islamists coming over here and bombing our undertubes… but, fortunately, all the Muslims I know are as harmless and charmingly deluded as my delightful Irish catholic extended family (some of whom weren’t averse to dropping a punt or two in a ‘tin fer the lads’ back in the day).

    Still, putting aside all the lazy Mail-esque racism floating around.. I do find it amusing that here, of all places, some people seem to be claiming that a soceital problem is due to a lack of loyalty to the state. That’s Murphy territory, isn’t it? Except where he thinks that all is solved by paying more tax, here the solution is to be less foreign.

  24. The Thought Gang – “Loyalty to faith and loyalty to country are two entirely different things”

    Yes but on that particular day they did, kind of, mash up didn’t they?

    “Still, putting aside all the lazy Mail-esque racism floating around.. I do find it amusing that here, of all places, some people seem to be claiming that a soceital problem is due to a lack of loyalty to the state. That’s Murphy territory, isn’t it?”

    Belonging to a community is not the same as loyalty to a state. They can coincide. They should coincide, but increasingly they do not. And of course the problem is your sleight of hand. Murphy is claiming loyalty to the state is whatever he says it is, in the name of the state. Most people would not agree with that. No one here is suggesting that people do not have a moral duty to the State. Just that Murphy is insane.

  25. To be fair to V_P there, he said “…loyalty to the country..” not loyalty to Murphy’s ‘state’.

    Don’t know about anyone else, but even at this distance I feel a lot of loyalty my country. Meaning the people on that chilly island up by the North Atlantic seaboard of Europe. I feel zero loyalty to the assholes who run it. Why should I, even if I was there?

    ” ..delightful Irish catholic extended family (some of whom weren’t averse to dropping a punt or two in a ‘tin fer the lads’ back in the day).”
    Maybe it was one of them was sounding off about the ‘boys’ in a London pub back around the time of the bombings. The Hyde Park one possibly. Walked into a length of scaffold pole when he left. Someone told me he lived, which always seemed rather careless, at the time.

    But that’s the English for you. Too easy going.

  26. @ SMFS

    “Yes but on that particular day they did, kind of, mash up didn’t they?”

    Not really. One of them was an irrelevance. Murder in the name of faith has been going on for as long as there has been faith. Those who do it don’t care a jot what nationalities are involved.

    That’s not to say there hasn’t been singificant reason for, and symbolism behind, certain attacks in certain countries.. just that the supposed cause of the faith was the only factor in play. It’s not like those guys were ever going to even think to say ‘well I do actually quite like the UK, and it’s been good to me and my family.. so I’ll bomb a bus in France instead’.

    Of course, the UK being involved in the Iraq war pissed those people off. But loyalty to *that* would, without question, be loyalty to ‘the state’ as distinct from ‘the country’.. and, as you and BIS have pointed out, that’s not really what people are on about here.

    “.. Just that Murphy is insane.”

    That point is conceeded.

  27. PaulB said “I’m at a loss to understand how this is relevant.”

    It makes your comparison of national diversity in Sweden and the UK is pretty much meaningless.

    You compare one stat for people in Sweden with a foreign parent, against a self-reported ethnic profile in the UK. That’s already problematic, since they’re measuring different things. But when more than half of the people in the UK survey with recent foreign ancestry are being counted as fully British, there’s no way the two are comparable.

  28. Richard: please think about what you’re saying. The hypothesis we’re discussing is that cultural and ethnic diversity reduce social trust. If someone is culturally British, looks British, sounds British, and identifies themselves on a census form as British, what would be the mechanism by which their foreign grandparents reduce social trust?

  29. Maybe it was one of them was sounding off about the ‘boys’ in a London pub back around the time of the bombings.

    Anecdata alert.

    Daughter’s Godmother is extreme Boston Irish. To the extent that her not particularly deluded brother has changed his name to something that’s pronounced pretty much the same way as the names he was christened with but has had a surfeit of vowels scattered throughout it.

    Her Dad was a more than merely passive NORAID man. DGm was caught up in the Harrods bombing. DGm Dad was pointedly not arrested for whatever the yankian equiv of ABH was on the NORAID fundraiser the next time they came around the pub.

  30. Paul,

    please. Htf are we, or anybody, going to know

    and identifies themselves on a census form as British,

    It trivially detracts from the rational (if not necessarily correct) point you were making.

  31. SE. It maybe not so trivial. Paul, as an advocate of multiculturalism, considers that a person should be regarded as what they consider themselves to be. Correct me if I’m wrong there, Paul. So, “…identifies themselves on a census form as British. ” is central to the point he’s making.
    Which I find problematic. Now I’m pretty sure I’ve never read Paul endorsing racism & I seem to remember, in the past although not on this thread, him referring to comments or people as racist. And here’s the problem. Although he would presumably agree with the concept of racism existing he seems to have difficulty in accepting that someone could actually be racist. And this difficulty is common amongst many people with a similar point of view. Because in what we’re talking about here, social trust, what a person considers themselves to be has no bearing on the matter at all. What’s important is what others perceive the person to be. So the ethnicity of their grandparents could be a very vital factor, if it could be discerned.

  32. bis:

    Paul, as an advocate of multiculturalism, considers that a person should be regarded as what they consider themselves to be. Correct me if I’m wrong there, Paul.

    You’re wrong there. I specified “someone [who] is culturally British, looks British, sounds British, and identifies themselves on a census form as British”.

    Let’s be specific about this. There are a lot of people in the UK with foreign-born Jewish parents (Michael Howard, Ed Miliband, Stella McCartney…) or grandparents (Nigel Lawson, Stephen Fry, me…). Are you saying that our presence here reduces social trust?

  33. Simply put, yes.
    You accept there are people who are, indeed, racist? No?
    Therefor people who are racist might possibly regard things from a racist point of view? No?
    Then it’s entirely logical that someone who is racist might let that influence their judgement in a matter like ‘social trust’.

    It’s got nothing at all to do with whether racism is a desirable or undesirable quality. Not an attempt to justify it. Simply an acceptance that if a person is racist then it’s reasonable to expect them to behave in a racist manner.

    It’s why I have trouble with the way the perceived problem of racism is addressed. There’s certainly no reluctance to identify & condemn it. But then a remarkable reluctance to accept those that are racist are in fact racist. You know. That they don’t like people that they see as different from them. Important part being “they see as”.
    Look. I may not like it if it’s raining out. It’s either get wet, take an umbrella or don’t go out. But there isn’t an option that includes ignoring the rain

  34. Paul, just to clarify matters about where I’m coming from here;
    I share parts of my life with a woman who’s inheritance contains more races than you can shake a stick at. Like a lot of South Americans she has an intense racism fine tuned as to which, where & in which of the multitude of combinations is totally beyond my comprehension. But then I didn’t acquire my survival strategies in a poverty stricken shanty town where getting it wrong was a capital crime. Let’s call her one end of a spectrum, the other end of which is perched on a stool in an Islington wine bar ordering grilled fetta on ciabatta whilst she composes a Tweet. Not surprisingly, they may possibly have slightly different points of view.

  35. PaulB – “Let’s be specific about this. There are a lot of people in the UK with foreign-born Jewish parents (Michael Howard, Ed Miliband, Stella McCartney…) or grandparents (Nigel Lawson, Stephen Fry, me…). Are you saying that our presence here reduces social trust?”

    To varying degrees, yes, obviously. Take Ed Miliband for instance. His father, like Eric Hobsbawm, another first generation refugee, spent most of his life working hard to make a Soviet invasion possible and so have most of the people in the UK murdered. I would tend to think that reduced trust a little.

  36. bis: I would have been happy to continue this conversation. But SMFS reminds me that his sort of poisonous lies offer a much greater threat to social cohesion. I’m not going to do anything to encourage him.

  37. Paul, in response to #29 and just for the record, I wasn’t commenting on “the hypothesis that cultural and ethnic diversity reduce social trust.”

    I don’t really have a view on that, except that it’s probably more complicated.

    I was purely commenting on your claim in #6 that Sweden has greater racial diversity than the UK – the statistics you cited are measuring different things in the two countries and so do not support your claim.

    That’s all I was saying.

  38. Thankyou Paul because you’ve just proved so well exactly the point I was trying to make. Because you regard SE’s views as poisonous, as far as you’re concerned, end of dialogue. Shouldn’t be accepted.
    As far as I’m concerned, whether I agree with SE’s views or not, they’re his views. So let’s say he regard your views as poisonous & a threat to social cohesion. From now, PaulB you are a non-person. Nothing you say should be listened to because it will only encourage you. No decisions will be made, taking into consideration your views, even if they affect you. how do you feel about that?

  39. bis: I do not regard SE’s views as poisonous. As regards SMFS, if I never interact with him again that will be quite soon enough.

  40. And, PaulB, on very careful reflection, I have to agree with SMfS. Because what’s he’s talking about I have to live with every day of my life. Because that’s exactly how I regard the person I share it with. Because her entire rationale & motivations are driven by things I neither know about nor can understand. She obviously sees the world a whole different way from me & that’s caused innumerable problems. Trust problems. Other way round as well. For her. Adjusting to someone who won’t steal everything she’s got & dump her in the shit. Believing that there just might be a day after tomorrow or a next week that’ll look similar to today but maybe better. Very short mental horizons, you see. Growing up like that has an effect.
    Her daughter’s second generation here. Like the Millitwat. But there’s a lot of her mother’s influence in her. Causes problems sometimes because the way she thinks isn’t always appropriate for the situation. She’s going to difficult for any bloke. Be difficult to trust. But probably easier than the Millitwat.

  41. bis: I wish you well with your domestic difficulties. But I ask you not to use them as a reason to agree with SMFS’s lie about Ralph Miliband, who was no friend of the Soviet Union.

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