Oh do fuck off you appalling little fascist

Mr Shelbrooke has drafted a Bill that would change the law to allow welfare payments to be made on a new “welfare cash card” whose use could be restricted by the Government.

\”Introducing a welfare cash card on which benefits will be paid, claimants will only be able to make priority payments such as food, clothing, energy, travel and housing. The purchase of luxury goods such as cigarettes, alcohol, Sky television and gambling will be prohibited,” Mr Shelbrooke told MPs.

It\’s one of those little dividing lines between the more ghastly of the authoritarians and the civilised people.

We do indeed say that there are those who really don\’t know what\’s best for them. Those significantly mentally deficient for example. Children. The French.

But when we start adding the poor, or the pesantry, or the citizenry in general, to that list of those who should only get what they\’re given or allowed to have, then we step over that line from civilisation into that ghastly authoritarianism. You know, the Jonny Porrits of this world who insist that there are just too many damn peasants who won\’t do what they\’re told. Or this fuckwit of a Tory MP who seems to think that those on benefits are not adults. You know, free people at liberty, free to take whatever liberties they like with the meagre incomes that they have.

Myself, if I ran the Tory Party, I\’d chuck him out for even mentioning, let alone proposing, this particular little bill. And anyone who had the temerity to vote for it. Won\’t happen of course: for there are these sorts of authoritarians in all of the political parties more\’s the pity.

100 comments on “Oh do fuck off you appalling little fascist

  1. I think you’re missing the point here. Benefits should be a safety net such as to keep the body and the soul of the recipient in unity. They should not be such as to provide luxury items that many in work can’t afford.

    I have no problem at all in helping to subsidise the food and clothing of the poor and helpless but I do slightly demur at funding their Sky Movies subscription and fags.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, thanks to decades of tireless toil by Paul Daycare and his ilk, the average Fail reader is now convinced that the entire welfare budget is spent on tins of cheap lager which need to have a minimum price anyway, and so on and so on.

    It’s also worth a mention that of course when he says “luxury”, he doesn’t mean actual luxuries. Luxuries are yachts, fox fur stoles, flying Concorde to Bahrain for a night at the casino or whatever they do in Bahrain. He is actually using it as a euphemism for “sinful” activities. Tobacco, as John Reid said, is the working man’s pleasure. To characterise it as a “luxury” is perverse. And if the government didn’t fucking tax the shit out of it, it wouldn’t make much of a dent in the dole either. But then they’d have less money to lavish on MPs expenses, and third sector organisations to organise their repellent offspring’s Gap Yah junkets, and so on. Can’t have that, can we?

    These people are so far beneath contempt, there are no words.

  3. I do, Interested. Part of this involves realising that not everyone who finds themself in a position of needing benefits is a stereotype.

    The State spunks away billions of our hard earned. It gives it to its friends in lavish wages and expenses, and for “consulting”, and in “partnerships”. It gives billions to foreign countries who don’t even want it. It wastes it on follies, it builds windmills, railways nobody wants, extravagances of every kind.

    But there is a certain type of person who thinks apparently we can solve all this by taking away the Cutter’s Choice from teh chavs. This is so fucking assinine, it defies rebuttal, beyond pointing out how fucking assinine it is.

    And that doesn’t even get into the practicalities of such a scheme, which apparently is proposing denying any cash whatsoever to benefits recipients. So either you have to restrict them to a few appointed major retailers, and they can’t nip to Patel’s for a tin of beans or Patel has to have a card reader, in which case he’ll sell them sinful goods anyway, so then you need an army of snoops running around checking what the cards are being used for and… see where we’re going with this?

    *bangs head on desk in despair*

  4. There’s a rather obvious difference between dictating to people how to spend their own money, and dictating to people how they spend your money.

    I would be extremely relaxed about a system which said, ‘Sure, we’ll give you some money but it’s not to pay for Sky TV,’ while leaving people with the option of saying, ‘Fuck off, I want Sky so I’ll go out and get the money for it myself.’

    It’s partly morality, partly economic incentives, partly reality, and zero fascism.

    IanB – everything that is not a necessity is by definition a luxury, you tool. You don’t get to redefine words to suit your purposes, that’s on the left.

  5. It is not a restriction on liberty to impose conditions on hand outs. There is no absolute right to a discretionary income at the expense of others.

    In practice such a scheme would simply create a black market bartering food bought on the card for tobacco, alcohol or simply cash.

    The idea is stupid because it is unworkable, the idea that it is fascism to propose conditions on hand outs is equally stupid

  6. @IanB ‘Part of this involves realising that not everyone who finds themself in a position of needing benefits is a stereotype.’

    I don’t think they are. Does anyone? Or are you the one doing the stereotyping?

    ‘The State spunks away billions of our hard earned. It gives it to its friends in lavish wages and expenses, and for “consulting”, and in “partnerships”. It gives billions to foreign countries who don’t even want it. It wastes it on follies, it builds windmills, railways nobody wants, extravagances of every kind.’

    Oh, I am only too aware of this. But your logic seems to be that, because the State is colossally stupid in various areas, we should… No, sorry, you’ve lost me there.

    ‘But there is a certain type of person who thinks apparently we can solve all this by taking away the Cutter’s Choice from teh chavs.’

    Maybe you can point me to the place where anyone – anyone, just one person – says we can solve all the problems of wasted foreign aid, sinecures for pals and unnecessary windmills by taking fags from chavs?

    ‘This is so fucking assinine,’

    It would be if anyone, anywhere, ever, had said it.

    ‘it defies rebuttal, beyond pointing out how fucking assinine it is.’

    It doesn’t need rebutting, because it’s never been said, anywhere, ever, by anyone.

    ‘And that doesn’t even get into the practicalities of such a scheme,’

    That is an issue, I’ll grant. But it’s by no means impossible; before long, we’ll be a card-only economy and at that point it would be fairly simple. Even Mr Patel will only take cards so…

    ‘*bangs head on desk in despair*,

    I think you’d be better off banging some sense into your head myself :-)

  7. @Murray Rothbard ‘In practice such a scheme would simply create a black market bartering food bought on the card for tobacco, alcohol or simply cash.

    The idea is stupid because it is unworkable, the idea that it is fascism to propose conditions on hand outs is equally stupid’

    Not unworkable, but hard – certainly in a cash economy. But then, enforcing lots of prohibitions is difficult; that doesn’t mean the prohibition itself is wrong. I believe (figures alert) that in some Met boroughs less than 5% of domestic burglaries are cleared up. No-one says that because it’s apparently unworkable to enforce a ban in burglary we should remove the ban.

    The fact that bartering might ensue is irrelevant. Once you buy something, albeit with someone else’s money, it’s yours. And there are some luxuries, pace IanB, which are tough to barter for. You might be able to swap a bag carrot for half a dozen fags, but I doubt Rupert Murdoch will be interested.

  8. James-

    ” everything that is not a necessity is by definition a luxury,”

    oxygen, water, some minimal gruel, a shack, rags to wear. They’re your “necessities”. Everything else is a “luxury” is it? There are an awful lot of goods and services in between those two things. Let’s put it this way. When my mum cooked me beans on toast, I think we’d have said it was reasonable normal food, but calling it a “luxury” would have been ridiculous. Because the word “luxury” doesnt mean “anything above the bare necessities” and never has. You are the one redefining the dictionary. Not me.

    Secondly, we get into the difficult issue of whether somebody who has paid hefty income and other taxes for twenty years then loses their job through no fault of their own is getting a “hand out” or not. It’s just not so simply defined in a social democracy. Nobody has the option of not funding the welfare state, so it is frankly perverse of accusing them of getting something for nothing if they go onto benefits.

  9. Regarding Patel’s. The issue is, that you can’t monitor what Patel is selling, because he doesn’t use a bar code scanner on his goods for sale. So, our hateful despicable sinful welfare scrounger goes in and buys a pack of Cutter’s and a tin of Stella, it’s impossible to know.

    So either you restrict the cards to certian major chains (Tesco etc) or you need spies roaming the local shops.

    Whatever, the sad thing about this is that, depressingly and predictably, people would actually approve of it in principle.

  10. IanB ‘oxygen, water, some minimal gruel, a shack, rags to wear. They’re your “necessities”. Everything else is a “luxury” is it? There are an awful lot of goods and services in between those two things’

    I think I agree that food, water, shelter, clothing and electricity are essentials; so here’s your £100, spend it on anything you like in those categories. If you want fillet steak on a Monday and a handful of rice the rest of the week, that’s your choice. Me, I’d go for a big bag of mince to last me seven days.

    What you can’t do, sorry card won’t be accepted, is spend my money with Bargain Booze, Bet Fred, Sky, EasyJet or McDonalds (yes, I know it’s food, but it’s my money and I say the food is expensive shite).

    I predict some people would get a job, others would live more healthily (not that I care about that, it would just be a side effect) and sure, some would game the system.

  11. @IanB ‘Regarding Patel’s. The issue is, that you can’t monitor what Patel is selling, because he doesn’t use a bar code scanner on his goods for sale. So, our hateful despicable sinful welfare scrounger goes in and buys a pack of Cutter’s and a tin of Stella, it’s impossible to know.’

    The reason Mr Patel doesn’t use a scanner (and plenty of corner shops now do) is because the cost has, for a long time, outweighed the benefit.

    The technology is now cheap, and once benefit payments were predicated on using a card that said no to certain items but yes to an awful lot of what a corner shop sells, I predict the bar code people would be trampled underfoot by the rush of Mr Patels.

  12. The sad thing about this is how it combines two popular trends; puritanism and the urge to be nasty to people.

    Sort of, the essence of Conservatism, in a bottle.

    I’m off to bed now, been working all night (damned Protestantism, you know), but I dunno, it just amazes me how people can think these thoughts and somehow think them worthy thoughts to think. It really does illustrate the Puritan mind appeal very well though; it allows a person to simultaneously advertise their own moral character (important display activity in such a society) while simultaneously being utterly vindictive.

    Whatever.

    As to Interested, I can only presume he hasn’t been in a corner shop lately, if he thinks “an awful lot of what a corner shop sells” excludes booze, fags, sweets, unhealthy frozen and tinned food[1], etc etc.

    There is of course also this interesting new definition of luxuries we’re dealing with. Can they buy dog food? Is a dog a necessity? No? Must be a luxury then. No dog food for our scroungers!

    Oh, I give up. Really, Tim has it in the original article. “Oh do fuck off you appalling little fascist(s)”.

    Also, one more thing, James-

    I predict some people would get a job,

    No more in aggregate. People in the employment market don’t create any jobs. All you can do is shuffle around which members of the pool get the jobs. Entrepreneurs create jobs. This is really quite important in a general economic sense. You can’t reduce unemployment by forcing people off the dole. It doesn’t work that way. If you’re a million jobs short, you’re a million jobs short, and no welfare policy (in terms of being nasty or nice to people) can actually alter that aggregate figure. People really don’t seem to realise this.

    ___
    [1] You don’t think they’re going to be allowed pizzas and chips by the Department Of Sin Correction, do you?

  13. This whole problem stems from the fact that we have a compulsory, coerced source of welfare.

    If welfare was voluntary, with a plurality of providers, those voluntary funders and providers would come to an agreement over the terms of their largesse.

    IanB would fund a provider that hands over cash even to disrespectful, lawless, smoking and drinking types who want to live in Islington next to £5m Georgian townhouses which he cannot afford to live near. Others can find alternative providers if they want more control over who gets what and how.

    That is how it should work. The question of the card or cash, the utter lie of “social cleansing”[1], all becomes moot. Charity is restored. Merit gained by those who give freely. A little less indignity for those who receive, knowing that what they get has not been bullied and extorted from others who often have to live and work a life less comfortable or convenient than they do.

    [1] conveniently and obviously not the case due to the inverter particle, “social”

  14. Also, James-

    What you can’t do, sorry card won’t be accepted, is spend my money with Bargain Booze, Bet Fred, Sky, EasyJet or McDonalds (yes, I know it’s food, but it’s my money and I say the food is expensive shite).

    It isn’t your fucking money. It’s everyone’s money, including the money of the unemployed people who paid all their taxes before they lost their job.

    This seems to be another common fallacy; that there are two distinct classes- one who pays taxes and one who receives “hand outs” and ne’er the twain shall meet.

  15. James: why the *fuck* should someone be allowed to spend part of their hypothetical gbp100 (not that any single adult on benefits actually gets anything like that much) on fillet steak, but not booze or betting?

    That is *solely* trying to impose your personal preferences on their spending habits, for no reason other than you enjoy some things more than others and think everyone else should too.

    Once you’ve conceded that it’s not legitimate to force benefits recipients to live off gruel, how the fuck is it legitimate to deny Mr Smith the right to live off rice in exchange for a few beers every now and then?

    (nb it isn’t, you’re just a horrible puritan)

  16. Roger-

    IanB would fund a provider that hands over cash even to disrespectful, lawless, smoking and drinking types who want to live in Islington next to £5m Georgian townhouses which he cannot afford to live near.

    Probably not. But I’d pay it to one who didn’t treat me like utter shit for claiming on my insurance after some long period of paying in. But then, neither would I presume that everyone who loses their job is a

    “disrespectful, lawless, smoking and drinking type who wants to live in Islington next to £5m Georgian townhouses which he cannot afford to live near.”

  17. Ian: Indeed. It’s my fucking money too, I bet I’ve paid more taxes over the years than James, and I’m absolutely fucking delighted the poor bastards who have to live on the dole to take some of the edge off that fairly grim time in one’s life with a bit of grog. And if I ever find myself in that position, being denied the same by petty fascists would make me very, very cross.

    Let’s agree that James’s taxes can go towards providing claimants rice and gruel, as long as we accept mine can go towards providing them with spesh, cheap gin and lotto.

  18. “smoking and drinking types”

    ie “people who aren’t horrible sanctimonious cunts”. This is textbook puritanism, isn’t it? The fear that someone, somewhere might be having more fun than you…

  19. I’m not quite sure what Roger’s point is about Islington, there are some really rather not-nice estates there where some of the poorest people in the country live.

    But in any case, the location of someone’s flat has absolutely fuck-all to do with this debate. You could argue, separately, for sending long-term benefit claimants to Scunthorpe to save on housing benefit – but that has absolutely no bearing on whether they’re allowed to buy grog and fags with their money benefits (which, obviously, are completely separate from HB).

  20. @IanB ‘The sad thing about this is how it combines two popular trends; puritanism and the urge to be nasty to people.’

    Er, projecting? I’m not a Puritan – sex, drugs, booze, the whole works. I just think oh should pay for it yourself. And saying, ‘Yes, take my money and give it to people who aren’t working to feed and clothe and house them’ is ‘nasty’? Right… Got you.

    ‘ it allows a person to simultaneously advertise their own moral character (important display activity in such a society)’

    I know you’re big on making ludicrous sweeping statements in which you attribute insane beliefs to people who don’t hold them because they don’t actually exist, and then failing to answer questions which point out your idiocy, but HOW can I as an anonymous person on the Internet be gaining any benefit from this ‘display’? Conversely, couldn’t it just be that you are displaying your cuddliness – easy to do with other people’s. money.

    ‘As to Interested, I can only presume he hasn’t been in a corner shop lately, if he thinks “an awful lot of what a corner shop sells” excludes booze, fags, sweets, unhealthy frozen and tinned food[1], etc etc.’

    The one round the corner from me, which is actually run by a chap called Patel, sells fruit and veg, meat, pasta, rice etc.

    Look, I know you think you can win by reduction ad absurdum and ad hominem, but really all I’m saying is, sure, tax me, but don’t let non working people live a better life than working people. They don’t live a better life than me, but they do live a better life that a lot of wage slaves and I think that’s wrong, morally, socially and economically.

    @JohnB ‘ie “people who aren’t horrible sanctimonious cunts”. This is textbook puritanism, isn’t it? The fear that someone, somewhere might be having more fun than you…’

    Oh do fuck off, you tiresome blowhard. I don’t think anyone is having a better life on the dole than I am, but I know that some people on the dole are having a better life than some working people. It’s not that hard to get your head around, surely?

  21. @JohnB ‘But in any case, the location of someone’s flat has absolutely fuck-all… bearing on whether they’re allowed to buy grog and fags with their money benefits (which, obviously, are completely separate from HB).’

    I assume you’re missing the point deliberately? In case you’re not, read this slowly: The whole thing is about people on benefits not being better off than people in low paid work. Working people have to pay their rent, council tax and all other expenses out of earned income. Unemployed people get help with rent and council tax and thus, to an extent, the dole is for spends. Some unemployed people live in houses in Islington that working people on quite high salaries cannot hope to live in, but would love to because there is a value to living there. The benefits cap in the UK is from April 2013 £500 a week. Many working families cannot hope to clear £500 a week after tax. This is unfair, and socially suicidal.

    This is not about jealousy or ‘Puritanism’ – I am much better off than most people in the UK. It’s about having empathy for the guy who does a 50 hour week to bring home the same basic cash as the guy next door who does nothing.

  22. Well, we do seem to have a slight divergence of opinion here. IanB’s perfectly right. System like this would have the puritan faction positively creaming its Y-fronts if it could cope with such a concept. But conversely, one can appreciate the reluctance of those who see their hard earned being channelled through the benefit system to be spunked on things they can’t afford themselves. Are the 2 positions reconcilable?
    Not if there’s going to be a clean cut between waged & unwaged. So let’s suggest a compromise. We work, we contribute to the system – which means those disputed benefits. The longer you’ve worked the more you’ve contributed. So why not, the longer you’ve worked the less prescriptive the benefit regime would be. And it becomes more prescriptive the longer you’ve been receiving benefits, maybe. There’s certainly an argument, if a person has never bothered to get a job & is content to suckle at the teat of the common benefit pool, there’s no reason the contributors should be forced subsidise a lifestyle they don’t agree with. It is their money, after all.

  23. I find it very disappointing how many people who claim to be “libertarian” or in favour of “small government” support this idea. It’s deeply patronising, unworkable (given the many things you still have to pay cash for) and in any case could easily be subverted by bartering wholesome stuff for fags and booze.

  24. Wot Murray Rothbard said, in 3 sentences where I would have taken 3 pages. That’s some impressive subscriber, Tim. does wonders for your blog-cred.

  25. ‘I find it very disappointing how many people who claim to be “libertarian” or in favour of “small government” support this idea. It’s deeply patronising, unworkable (given the many things you still have to pay cash for) and in any case could easily be subverted by bartering wholesome stuff for fags and booze.’

    Well, I wouldn’t start from here. But being as it’s not in my gift to sweep away the whole shambles, I accept that we must work with what we have.

    It’s not ‘unworkable’, for the basic tehcnological reasons explained more than once higher up the thread.

    If people want to barter stuff, who’s suggesting stopping them?

    That would be puritan and unworkable, for one thing. But as someone says higher up, good luck ringing Sky, asking to add Sports to your package and offering a bag of onions as payment.

    It really is time people accepted several facts. The country is broke. There are jobs. Some people are too idle to take them. This situation cannot go on forever.

  26. IanB,

    It is not “insurance”, I wish it were. It is a fraudulent ponzi scheme that is ony not outlawed because the state does it. So you have no point.

    “but the neither would I presume everyOne who lost their job is…”

    Now, show me where I said or presumed such a thing? You are the one who will jump on universal benefits, so I show what your view can result in.

    JohnB, Interested has covered the point about the housing issue well. Further, the reason we have shitty estates in Islingon and not a rebuilding of fine high density housing is precisely because the incompetent State intervened and continues to intervene in the provision of housing with expensive and disastrous effects.

  27. @ Interested

    “This is not about jealousy or ‘Puritanism’ – I am much better off than most people in the UK. It’s about having empathy for the guy who does a 50 hour week to bring home the same basic cash as the guy next door who does nothing.”

    And when did that guy nominate you to speak for him? With all due respect, if you’re better off than most people in the UK then you’re not best placed to speak on behalf of mr ordinary hard-working man (who, lest we forget, is probably far more likely than you to unwittingly find himself being ‘poor unemployed and now unable to buy a pint despite a lifetime of paying ‘insurance’.. and might actually take that into account when deciding how the unemployed should be bossed about).

    Of course, if you’re better off than most people the UK then, also, you probably don’t get any cash benefits from the government. Me neither… and I think we’re in a minority. Once *they* start to restrict what people can and can’t spend their cash benefits on… well… do you really trust them to stop at preventing the unemployed from buying ‘luxuries’?

    Have you been paying any attention to the public-health-nazis and the puritan agenda which has finished demonising smoking (but, obviously, still has knives to twist) and is applying all that it learned to booze, sugar, salt, fat and anything else that might stop us all living to be 120?

    I can see an awful lot of people who’d think that this scheme would be a good idea and perfectly fair. They’re not seeing where it would end. There are some lines that we really can’t let those authoritarian bastards cross.. and this is one of them.

  28. ‘I get the impression some people would support a return to workhouses where you eat the gruel doled out to you ;-)’

    What gives you that ‘impression’, Curmudgeon? Could it be that you’ve invented the whole ‘impression’ out of thin air?

    Because all I see are people saying, er, it’s not really fair if a bloke working 50 hours a week can’t afford Sky (and wants it, for his sins) but the family next door, who don’t work, can. It’s not exactly fucking Dickensian, is it. (End with smug wink.)

  29. We do indeed say that there are those who really don’t know what’s best for them. Those significantly mentally deficient for example. Children. The French.

    A class of people which clearly includes a large chunk of those on welfare. Or they would not be on welfare. Year after year. Generation after generation. Given that they do not know what is best for them, perhaps it is entirely reasonable for those that do know to force them to make the right decision.

    It is not as if people are forced to take welfare. And I think it is perfectly reasonable the wider community imposes conditions if they so want. It would be, and is, utterly immoral to see people destroy themselves through idleness and alcohol while not merely not doing anything about it, but giving them the money to do it.

    Anyone who wants to spend their own cash on alcohol, fine by me. More than that really. But anyone who wants to drink themselves to death on the public dime, not so fine. If they make me become their keeper, then I really am my brother’s keeper with all that entails. And I would not give my brother money to sink into an alcoholic-fueled early death. I just wouldn’t.

    But when we start adding the poor, or the pesantry, or the citizenry in general, to that list of those who should only get what they’re given or allowed to have, then we step over that line from civilisation into that ghastly authoritarianism.

    True, but those on welfare have already admitted they have failed the first and basic task of being an adult – taking care of themselves. Especially if they are unemployed for a long time. Which means there is a difference between the suggestion and applying this to the poor, the general citizenry etc etc.

    But let’s take an economic view of this. We have a lot of people on welfare. Especially long term unemployed. As TW points out, America does not have a lot of people unemployed over the long term because they don’t give them welfare. So the attraction of benefits is higher than the attraction of work in the UK. So we need to reduce the attraction of benefits – without having starving people begging on street corners. So after six months, no more tobacco or alcohol. That would push people back into work without undue hardship. Why is that a bad thing? What is the downside?

  30. john b – “Indeed. It’s my fucking money too, I bet I’ve paid more taxes over the years than James, and I’m absolutely fucking delighted the poor bastards who have to live on the dole to take some of the edge off that fairly grim time in one’s life with a bit of grog.”

    Good for you. I doubt that you would be so happy if it was your son who was doing his Georgie Best impersonation but perhaps we can agree on a compromise. Instead of handing our cash over to the State to piss away as they see fit, we each should be told we need to contribute 12% of our income to (non-school, non-NHS) welfare spending but we can give it to any charity we like. You can give it to people who spend it on alcohol. I can give mine to people who won’t allow it. Both sides should be happy.

    “And if I ever find myself in that position, being denied the same by petty fascists would make me very, very cross.”

    Cross enough to get a job?

  31. Oh dear. Some people here don’t really understand bartering do they? Mr Murdoch won’t be offered the chance of providing Sky for carrots, he’ll be offered cash. The bartering would have already happened a little earlier in the process. DOH!

  32. @TheThoughtGang
    ‘And when did that guy nominate you to speak for him?’

    Well, I think that probably applies to all of us on this thread? I assume you will put the same question to those with whom you agree?

    ‘With all due respect, if you’re better off than most people in the UK then you’re not best placed to speak on behalf of mr ordinary hard-working man (who, lest we forget, is probably far more likely than you to unwittingly find himself being ‘poor unemployed and now unable to buy a pint despite a lifetime of paying ‘insurance’.. and might actually take that into account when deciding how the unemployed should be bossed about).’

    Except that I have spent a lot of time as an ‘ordinary hard-working man’, including plenty of nights when I didn’t have the cash for a pint. I’m sure I’m not alone in that, though I suspect there are more people on here commenting on the other side of the argument who have never actually got their hands properly dirty than there are those who have, for the simple reason that if you have actually had to graft hard for very little cash in the pissing December rain you appreciate it more, and you also learn to spot the workshy a little easier. PaulB, the jobbing brickie? Nah. JohnB, the forklift driver? In his student holidays, maybe. TimW… horny handed son of scandium-related toil…

    That said, one of the great problems with much of the debate about social matters in this country (the UK) is that so many people seem to assume stasis. I’m wealthy, so I always was. He’s poor, so he always will be. There is stasis, of course, but a lot of it is due to the welfare state.

    And that’s actually a good part of my whole point: give people free Sky telly, enough money for a bet and a pint, and they may just decide that stasis is for them.

    I have no problem with people staying put, it’s none of my business how they live their lives, as long as they do it on their own dime. If it’s on the taxpayer, I expect at least to have 1/20 millionth of a say.

    ‘Once *they* start to restrict what people can and can’t spend their cash benefits on… well… do you really trust them to stop at preventing the unemployed from buying ‘luxuries’?

    I sort of do, because I’m emphatically talking about how people spend *other* people’s money. But even if I’m wrong that doesn’t change the rights or wrongs of this particular issue.

  33. How about this?

    An online table of data.

    Column 1 – Every national insurance number in the country
    Column 2 – The income tax/employee national insurance paid to date

    Then we do two things:

    1) We give the owner of each national insurance number 1 vote for every £1,000 paid in income tax (capped at 1000 votes)

    2) Once on the dole, the owner of the national insurance number gets 1% of their total contribution back each month and that value is updated each month to reflect each outpayment.

    Proportional representation AND welfare.

    P.S – Once 1% of their total contribution has fallen below the minimum welfare amount they just get that minimum amount (and 1 vote)

  34. @mike power ‘Oh dear. Some people here don’t really understand bartering do they? Mr Murdoch won’t be offered the chance of providing Sky for carrots, he’ll be offered cash. The bartering would have already happened a little earlier in the process. DOH!’

    Some people here don’t really understand hyperbole as a rhetorical concept, Mike. Speaking personally, if people want to barter their food away for Sky Sports I couldn’t care less. I’m not a puritan, as I think I may have said. If you would rather watch Soccer AM than eat swedes, fair play to you.

  35. Quite apart from the inherent Fascism of this proposal I think people are underestimating the practical difficulties.

    Remember the NHS IT scheme? This would be worse. Billions spent on contractors, white papers, public consultations, etc. And in the end the system wouldn’t work properly.

    Plus it would be easy to scam. “Mr Patel” doesn’t have or need a stock tracking system, so he can simply swipe the bar code for a bag of rice but sell a can of larger. So we’ll need an inspectorate of undercover buyers checking compliance.

    Not to mention that we’ll also need a quango to decide what a “luxury” is? Does cooking wine count?

  36. Game, set and match to Interested!

    By the way, a government procurement card can be cash-limited, category- and retailer-restricted and used where credit cards are used. Some retailers might even be persuaded to offer a discount to card-holders, which would help benefits go further…

  37. It’s not ‘unworkable’, for the basic tehcnological reasons explained more than once higher up the thread.

    Did you mean this?

    The technology is now cheap, and once benefit payments were predicated on using a card that said no to certain items but yes to an awful lot of what a corner shop sells, I predict the bar code people would be trampled underfoot by the rush of Mr Patels.

    I suspect you did. How exactly, without IanB’s posited spies in every corner shop, do you plan to ensure that the £2.40 tray of mince that the bar-code scanner has just registered is what goes in the bag, rather than £2.40 of lager? To give you a sensible, current example, my garden centre has a little book of barcodes at the till, for those things difficult to barcode, sold by length or where the bar-code wears off easily. Just scan one of those and the incompetent puritans are happy.

    It would, however, work with Sky – you do require the seller both not to be a nasty little puritan and be willing to take a bit of risk. Maybe a new business venture for that very un-puritan Mr Desmond?

  38. MattyJ – “Quite apart from the inherent Fascism of this proposal I think people are underestimating the practical difficulties.”

    Actually as John B could probably tell you, the Australian government did precisely this. Their problem was much greater because they were dealing with rural Aboriginal communities that are about as ruined as a human society can be. Simply dysfunctional beyond what anyone in the UK could even think possible. So the previous Liberal government introduced the Intervention to stop, in part, Aboriginees spending welfare money on booze:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Territory_National_Emergency_Response

    What is interesting is that the Left loathed it and the new Labour government has gutted it. But in a recent election, the conservatives won in the Northern Territory – and what was so surprising is that they elected a large number of rural full blood Aboriginal candidates. Which in terms of NT politics is like Gerry Adams being returned for a Unionist electorate.

    It was clearly popular with rural Aboriginal women in particular.

    Now if people don’t like this sort of policy, and I totally agree with why it is so offensive, perhaps they might like to explain what they would do instead given the alcoholism, the exceptional rates of domestic violence, the rapes, the 12 year olds gang rape victims with STDs etc etc.

    Britain is not there yet, but as Baby P shows, it is only a matter of time.

  39. @Surreptitious Evil

    ‘How exactly, without IanB’s posited spies in every corner shop, do you plan to ensure that the £2.40 tray of mince that the bar-code scanner has just registered is what goes in the bag, rather than £2.40 of lager?’

    Is ‘This would be reall reeeaaaallly hard to enforce’ really the best you lot have – apart from the ‘You’re all puritans’ bullshit?

    Look, you dummy, any and every law that has ever been made has been circumvented. We know this. You are not being clever in pointing it out.

    I am absolutely sure that some Mr Patels (or Smiths, Jones’s, McTavishes) would knock out lager and pretend it was mince. After all, chip shops dodge VAT and offies sell beer to under age kids.

    I’m simply saying that the absofuckinglutely inevitable replacement of cash by cards, and the wider adoption of scanning and barcodes, still in historical retailing terms in its infancy, will make it relatively easy to police. The key word being ‘relatively’.

    If you say to Mr Patel/Smith, you are invited to bid for the contract to be one of 25 shops in (say) Coventry that accepts (say) Dolecard, but be aware that if we catch you taking the piss you will lose the contract and it will go instead to your rival Mr Jones/McTavish, I suspect – it is only a suspicion – that you won’t really need too many spies.

    Look, I think the whole idea of the fucking state nosing around in the business of those who are paying their way is repugnant. If you’re not paying your way, it might be the price you have to pay.

  40. @Interested

    I understand perfectly well, but I don’t think hyperbole has much of a place in rational argument. I was pointing out that these crackpot suggestions are utterly unworkable.

    As for my personal tastes, I don’t see what relevance they have to my comments. For the record I like neither Sky sports nor swede.

  41. @MattyJ ‘Quite apart from the inherent Fascism of this proposal I think people are underestimating the practical difficulties.’

    We do seem to have a lot of extras from the Young Ones here today. Matty, it is not ‘fascist’ to say to people, I’ll give you this free money for doing fuck all, but I must insist you don’t spend it in Paddy Power.

    I suppose I might be being hoist on my own hyperbolic petard, of course.

    Re this:

    ‘Plus it would be easy to scam. “Mr Patel” doesn’t have or need a stock tracking system, so he can simply swipe the bar code for a bag of rice but sell a can of larger. So we’ll need an inspectorate of undercover buyers checking compliance.’

    I refer you to my earlier answer, and add: why the fuck would Mr Patel want to do this? What’s in it for him? And also, do you really think small shops don’t track their stock?

  42. @mike power

    ‘I understand perfectly well, but I don’t think hyperbole has much of a place in rational argument.’

    So I follow the link to your highly self-important blog – I LOVE your extremely long-winded laying down of the law re comments etc… get you, Mike! – and I find the first line of your top post is:

    ‘Bonkers comments from the healthy food Nazis.’

    Right, Mike. Nazis. No hyperbole there, then. Way to go with the ‘rationality’ :-)

  43. @Interested: small shops don’t use the same sort of automated stock tracking that a place like Tesco uses. As a result they can scan the barcode of one item, sell a different item and not have it show up as a discrepancy on the computer.

    Why would he do this? Same reason that small off-licences used to flout the ban on selling booze after 11pm. Same reason they sell cigarettes to 16 year-olds. Profit!

    I’ll cop to “fascist” being a little off the mark. While I’m sure that you only support the idea because the arguments that you’ve stated, there are a lot of others who will want it as a form of social control. And we really don’t want to give those people another avenue of attack.

    @SMFS: actually I wouldn’t need John B to tell me about it, I was there at the time! I can remember footage of children running up to hug John Howard, so it was clearly popular with some segments. But it was also a rather different situation, more analogous to making Liverpool an alcohol-free zone. (Just an example, not picking on scousers.)

  44. @MattyJ ‘Why would he do this? Same reason that small off-licences used to flout the ban on selling booze after 11pm. Same reason they sell cigarettes to 16 year-olds. Profit!’

    Yes, but there are differences.

    In the booze-after-hours/fags-to-kids cases, it’s a choice of selling the booze and fags and making a few quid, or not selling the booze and fags, and making nothing.

    Your guy with a dole card will buy something else, eventually – OK, he may go and barter it later, but that’s not your problem.

    I’m suggesting this might work at some time in the not-too-distant future when – for good or ill – everything will be much more checkable. Cash is on the way out, that much I know.

    If a shopkeeper risks losing a government contract, for no real gain, I think he’s not all that likely to break the rules.

    It also gives him something to hide behind: ‘Sorry mate, it’s not me, you know I can’t accept that card for booze.’

    ‘I’ll cop to “fascist” being a little off the mark. While I’m sure that you only support the idea because the arguments that you’ve stated, there are a lot of others who will want it as a form of social control. And we really don’t want to give those people another avenue of attack.’

    Thanks. I’m anything but a statist. I don’t think this is another avenue, actually: I think arguably it would create a line between what people have earned (untouchable) and what they have been given (strings attached).

  45. Tim said: “You know, free people at liberty, free to take whatever liberties they like with the meagre incomes that they have.”

    Would it be fascistic to pay benefits in vouchers that can’t be redeemed for cigarettes and booze? That would sidestep the illiberal position of handing people cash and then insisting they can only spend it on certain things. It would also result in people on unemployment benefits being less free…

    This applies to out of work benefits not to pensions or disability. I am wary of it being the thin end of the wedge but can understand the thinking behind it.

    For me it is as much an issue of the government being irresponsible with our money as it is some individuals in receipt of benefits having enough money left over to spend it on things that are far from essential and the plan does not tackle the former.

    Surreptitious Evil and others,

    They would presumably do as the authorities already do with alcohol and cigarettes being sold to underage people – spot checks and penalties for being caught. It would be unrealistic to expect it to be 100% water tight.

  46. I find it odd that there are people who regard giving people money with conditions attached more fascistic than demanding money from people with menaces.

  47. Right, so:

    #1: the majority of housing benefit recipients are in work. If you work hard for fuck all money, you get benefits, HB in particular. This is why, as Ian was trying to suggest earlier, drawing a distinction between “hard working poor people” and “benefit claimants” is fucking stupid: they are the same.

    #2: the places in Islington in which HB claimants live are almost universally not the places in which people who have any money at all are seeking to live. I spent several years living in Islington; my flatmate was an estate agent in Islington; there were many places that, although extremely cheap, we wouldn’t even have considered.

    #3: if you aren’t bothered about people bartering their veggies for Sky, then why the fuck not just give them the money in the first place, rather than creating an economically wasteful nonsense scheme that forces them to do so and allows carrot-for-cash spivs to make economic rent?

    #4: the NT intervention has been a complete failure, like all attempts at prohibition everywhere. But, like the war on drugs, it’s still popular among gullible people who like the concept of a panacea that’ll end their woes (prohibition in the US was driven by females from low-education groups too), so people will vote for it.

    #5: Mr Patel gains from putting booze through as lentils as long as he isn’t the only corner shop within lurching distance. This is basic economics: if Mr Singh won’t juke the system but Mr Patel will, then he’ll obviously end up with all of the custom of the people who want booze.

    The alternative is you make the margin on the state contract to supply claimants so large that nobody would ever consider risking losing it, in which case you’re vastly increasing government spending in order to achieve nothing apart from being slightly nasty to poor people. Which I believe makes you worse than every Western government ever, since everyone else has at least claimed to be /either/ increasing efficiency or being nice to poor people.

    #6: the belief that there’s a meaningful distinction between what you’ve earned and been given is ludicrous. Imagine:

    “From now on, people will only be allowed to buy booze out of earned income. So inheritances can only be used to spend on things that the state deems worthy, as will state benefits for people who have never worked. For people who are working but claiming in-work benefits, spending on booze will be limited solely to the proportion of their cash wages that isn’t matched by HB or other state in-kind benefits. For people who are unemployed but have previously worked, they will be allowed booze until their dole exceeds the tax they’ve paid. And people who have had expensive NHS treatment will be banned from all potentially damaging activities at all times until/unless their net tax contributions exceed their total cost of treatment”.

    It’s being called fascist *because it is*.

  48. Oh, also a fine comment from Mark W at his place:

    If a welfare claimant spends £30 a week on booze and fags, of which £22 is tax, then the authoritarians say that his welfare payments should be cut by £30 a week. Actually, that welfare claimant has just voluntarily reduced his own net welfare payments by £22 a week, because that money goes straight back to the government, he’s only getting £8′s worth of booze and fags.

  49. john b>

    Your point #5 – even if the shopkeeper won’t do it. assuming his customers aren’t all on benefits, there’s nothing to stop the benefit-recipient waiting in the shop for someone who wants to buy stuff that can be bought with the benefits, and paying for (some of) their shopping in exchange for an equivalent value of cigarettes or alcohol.

  50. @ SMFS (31)

    “It is not as if people are forced to take welfare.”

    But we’re all forced to pay for it.

    If my home insurance policy only allowed me to replace my clothes and appliances.. not my artwork and music collection.. then I’d get a different policy. With ‘national insurance’ I don’t get that option.

    (and, yes, I know that NI, as presented to us, is a bullshit ponzi scheme… but the fact remains that we pay in taxes, and one of the benefits of that is a level of support in the event that we need it.)

    I have to admit, I entirely get why so many people think this idea is a good one. And, in fairness to Interested, I think that there are probably a lot of ‘ordinary working people’ who would support it. I don’t feel any urge to defend the rights of the workshy/unfortunate to spend my money on whatever they like…. But I have a mighty fear about where this would end up. Anyone who wants to know what happens when you give those fuckers an inch is invited to consider, ooh, all human history.

  51. I tell you what, let’s extend the control-freak proposal.

    Don’t give them a card with money on it. Just give them a ration card. We can buy up the empty properties next to the JobCentrePlus and they can go there and pick up their bureaucrat sanctioned, 5-a-day friendly, fat and salt minimised provisions. Add in some lye soap to keep the vermin off them and we’ll make sure there is nothing at all they can have any fun with. And no-one could complain could they? It’s accepted fact we* all were healthier in the war (apart from the people being shot or blown up, of course.)

    You could even change their electric supply at home for the HMG-special sockets (these exist) and we can make sure they can’t even plug a TV, never mind a games console in! Switch it all off at some approved bed-time as well. Think of the fun you can have with your 1/20millionth of the votes …

    * Well, it’s a common meme anyway and it’s probably true the poor were … But not me, I wasn’t born.

  52. What is and is not a luxury is for society as a whole to decide, not just a few individuals. If society decides that a linen shirt is a necessity then it is, if society decides that it is a luxury then it is. Similarly surely if society decides that fags, booze, a sky subscription etc. are luxuries then they are. As far as I’m aware no clear judgement has yet emerged, though many individuals have expressed opinions; a necessary step towards consensus.
    If society (acting through their elected representatives) decides that the welfare system covers necessities but not luxuries then so be it, it’s society’s money and society has a right to attempt enforcing that.
    Many benefits recipients of my personal acquaintance have never paid a penny into the system, and the overwhelming majority of working people of my acquaintance who have lost their jobs get another in a month or so- often not a nice one- because they want to. There is very little linkage between what someone has paid into the system and what they get out of it.
    If restricting benefits to necessities encourages people to get jobs then I say good (though I doubt it will actually have much effect), though I suspect that removing the poverty trap (so that everyone is richer by at the very least 50p for every extra pound that they earn) would be far more effective, and the institution of workfare a useful follow on should that prove insufficient.
    There are in fact plenty of jobs that a native speaking Briton could get if (s)he really wanted to compete for them- the local car washes are manned by Romanians and Kurds. They are good hard working people, but it seems crazy to give people incentives not to work and then import labour. Indeed getting economically inactive Britons to compete for these jobs is the only form of immigration control I can approve of- well that and not giving any benefits to newly arrived immigrants.
    Of course the proposed scheme won’t work any more than the food stamp program works in the US- the economically inactive have all day to game the system and every incentive to do so.
    I have to say that I cant see cash going out of use any time soon. If the government were to stop issuing it the the populace would invent a currency of their own- perhaps the cigarette as in post war Germany- as there will always be a demand for untraceable transactions.

  53. the overwhelming majority of working people of my acquaintance who have lost their jobs get another in a month or so- often not a nice one- because they want to

    This isn’t economically efficient.

    If your mate who was on gbp26k gets a gbp10k job because it’s the only thing he can get after a fortnight, and we’ve made the dole so vile and stigmatised that he can’t bear to be on it any longer, we’re destroying value compared to the setup where if he stays on the dole for a couple of months sending off CVs and going through interviews and lands another gbp26k job…

  54. @JohnB

    ‘#1: the majority of housing benefit recipients are in work. If you work hard for fuck all money, you get benefits, HB in particular. This is why, as Ian was trying to suggest earlier, drawing a distinction between “hard working poor people” and “benefit claimants” is fucking stupid: they are the same.’

    Sometimes they are, you tool, but sometimes they aren’t. That is, for the terminally thick: all ‘hard working poor people’ are entitled to benefits, but not all ‘benefit claimants’ work. But even if your juvenile argument worked – so what? I work, I get £30 a week top-up benefits, I use that to buy food and pay the leccie bill. Because I work, I can afford some of the other stuff.

    ‘#2: the places in Islington in which HB claimants live are almost universally not the places in which people who have any money at all are seeking to live…’

    Rubbish. You’re not the only person who’s ever lived in Islington, and I could show you plenty of desirable Georgian terraced houses and flats in Islington let out to HB claimants, where the people *next door* are paying £££ to live there – but it’s irrelevant to the substance of the idea anyway.

    ‘#3: if you aren’t bothered about people bartering their veggies for Sky, then why the fuck not just give them the money in the first place, rather than creating an economically wasteful nonsense scheme that forces them to do so and allows carrot-for-cash spivs to make economic rent?’

    Ha ha – carrot-for-cash spivs, I like that. It’s a moral and practical thing. I give you cash on the basis that you don’t spend it on the piss. I can probably police that, a bit, with some tech, but I obviously can’t stop you bartering.

    That’s *if* it happened; I don’t actually believe it could – I’ve *explicitly* said this is only possible in the post-cash society, *which is on its way*.

    ‘#4: the NT intervention has been a complete failure, like all attempts at prohibition everywhere. But, like the war on drugs, it’s still popular among gullible people who like the concept of a panacea that’ll end their woes (prohibition in the US was driven by females from low-education groups too), so people will vote for it.’

    I couldn’t care less about aboriginal alcoholics in the NT, you may well be right, this was not my end of the argument, and I’m against all prohibition where you’re spending your own wedge.

    But still, I love the way you guys throw this utter unfact around – ‘all attempts at prohibition everywhere’ have failed, have they? Where’s your proof, Johnny? Plus proof of what would have been the position – in all cases, everywhere, please – without prohibition? And – FFS – just because a prohibition doesn’t work 100 per cent (it never could), that is not, per se, a thinking person’s argument against it.

    ‘#5: Mr Patel gains from putting booze through as lentils as long as he isn’t the only corner shop within lurching distance.’

    Patel wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole if he knew a ) the tech was in place to produce a reasonable chance of his being caught and b ) he was one of (the posited 25 in Coventry) shops with the contract to supply goods on the dole card.

    ‘The alternative is you make the margin on the state contract to supply claimants so large that nobody would ever consider risking losing it’

    Eh? Being one of only X number of shops in Ytown with the contract, thus guaranteeing Z number of dolies have to come to your shop, ought to mean costs of goods would be lower, you dufus, not higher.

    The rest is just more bollocks. Being ‘nasty’ to the poor, worse than Hitler etc. Yadda yadda.

    Re this, though: ‘It’s being called fascist *because it is*.’

    You’re being called a tool *because you are*.

  55. @Surreptitious Bollocks
    ‘I tell you what, let’s extend the control-freak proposal.’

    Sorry, didn’t read any further than that :-)

  56. A bit late to this and nothing really to add except to say that IanB, who I have clashed with a bit over the puritan thing elsewhere is absolutely spot on with this, irrespective of the wider arguments it is really being proposed as a measure to target people who are thought, to be making incorrect moral choices and is inherently oppressive.

  57. @JohnB ‘If your mate who was on gbp26k gets a gbp10k job because it’s the only thing he can get after a fortnight, and we’ve made the dole so vile and stigmatised that he can’t bear to be on it any longer, we’re destroying value compared to the setup where if he stays on the dole for a couple of months sending off CVs and going through interviews and lands another gbp26k job…’

    That’s right, because even though you’re making an unrealistic, classroom-based point, of the sort you often do, it’s very well known that most people on £10k a year just stop looking for anything better.

    That’s them, sorted, for the rest of their lives.

    Plus, everyone knows it’s much much easier to find a job at £26k pa if your response to the question, ‘What have you been doing lately?’ is ‘I’ve been on the dole,’ as opposed to, ‘Well, I’m currently in this £10k a year job.’

    Working in a £10k a year job, when you might actually be better off doing nothing at all, shows absolutely no commitment and get-up-and-go, of the sort that employers might want, does it?

    (Are you simple, or something?)

  58. “From now on, people will only be allowed to buy booze out of earned income. So inheritances can only be used to spend on things that the state deems worthy”

    Illogical BS. It is down to the giver to dictate the terms. If my Great Uncle leaves me his fortune on the condition I never touch a drop of drink, or gamble, he’s perfectly entitled to do so. If he gives it to me fair and square for me to squander thats his lookout too. The State has nothing to do with it. It wasn’t the State’s money to give, so it doesn’t get a chance to impose any conditions.

    If you could get your head round the fact that the State doesn’t own everything, including the citizenry, you might just understand. As it is ot is you that is the fascist – declaring that everything is the property of the State, and whatever we get to keep is purely down to its enlightened beneficence.

  59. @Thornavis: But thats not the point as far as I’m concerned. If unemployed bloke A wants to live on rice and noodles while watching his Sky TV and smoking, I don’t care. What I do care about is people with kids being given large chunks of money (my money) to pay for those kids needs, and it being spent on beer and fags instead of paying for the kids to have 3 square meals a day, and decent clothes on their backs.

  60. @ Interested

    “I work, I get £30 a week top-up benefits, I use that to buy food and pay the leccie bill. Because I work, I can afford some of the other stuff.”

    What.. wait… hang on… you get £30 a week from the state, and you are able to afford things that the state considers immoral?

    Sorry, mate, but if you can afford to buy things that are immoral then you can’t have any money from the state. We, the worthy and judgemental taxpayers, will provide you with what you require to survive in a way that we consider appropriate. Not a penny more. And that means that if you can survive in a way we consider appropriate without us giving you any money, then we’re not going to give you any money.

  61. Interested: please stop talking until you’ve learned even half an hour’s worth of economics.

    On the contract point: let’s assume you’re one of Coventry’s lucky 25 shops. So, either you’re obliged to charge the same as Tesco to avoid gouging, or you already have a government-granted monopoly which already means benefits are worth less than they would be in cash (because obviously, the 25 shops will be able to charge more than the others).

    If it’s the second case, then that’s the situation I outlined and you dismissed above, *by default*. The unfortunate proles get less food for the money we give them, than they would if we gave them the same amount of cash where they could spend wherever they liked. Which, you’ll note, is exactly the same as cutting their benefit, but the money goes to the shopkeepers in the cartel instead of being saved by the taxpayer.

    If it’s the first case, then it becomes a bit more interesting. This time, there’s no advantage to the license other than guaranteed volumes, because we have government-fixed prices (very un-fascist, obviously). Accepted, this could go either way.

    If my Great Uncle leaves me his fortune on the condition I never touch a drop of drink, or gamble, he’s perfectly entitled to do so

    No, he absolutely isn’t. Conditions subsequent are void in wills in E&W: the second you get your hand on his dosh, you can spend the lot on scotch and scratchcards.

  62. Sorry, didn’t read any further than that.

    Well, you’re clearly not ‘interested’ unless it’s fawning agreement. Tried Murphy’s blog?

    Or maybe a name change. “Authoritarian Puritan” hasn’t been taken yet. Or, as you claim to enjoy yourself, how about “Statist Hypocrite”?

  63. Approve of this for benefit recipients and it’s YOU next…yes you, the Omnipresent Taxpayer.

    Don’t kid yourself here….you only work by the almighty grace of The State. It’s complicated and you’re welcome to google on the finer points but basically your jobs are created and funded by taxes one way or another and your NI Number and Tax Code…your licence to work if you will…can only be issued by The State.

    What, you thought that because you “earned” your money it was yours to do as you wish…and grants you the right to dictate how “your” taxes are spent ?

    Think again…and think on. Be very very careful what you wish for…and especially what you wish for others.

  64. 1. all this does is marginally enrich people who figure out a way to supply fags and booze whilst seemingly supplying food and nappies and make a bit of margin.

    2. Having said that, I imagine for many the fear isn’t that the poor will spend taxpayers’ money on fags and booze instead of food and nappies, it’s that they will do that and then demand more money for food and nappies.

  65. What Tatty said. Which is pretty much what the Thought Gang said at #64 and #54, Thornavis at #60, and others earlier, no doubt.

    The phrase du jour is “shifting the Overton Window”.

    Even if you

    1) approve morally of this (I don’t),

    2) think it is either practical (I don’t) or

    3) is worth doing just to make the point anyway (this is probably arguable although, as I disagree with it I’m not even going to consider the cost-benefit analysis – I suspect this would be horridly expensive as per john b and others)

    Then you really need to think if you are going to complacently give the undoubtedly beneficient state the power to do this to anybody.

    I prefer pubs (especially when I am eating) without cigarette smoke. I prefer pubs with cigarette smoke to no pubs. And that was, from the point of view of the bansturbators, an unintended consequence. This one will be secret, certainly, but entirely intended (pace the Thought Gang, again at #29.)

  66. Jim @ 63

    Well there’s a touch of think of the children in there but I can see the point of what you say. However for me there’s a basic question of liberty at stake and whilst I agree it’s right that individuals should be able to make conditions about the use of monetary gifts the state is neither an individual or disbursing charity. I would ask the same question as I do of those on the left when they tell me that this or that proposal is morally right, who makes that moral judgement ?

  67. Jim
    Further to that this is another one size fits all idea. The bloke living on rice and noodles is going to get caught just the same as the feckless dad who can’t be bothered to feed his kids. Which is one the points IanB and others have been making, it’s a collective approach based on moralising precepts that takes no account of individuals, the very opposite of anything I recognise as libertarian.

  68. @Thornavis

    I usually abhor the “think of the cheeeeeeeldren” argument, but in terms of benefits, it is one that has a bit of traction.

    I am completely against the moral impetus behind this, I really am, and as far as I’m concerned people should be free to fuck up their lives (or not) as they see fit, but I’ve never been sure what a properly libertarian attitude should be towards how far we let them fuck up the lives of their children.

    And I can see some validity in an argument for money that is given to people with children, purely because they have children, so they can feed and clothe same, being ring-fenced in some way.

  69. “it’s a collective approach based on moralising precepts that takes no account of individuals, the very opposite of anything I recognise as libertarian.”

    Absolutely, but the tax system takes no account of individuals either, and no-one is describing people in favour of it as fascistic scum.

  70. @ sam

    “And I can see some validity in an argument for money that is given to people with children, purely because they have children, so they can feed and clothe same, being ring-fenced in some way.”

    The answer, then, would be to pay child benefit in voucher/benefitcard form. Because that’s the bit that’s for the cheeeeeldren.

    Of course, *all* child benefit would have to be paid in that form… so it would immediately lose a lot of support because respectable middle class people who have no problem with the state telling poor people how to spend their money will be outraged about the state telling respectable middle class people how to spend their money.

  71. If someone can tell me how to afford luxury items on benefits I would be grateful.

    I do have a luxury item I am saving up for,…. boots that don’t leak to keep my feet dry, that is the extent of the luxury I look forward to.

  72. sam

    This ties in to an extent with Tim’s rather brutal point the other day that dead children might be the price that’s paid for the freedom to own firearms in the US. Actually I’m not sure I agree with that but probably that’s me being squeamish. However it’s a much more palatable view in relation to children and benefits, there’s no way that we are ever going to reduce to zero the risk that feckless parents on benefits are going to spend their money on booze and fags and I don’t think we should even try, it won’t work and it reduces the recipients of benefits to vassal status.

  73. I think that Warren (comment #36) has the basics of a workable scheme. I would propose that we should each of us be allocated a lifetime account limit. We would be able to increase that limit for every £1000 worth of income tax we have paid. (Up to some maximum level.)
    And if we find at some point (often in our early years as school/college leavers) that we need to start drawing some of our allowance, we should be able to take it at a level to match our own assessment of our needs. It would give young folk an incentive to minimise their living expenses, and keep up the job search. So they could maintain their lifetime account, and start to replenish it when they become taxpayers.

    It would put the brakes on the aspirations of the young women who currently plan their lives around having a baby, demanding and getting a council house and money to live on, if they realised that was going to blow through their entire lifetime account in say ten years, and leave them destitute.

    But also it would mean that Tom, (comment #76), would be in a position to take an advance from his account, to buy his new boots, and to tide himself over until better days.

  74. If we are worried that those on benefits have too much money to spend on “luxuries”, what about reducing the amount of benefits? Too simple?

  75. The idea of the card is not practical, mainly because it is an attempt to correct a distorted system without fixing the original distortion and monopoly.

    Welfare as it stands, including pensions, is Unfunded. It is going to implode. The idea of “entitlement” has created an unhealthy environment. People are rational actors. One cannot blame them if they make choices based upon the incentives presented.

    Milton Friedman was very much against intervening on what a recipient of benefits spent their income on, mainly because he felt, and I agree, that the state is hopeless at making such decisions. In the round, on the whole, people in general tend to make pretty good choices for themselves. Taking this argument forward, HB and welfare would be combined and no state housing provided, as it is a distortion, keeping people static and in ghettos on many occasions.

    Introducing such a tracking card does open the door to further attempts to track the spending of people. Do not think that those in government do not want to know every single thing about us so they can run their poisonous models. Healthcare. Parenting. Taxation. Given half a chance, they will.

    At first glance, the idea of a card can be attractive, but I rejected it once it became clear it was only in reaction to a bad solution that exists, not a solution in itself.

    Ps johnB can demand not to get the point about Islington housing. Does not change the facts.

  76. The Thought Gang – “But I have a mighty fear about where this would end up. Anyone who wants to know what happens when you give those fuckers an inch is invited to consider, ooh, all human history.”

    That is probably true. But on the one hand we will probably end up there anyway. And on the other, this is not about us, it is about them. The present system makes them worse off. We need to change that. If not this, what?

    55 Surreptitious Evil – “I tell you what, let’s extend the control-freak proposal.”

    How about reducing the control-freak aspect of it a little while at the same time producing some ends we might like. How about we make all sorts of benefits dependent on going to the Third World to do some sort of socially productive work? There must be any number of schools in Jamaica that need painting. We pay for them to go there. They can smoke all the weed they like. Eat fresh, locally produced vegetables if they want. And not break into the homes of the rest of us.

    Seems like a win-win to me.

    Thornavis. – “irrespective of the wider arguments it is really being proposed as a measure to target people who are thought, to be making incorrect moral choices and is inherently oppressive.”

    1. They *are* making incorrect moral choices. No one can deny that. To sit on welfare for any extended period of time is morally wrong. Would you allow your son or your brother to do so? If my brother was thrown out of work, he would be welcome to come and sleep on my couch, eat my food. For a while. But after six months of watching TV all day, I might insist he got up and got a real job. Wouldn’t you? How can it be right to allow others to do this when you wouldn’t for your own kin?

    2. Yes, it is oppressive. But then if you join the Army you have limited choices too. We are not called on to do much except feed and cloth the poor. Not treat them in some style. I see this as a contract like joining the Army. We give them money and they agree to some conditions. What is wrong with that?

    71 Thornavis. – “I would ask the same question as I do of those on the left when they tell me that this or that proposal is morally right, who makes that moral judgement ?”

    This is such a no-brainer, who would argue with the moral rights and wrongs? It is wrong to sit at home smoking marijuana and watching porn. That leads to Baby P. On this Jesus Christ and Lenin are agreed – he who does not work shall not eat.

    72 Thornavis. – “The bloke living on rice and noodles is going to get caught just the same as the feckless dad who can’t be bothered to feed his kids.”

    And the downside of that is what?

  77. john b – “This is why, as Ian was trying to suggest earlier, drawing a distinction between “hard working poor people” and “benefit claimants” is fucking stupid: they are the same.”

    Except they are not. There are highly popular wealth transfer schemes. And then there are people who don’t work at all and are on benefits. Especially those on them for an extended time. No problems telling them apart.

    “the places in Islington in which HB claimants live are almost universally not the places in which people who have any money at all are seeking to live.”

    Because claimants are living there. Drive them out, or simply stop them committing crimes, and normal people will move in. You can see this happening in the US where historic Black areas like the Bronx are becoming mixed race. Which is to say, so many young Black men in prison, it is now safe for hipsters to move in and gradually White yuppies are pushing the Blacks out. Islington is a nice place. Used to live there myself. Next to some nice ex-council houses that were expensive. And some concrete tower blocks with a local shop that was a vandalised, grafitti’ed concrete bunker. And from where gun shots emerged from time to time.

    “if you aren’t bothered about people bartering their veggies for Sky, then why the fuck not just give them the money in the first place”

    Because it would reduce the number of people who would watch Sky. Place a barrier to the consumption of alcohol and fewer people will consume it. Not zero but fewer. That is a good thing.

    “4: the NT intervention has been a complete failure, like all attempts at prohibition everywhere.”

    As I said, it was gutted by the new Labour government. As for being a complete failure what is the evidence? Prohibition, when it is actually enforced, is rarely a failure. But the main point remains – if not this, what? Those communities are in a state of complete social and moral collapse. Caused in part by welfare. If not this, what? More gang rapes? More 12 year olds with syphilis? What?

    “But, like the war on drugs, it’s still popular among gullible people who like the concept of a panacea that’ll end their woes (prohibition in the US was driven by females from low-education groups too), so people will vote for it.”

    Although in this case the people who suffer from welfare are voting for it. Not rural White women who don’t like urban Latin men. But you have nothing to offer in return. Just more of the same. I don’t think you can call those voters idiots.

    “the belief that there’s a meaningful distinction between what you’ve earned and been given is ludicrous.”

    There is a meaningful moral difference. As is obvious.

  78. Interest is right that I’ve never been a jobbing brickie, but otherwise wrong as usual. In particular, I haven’t commented on either side of this argument.

    If you want to explore the practicalities of this proposal, I suggest you look at the much researched SNAP (food stamp) programme in the USA.

  79. Emil and Roger are right. If you believe benefits are the problem, then giving people less cash is the answer

    SMfS:

    The third world thing is superficially tempting, but suffers from the same problems as gap year third-worlding, which is that if there’s one thing the third world doesn’t lack it’s unskilled labour. Sending unskilled Brits for free to do work that unskilled locals could otherwise do for a pittance is not at all helpful, in either the short term or the long term.

    The distinction between the two sorts of benefit is not as sharp as you pretend even in concept, and it’s completely blurred in the public’s eyes (more than half of HB claimants are in work, but the government has successfully spun the HB cuts as punishing feckless single mothers-of-10 living in mansions, rather than working families trying to get by on 1.5 low incomes).

    On the prohibition front, the people who suffer from substance-exacerbated violence (ie the wives of drunks) are voting for prohibition, which is understandable intuitively but completely wrong when you consider the evidence. This is what happened in the US with booze, what happens frequently in India (where states and districts often vote to go dry), and what’s happened in much of the western world with drugs.

    Banning alcohol means that some people who have the occasional glass of wine stop, some continue but do so through criminals, and heavy drinkers drink meths and bathtub gin and end up more drunk, more violent, and blind.

    And yes, there’s a moral distinction between what you’ve earned and what you’ve been given. Inheritances are firmly on the ‘given’ side, and – as I noted above – conditions subsequent are not allowed because that’s considered an unfair imposition on freedom.

  80. “Banning alcohol means that some people who have the occasional glass of wine stop, some continue but do so through criminals, and heavy drinkers drink meths and bathtub gin and end up more drunk, more violent, and blind.”

    I hope you used the same principle you have used here to oppose any increased gun controls.

  81. “The distinction between the two sorts of benefit is not as sharp as you pretend even in concept, and it’s completely blurred in the public’s eyes (more than half of HB claimants are in work, but the government has successfully spun the HB cuts as punishing feckless single mothers-of-10 living in mansions, rather than working families trying to get by on 1.5 low incomes).”

    But this problem is driven by 3 issues – none of which are in the control of the people themselves:

    1) If they weren’t taxed so highly they’d have more money for themselves
    2) If there were fewer immigrants there’d be a lot less housing pressure. Also NIMBYism around planning is an arse…
    3) The labour government deliberately constructed the system to work this way to tie people to the state

    The other aspect to this is the spate of stories we’re seeing at the moment about kids with parent on benefits turning up at school hungry.. we’re told it”s because the parents don’t have enough money, but it’s more likely their parents are just wankers…

  82. PaulB – predictable, and, indeed, predicted.
    JohnB – so a competitive tender process leads to higher prices? Ok…
    SurreptitiousEejit – the usual blah.

    Ok, the technical side of it is not doable now but will be relatively facile once we move from cash to card.

    Morality is what really interests me, though. So for the various paranoiacs, lefty trolls and people who’ve never actually done a day’s work in their lives, I will rephrase it.

    1. There are people working 50 hour weeks in grotty jobs who cannot afford satellite telly (to simplify things and make it about one luxury). Do you accept this is the case?

    2. There are people on the dole, who have never worked, who have satellite telly and watch it virtually 24/7 on 60in plasmas. Do you deny this is the case?

    3. Is it really *fascist* to say that there is something wrong here?

  83. “So a competitive tender process leads to higher prices?”

    Non-market solutions are more expensive than market solutions.

    Competitive tendering is an attempt at imposing a degree of marketisation on transactions that can’t realistically be done in the market (“installing drains in London”, say), but it’s still a non-market solution.

    If you take a market based solution (“we give the poor cash”) and replace it with a non-market solution (“we impose a ridiculous scheme to stop people buying booze and fags”), then putting the non-market solution to competitive tender will be more efficient than giving the contract to the commissar’s cronies, but less efficient than the market solution you started with.

  84. There are people working 50 hour weeks in grotty jobs who cannot afford satellite telly (to simplify things and make it about one luxury). Do you accept this is the case?

    Of course not. The minimum wage in the UK for someone working a 50 hour week works out at gbp16k a year, or gbp13500 after tax and NI. That’s gbp259 a week, or about 3x the level of out-of-work benefits.

    People making that wage may *choose* not to have Sky, or beer, or whatever, because they are saving up for something or remitting money overseas or like nice clothes or whatever.

    But (aside from people paying off past debts, who’ve already had the benefit of the money in question) there is nobody working full time who would be unable to afford essentials plus Sky. People who say they can’t afford Sky really mean “can’t afford Sky because of the saving/other luxury spending they are doing”.

  85. @JohnB ‘Non-market solutions are more expensive than market solutions.’

    We’re not talking perfect world, here, and you’re the first raging lefty I’ve heard call for the markets always and everywhere to be allowed to let rip. But good on you. More rejoicing in heaven etc

    Now, tell me what the market currently is for the supply of items to people on the dole via the use of a card?

    Then, additionally, explain to me how Mr Patel is going to increase the price of his tins of beans to 60p, when Mr Singh is selling them five doors down for 40p?

    He might do that, I suppose, to grab extra dosh from the dole card folks, though I would expect some sort of ‘not above prevailing local price’ clause in the original contract, which would entail him losing that contract if he tried it on.

    Meanwhile, Mr Singh has cornered the entire bean market in the street among the non-dolies.

    Mr Patel may be stupid, but I expect he knows a little bit more about business in the real world than you do.

    ‘People making that wage may *choose* not to have Sky, or beer, or whatever, because they are saving up for something or remitting money overseas or like nice clothes or whatever.’

    Ah. (I love that ‘remitting money overseas’.) I didn’t realise that was the level of argument. In the real world, people can’t afford stuff; in JohnB world they can, *because he says they can!*

  86. Interested: It’s predictable that I’ve never been a jobbing brickie, because there are not very many jobbing brickies. But if you’re implying that I’ve never worked outside in winter, or never been on a low income, then you’re wrong.

    There are people on the dole, who have never worked, who have satellite telly and watch it virtually 24/7 on 60in plasmas. Do you deny this is the case?

    The cheapest 60″ plasma TV I could find in a few seconds costs about £700. A basic Sky subscription costs £21.50 a month, and it’s £21 extra for Sky Sports. A single person over 24 who makes a sufficient show of being available for work gets £71 a week jobseekers’ allowance, call it £308 a month. So if they were willing to go without enough other things – including non-leaking boots – they could find the money for the subscription. They’d have to find a hooky TV to buy cheap. I suppose there are some who have done this.

    What this shows is that TV is not very expensive compared with many things that most people consider to be necessities but some may choose to go without.

    The options are (a) cut benefits to the point that they don’t cover many things that most people consider to be necessities (b) impose a draconian, and presumably expensive, system of controls over what claimants spend their money on (c) live with it.

  87. It is interesting that the buzzword “Fascist” is being bandied around so freely on this thread. The proposal strikes me as more Fabian than Fascist – it is just the kind of social engineering woo that Beatrice Webb or Douglas Jay were so keen on. I am not sure that Mussolini would have been very interested since it doesn’t seem to involve hitting people on heads.

  88. SMfS
    Thornavis. – “irrespective of the wider arguments it is really being proposed as a measure to target people who are thought, to be making incorrect moral choices and is inherently oppressive.”

    1. They *are* making incorrect moral choices. No one can deny that. To sit on welfare for any extended period of time is morally wrong. Would you allow your son or your brother to do so? If my brother was thrown out of work, he would be welcome to come and sleep on my couch, eat my food. For a while. But after six months of watching TV all day, I might insist he got up and got a real job. Wouldn’t you? How can it be right to allow others to do this when you wouldn’t for your own kin?

    2. Yes, it is oppressive. But then if you join the Army you have limited choices too. We are not called on to do much except feed and cloth the poor. Not treat them in some style. I see this as a contract like joining the Army. We give them money and they agree to some conditions. What is wrong with that?

    71 Thornavis. – “I would ask the same question as I do of those on the left when they tell me that this or that proposal is morally right, who makes that moral judgement ?”

    This is such a no-brainer, who would argue with the moral rights and wrongs? It is wrong to sit at home smoking marijuana and watching porn. That leads to Baby P. On this Jesus Christ and Lenin are agreed – he who does not work shall not eat.

    72 Thornavis. – “The bloke living on rice and noodles is going to get caught just the same as the feckless dad who can’t be bothered to feed his kids.”

    And the downside of that is what?

    We are talking past each other to an extent because we don’t share the same moral outlook but a couple of things here. I have neither a son or a brother but if I did I would not “allow” them to do anything they would be autonomous individuals who would be making their own choices, I might choose to help or not according to circumstance but that again would be an individual choice. Let me repeat this, because you and others don’t seem to have grasped it, the state is not an individual, it’s not even a collection of individuals, it doesn’t actually exist really, any more than a company does, any decisions it makes are made by power centres and interest groups and are entirely free of inherent morality or the ability to instill it anyone. This is the delusion of the left, that the state can make moral choices for individuals, it doesn’t surprise me though to see conservatives making the same error.

    As for being wrong to sit at home smoking pot and watching porn, why what’s wrong with that ? I sit at home drinking vodka and watching war films at times, I haven’t fathered a Baby P or killed anyone yet. As for Jesus Christ and Lenin I don’t believe in either of them so I’m not bothered what they agree about.
    My comment at 72 was in response to Jim’s at 63 and I was making a point about catching everyone in this moralising net irrespective of what harm they were doing or how much control they have over their circumstances. IanB made that point right at the start of the thread, not everyone who is on benefits is a feckless, workshy, child neglecting waste of space, neither are they necessarily in much of a position to alter their lives, another of IanB’s points, benefits have no effect on job availability (although they can affect the incentive of taking one but that’s another argument). This is my fundamental objection to the whole idea, not the fact that it wouldn’t work or that it’s little more than a political stunt but that it encourages collectivist thinking.

  89. Blimey, I’m on the same page as Ian B. Mark your calendars, guys.

    The one point I didn’t see made in all the verbiage, which is worth marking up, is the following.

    A bunch of you are talking, with varying degrees of willingness, about people who make incorrect moral choices. I put the proposition that you will not solve this problem by withdrawing their ability to make choices (and, by extension, to make poor choices).

    The Shelbrooke proposal comes straight out of the paternalistic, and dare I say left-wing, notion that people need to be protected from their own bad choices. (Yes, “Privatise the gains and socialise the losses” is a left-wing mantra.) I disagree fundamentally with this premise: people need to be exposed to the consequences of their choices, or they will never learn to make better ones.

  90. Interested: I genuinely have no idea what you mean by your reaction to “or sending money overseas”.

    On the wider point: I’ve shown using the actual numbers how much money your hypothetical person working a 50-hour week on the minimum wage would have, which is more than enough to pay for essentials plus an LCD TV on hire purchase and a Sky subscription. *You’re* the one whose idea of refuting is “because I say so”.

  91. If anyone ever needed proof that “libertarians” (or “propertarians” to use the correct title) and their fellow travellers are sociopathic, snobbbish, swivel-eyed, psuedo-moralising, authoritarian control freaks who get their kicks out of simultaneously fantasising ways to make life harder for the poorest while dreaming of sucking the backsides of the rich, they only have to read these comments.

    Mussolini found people like libertarians very useful. So did Pinochet.

  92. Catching up… Interested-

    PaulB, the jobbing brickie? Nah. JohnB, the forklift driver? In his student holidays, maybe. TimW… horny handed son of scandium-related toil…

    Ian B; electrician, maintenance man, etc. You patronising fuck.

    Anyway, I want to just reiterate the point I made early on that this isn’t about “luxuries”. It’s purely about disapproved of non-luxury lifestyle choices such as smoking (strongly working class) or, bizarrely, watching telly. As James said early on, he doesn’t care if they buy steak. Just so long as they don’t do puritan-disapproved of things, like smoking or having a tin of lager.

    There is no suggestion of reducing benefits, merely limiting what they may be spent on. This is purely ideological and, quite demonstrably, puritan. Interested may protest (too much?) that he isn’t a puritan, but it is worth remembering that generally Anglo-puritans are interested in preventing the untermensch doing non-puritan things. For their own good. Here’s the prototype sanctimonious cunt, Lord (Port Sunlight) Leverhulme, explaining why his vaunted “profit sharing” scheme didn’t involve his actually sharing his profits with the workers-

    “It would not do you much good if you send it down your throats in the form of bottles of whisky, bags of sweets, or fat geese at Christmas. On the other hand, if you leave the money with me, I shall use it to provide for you everything that makes life pleasant – nice houses, comfortable homes, and healthy recreation.”

    Controlling the little people is the wank fantasy of every puritan.

    Considering various puritans have already flown kites regarding various control schemes, including the infamous lifestyle-nazi Julian Le Grand and his “smoking license” idea, it’s not hard to see what motivation is behind this. Roll out the scheme on the scroungers first, then you’ve got it in place… (See also, ID cards for immigrants).

    Anyway John B and others have answered things very well otherwise, I think.

    Also, Ned Ludd-

    If anyone ever needed proof that “libertarians” (or “propertarians” to use the correct title) and their fellow travellers are sociopathic, snobbbish, swivel-eyed, psuedo-moralising, authoritarian control freaks who get their kicks out of simultaneously fantasising ways to make life harder for the poorest while dreaming of sucking the backsides of the rich, they only have to read these comments.

    Some are. I’m a Libertarian too. Devil’s Kitchen once introduced a useful terminology to describe “Negative” and “Positive” Libertarians. Positives believe a Libertarain world would be a better one. Negatives just represent the Pink Floyd’s “Money” stereotype.

    It’s possible- in fact, if you think about it, necessary- for those who seek liberty to also seek decency. Liberty predicated on hauling up the ladder behind you and weeing on the people who didn’t get up it in time isn’t going to last more than a nanosecond before it turns into something else.

  93. I agree with the MP in this case. The benefit system is there to make sure people can live (not in luxury, but live.) I have no problem helping someone out who is down on their luck and genuinely struggling but alcohol and cigarettes etc definitely fall into the category of luxurious for the simple fact that you dont need them to live.. I myself am struggling and for several months lived on £320 a month (had to pay all my bills with this) I can say it was not easy! but it is not meant to be I did not claim benefits but lived off much less than those who do claim. Why you might ask? It’s simple, it is not sustainable! I moved into the cheapest accommodation I could get (£60 a week) an used the rest to buy food and pay my phone bill.

    The biggest problem is the UK is a 1st world country. You might see this as being a strange observation, however when we live in a society that does not truly understand what poverty is and has such a well meaning system in place people get comfortable. In our first world society we believe everyone should be comfortable and has the right to be comfortable and to a degree I agree. Where the problem lies is us being to comfortable, when this happens people tend to get lazy. I believe I have a foot to stand on here because I live on the breadline, and being on the breadline gets people more motivated to get work.

    That brings me onto a whole new issue where I believe the problem lies. As a country we need to get people into work not by putting pressure on the job centres and bailing out the banks, but by creating jobs! We need to help entrepreneurs, small businesses and support local trades more and not create barriers which are actually stopping these people from having the opportunity to support themselves, families and potentially create a business which will employ staff and get jobs going! There is a saying which goes “give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” Everyone always thinks it is all about education, which is part true, but the thing which people tend to miss is that we are creating opportunity! College and university does not guarantee a job any more, because people are becoming qualified and population is growing and there are more people than jobs, which I know first hand. The other problem is people can make more money on benefits then they can working a job.. Why would people work if they could get more from claiming than actually working.

    I wont begin to claim I am the smartest person about but the way the country is going we think the economy went bad? Just wait! It’s simply just not sustainable. If I where in power I would set up a system where I help them out and put them in very basic cheap accommodation and teach people skills which they can transfer into everyday living and create opportunity and also get employed and do better then just survive. On a whole we need to re-access what it is we need to be happy? How can thing’s be more sustainable and how can we truly help others get to where they want to be in the future. We live in a culture where most people could not tell you there next door neighbours name, we need to change this and be a people who pull together more and through community help encourage, and change Britain into a society where we all are able to pursue our dreams, not with a crutch but by first learning to crawl, walk and then run!

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