Of all the idiot suggestions

And a report from University College London’s Institute for Global Prosperity is advocating that UK citizens should receive free housing, food, transport and internet access to deal with that same daunting possibility.

They don’t actually say free food either, they say free meals.

Yep, the idea is that government cook lunch for poor people. Obviously, organic, no salt, no sugar, vegetable heavy. Won’t the poor be grateful. The Morris Marina of comestibles.

Sheesh, this violates the most basic stricture, always, but always, subsidise people, not things. What is more valuable to you, £10 to buy lunch with or a lunch provided to you that cost £10? £10, obviously. Because you can spend £5 on lunch and £5 on dinner, or beer, or soap.

These people are so fucking stupid they’ve just not grasped why food stamps sell at a discount to real cash money. Idiots, morons.

71 comments on “Of all the idiot suggestions

  1. ” a lunch provided to you that cost £10″

    We think that gov isn’t generally very efficient at doing stuff. Likely it would have cost less elsewhere had you had the option to buy your own.

    So the discount on food stamps will also in part reflect the wasted value of the inefficiency?

  2. A food service would provide one third of meals for 2.2m households deemed to experience food insecurity each year

    Indeed, it’s not clear how this is better than just giving them money.

    The services themselves might be provided publicly, by private companies, or by the voluntary sector …

    So far so good.

    … and would need to be democratically accountable locally to prevent state monopolies.

    Is a local monopoly any better than a state monopoly? Also, there’s a big difference between democratically accountable to everyone in the local area, versus only acccountable to recipients of aid. Either way, we just end up duplicating local authorities’ existing functions.

  3. Don’t the poor and elderly already get that now? Free housing, free £££ to spend on whatever they want, including food, travel and internet? A free bus pass if you’re an OAP too.

  4. The state provided meals would be almost as poisonous as the socialist propaganda that advocates them.

  5. @BinD – I’d imagine they’re rather high. I pay 0.25% wealth tax over the threshold here in Switzerland, and the effort that goes into compiling and checking the list of assets, debts (which are deductible) and so on must be incredible, to raise all of 250.- for every 100k of net assets.

    It also seems that a wealth tax must be tiny (fractions of a percent) to work, otherwise people may have to liquidate assets to pay it, which wouldn’t be great for the markets.

  6. I read the report and was simply staggered by the basic lack of comprehension of human nature which characterised it. No understanding of the ‘Free rider’ principle. No recognition of immigration as a ‘potential’ issue. Sadly when you look at the authors you see why. No experience of the real world. I doubt they have actually spent more than a day encountering the poor even under ‘controlled conditions.. Sadly I am guessing this will be just the kind of ‘policy’ that the incoming Corbyn administration will lap up. The UK is really on the edge at the moment….

  7. Additionally Tim you missed this:

    ‘If a larger proportion of people lived in social housing, this sort of treatment would be impossible. Politicians can only neglect a certain percentage of the population without facing consequences: mess with too many of us, and we’ll vote you out. In essence, this is the basic argument for universality. It’s one that even many left-of-centre politicians seem to have forgotten in recent decades. The higher the number of people who have a stake, the better resourced, monitored and defended a public service will be.’

    I absolutely fucking loathe this argument and all who make it. It is basically an advocacy of North Korea- why isn’t this being broadcast loud and clear – ‘vote Corbyn, and you get what the states deigns to give you – no choice, no other options’ – appalling…

  8. OT, Polly was kicking off this morning on the Today program when Quentin Letts mentioned she had the most perfect Tuscan villa. She said she didn’t own any property in Italy and he must have been reading internet trolls. She the proceeds to list of Paul Dacre’s propert portfolio (all British).

    Does anyone know where her villa was, thinking of going to Tuscany for next year’s hols and I’m she she lived somewhere charming and rustic.

  9. VP i saw that too. Very poor reasoning. Abi uses it to counter the argument that only the poor should receive benefits from the state. She points out people accept no means test for the NHS and Schools. So, Abi says, confine social housing to the poorest of the poor and they’re always going to be ignored and their consequently no wonder their housing quality is terrible. Extend social housing to everyone and they’ll raise up the general level by their general collectivist interest to make it better. So in Abi’s mind that’s that argument dealt -rubs hands- on to the next item of if i ruled the world. Nevermind that all the people saving, borrowing, paying for, working on, choosing, building,improving, maintaining their OWN housing under their own devices are to be thrown under the bus to live in collectively owned social housing. Too right they’ll be moaning like buggery. But it won’t be at the council window cleaners. It will rather be to be left alone to own or rent a house of their chosing according to their own means.

  10. I’m pretty sure it was in Umbria. Either not as posh as Tuscany or, alternatively, more hipster than. I’ve also heard, but cannot confirm, that she disposed of it.

  11. I don’t see the problem. It worked well enough in the Soviet Union. True, they didn’t provide food for free but it was cheap and everyone stayed alive, the tens of millions they had to kill to make it all work notwithstanding.

  12. Free housing for everyone! What could possibly go wrong?

    Wait till you see the housing and your neighbours.

    mess with too many of us, and we’ll vote you out. In essence, this is the basic argument for universality

    How did that whole “we’ll vote you out” thing go in societies where the State had or has a monopoly on housing?

    These people are communists masquerading as civil society.

  13. If the meal service is as good as the rollout of UniCredit you’ll have to wait six weeks for your dinner.

  14. It was in Umbria. Tuscany was crawling with middle-class arrivistes who Polly wouldn’t be seen dead with.

    Still, I’m sure Polly can cope with the odd half-truth like this – God knows she litters her columns with worse every week.

  15. Here’s how a free State meal worth £10 for everyone will work:

    You will pay £12 in taxes for every meal.
    The meal won’t appear or when it does, will either be revolting or actually dangerous. The filthy slob delivering it won’t give a fuck either way.
    You end up having to pay £5 for a meal from a private provider or you starve.
    The State denounces you for “taking resources away from the State Food Service” when you bought a private meal.
    The Guardian and the BBC denounces your white privilege for thinking you should receive free State meals.

  16. “It worked well enough in the Soviet Union. True, they didn’t provide food for free but it was cheap and everyone stayed alive, the tens of millions they had to kill to make it all work notwithstanding”

    Everyone didn’t stay alive (even if we ignore the millions shot in the back of the head). Millions of people in the USSR starved to death because they didn’t have enough food (and in many cases, such as the Ukranian Holodomor, people were deliberately starved to death).

  17. I sneeze in threes,

    “OT, Polly was kicking off this morning on the Today program when Quentin Letts mentioned she had the most perfect Tuscan villa.”

    I don’t care if the has a Tuscan villa or not, unless it’s a question of housing and hypocrisy. That’s just playing the man, and worse, you don’t even need to with Toynbee. She’s fucking useless in an argument.

    But the problem is, this is the sort of people on all sides that the BBC provides. The “right” is that twat Peter Hitchens, or this jovial knockabout crap of Quentin Letts. It’s such a poor level of debate compared to what’s on the internet.

  18. Had a week of free state meals when I was banged up in the local hospitals. A week of surviving on 300 calories a day food intake. A week of meals that were inedible.
    I was and still am a good cook, I know what the meals are supposed to taste like. A few things I managed a few bites, most not even that much.

    State really, really bad at providing meals. I’m burning through over 10 times what they are feeding me and getting weaker by the day – kept threatening to bust out.
    If the food was even as good as the canteen area I’d at least be able to eat it.

  19. “If the (hospital) food was even as good as the canteen area I’d at least be able to eat it.”

    Now there’s a thing. Must have eaten in dozens of hospital canteens over the years. Good wheeze if you’re looking for a cheap meal. Find the town’s hospital & wander round until you find where the staff get fed. Breeze in, grab your nosh. No-one ever asks, but one of those photo ID badges clipped to your jacket useful. Hospitals are always full of contractors,
    And never had a bad meal yet. And generous portions. Probably why the majority of NHS staff couldn’t meet their own BMI targets by a country mile.

  20. “The horror of Grenfell Tower has also given impetus to those who wish to see a more communal politics”
    The tragedy of Grenfell Tower was down to communal politics with a TMO board elected by council tenants.

  21. DocBud,

    Blimey, forgotten about that.

    Didn’t they trade at a slight premium at one point? During the Seventies? Something to do with tax and inflation I think.

  22. Bloke in Spain – the hospital canteen at my local hospital is open to staff and customers. Its OK as far as food goes, eaten there several times when wife is in hospital – pointless spending 45 minutes in taxi home to spend half hour at home then back in a taxi to go see wife again.

    Two hospitals in a week, both poor in different ways and both with starvation diet for me. In a hostile environment when I’m using far more energy.
    Next time will get the wife to pick up some KFC and can eat it cold after she is gone.

  23. “Free housing for everyone! What could possibly go wrong?”

    Actually, that’s the one way to make it work. Free housing for the poor is what gets bungled. If the state provides housing for everyone, then it becomes in the interest of the rich and powerful to make it work.

    Public housing will work much better if the members of the committee know that their children are going to live in these houses as well. It’s why socialized medicine and free education sort-of work, as measured by literacy rates and life expectancy, but attempts to eradicate poverty haven’t.

    Of course nobody is advocating a complete take-over of housing by government and for good reason. But the half measures that are proposed are not going to get what the proponents are aiming for.

  24. We complain of two things.

    (i) Government wants to do far too many things.

    (ii) The things that government really should do – e.g. police, courts, defence – it does badly.

    Could the two be related by any chance?

  25. synp,

    “Public housing will work much better if the members of the committee know that their children are going to live in these houses as well. It’s why socialized medicine and free education sort-of work, as measured by literacy rates and life expectancy, but attempts to eradicate poverty haven’t.”

    Do the Queen and the Prime Minister join the same waiting lists for NHS treatment as the rest of us?

    This stuff is supposed to work, but never does because the insiders make it work for themselves. They’ll know which magic words to put on their housing application that will get them a better house, and you won’t. Hell, the whole public sector is already infested this problem that having the right useless qualifications or the right sort of interests gets you in, and you only know this stuff by knowing insiders who can guide you.

  26. “How did that whole “we’ll vote you out” thing go in societies where the State had or has a monopoly on housing?”

    In Sheffield’s early Council Housing+Labour Control history there was the widespread feeling of “I’ve gotta vote Labour or I’ll lose my council house”.

  27. “A week of surviving on 300 calories a day food intake. A week of meals that were inedible.”

    Hmm. I need to lose some weight. Maybe I should get run over.

  28. Public housing will work much better if the members of the committee know that their children are going to live in these houses as well.

    The Nomenklatura will simply rig the system so that they get the best housing, best of everything. They won’t get “voted out” because a State which has total control of housing, transport, food isn’t going to allow something like Democracy to get in the way.

  29. Synp… People will never vote for a system that prescribes you should live in a state approved hutch, assigned on the basis of ‘need’. Can you imagine an upper middle-class woman agreeing to live in a one bedroom apartment next door to an unemployed arsehole with eight wayward kids who are inhabiting a spacious six bed mini-mansion. A small development of social housing was build hereabouts several years ago ‘for local people’. The council had to resort to a faraway urban conurbation to find someone with sufficient points to meet the strict ‘social need’ requirement.

  30. I’m all in favour of the Left coming out with this sort of shit. They are under the impression that the public are straining at the leash to get Communism c.1955, whereas the public are indeed pissed off with how things are, and are too stupid (or uneducated) to realise what they need is not more Left but more Right, but also will be very unhappy with the practical impacts of the implementation 1950s communism.

    So vague ‘Tories are bastards, we’re nice people who believe in fairys and unicorns for everyone’ noises from the Left will get them success, because there is a thick seam of generalised social unrest to be mined, but actual socialism imposed on people will get them chucked out in short order, and the more old school the ideas are the faster people will realise the truth.

    So keep it coming.

  31. JIm,

    I’m unsure. That was what various people were suggesting when Corbo first ran for leader. “Let’s get him in and his unreconstructed seventies socialism will utterly destroy Labour’s electoral prospects!” (I paraphrase). Hasn’t exactly worked out like that has it? There is a big risk that when they get in, it will take a good number of years to winkle them out of power.

    Let’s face it, the cultural marxist dominated media will go to extreme lengths to promote, support and excuse the corbynista beliefs right now. What will they do when Corbo and the deeply sinister McDonnell, Abbott and Thornberry are in power? Can you imagine how the BBC news will report the first nationalisations, especially if it’s for something unpopular such as utilities?

    The likelihood is that unless something changes at the top of the Tory party, Corbyn’s Labour party will win the next election and I suspect the one after that. And don’t think the so-called Labour moderates will temper the extremism-they’ve already shown after June that they’re attracted to power and will forgive the Corbynista’s anything if it allows them to lord it over us.

  32. Young Abi needs to be sent to prison, gaol or jail, whatever you call it, to see just how bad state monopoly food served to a subservient populace can be.

    Jesus, she’s stupid.

  33. “If the (hospital) food was even as good as the canteen area I’d at least be able to eat it.”

    I had a post on this some time back. I worked out that canteen food is good if the managers have to eat in them. Someone pointed out that the best way to improve NHS food is to make the staff, particularly the managers, eat it as well.

  34. @Martin – you should take photos and blog the food, together with its approximate calorie content.

    Even people in the sick bay in Gulag got 1200 calories IIRC (if they were lucky enough not just to be left out in the cold to die).

  35. “The likelihood is that unless something changes at the top of the Tory party, Corbyn’s Labour party will win the next election and I suspect the one after that.”

    I’ll agree with the first part, but not the latter. The point is that the younger generations have never known anything but ‘nice’ economic and social conditions. They don’t realise what socialism will do to their lives (fuck it up for sure), but having been fed a diet of ‘Left is good’ by the State education system from 5 to 22, they don’t believe the doom laden predictions of older heads. They think there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and no amount of persuasion otherwise is going to stop them voting for having it.

    The Uber situation fills me with confidence that the modern ultra-individualistic generations are not crying out to be squeezed into a socialist mould, they just don’t know whats going to happen to them if they do. It won’t take much for them to realise the error of their ways.

  36. @ Oblong
    My favourite example of a council estate built for and largely inhabited by (mostly retired) council officials is the Golden Lane Estate built by the City of London. The Architect won various awards for it.

  37. Aha. Laurie Penny Mk IV.

    This seems to be diametrically backwards from Abi W:

    “How many people who criticised Labour’s plans for universal free school meals as “inefficient” realise that, since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, they haven’t raised the (already desperately low) income threshold of £16,190? Factor in inflation, and that’s a cut.”

    Wouldn’t raising the threshold be the cut?

  38. Andrew,

    Restrict benefits to a single sector and the benefits are worth roughly half what we paid. Restrict benefits to a single supplier and the benefits are worth roughly a third of what we paid.

    synp,

    No, it doesn’t work. The Kock brothers of the world simply get high level government jobs and skim off their excess

  39. “the (already desperately low) income threshold of £16,190?”
    That is FIVE times the level of JSA and 40% above the level of the personal allowance so those on £11,600 are subsidising those earning 40% more – which is WRONG which is why the Tories have frozen the threshold (cutting it while increasing the personal allowance faster would have been better).

  40. Abacab, there used to be a blog like that, man on a hospita bed, or something like that. He took pictures of his meals and asked readers to guess what it was meant to be

  41. Jim compare how many followers the various party leaders and apparatchiks have. Corbyn and Sadiq probably have more than all the others combined. That is food for thought

  42. My favourite example of a council estate built for and largely inhabited by (mostly retired) council officials is the Golden Lane Estate built by the City of London.

    The one east of the Barbican? It makes the Barbican look like Beverley Hills.

  43. I know the Golden Lane estate, didn’t know anything about its history, that’s interesting john77.

    I did note they protest vehemently against other private tower blocks being built near them. Amazing how even those gifted central London flags become committed NIMBYs

  44. SE,

    Do you mean to tell me that you think the Kock brothers would be perfect socialists, if only we could get the system in place?

    I don’t know synp but he posted enough that I can get an idea of his thought process. I expect that, in his political echo chamber, the Koch brothers are the epitome of evil.

  45. abacab – I was tempted to.
    Hopefully won’t need to in the future.

    I love rice pudding, if I make one myself I can darn near live on the stuff for about 5 days (I make a LOT in one go).
    I got served rice pudding at hospital and took a total of 2 spoonfuls. Tasteless. Could not eat any more, stomach rebelled. Was not in for any stomach problems.

    Best meal I had was sweet & sour pork which was about a third as tasty as I make it. And some bland rice.
    That was at the 2nd hospital so I had both salt and pepper sachets served with the meal. 1st hospital would not allow such things.

    Didn’t want cereal for breakfast – so they offered me dry cereal. Quite why someone would want dry cereal for breakfast in hospital is beyond me. I saw a guy who had been stuck there 6 weeks with no result. He went to Greggs every morning for breakfast (ground floor and down a couple of corridors). Was tempted to have all my meals there – at least Greggs stuff I can eat.

  46. @ Rob
    Due north of Barbican actually.
    The architects were then hired to design the Barbican estate.
    There’s an old Peabody estate east of Golden Lane – maybe you’re getting mixed up. Or maybe you haven’t looked at the soulless local authority estates in Inner London. Golden Lane is (or at least was when I lived nearby) far better than the other council estates – partly because it was better built in the first place but largely because it was better maintained by the tenants and the local authority landlord (in that order of importance).

  47. Quite why someone would want dry cereal for breakfast in hospital is beyond me.

    Tried to eat a dry Wheetbix once. Don’t.

  48. I have a Vision of The Future, chum,
    The worker’s flats in fields of soya beans
    Tower up like silver pencils, score on score:
    And Surging Millions hear the Challenge come
    From microphones in communal canteens
    “No Right! No wrong! All’s perfect, evermore.”

  49. The estate that always makes me laugh/sigh is coin street.

    It’s basically the council estate across the river from Parliament. A lot of the time you see an MP doing a speech or photo opp on social housing, they do it there. Back in Westminster in minutes.

    Teresa May
    http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/4718

    David Cameron
    http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/7789

    Gordon Brown
    http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/3970

    Blair
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qQldVsnJmHM

    There has been some very dodgy housing allocation here in the past. This is not th only example:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/mick-jaggers-daughter-jade-living-1593241

  50. When at uni, I spent a couple of years, 1979-1981, including first year of married life, in the Balloon Woods flats in Nottingham:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday/dblock/GB-448000-339000/picture/2

    By then it was about one third empty, one third students and one third the worst tenants in the Nottingham City area. If you wanted to observe the dregs of society, you went and sat in the Gondola Pub which was on the estate, otherwise you wandered down the road to the Hemlock Stone. The lifts stank of piss, the walkways of dog shit. We actually didn’t have damp, we bought some DIY product and plastered it over the walls and it never came back.

    One of the funniest things we saw was watching some home alone kids jettisoning the family’s white goods over a fifth storey balcony, fridge, washing machine, the lot. They had a huge audience for quite sometime as they weren’t big kids so it was quite an effort for them to drag them out and then get them over the balcony.

    Balloon Woods was also where we learnt that my wife and I don’t do decorating together, one more strip of wallpaper and we may well not have made it to 37 years (actually next week).

  51. While in Balloon Woods, we met a Scottish pensioner couple who were members of the Communist Party of GB. We first met them when she came out of her ground floor flat as we were about to get into the piss smelling lift, laden down with shopping bags, and asked us if we’d been shopping yet. Naturally, we went and dumped our bags and went shopping for her, something we then did most weeks. We started going to her flat every Monday to play cards while her husband watched. His name was John, but because of our racist generalised view of Scotsmen, we insisted on calling him Jimmy. That was when we discovered that they were commies and we were Thatcherites, but that was back in the day when you could be political polar opposites and still be friends. I remember her getting upset when I bought her Outspan oranges.

    We still went around to see them after we moved out and went to live in Wollaton. I teased them a lot after the 1983 election, the one time in its history that Nottingham North wasn’t Labour. The Tory won by 362 votes, while 1184 people, including our friends, voted for the CPGB candidate, John Peck. I used to thank them for getting our man over the line. John Peck, incidentally, holds the record for contesting the most elections at various levels (49).

    We still stayed in contact despite us moving to South Africa, but after a while our letters were no longer replied to.

  52. “How many people who criticised Labour’s plans for universal free school meals as “inefficient” realise that, since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, they haven’t raised the (already desperately low) income threshold of £16,190? Factor in inflation, and that’s a cut.”

    Should have paid more attention in Maths class, Abi…

  53. I think she’s right.

    If you get universal school meals below that figure and it never changes inflation will take people over it in nominal terms, therefore fewer people qualifying, all else being equal.

    It is badly worded and fuck all to do with efficiency.

  54. DocBud

    I remember her getting upset when I bought her Outspan oranges.

    Probably at the thought of all those nasty black hands all over them.

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