So, what state would be able to do something about this?

Simon died in his small house, waiting to go back into hospital to dry out. He grew up in a town with men who’d had to dig out children from the Aberfan mining disaster; he died the year Grenfell Tower burned down. When such obvious tragedies strike, the politicians and the press vow to tackle the social injustices that caused them. But Simon was just one man dying in plain sight of his neighbours, his family and state officials. Far easier to chalk up his death to a fatty liver and booze, rather than inequality and austerity and the false promises peddled by politicians from Thatcher to May. A dead man, a dying town: he spent his last days being told he’s fit for work in an economy that has next to no work.

What’s left is a younger brother beating himself up about what he should have done and angry at others for letting them both down.

Before we part, Dave asks: “Why wasn’t there someone who could step in and help? Is that naive of me? To think that a modern, 21st-century society could do that for people who need it?”

How much power would a state need in order to stop a middle aged man drinking himself to death?

Simon had always been a pub man. But now he’d get up in the morning and start on a glass of watered-down scotch and a sci-fi DVD. By the end of a day, he’d have finished the DVDs, his fags and an entire bottle of Scotch.

Having been one of Blair’s strivers, Simon was now one of George Osborne’s skivers. He was moved on to disability benefits, before the Department for Work and Pensions assessors declared him fit for work. His money would periodically stop until his GP contested the verdict. This spring, he was moved on to universal credit, which meant six weeks with barely a penny. Again and again, it was Dave who had to bail him out. It was Dave who suggested jobs Simon could apply for, small businesses he might start. The younger brother was filling in for the state, while Si lived in ripped clothes and ate junk. “The government was abusing a vulnerable man.”

What, exactly, should those powers be? And ho would want to live in a state which had such powers?

45 comments on “So, what state would be able to do something about this?

  1. I reject utterly the notion that ‘social injustice’ causes fires or landslides. This lefty author can just funky off.

  2. Right, this makes no sense.

    He was a software engineer, he was made redundant and took the decision to become his mother’s carer.

    He could have moved to where there were defence software engineering jobs. However, General Dynamics UK HQ is in the next bloody valley? About 5 miles away?

  3. So, spends £75 pw on booze and complains of poverty. Obviously had.enough for housing and food as well. Clothing budget might have been a bit tight, but he could have skipped a bottle of scotch once a week to solve that.
    His problem appears to have been depression, and unfortunately there’s no certain cure for that.

  4. How much power would a state need in order to stop a middle aged man drinking himself to death?

    A great deal, obviously. However, history shows us that such a state tolerates drunkenness to keep potentially unruly elements quiescent.

  5. @ Patrick
    The landslide was caused by the negligence of the National Coal Board (and, arguably, the local council) both run by Labour during a Labour government.

    Those responsible for the Grenfell Tower before the fire were a Tenants’ Management Organisation, a majority of whose directors were elected by council tenants with Emma Dent Coad one of the minority appointed by the Council: again Labour.

    So yes “social injustice” (the clamour by lefties) – but not social injustice – caused both the fire and the landslide because *both* were due to left-wingers being put in positions of power that they failed to properly exercise..

  6. “Before we part, Dave asks: “Can you get me a bottle of Scotch on expenses?” “Fuck off”, I tell him, then write a question that would have been appropriate to the narrative”

  7. Of course, by dying young this bloke is a hero to the NHS. Liver transplantation is an expensive business.

  8. Less flippantly:

    “Simon “spent 25 years building up to be somebody”, says Dave. A quarter-century observing the social mobility rules laid down by Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. He had aspired, he’d grafted, he’d kept his side of the bargain. But while social mobility trumpets opportunity for individuals, it ignores the communities where those people live.”

    Aditya wants to bin a whole system because it’s not worked out perfectly (after a very bright start) in this one instance.

  9. Before we part, Dave asks: “Why wasn’t there someone who could step in and help?

    Friends? Family? Neighbours?

    No, a lavishly funded State agency in London. That’s what we need.

  10. Am i just being unfairly harsh here but the question “Why wasn’t there someone who could step in and help?” has a simple answer… He’s part of your family so it’s your responsibility to help him… Why should “the state” do what the brother isn’t?

    If the brother was that worried about him starting the day with “a glass of watered-down scotch” why wasn’t he there to stop him starting the day that way?

  11. @john77
    “So yes “social injustice” (the clamour by lefties) – but not social injustice – caused both the fire and the landslide because *both* were due to left-wingers being put in positions of power that they failed to properly exercise..”
    Very true

  12. Quite some time ago Mrs T pointed out that people try to pass off problems on to ‘society’ rather than trying to help solve the problems of those around them.

    One extract from what she said was later taken out of context.

  13. If he’d drunk himself to death because he no longer knew anyone in his street, they all spoke a different language to him, the pubs in his town had closed and the place had become a fucking tip then the Guardian could have branded him a white racist and forgotten him.

  14. His problem appears to have been depression, and unfortunately there’s no certain cure for that.

    Since alcohol is a depressant (regular heavy drinking lowers the serotonin levels as I recall), not drinking a bottle of whiskey every day would help a great deal.

    I used to get through a bottle of wine every day, often more than one and I could feel the effects dragging on me. When I felt “a blue” coming on (about as close as I ever got to depression) I just quit drinking for a few days and I was right as rain.

    Since I stopped drinking regularly and no longer have more than a single bottle of wine in the house at any one time I’ve not had any problems.

    Bit late for boyo here obviously and I do realise that others have addictive personalities which I don’t seem to have, but still….

  15. he died the year Grenfell Tower burned down

    It is also the year President Trump was inaugurated, also the year a Libyan Islamist fuckwit blew himself up killing himself and 22 other people outside Manchester Arena. How many other tragedies can we shoehorn into this article to ramp up the hyperbole.

  16. You can almost see The Dude talking with the idiot who wrote the article:

    “Aberfan? WTF does Aberfan have to do with anything?”

    “Well there isn’t a literal connection Dude.”

    “Face it Man There isn’t ANY fucking connection”

    And if anyone thinks I am taking the piss out of a man’s death–I put it to you that it is the Gladrag that abuses his name and memory with this load of maudlin marxist shite.

    “Simon died in his small house,”

    Did he not have a small dog and/or cat ,now left alone, to turn up the sobbing a little more? You exploitative MC/CM cunts.

    “waiting to go back into hospital to dry out. ”

    Do you need to wait? AA meetings etc. Maybe they didn’t work for him. Doesn’t say if he tried them or not.

    “He grew up in a town with men who’d had to dig out children from the Aberfan mining disaster;”

    Already d/w–WTF–is Aberfan (as John 77 says a socialist disaster) the cause of his alcoholism?

    ” he died the year Grenfell Tower burned down.”

    And I live in a town where there have been the usual number of tragedies, some of which the state’s socialistic bungling was NOT responsible for –unlike the two quoted above. Will I soon be compelled by Fate to take up heavy drinking?

    ” When such obvious tragedies strike, the politicians and the press vow to tackle the social injustices that caused them. ”

    Wish people were vowing to tackle socialism and vowing to put it down once and for all.

    “But Simon was just one man dying in plain sight of his neighbours, his family and state officials.”

    None of whom have ANY right whatsoever to dictate the course of another’s life.

    ” Far easier to chalk up his death to a fatty liver and booze, ”

    Easier than statist/socialist tyranny-yeah. And far more moral to boot.

    “rather than inequality and austerity and the false promises peddled by politicians from Thatcher to May.”

    They have turned on Bliar –by implication as he is between Fatch and Fish Face but good old socialist loyalty won’t let them type his name.

    ” A dead man, a dying town: he spent his last days being told he’s fit for work in an economy that has next to no work.”

    The town is hardly dying in the manner of Lucky Strike or something in the Yukon. It has been zombified perhaps with the state’s economic bungling killing the economic heart and the state’s handouts keeping the place going. If the market DOES kill a place it is because its time is done and those resources need to go where they will work. That is nothing to do with the plight this poor drunken man’s town finds itself in under Ingsoc. Whether the brand IS ZaNu or BluLabour.

    As for being pestered to work–again the state’s bungling. With no hand outs he might have HAD to stop or at least moderate his boozing enough to earn cash sufficient to remain alive. As opposed to the state subsidising his drink problem.

    “What’s left is a younger brother beating himself up about what he should have done and angry at others for letting them both down.”

    Sorry for the brother’s pain. But that pain is misplaced to the extent he thinks it entitles him to make demands on others. To solve problems not of their making.

    “Before we part, Dave asks: “Why wasn’t there someone who could step in and help? Is that naive of me?”

    Yes it is. Help how exactly? Jail him.? The –useless and impossible –return of Prohibition? The kind of Marxist tyranny the scum of the Guardian long for–so long as they continue with their creature comforts of course. Appropriate in a way.

    They are creatures. Not human beings. The demon-like creatures of socialism.

    “To think that a modern, 21st-century society could do that for people who need it?”

    Modern tyranny yet. Like what with computers an’ that?

    “Simon had always been a pub man. But now he’d get up in the morning and start on a glass of watered-down scotch and a sci-fi DVD. By the end of a day, he’d have finished the DVDs, his fags and an entire bottle of Scotch.”

    So life in a zombiefied socialist town, living on socialist handouts ( cos statism and socialism and cheap migrant labour fucked his chances of meaningful work– at least to some extent) all policies beloved by both branches of Ingsoc–got the poor sod down.

    Solution—moar Ingsoc. This time ZaNu-style. Which–like Frankie Howard getting a grip on himself–will only make things worse.

    “Having been one of Blair’s strivers, Simon was now one of George Osborne’s skivers”

    Man becomes a drunk. The labels and opinions of self-important political pigs have fuckall to do with it. Other than to use a man’s tragedy to help a deceitful fakenewspaper advance the same cause that likely helped do the poor sod in.

    .” He was moved on to disability benefits, before the Department for Work and Pensions assessors declared him fit for work. His money would periodically stop until his GP contested the verdict.”

    This spring, he was moved on to universal credit, which meant six weeks with barely a penny. Again and again, it was Dave who had to bail him out. It was Dave who suggested jobs Simon could apply for, small businesses he might start. The younger brother was filling in for the state, while Si lived in ripped clothes and ate junk. “The government was abusing a vulnerable man.”

  17. Curse all keyboards. The above is by me and has not been fully proof-read.

    .” He was moved on to disability benefits, before the Department for Work and Pensions assessors declared him fit for work. His money would periodically stop until his GP contested the verdict.”

    So they were trying to stop him drinking. No money no booze. His Dr “helped” him tho’. Thank goodness.

    “This spring, he was moved on to universal credit, which meant six weeks with barely a penny. Again and again, it was Dave who had to bail him out. It was Dave who suggested jobs Simon could apply for, small businesses he might start. The younger brother was filling in for the state, while Si lived in ripped clothes and ate junk.”

    Evil bullshit. The brother was doing what family –not the scum of the state –should do.

    “The government was abusing a vulnerable man.”

    The man is being abused by socialist scum like you– you Guardian vermin. Fucking MC/CM vultures.

  18. Aberfan was in 1966 – around 51 years ago (so most likely the year Simon was born). So yes, he will have lived with people who experienced it – but so what? Was it other miserable people than made him an alcoholic?

    I remember my grandparents who lived through the Second World War – they never spoke of it (I assume because it was a bad experience). Can I blame bad things that have happened in my life on this?

  19. Was it other miserable people than made him an alcoholic?

    Admittedly it can’t have been much fun growing up in an environment where all the other kids are in the local graveyard, but still…

  20. he’d get up in the morning and start on a glass of watered-down scotch and a sci-fi DVD. By the end of a day, he’d have finished the DVDs, his fags and an entire bottle of Scotch.

    Sounds like an excellent way to spend a day off.

    He’d have more spare cash if the government didn’t take a tenner in tax out of each bottle of booze.

  21. “Watered down scotch” ? Pshaw

    I went down to my local hardware shop the other day.
    “A bottle of meths please!”
    “I’m not selling you any bloody meths, BnLiA, you’re going to drink it.”
    “No, no you’ve got it all wrong, I’m helping a mate decorate his old mum’s house.”
    “Oh alright, sorry here you go.”
    “Cheers mate… haven’t you got a cold one ?”

    (copyright A. Sayle)

  22. “If he’d drunk himself to death because he no longer knew anyone in his street, they all spoke a different language to him, the pubs in his town had closed and the place had become a fucking tip”

    He probably did – This is a pretty good description of Wales.

  23. “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.” – Unknown

  24. “He grew up in a town with men who’d had to dig out children from the Aberfan mining disaster;”

    Other people grew up with people who had to scrape colleagues up with a shovel because a German shell exploded near them. I just don’t see what point the article is making here, apart from the disgusting exploitative one.

    ” A dead man, a dying town: he spent his last days being told he’s fit for work in an economy that has next to no work.”

    A ‘dying’ town about 18 miles from Cardiff, a fairly booming city. 30-60 minutes drive. The Guardian wants you to think this is like Jarrow or Dowlais in the 1930s. Welsh unemployment rate now? 4.7%. Even in the Rhondda Valleys it is 6-7%.

    The Guardian is lying to you.

  25. ” A dead man, a dying town: he spent his last days being told he’s fit for work in an economy that has next to no work.”

    Next week, an impassioned article about why Wales needs mass immigration to meet the labour shortage there.

  26. Curse all keyboards. The above is by me and has not been fully proof-read

    I think most assumed it was you 🙂

    The younger brother was filling in for the state

    The Guardian, distilled.

  27. @Rob

    The Grauniad telling lies – No F*cking Way.

    That’d be fake news which they don’t do. All their hysterical (yes feminazi’s that refers to ‘lady’ problems) stories about Trump and the evil Tories prove that.

  28. I like the idea of being in poverty when you take a little water with your whisky.
    I must have been in poverty 3 times based on my water jug count in the cabinet

  29. Dear Mr Worstall

    “What, exactly, should those powers be? And ho would want to live in a state which had such powers?”

    The state is Mutter
    The state is Vater
    The state is Bauer
    We are Vieh*

    There seems to be a depressingly large number of people who would want to live in such a state.

    DP

    * according to Google translate – change to totalitarian regime of choice.

  30. @ Patrick
    The cry of “social injustice” is what put Labour in government and led to the nationalisation of the coal-mining industry so there was no-one personally responsible for the tip near Aberfan.

    The cry of “social injustice” directly led to the creation of “Tenant Management Organisations” with their elected-by-the-tenants boards. So it was responsible for the Grenfell tower fire.

  31. There is absolutely no helping addicts who do not want to help themselves. And this means genuinely wanting, not the occasional expression of mild intent to change one’s behaviour. Even if such a desire exists, and even with the deployment of all the support structures out there, it is a sad fact that most addicts relapse. And relapse usually means death, often sooner rather than later.

  32. ““If he’d drunk himself to death because he no longer knew anyone in his street, they all spoke a different language to him, the pubs in his town had closed and the place had become a fucking tip”

    He probably did – This is a pretty good description of Wales”

    And yet Biggie, they still lack the mass railway station rape and grenade blasts that are the hallmark of advanced EUtopias like Sweden or your own dear Teutonic paradise.

  33. Life is hard and then you die… It helps your journey if, like Simon, you’re born into one of the wealthiest countries in the world, where whatever your background, the opportunities are endless.
    Like his younger brother we all have guilty feelings about not making more of an effort to help someone in our past who was going through a rough time. Unfortunately you can only lead a horse to water – things change when ‘they’ decide to change, and if they want to kill themselves prematurely it’s their business not yours.

  34. Rule #2: There isn’t a Guardian reader on the planet that would inconvenience themselves enough to help the highlighted unfortunate of any Guardian sob story beyond writing a pithy comment wondering why THE STATE didn’t prevent this.

  35. Ecksy, life must be really sad if you are sif enough that you can’t even enjoy a cheap joke.

  36. I think this article should be put at the very top of the Graun’s pile of lying horseshit sob stories.

    You’ll notice from the comments that the readers soak it right up. Theirs is a very special kind of stupid. I’m thinking that the lefty triangle of malice, stupidity and insanity does not fully explain their behaviour; we need to make it a rhombus, with moral cowardice added.

  37. Your cheap jokes always have barbs in them Biggie.

    Better honest insult than a hail-fellow-well-met dose of false bonhomie.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.