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My experience of last night’s Benefits Street debate

18 February 2014

2:59 PM

18 February 2014

2:59 PM

I spent yesterday evening in Birmingham with the residents of ‘Benefits Street’, assorted pundits and politicians. It was a slightly rowdy debate for Channel 4, and can be seen here. Since a number of controversial things came up perhaps I can deal with them in order.

‘The programme shouldn’t have been made.’

I felt very uncomfortable at one point last night, watching both the opposition minister, Chris Bryant, government minister Mike Penning and various pundits including Mehdi Hasan of the Huffington Post and Owen Jones of The Independent saying that Channel 4 should not have made the series, should have made a different series, made a series about something else or edited it differently and so on. I do not think it is the role of media to tell other media what they should or should not cover. And I certainly do not think it is the role of publicly paid politicians to act as television critics. In any case, all this bashing of Channel 4 strategically avoids the main point – which is that Benefits Street exposed a real problem. It isn’t an invented problem. And even if it were a small problem – which it isn’t – it is one that should not be responded to by a call to talk about something else.

‘Having children you can’t afford.’

Along with Alison Pearson of the Telegraph, I found myself last night in the unenviable position of appearing to be set up to attack the inhabitants of Benefits Street in the studio. Alison Pearson seemed to be particularly lined up for this. Indeed after the first segment, during which Owen Jones made a somewhat ad feminam attack on her, she left the studio and did not return. Thus we were left with a line-up of pundits that was not just almost all-left, but undeniably all-male.

Anyhow what was strange was this: early on the presenter Richard Bacon pulled up something I had written about an entirely different case, last year (about the irresponsibility of having children you cannot afford to keep), and implied I had written it about Benefits Street. He then, strangely, asked which of the children of the people opposite shouldn’t have been born. To say this is a low way to do things probably does not need to be pointed out. But here is a conundrum and so I lay it out straight.

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I had said to the producers that since White Dee’s daughter was in the studio I would not engage in any discussion which would affect her. She is a child who is starting off in the world and who I am sure we all wish luck to. But it was her mother who went on national television – during one episode of the Benefits Street series – and said that she had only had her daughter because one night she and a friend went out drinking, ‘got completely wasted’ and that her daughter was the result. The father, needless to say, is not around. Another couple from the programme who are together – Mark and Becky – got together at school, have never worked, are not married, and have two children together.

Now both of these situations strike me as good examples of deep irresponsibility. Certainly neither are what I would regard as a commendable or serious-minded way in which to begin perhaps our most serious task of all – bringing a child into the world. As for the ‘who are you to judge’ point that some people will inevitably make, I would simply point out that among other things I am one of the tax-payers who pays the bill for these actions, a fact which should give me at least some right to comment.

In any case, these are points which I would be happy to make calmly to the people involved. But I will not make those points in front of the children. To me it seems highly irresponsible of Dee to tell the nation that her child was brought into the world the way she was. But it is no place of mine to rub that in by repeating the injury in front of her child. Doubtless some people will think that I ‘bottled’ this. But particularly in situations involving children I think there are times when common decency is more important than expressing a political truth. Nevertheless, my point remains. Most people who work in this country worry enormously about how they are going to afford to bring up their children and what they are going to do to support them. As I have said many times – a society in which those who are most responsible worry about having children, and those with fewest responsibilities appear not to, is a society storing up problems.

‘Do you like them?’

Having become the only remaining token right-winger, Richard Bacon seemed strangely keen to elicit my personal feelings about White Dee and her neighbours. I tried to stress – because it is true – that it doesn’t much matter whether I happen to warm to someone during a television programme or not. All that matters is how can we address a terrible situation which these people are stuck in. That is a system which (as Fraser has pointed out here) rewards those who don’t work better than it rewards many who do. White Dee herself acknowledged this in her recent Spectator diary. In my opinion the descent of this issue into ‘do you like them or not’ is a lowering way to turn a real societal problem into little more than public gossip.

Anyhow – I spent a little time afterwards with some of the residents and the programme makers. There is nobody who could not wish the people in the programme well. I am delighted that Mark has got a job and can begin to take responsibility for the welfare of his family. I wish the ’50p man’ and others the best of luck with their futures as well.

But there is one final thought. To see Dee at the moment is to see someone in the middle of a full wattage ‘celebrity’ moment. Everyone wants their pictures taken with her, and she is spoken to by interviewers in those familiar reverential tones once reserved for bishops and cabinet ministers. These are her 15 minutes. Perhaps they will run out. Perhaps they will run on. But here is a further problem.

I would not be the first person to point out that in recent years Britain has developed a culture of downward aspiration. It is best highlighted by comparing us to the United States. Drawing the brush-stroke broadly but not inaccurately, in the UK you mention a millionaire and people think ‘bastard’. In the US they think ‘well done him – how I can repeat that guy’s success?’ There was a terrific example of this last night. The self-made millionaire plumber Charlie Mullins made an important point and was immediately shouted down for being rich. Now Dee – whatever her other qualities – has been out of work since stealing £13,000 from her previous employer (the local authority). Mark and Becky – again, whatever their other attributes – had their benefits reduced when it turned out they had committed benefits fraud. All are currently at risk of being turned into the nation’s sweethearts.

I would be the first to admit that these people all still deserve a chance. It should be palpably obvious that all have been failed by our abysmal education system (something which Big Issue founder John Bird rightly and noisily pointed out last night). But all must also bear – as we all must – some responsibility for their actions. And that is where some moral discernment is at least partly necessary. For while few public figures may be willing to criticise those actions, I hardly think we can praise them for them.

And that is the crucial turn for the worse. There is a difference between a society which refuses to make any moral judgements and a society which actually makes the wrong moral judgements; a society which refuses to look up to anyone and a society which looks up to the wrong people. A society which makes heroes out of White Dee and co and shouts down a self-made man seems to me to be a society which is suffering some form of pathology. That is a pathology which is worth mulling over. Because if you crack why this is so you get closer to discovering not just how the situation depicted in Benefits Street has come about, but why the reaction of so many powerful people has been to say that it is a problem we should neither raise nor talk about.


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Show comments
  • reaguns

    An excellent article, and an excellent contribution to the debate last night Douglas. I have seen you on tv before behaving a little impetuously but this was very controlled.

    When they asked you the question about the kids who were sitting in the room, I held my breath and feared the worst but you answered admirably.

    There was evidence of individuals and governments making mistakes in this programme. There was also evidence of acts of decency. I am glad you chose to add to the latter and not the former.

    Most important point you make – the left and the government should NOT be allowed to use their thought police to stop programmes like this being made, to decide what should be talked about and what shouldn’t. It IS a REAL problem which those of us who do not live in middle class ivory towers experience every day.

  • Nick Kassam

    “Another couple from the programme who are together – Mark and Becky – got together at school, have never worked, are not married, and have two children together.”

    This is a huge distortion of facts.

    1) Mark was shown working a job in one of the episodes of the programme. It was commission only and he earned no money.
    2) Since the end of filming he has been employed. You know this because they stated it at the beginning of the programme you yourself appeared on.
    3) The show only stated that neither has held down a full time job. That is not the same as never having worked.

    4) You neglect to mention their ages. They are both 23 – are you criticising anyone aged 23 who has never had a full time job, or just the ones from the ‘chavvy’ areas? Presumably the rich kids studying for their masters degrees are an exception?
    5) Another thing you presumably know from the media coverage, but neglect to mention in your summary of Mark and Becky is that they met at a SPECIAL school and both suffer from learning difficulties.

    There. Now we all know a bit more about the couple I’ve heard so much rubbish talked about in recent weeks.

  • rick hamilton

    People doing real jobs outside the politico-media bubble don’t have the time to argue how many umarried welfare claimants’ children can dance on a 12″ pizza or whatever.

    Our society really doesn’t admire obese, self-absorbed parasites or condemn successful businessmen. These shows are set up deliberately to stir things up and get people going and in this case they succeeded. It’s entertainment, get over it.

    The real danger is when the likes of Owen Jones or White Dee actually do get into parliament and have the power to change our lives for the very worst. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

  • shebamurphy

    By the way, well done you Douglas for not walking off during the first break. Had I been you, I think I probably would have.

  • shebamurphy

    Sorry about that, I got a wee bit mixed up. Anyway, as I was saying, I’m a pensioner with a part-time job. That job brings me into contact (sometimes in their homes) with people such as those depicted on Benefits Street. I grew up with people such as those on Benefits Street. Come to that, I’m related through marriage to people like them. The programme, in my opinion, shone a much needed spotlight on the plight of our under-class. I don’t pretend to know what to do about the problem. However, I’m certain that the answer is not, as propounded by Owen Jones et al, to pretend that it doesn’t exist.

    • Marie Louise Noonan

      ‘Anyway, as I was saying, I’m a pensioner with a part-time job.’

      What is it you do exactly?

      I think Owen Jones was asking why it is that ‘benefit claimants’ are judged collectively whereas other social groups are not.

      • shebamurphy

        I’m a counsellor. Many of my clients have learning difficulties and/or mental health problems. They sometimes come to me, and I sometimes go to them. Some of them live in indescribable squalor – the kind of squalor that is born of hopelessness.

        • Marie Louise Noonan

          Thank you. Would you refer to your clients collectively as ‘the underclass’?

          I have long term mental health issues too but no one ever refers to me as member of the’ ‘underclass’. They could just be too polite to mention it though.

          Living in what you call ‘indescribable squalor’ could be a symptom of your clients’ long term condition. People suffering from schizophrenia suffer self neglect as the negative symptoms take hold.

          Also, how many people on ‘Benefits Street’ had serious long term mental illnesses? And doesn’t that add a frightening ‘freak show’ element to the whole thing?

          TIA

          • shebamurphy

            Look, I think you’re missing the point I was trying to make . I sit in judgement on no one here. My point is that there are lots of vulnerable people out there.

            • shebamurphy

              “I felt very uncomfortable at one point last night, watching both the opposition minister, Chris Bryant, government minister Mike Penning and various pundits including Mehdi Hasan of the Huffington Post and Owen Jones of The Independent saying that Channel 4 should not have made the series, should have made a different series, made a series about something else or edited it differently and so on.”
              The paragraph above is a quote from the article.
              As I say, there are a lot of vulnerable people out there who have fallen between the cracks. If Owen Jones and Mehdi Hasan had their way, that’s exactly where those poor souls would stay.
              And before you start getting on your high horse with me. I know all about mental health problems. Much of my early adult life was spent as a patient in locked psychiatric wards. My mother had schizophrenia. My childhood was spent in indescribably squalor. I know from personal experience what it means to fall between the cracks and be ignored by society.

  • shebamurphy

    I just watched the debate. I am a pensioner

  • JEK68

    I didn’t watch this ‘debate’ because I knew what it would be like. I can believe that loud mouths and demagogues like Owen Jones and Mehdi Hassan would take part in this kind of ratings based, venting, shouting match, but I can’t believe Douglas Murray thought this would be a good idea.

  • yaf

    I completely agree with this article. I was utterly disgusted at how Charlie Mullins was shouted down for his fortunes, instead of being admired for his hard work. It seemed that most of the people in the debate just used the time as an excuse to hate on the government and the rich.

    I have come from a working class family and lived in a street very similar to this in London. My parents (now divorced) claimed benefits and this was always something I felt ashamed of. This stimulated me to work hard so that I would never have to struggle in such a way. Instead of lazing around and blaming the government (who had given me the opportunity to get an education etc) I worked very hard at school to get good grades and am now studying medicine at the University of Birmingham.

    I think that certain people involved in the debate should realise that there is a way out from poverty. Its strength and determination (and some luck) but more importantly its about being in an environment of people that want to improve their current situation not wallow in their own pity.

  • Joe Cheesman

    What Douglas Murray fails to realise is the people on Benefits Street represent a tiny proportion of those on benefits. The vast majority of those on benefits are either in work or actively looking for work, which isn’t all that easy when there are 2 million unemployed. These fact is that 0.8% of benefits are claimed fraudulently – a tiny proportion perceived to be up to 25% by the majority of people.
    Benefit Street is not an accurate portrayal of the benefits system but reinforces a right wing agenda of punishing those less fortunate.

    • tastemylogos

      > hat Douglas Murray fails to realise is the people on Benefits Street represent a tiny proportion of those on benefits

      The problem with you ‘types’ is that you see the 5% as merely that. A number. A statistic. I see it as thousands f human beings being failed. Of course, I do not expect you too look at them as anything more than a number. To do so, would humanise them and force you to engage with the problem.

      0.08% = 16000 people?

      1) Putting aside that this is a bull**** stat (how does anybody know = this a government figure, and therefore massaged). You happy with 16000 fellow citizes being failed like this?

      2) fraud = fit to work, refusing to work. You happy that they have this option?

  • Vinnie

    Watched this last night and agree with the comments made by the posters and the author. But one thing. The black guy having a go at Mullins saying “it’s alright for you Mr MIllionaire” or words to that effect.
    …here’s the thing. Charlie Mullins literally made his money as a plumber ie getting paid to be covered in other people’s faeces. Yep, pretty much. I’m sure he installed the odd shower here and there but I’ll bet that was the crux of his work.
    I couldn’t imagine white Dee or Fungi doing that for their entire lives even if they knew they’d become a millionaire decades after.Slag off the bankers all you want, that’s a separate discussion and takes the eye off of this argument. But don’t judge a man who worked his whole life, created jobs for others and is now reaping those rewards.

    The problem is, the benefit system is not a safety net, it’s a lifestyle choice. For example, in Canada where I used to live, the welfare eventually runs out but you are paid enough to pay your mortgage over 18 months or so before you’d better look at working again. Which is how it should. Workers shouldn’t worry about losing their jobs and the unemployed scroungers should be worried that they are on benefits on borrowed time. We could literally introduce it tomorrow and end the problems but why don’t we look at other countries. The Commonwealth is now better run the Britain and we can all thank Labour for that.

  • Lina R

    I have difficulty watching these benefit discussions because they’re always hijacked by out-of-touch middle-class Oxbridge-educated lefties who have no experience of growing up in a workless, underachieving household.

    I have lived on welfare and hugely support the principles of a welfare state, but unfortunately we have created a system that pays people more to stay indolent and rewards lifestyle choices. Douglas Murray is right – we (taxpayers) have a say in this because we’re paying for these children, we’re the financial daddy as we have a welfare state that has made the biological daddy disposal.

    We are a product of our family and environment growing up – nothing influences us more and determines our adult life. Maybe middle-class lefties think children thrive in homes where no-one works, no-one stands on their own two feet, where aspiration and personal responsibility is non-existent and where the father is absent, but they simply don’t.

  • Mark McIntyre

    Why would anyone like these societal scum ?
    Were it not for the votes they cast for the Left in general and Liebore in particular – even they would not purport to be their defenders !

    • Marie Louise Noonan

      ‘Why would anyone like these societal scum ?’

      No accounting for taste, I suppose.

  • black11hawk

    I don’t think your case was much helped by Charlie Mullins, although he was making a good point his use of expletives allowed Chris Bryant to sit around smugly as though he’d been put upon by some evil right-winger. In fact judging by his accent Charlie Mullins is an East End boy done good, a working class Tory, who, frankly are the best kind of Tory since they actually live up to the values of conservatism. The contrast between him – a working class boy who’s managed to make it to the top – and White Dee and her benefit-receiving cohort is stark. The fanatical John Bird needs to learn to pipe down once in a while and give others a chance to speak. Indeed, the combination of him and the baying crowd of Labour supporters and various left-wing pundits made it almost impossible for a reasoned debate to take place. I do think you are being slightly harsh on Richard Bacon, as he did pose some tough questions to the lefties as well. In any case all this will be forgotten in a few months and we’ll have moved onto the next thing, hopefully they can actually get universal credit going and go even further to actually make work pay.

    • Andy

      Charlie Mullins may be a bit of a rough diamond (either from the East End or Essex) but he set up Pimlico Plumbers in 1979 and is a self-made man. He has no ‘O’ levels; he just left school and started work as a plumber.

      The contrast was between him and such as Chris Bryant, ex Cheltenham College (a Private school) and Mansfield College, Oxford. He has degrees in English and Theology and we all know he was for a time a curate in the Anglican Church. He was a writer and then in 1998 became head of European Affairs at the BBC – quite what made him fit for such a position God alone knows. He got shoed in to the seat of Rhondda, which is one of Labour’s rotten boroughs and is why they are over represented in the Commons. This is the man with the sense of entitlement, who has a condescending attitude to the poor and seeks to keep his client vote.

      • Robert_Eve

        Spot on about the loathsome Bryant.

    • Guest

      Then – putting aside his bread & circuses politicking – there is Bryant’s utterly shameful and relentless cod-vernacular, his t-dropping, for example. To each their own, I say, but for a man of Church to stoop so low ? ‘Tis but smoke-and-mirrors … ay, and deference to such deception, and is thus pure charlatanism, from beginning to end.

      Who exactly, other than themselves, do such folk-of-no-vernacular-and-nothing-in-particular think they’re fooling ? Like Uriah Heep inverted (would that he were so, and I believe he pleads such a fate by so doing) he wears his pathetic attempts as if a badge of honour, as most career politicians now sadly do (and they are not, somehow, solely of the Left) This “race to the bottom” is not even an honour among thieves; the honest thief admits to desiring something he does not have except by the hard work of his own deceit, and such an admission the likes of Bryant can never admit … and the honest thief hears the dropping of aitches and smiles in private, while the rest cringe at the shame.

  • Andy M

    This is just another in a long line of examples where the Left are ignorant, petulant, trouble-makers, with no care for anything than furthering their political agenda, whilst level-headed individuals like Mr Murray have the presence of mind to be respectful and of good moral standards, even in the heat of debate.

  • Rhonda Merrick

    I only skimmed over some episodes of the show and didn’t realise white Dee had worked for and stolen from the LA. It did occur to me that she could have been one heck of a social worker. She has a rough and ready sort of compassion and a deep understanding and acceptance of people, but she’s fearless about getting involved in other peoples lives and problems. A child abuser or addict would have a hard time hiding the truth about what was going on with someone like Dee. Just a thought.

    • Andy

      But still a thief.

    • Marie Louise Noonan

      Could she not start off working as a nursing assistant/carer and work her way up from there?

      I have family in Birmingham (the other side of the city) and none of them are unemployed. I returned home after a breakdown and got a job almost immediately (as a library assistant in the Central Library).

      I didn’t see the whole series so I’d be interested to know what reasons the participants gave for not being able to work. Because Birmingham may be a post industrial basket case but it boasts an outstanding transport system.

  • Daniel Maris

    Well the issues need to be aired but really such programmes are pretty pointless.

    There’s nothing to be gained from pointing the finger of moral blame at people who are given incentives to have children they can’t afford to keep and also not to work, and whose life of low income sybaritism is smiled on by officialdom.

    Point the finger when all those incentives are removed and society adopts a different attitude – but you’ll find very few people will act in that way.

    We need laws in place to ensure the state stops supporting young single women getting pregnant – not so very difficult to do – and we need laws to ensure both that people have a duty to ensure they can support themselves and also that they have a right to work.

    • Andy

      We need to abolish Child Benefit. As you say, not difficult to do.

  • RBcritique

    Well done Mr.Murray, for your courtesy, restraint, deference, equanimity and courage. You were the only panel-member who could remain themselves : calm, considered and true as ever in the midst of a morass of stupidity, ignorance, hypocrisy and cowardice. Well done, Mr.Murray; there is hope.

  • StephanieJCW

    “Mark and Becky – got together at school, have never worked, are not married, and have two children together.”

    Never working and yet producing children is an irresponsible thing to do and we should not be afraid of saying as much. But in an of itself, the fact they met at school and aren’t married isn’t that big a deal.

    • Knives_and_Faux

      Their children are bastards and we shouldn’t be afraid of saying so either.

      • alexander

        child hating c**ts are bastards and we shouldn’t be afraid of saying so either

      • Marie Louise Noonan

        And what good would that do?

        Maybe we should reintroduce the shotgun wedding.

  • John D Traynor

    Bacon is a ITV2/BBC3 yob. However, your blog is just an ejaculation of tired old right-wing tosh. You’ve lost the argument.

    • tastemylogos

      Tell that to the poor and uneducated people in Tokkie, Croxteth, Huyton, Bootle… you out of touch, smug git.

    • ArchiePonsonby

      Radio 5 Live surely? You know, home to Stephen (Call me Oprah “Tell us about your prahblem) Nolan!

      • Galleywall

        “Hie did that make ye feeeel”

    • Marie Louise Noonan

      I think you’re being unfair. Mr Murray does sound like he is at least trying to understand.

  • roisin

    people are very quick to run people on benefits down at the mouth bt most of them are walking the town everyday searching for work and still trying to keep up with schools it becomes a struggle . What you do when you have no job experience they cant go on a course as jobseekers wont support it .so your stuck in a fishes circle tht never stops . to brand low or scum bag is just pure degrading instead of putting people down for being on benefits why don’t they invest in something to help them get on there feet some people are just plain out rude they shud think before they speak

    • alexander

      it’s hard to get out of the fishes circle, all that underwater momentum keeps you trapped in the middle

  • Chris Hobson

    Infantile childish debate from unemployable liberal arts graduates.

  • Englishanarchist

    Murray mentions far too briefly a critical point here: he’s paying for it, as am I. Not many of us are paying, through taxation, for significantly more than we consume. I find it risible and offensive that those taking out should be entitled to an equal share in the allocation of state sequestration (tax) as those of is putting in.

    I believe the left uses the expression ‘check your privilege’ to encourage one to consider the impact one’s own circumstances have on one’s opinions. We’ll to those who aren’t paying their share I say ‘check your privilege’ when it comes to allocation of state sequestration.

  • Cornelius Bonkers

    What amazes me most is that DM appears on such shows at all. Why engage with charlatans such as Medhi Hasan and half-wits like Owen Jones? If DM stood a chance of having a reasoned exchange on an equal footing of intellect and mutual respect, then OK, logically there would be nothing to lose. But these kinds of events are SO infantile and one-sided they can only make matters worse for the kinds of views which DM is trying to inject into the public square. Give up DM before you go mad…

  • Daedalus

    I sometimes have the dubious pleasure of listening to Richard Bacon on Radio 5, I flick over when Radio 4 or Classic have nothing on. He is the most biased interviewer you will ever find. If there are two interviewees from either side of the political spectrum, he completely sides with the one from the left. He talks over the answers of anyone who disagrees in way at all. Thoroughly left wing!

    Daedalus.

    • John Skinner

      But he gave Chris Bryant the Labour MP a pointedly hard time, asking more than once whether he didn’t need to apologise for all 13 years of the last Labour government. I don’t know about his political views but that’s not terribly left wing, surely.

    • Agrippina

      I usually switch off, if I flick over to Radio5 and Bacon is on. He doesn’t listen to the answers his questions are obvs something on a crib sheet, as he is too dense to think anything through for himself. He does not even know how to pose a question. But the good ole Beeb shoves him down our throats, just like the odious, talentless savile.

    • Cosmo

      I heard the halfwit Bacon, admit that he didn’t know a lamb was a young sheep! And he replaced the excellent Simon Mayo. Says it all about the direction of the BBC.

      • Agrippina

        I miss Mayo too, but I sometimes hear him on a Friday.

      • John Skinner

        He said that? That’s pretty bad, sure. I’m surprised.

  • John Skinner

    Sorry but whatever valid point Charlie Mullens made was negated completely by the fact that he swore at the Labour MP, Chris Bryant. The debate didn’t start getting heated, out of control, pointless or whatever until he did. Clearly lots of money, success, hard work, his working-man-made-good history or whatever else his attributes didn’t teach Charlie that you don’t succeed at getting your point across whatever it may be, with expletives, which makes one look weak, aggressive and only gets people’s backs up…which most here would’ve expected to come from White Dee first and foremost if their honest. And that’s quite apart from him not being a Labour party supporter, which is of course his right. Being angry about a situation that supposedly traps people doesn’t cut it either. Owen Jones also made the point that coming off benefits means being taxed effectively at something like 90%, which surely can be seen by anyone whether left or right wing as being a discincentive to work, especially if a low paying job is all that’s available? Alison Pearson made a direct connection about a multiple child murderer and benefits claimants in her article. So NOW benefit claimants also have homicidal tendencies along with their fecklessness and everything else…seriously? Can’t be any better reason to tear down the welfare state once and for all with that reasoning surely. If her own newspaper published a retraction as Owen Jones mentioned then that should stand for all to know, just as much as her also talking of the thousands and thousands of people found capable of work by the incapacity tests which she also did on the show, also her right – implying they were thus all lying about their claims and disappeared for good, with no evidence to contrary…yet a good portion were placed on other benefits amongst other things, as I found out some weeks ago?

    And I’m no fan of White Dee considering the money she stole – just to be clear.

    • Agrippina

      Allison Pearson’s article was amended, not retracted, her figures were wrong. I agree the plumbing fellow did not come across terribly well either. But Ms Pearson did not have to mention Dee’s fraud case as that had no bearing on her as a ‘good neighbour’, her qualities as a parent leave alot to be desired and would have been a better point to make.

      As to the DLA/PiP claimants the figs are not to be trusted, as they are being appealled at quite a high rate, hence the contract to Atos, is being reviewed with a mind to G4S, A4E & Capita in the frame, those companies are so brilliant aren’t they, more waste of tax payers monies.

      • John Skinner

        I stand corrected on the Ms Pearson article, thank you. You’re right about those other companies. Always the same offende…er, players in the frame. I wish there was a solution (or number of solutions) to that one. I’m sure you’re correct about Deirdre Kelly’s qualities as a mother…thankfully her kids seemed remarkably ok, at least for the time being anyway. Not much more I can say apart from that.

        • Agrippina

          Both of her children appear to be lovely. Sadly the anger and resentment appears in adulthood, when you can fight back. But they are watchful of her, as she explodes at them, for no apparent reason. Her daughter told us that her medication has some of these ill effects on her, which is fine, but if the meds are not working then you return to your GP for another solution (there are lots of anti-depressants and talking therapies to be tried).

          • John Skinner

            Agreed.

          • Kitty MLB

            Should her children have been taken away
            and put into care.

            • Agrippina

              No, but she should have been put into parenting classes or some sort of advice for parenting course. She has no understanding as to the corrosive effect of shouting and pulling her kids about. She appears not to understand that because she swears like a trooper, the boy aged 7 follows suit and he has got into alot of trouble over this.

              That she needs to read, or draw, play games,or colour in pics with her kids but esp the younger one, so that he can see that she is able to put his needs before hers. The boy is permitted to be outside alone alot of the time, watching fungi and others drinking alcohol and swearing all day long, hardly models to be emulated.

              Mark & Becky need the same advice, they try to put their kids to bed by having them on the sofa at 11pm, TV on full blast, drinking sugary drinks! Then unable to understand why kids do not go to sleep.

  • HookesLaw

    And on benefits
    You have to hand it to Gordon. The great mcloon knows how to run a scare and has stuck the boot into the nats where it hurts
    Accoring to the Telegraph — ‘Gordon Brown has warned his fellow Scots that a vote for independence would mean them losing their British state pension.
    The former Prime Minister said leaving the UK would mean “the British pension stops, the national insurance fund that you’re paying into is broken up.” ‘

  • Kevin T

    I am so very, very happy I no longer have a television or pay a TV licence. The glorifying of the loud and feckless you’re describing has been going on for years on TV. It started with Trisha and Jeremy Kyle. There is something fascinating about them at first but after a while you just become depressed for the human race.

    Political debate is more or less dead in Britain. You don’t even see it in parliament. No one debates seriously, they just make a cheap, emotive point and hope their side cheers louder than the other side.

    • HookesLaw

      Most TV is indeed rubbish

      • Geoff Geoff

        Anyone remember when Channel 4 did “After Dark” discussions? Can’t imagine a better way to tackle such issues on television: everyone was given as long as they needed so by the time the programme finished no one had been stereotyped or cut short.

        There were remarkable “After Dark” conversations on exactly the themes of “Benefits Street” where both (and not only) the unemployed and the politicians were equally honoured by the programme format (including a homeless alcoholic punk with a spider tattooed on his face). And this at the height of Mrs Thatcher.

        • Wessex Man

          still claiming no doubt!

    • tastemylogos

      > No one debates seriously, they just make a cheap, emotive point and hope their side cheers louder than the other side.

      spot on. It is soul destroying. An unpopular opinion? You will be silenced with boos, heckling and vacuous labels.

  • ohforheavensake

    I watched the programme: you really didn’t come across that well. Maybe the fact that you don’t have any convincing arguments was the problem.

    Oh, and by the way: the problem isn’t declining aspirations: it’s declining wages and growing inequality.

    • The_Average_Joe_UK

      Yes we need to put up wages as this will ensure more unemployment. Sadly you lefties have no idea just a religion that makes the poor poorer and the country poorer.

  • ted_2012

    Have just watched the debate, which seemed no different to all of those other pop-political shows, where the convenience in spouting leftist populism beggars belief (honestly, Medhi Hasan and Owen Jones could’ve slept and still would’ve received riotous applause, mainly from Richard Bacon).

  • CharlietheChump

    Owen Jones is so small, I want to put him on my key ring and hear him squeak revolutionary gobbledegook when I flick him with my index finger.

    • telemachus

      See below, reply to Kitty
      Owen is a very bright, personable and decent chap. In terms of the Reasonable he is the most talented polemicist and communicator we have seen for a generation. I also know that he is not an armchair theorist but while he was living in Hackney rolled up his sleeves and did more than his fair share of canvassing and leafleting for The Reasonable

      • ArchiePonsonby

        Leafleting? Call that a decent days work? I’d like to see him carrying hods of bricks up three storeys in all weathers as I was doing at his age (Or slightly younger)!

      • Kevin T

        Fair play to him. He disguises it well. At first I thought he was just Johann Hari using a nom de plume because their propaganda is indistinguishable.

  • ArchiePonsonby

    Who on earth thinks that the opinions of the equally ghastly Mehdi Hasan and Owen Jones are worth the time of day? Here are two who will not willingly allow a bandwagon to pass without jumping on it for all they’re worth!

  • swatnan

    It was just as rowdy on the other side, with the Immigration Debate. But surprise surprise Kelvin McKenzie has seen reason in his old age and accepts the need for Immigration and you can’t stop immigration, only go towards controlling illegal immigration a bit better. Maybe that awful Katie Hopkins will come round to that in 20 years time too. Benefits is as problematic as Immigration. Both use up vast amounts of our resources. Both require money; you need to create those jobs and better conditions for claimants to live in and guarantee those jobs. The fact is the filthy rich could pay their taxes and provide that funding for social programmes and jobs and housing. And they are not.

    • HookesLaw

      What do you mean by benefits. Excluding pensions, the welfare bill last year was 116 billion. Family and child benefit was 18 billion unemployment 6 billion housing 4 and social exclusion 30.
      The biggest was social protection at 54 billion.
      116 billion is large but its not ‘vast’. It can and should be cut, but it is not going to disappear.
      The Fullfact website says
      ‘when we delve into the OECD’s Social Expenditure database
      we can see that the UK is ranked significantly below many other
      European nations in terms of the money it spends on welfare, including
      France, Germany and Italy.’
      However to set against this whilst Eurostat puts us square in the middle of all social protection spending it top in Europe when it comes to solely govt administered social protection payments.

      I’m sure the picture is more complicated still. But in terms of overall welfare we are not particularly wide of the mark compared to others. The number we should be looking at is the 54 billion I think but more than money is the waste of life it represents.

  • Agrippina

    Until and unless, benefits are paid for 2 kids only this nonsense will continue. As was clear in the Philpott case, he had 17 kids with various women. The women worked as cleaners, the ghastly man, collected child beneft, child tax credits, working tax credits, housing & council tax benefits, somewhere in the region of £70k. None of them had any qualifications & would never had jobs paying those sums of monies.

    Dee is great with her neighbours, but is a bad tempered, aggressive bully with her 2 kids and true to form in the last episode shouted at her son. Why she is ‘popular’ I do not understand.

    Becky and Mark have not only been failed by the education system but by their upbringing too. They do not know how to parent as they have nothing to follow. They need assistance & support in how to parent and then in finding work. (and hopefully advised on holding off having anymore kids, as they struggle with the 2 they have).

    It doesn’t help the kids having inadequate parents and the parents struggle to take care of their responsibilities to the children. Only pay for 2kids, they may just make it out of the ghetto.

    • Kitty MLB

      To be quite honest some I know believe child benefit should be scrapped
      altogether, even comfortable parents get this, and use it towards holidays.
      I do not believe this money even directly gets to children , let alone children
      in need. I could be wrong, and forgive me if I am, but I think the whole point
      of it was to persuade people to have more children after the war.
      You are also absolutely correct about the education system,
      the whole idea of work hard and achieve a better life if you do not even have the basics to get a job, saying that I am sure the less academic manage,
      it depends a lot on gumption- get up and go.

  • Marie Louise Noonan

    RE: ‘In my opinion the descent of this issue into ‘do you like them or not’ is a lowering way to turn a real societal problem into little more than public gossip.’

    You can like someone and disapprove of their actions at the same time.

    And imho reality TV itself is, for the most part, ‘little more than public gossip’.

    • HookesLaw

      Well put.

      • Kitty MLB

        The difference being that this type of reality TV,
        is actually just that, unlike the other type of mind numbing
        nonsense which calls itself by the same name.

        • John Skinner

          Only this being TV it is still subject to editorial decision-making, which can turn a filmed ‘reality’ look like something else completely. Witness the producer I think it was, who resigned over the Queen’s appearance on a TV show roughly a year ago.

  • Lance Green

    I appreciated your acknowledgement of the benefit trap problem. There are a few people such as Prof.Guy Standing who have suggested the Basic/Citizen’s Income as a genuine solution to this problem, although radically rearranging the welfare state brings with it its own problems, not to mention it could entrench the responsibility problem you also raised, though I suspect this is just cultural, and thus would be harder to reverse. You can’t just throw money at a lack of culture, I wouldn’t even know where to begin in reversing it.

    • Fergus Pickering

      You mean everyone gets an income without having to do anything for it. Why would anyone work then? Come, explain it.

      • Lance Green

        I don’t think here is the time or place to do that because it’s an enormous can of worms – but the argument is generally that as automation and technology renders labour less in demand, the old route of getting a wage is harder and harder. People would work because the BI isn’t very much money (just barely enough to live on). Its introduction could also happily abolish any and all minimum wage laws and remove the current price distortion caused by government intervention into this market.

        • HookesLaw

          But that is not the case. I agree that automation might well do away with many tube drivers but we still need plenty bus drivers; so why have we had to go abroad to get them? Its not that they are here that is the problem for me – its that we cannot get the available work force to take the job. This is our problem of our own making

          In other respects and despite automation we still have record numbers in employment. Jobs are still there.

          • saffrin

            “We still need plenty bus drivers; so why have we had to go abroad to get them?”
            We don’t need to go abroad to find bus drivers anymore than we would for any other job.

          • Lance Green

            I would agree with you in that there is a problem of culture, but to your specific point about bus drivers: Google Inc are actually developing driverless cars as we speak, it is not unthinkable that these will be phased in completely in 20 years.

  • Rockin Ron

    Great article Douglas and shame on Alison Pearson for ducking out of the debate. Journalists, eh? Always ready to advice, hardly ever prepared to act.
    Anyway, I saw a little of the debate and was in the uncomfortable position of actually agreeing with Owen Jones. I think he spoke a lot of sense when he talked about how Germany looked after its lower skilled employees and we haven’t.

    • Makroon

      Ms Pearson is just a lot more astute than Mr Murray, and recognised a stunt and a stitch-up when she saw one. Refusing to play their shabby little games is not “shameful”. Good for her.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Good piece, Mr Murray. I agree with everything you say.

  • zanzamander

    Mehdi Hasan is not a pundit and any programme that has him as a panelist is probably less important than a bowl of poo.

    • FrenchNewsonlin

      He’s a self-styled ‘pundit’ though, according to his crawling and unrequited freelancing application to Dacre of the Mail. MH, the hack with no shame but plenty of venom for the “kuffar”.

  • Mr Creosote

    White Dee is, unfortunately, well on her way to “national treasure” status a la Jade Goody. It is utterly depressing that Charlie Mullins was attacked so vociferously, when in reality he is exactly the sort of self-made entrepreneur who would likely rescue some of these people from life on the dole. The baby-faced half wit Owen Jones made his usual fatuous contribution, but made no suggestion how his socialist utopia would be paid for – presumably by taxing the likes of Charlie Mullins out of existence.

    • Makroon

      For God’s sake, this was a typical lefty stunt show, what did you expect, it was channel bloody Four ?!
      Take a hundred randomly selected people from the rush-hour crowd and repeat the “debate”, and you would get a totally different response.
      Ask Kim Kardashian what she thinks of Warren Buffet. Doh !

      • Mr Creosote

        Unfortunately I don’t share your optimistic view of the outcome from a hundred randomly selected people from the rush hour crowd. Aside from the fact that they would all likely be working, they would be equally unrepresentative of the general electorate who tune in to “X Factor” every saturday night – and who will mindlessly vote Labour in the next election…and support White Dee if she carries out her threat to stand as an MP.

  • Kitty MLB

    Utter bleakness, soul destroying TV! never actually watched it myself for too long
    but get the idea.
    What a shocking misfortune of birth for the poor children born of such parents,
    apologies if that sounds snobbish, I am not so, but if you cannot provide
    for your children a better life then the one you have, and teach them to become
    outward thinking and responsible future tax payers then you should not have them.
    What I am saying has nothing to do with personal wealth,
    people in past generations who have really been poor as church mice, never gone any
    help from the government and they still managed.
    As for those shouting Tory Toff, excuse me but who pays for your benefits.
    Labour wishes to keep you all as poor as each other, unfortunately
    we now have that ghastly word in this country the ‘ Underclass’ such as
    those Philpot people- and Labour would keep them poor and dependant.
    Why any immigrants would want to move here I have no idea.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Wise words from you, Kitty. Some immigrants want to move here for the free money I am afraid. .

      • Kitty MLB

        I fear you are right, Fergus.
        That goose that keeps on popping out golden eggs, again and again,
        the land of milk and honey.
        Such a small island to be the worlds saviour and police.

      • HookesLaw

        Some? How many? Like it or not the EU free movement rule is for jobs. The rules are quite clear about benefits or lack of them and the right is to come here for jobs. Other immigrants? Take away people with work visas, take a way students and other former emigrants returning and tell me just who are they and how many and for what reason do we allow them in?
        The fact is these people do not exist in any seriously measurable way.
        https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/261347/immigration-q3-2013snr.pdf
        (interestingly there has been a 60% fall in Pakistani study visas and 24% fall in Indian ones – which shows the govt clamp down on bogus student courses has had some effect. Unlike when Labour were in power)

        Its now coming up to March BTW – can some kipper give us a update on the millions of Romanians that were supposed to be coming here?

        • Kitty MLB

          I am not a Kipper, but until one comes here to grilled
          by you may I answer.
          No one ever said The Romanians were going to arrive all at once, no doubt it will be gradual, just like any very poor country
          can join the EU, they can turn up here at any point they want.
          Also its not so much the Romanian, but the Roma Gypsies
          that I here are causing problems( some seem to get them mixed up)
          I have more of an issue personally with Syrian refugees
          if they turned up, a different subject though.
          I assume a kipper will turn up soon to answer you
          in a more helpful way.

          • Wessex Man

            No Kitty, youarn’t a Kippers as the tory vboy calls us but I am. The last available Government figures for ‘inward immigration’ which means movement within the EU from Eastern Europe, as supplied by the Government yesterday, for 2011.

            1. UK 566,044
            2. Germany 489422
            3. Spain 457,649
            4. Italy 385,649
            5. France 267,400
            6. Belgium 144,700
            7. Greece 110,800
            8. Austria 104,400
            9. Sweden 96,500
            10. Denmark 52,800

            • Kitty MLB

              Is it actually ok to call you a kipper?
              I may not be one as such, but an honorary one
              as the UKIP bunch from Conservative Home say.
              An absolute world away from the slippery octopus clutches
              of Cameron, and that is for sure.
              Those figures are an absolute disgrace, and just show
              how little the Political class in this country think about the UK
              and the pour souls who live here.

        • saffrin

          It may be coming up to March 2014 but seeing as Romanians have only been alowed in the country since January 1st, how come many have been here for several years?

          • Kitty MLB

            Yes, very good point.

    • Makroon

      There are hundreds of thousands of people in this country, brought up in much more deprived conditions than these freaks, who nevertheless, have made a success of their lives.

      • Kitty MLB

        What are you ratting on about.
        There is poverty in this country, but we are not a third world country,
        not yet anyway unless we import some to make us such

  • Wessex Man

    You of all people should have known what to expect from this bunch of nutcases and should have walked out as the same time as Alison Pearson. Where would their bile be taken to then!

  • irritatingpedant

    Hate to do this, but it’s ad feminam not ad feminem.

    • Camilla Swift

      You’re right, thank you.

  • saffrin

    Introduce laws forcing those unemployed more than six months into the military.
    Watch the scramble for jobs if that were to happen, the World’s immigrants wouldn’t stand a chance.
    Something else to aid our unemployed would be to stop companies advertising jobs abroad they don’t advertise at home.
    —————————————————————————————————-White Dee’s in line for the Big Brother House. I wonder if the benefits office will cotton on to that?

    • Mike Purves

      A pity that there is not a convention among broadcasters that convicted criminals should not be used for paid TV work. We would than be spared not only the sight of White Dee, but the Huhnes and other unsavoury characters.

  • alexander

    your right Douglas you did bottle it, You get no points for writing down your true thoughts on the matter the next day, you should have said your piece yesterday but you knew you were outnumbered and didn’t want the row

    • Fergus Pickering

      He has already said why he kept silent. Good reasons, I think.

      • alexander

        yeah just swap the word ‘reasons’ for ‘excuses’ and you’ve got it

        • Fergus Pickering

          If I meant excuses I would have said so.

          • alexander

            Yes I agree completely fergus, the poshboy hastily sweated out some excuses last night fully cognisant of the fact that a million people were shouting coward at the screen

            • Fergus Pickering

              Try not to say poshboy. It’s one of those words people use as a substitute fr thought. What would his supposed poshness have to do with it?

              • Kitty MLB

                Poshness is just a cheap shot of a word,
                rather like the preposterous made up word pleb.
                ‘his supposed poshness’- Indeed.
                Cameron’s father was a banker, the prime minister had an excellent education, but you cannot educate your way to poshness. ( besides, Oxford is rather too Leftie)
                To start with you need a title ( Fergus must have one of those
                hidden somewhere dusty I am sure)
                You need to be quintessentially English, come from a good
                breeding stock ( just middle-class myself)
                be able to trace your linage back more then 10 generations,
                must have a castle in Scotland, have a nanny,
                enjoy ludicrous non politically correct English humour and have a pet.
                I just wish the likes of Nadine Dorris would not use that word,
                it just plays into the hands of Lefties.

              • alexander

                In this case exhibiting cowardice and not saying what you think at the time like everyone else and taking the cowards way out by writing his thoughts the next day

                • Fergus Pickering

                  Let me get this straight. Posh people are cowards. Sons of the soil are brave. Is that what you are saying? It’s balls, isn’t it?

                • alexander

                  you are projecting, I said in this case.

                  Try not to say balls its one of those words people use as a substitute for thought

                • Kitty MLB

                  Its fine to be a straight talking chap,
                  others have the right to agree or disagree with you
                  allowed in a democratic country.
                  sarcasm is really the lowest form of wit,
                  as well as empty vessels and all that.
                  Also ‘ poshboys’, I can say the country was in a far more better
                  place when ‘ the ruling class’ ran the country, instead of
                  a bunch of the ‘ we feel your pain and are just like you idiots’
                  Also, perhaps they also do not take advantage in quite the same way, the honour of a gentleman and all that.
                  Spite, division and political as well as social envy
                  are somewhat damaging, dear chap.

                • alexander

                  looking at issues through a left right political lens is a low form of intelligence as you are immediately reducing the debate to prescribed re-hashed parameters

                • Fergus Pickering

                  So what has poshness got to do with it?

                • alexander

                  merely an observation and the the opposite to downwards class bigotry

                • Kitty MLB

                  Yes well, Alexander, the whole class system is based on bigotry and knowing your place on the ladder,
                  I have absolutely why we still have that dreadful way of labelling people-
                  The only people were are not snobs are upper class people,
                  I can assure you of that.
                  Lower class have issues with the middle class and a inferiority
                  complex and middle class are trying to escape their lower class roots.
                  Thanks for the response, people here clearly have excellent
                  manners ( or not)
                  Sorry for butting in.

                • alexander

                  The whole class system is based on bigotry, snobbery and surrounding yourself with similar people so that your perceived self worth and social status is re-enforced when you project it outwards and it comes back to you as positive affirmation.

                  The reason why people are still categorised in this way is because this is the structure of society and inequality is the basis of civilisation. There has to be poor c**ts in the current system of human organisation for their to be rich c**ts.

                  The Upper class are human the first point holds.

                  Middle class snobs project their own self hatred onto the working class to re-enforce their own self worth and imagined social position

                • Kitty MLB

                  No, Alexander never said that, he is one of the very few straight- talking people here. I think he was making a point
                  about those who wander in the shadows and you changed the subject, Fergus. You avoid direct questions
                  questions a rather lot if you do not mind me saying-
                  I suppose that’s your prerogative.
                  Sons of the soil are brave ( most of the time) and some posh people are cowards – do not judge by class, but by individuals-
                  I know that’s rather Conservative- but never mind.
                  By The Way Fergus. I do rattle on with my long posts,
                  if they are a pain, people were more then welcome
                  to say put a sock in it, bugger off wench and stop hanging
                  around like a putrescent miasma, or more eloquent if they prefer.

    • Makroon

      Harsh but fair.

  • Maturecheese

    Mr Murray, you have more integrity in your little finger than that complete moron Richard Bacon. We all know that any debate on TV/Radio now is always skewed to the left with infantile point scoring.

    • zanzamander

      And Mehdi Hasan.

      • Maturecheese

        ?? If you mean he (MH) also a complete moron then I agree but even though I can’t stand the man he isn’t as moronic as Bacon. He is more dangerous though.

      • Andy

        He is the piece of scum who thinks Christians are ‘cattle’.

        • telemachus

          He deserves a knighthood for this alone

          “On BBC1’s Question Time on Thursday, Mehdi Hasan of the Huffington Post reacts to the Daily Mail’s story about Ralph Miliband, branded ‘the man who hated Britain’. In an impassioned tirade, he says the ‘immigration bashing, woman-hating, Muslim-smearing, NHS-undermining, gay-baiting Daily Mail’ really hates Britain, rather than Ralph Miliband, who fought for his country in the Royal Navy

          • Andy

            For hating Christians ?????

          • Kevin T

            You left out the bit where the Daily Mail released a letter from Brother Hasan begging to write for it.

            • telemachus

              Sometimes you have to attack from within

              • sarah_13

                That’s one explanation, but it’s more commonly known as hypocrisy.

    • Mr Grumpy

      Using children as political human shields – utterly despicable. And, yes, you were absolutely right to hold fire, Douglas.

      • alexander

        The girls from inner city Birmingham. Words from an ‘educated’ poshboy would just bounce off her. Its an excuse to avoid confrontation

        • Kitty MLB

          Posh Boy seems to be your favourite term.
          Do you also use that made up word pleb to describe her,
          or is that only the leftie controlled police.

          • alexander

            Can you pull your trousers down a bit more please, as I’m having difficulty making out what your saying

    • Kitty MLB

      Indeed he has so much more integrity.
      Must we continue to hear the shallow rubbish spouting from the
      mouths of ignorant lefties, especially Owen Jones.
      loathsome boy, who does actually believe the unions can save the world,
      and Milipede is far too ‘conservative’.

      • telemachus

        Owen is a very bright, personable and decent chap. In terms of the Reasonable he is the most talented polemicist and communicator we have seen for a generation. I also know as Hackney North CLP Agent that he is not an armchair theorist but while he was living in Hackney rolled up his sleeves and did more than his fair share of canvassing and leafleting for The Cause

        • Kitty MLB

          I am sure Owen Jones is a very personable young man,
          but he has a very strange idea about returning to old Labour,
          he thought Tony Blair ( the best leader you ever had)
          was the anti-Christ ( he might have a point)
          and he can be such an annoying spaniel, you just want to lock him out into the garden.
          Telemachus, ‘ The Cause’ those two words send a shiver
          down my spine.

          • telemachus

            You must not worry about belief
            The trouble with Blair was that he did not have it and progressively sold us down the river
            Gordon, denied his glory by Lehman, was returning our great movement back to integrity

            • Cosmo

              “denied his glory by Lehman” Laugh, I nearly cried. Why anyone takes your deluded comments seriously I don’t know.

              • Fergus Pickering

                Nobody does.

              • telemachus

                Before Lehman he gave you the longest period of prosperity you have known

                • Cosmo

                  Oh yes, I forgot, by “abolishing boom and bust” and inflating the biggest debt fuelled bubble we have ever seen. Like I said, you are deluded and a fool. Goodbye.

                • Donafugata

                  Correction, the illusion of prosperity based on debt.

        • Mike Oddpiece

          Canvassing and leafleting? I must redraw my picture of the guy immediately

          • telemachus

            This man works for his beliefs

            • sarah_13

              I think he does believe it, but he is wrong.

        • Andy

          The little pillock should be sent down the salt mines for 25 years.

          • telemachus

            Would that be you
            I do not recognise your epithet fitting any other name mentioned

            • Andy

              And you are to be hanged, as we all agree.

        • John Lea

          I’d be more impressed with the little idiot if he spent a year living on some crime-ridden South London sink estate, surrounded by layabouts, drug addicts, and feral kids. Let’s see him walk the walk. It’s very easy to have a liberal attitude towards the underclass when you don’t actually have to live alongside them on a daily basis.

        • sarah_13

          I’m sure he’s personable. Of course he isn’t from hackney, he’s from the “mean streets” of stockport, and apparently speaks for all of us poor “workers” who were raised there – the most middle class area in Britain.

          • telemachus

            I do not get it
            Why do you decry someone who whatever background works for the disadvantaged

            • sarah_13

              I do not, I myself do voluntary work. However he does not speak for the “working class” as he claims to. He comes from a “privileged” background (parents were/are teachers, whose unions at the expense of many decent teachers, perpetuate the status quo and maintain a disgraceful education system at the expense of education). He is happy to keep millions in poverty with policies that would ruin our economy and create a Chavez like state. He is personable I have no doubt but many nice people propagate dangerous policies and are not generally there to pick up the pieces when their policies cause mayhem.

            • black11hawk

              Because he’s not really working for disadvantaged people, he’s helping to perpetuate a system which keeps them disadvantaged, stuck on benefits, doing nothing all day. If you make benefits more generous and expand the number of recipients don’t be surprised when you create a disadvantaged underclass. Anyway what ever happened to the dignity of fending for yourself?

          • halloweenjack74

            “he most middle class area in Britain” – Hackney or Stockport?? Neither is true.

    • Makroon

      Murray is not a “token right winger”, he is a liberal, full of hand-wringing angst, who sees the underclass as pitiful victims.
      In other news, the pope is a Catholic and Richard Bacon is a devious and manipulative prat with little integrity.

      • telemachus

        You must not tell the truth about Bacon

        • Andy

          You mean he got sacked for being a coke head ?

          • telemachus

            He learned

            “Snorting coke in a toilet was so seedy; Ex- Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon tells the true story of the mistake that cost him his job.. and made him vow never to take drugs again.”

            • Andy

              So he was a coke head.

            • Tom Allalone

              Just love the word ‘mistake’ – as if you snort coke by mistake. The mistake was he didn’t think he’d get found out but he was

              • telemachus

                Young and impressionable and led by the nose

    • sarah_13

      Just watched it, I thought you were did very well Douglas. It seemed a lot of people even in the audience did listen to your well chosen diplomatic analysis. Well done.

    • Donafugata

      The “big British immigration row” follows a similar strategy, we can expect much more TV sensationalism, I think.

      Immigration had an audience, at least 70% non-British, if you count those who put their religion before their country. The usual Muslim contingent wouldn’t allow anyone to speak if they were critical of immigration.

      The specially invited audience and biased presenters would have made Question Time producers jealous.

      After 40 minutes I had to turn off and watched La Dolce Vita on DVD,
      much more fun.

      • Maturecheese

        You have much more staying power than me as I lasted 5 minutes. That was enough to see the usual bias at work from the lefty multicultural rent an audience.

    • returntochivalry

      I watched the Benefits Debate . What struck me was the vast differences there were in speech, dress, physical appearance and, supposedly behaviour, of our underclass i.e those represented by Dee and others on the show who do not work and who survive on benefits and – our elite masters – perfectly represented by the public school educated Douglas Murray. Douglas was the opposite: a handsome figure of a man, he was impeccably dressed and spoke extremely eloquently.

      How did our society come to this I ask? How did it produce such vast differences in the human condition?

      It is of course the result of hundreds of years of an extremely stratified
      society. Where those at the bottom get the few crumbs left of genetic,
      social, cultural and economic wealth grabbed by all those above. The
      humans that lived for many of thousands of years prior to agriculture,
      in relative equality with each other, would be shocked by the types of
      humans our so called civilisation has created. An horrendous aberration
      which we should all be ashamed of.

      Tinkering with the benefits system will never erase these gross inequalities embedded in society.

  • Tom W Huxley

    I think, despite being so blatantly set up for a fall, you came across pretty well, Douglas – particularly in your contribution towards the end.

  • guest

    Douglas,
    when asked “Which of the children of the people opposite shouldn’t have been born?”, all you had to say was the following – I think the children would agree with me if and when I said their childhood would be a lot better than it is now, if their parents would have had them when they were in a better socio-economic position.
    Check mate!
    You then would have demonstrated that you are on the children’s side, and *held people accountable for their actions*.

    • Tom W Huxley

      I get the impression he was too shocked by the line of question to construct any kind of strong argument. And I don’t think that would have been a helpful one.

      • Cyril Sneer

        I would refuse to answer such an offensive question

    • wycombewanderer

      I’d have pointed my finger at dronin Jones!

  • In2minds

    So what can be done about James Turner Street and the many other examples of this problem all across the UK? Winson Green is in the parliamentary constituency of Ladywood and from 1918 to 1929 Neville Chamberlain held the seat for the Conservatives. In over 90 years for all but 12 of them the Labour party has been in power. In 2008 unemployment reached a UK record of 10% so no wonder past, Claire Short, and present MP, Shabana Mahmood, are as yet to join the ‘debate’. I see they don’t get a mention above

    • Tom W Huxley

      Actually, Clare Short wrote an article for Radio Times (where she sided with those claiming the programme to be unrepresentative) and I’m pretty sure Mahmood has spoken out against the programme as well.

      • In2minds

        Tom W Huxley, thank you for your update. However, my main point stays up, 90 years of political failure. And I agree with Douglas Murray these people have been let down.

        • Wessex Man

          Let down, the only people letting themselves down were the bone idle residents of James Yurner Street!

          • Kitty MLB

            Cannot believe that person said ‘ let down’.
            What about trying to take responsibility for your own life
            instead of expecting someone else to do it for you-
            everything is always someone else’ s fault-
            mind you Wessex Man, they had 13 years of labour
            setting a marvellous example- the rot starts from the top.
            They keep busy Popping out children like no ones business when tax payers
            have to decide whether they can afford children.

            • HookesLaw

              I agree – take responsibility. I want to see that. But there seem to be some people who are incapable – borderline mentally ill in this respect. There are of course some people who are downright mean skivers and leeches; these would not make good employment material; at the best of times. But there are people who can be helped if we can figure out how to help them.

              This is where the large scale immigration under Labour was so devastating and disastrous – the whole problem was callously brushed under the carpet by labour and allowed to fester.
              Labour left us with a massive social deficit as well as a massive financial one. If the problem had been addressed at its outset its solution would have been much easier.

              • Kitty MLB

                Yes indeed, we must always protect those who are in real need,
                and due to those who abuse the system those who are in real
                need are probably not receiving the amount of care that they
                should be receiving- they cannot be, we do not have a bottomless pot of money, and I know IDS is trying his best( I suppose)
                Not sure you can do much about the skivers, apart from
                reduce their benefits, and make them do voluntary work,
                just to get them used to the work environment.
                as you say the financial deficit can be dealt with in time-
                but changing the way people think, especially Labour voters.

          • In2minds

            Then you know nothing of the local schools. A free school would work wonders there.

            • Wessex Man

              absolute rubbish, the schools must of us on here went to had classes of 40+ and the teachers took it as a personal insult if you let them down by not bothering to learn!

              • In2minds

                That was long ago, this problem is here now.

                • Wessex Man

                  The answer my friend is to stop treating them as victims but to actually make them do something anything for their money, even if it cleaning out the dainage ditches, culverts and storm drains, or even perish the thought, clean up the litter that must of them cause! They might then actually go and look for work!

                  Apparantly “White Dee” sufferes from depression, it certainly doesn’t look like it to me, she suffers from being a glutton layabout condition which is actually being bone idle!

              • tastemylogos

                You don’t know what you are talking about, Wessex. People by now know that I am far from supportive of this non-contributory welfare system, I despise Labour and I despise the views of people like Owen Jones.

                But, you judge human beings from your ivory tower.You are uncaring, unsympathetic and down-right mean. Even Peter Hitchens would find this kind of view abhorrent. Human beings act on incentive. If t the education system itself refuses to sack poor teachers, refuses to imbue high standards and the skills to get on in life, and being content with mediocrity for its pupils, how do you expect people from poor backgrounds to get on in life?

                Grow up fella. You need to get out and see the real world, lad. View it through the prism of 2014 not 1950.

                • Makroon

                  Utter bollocks.

                • tastemylogos

                  Well thought through, Makroon. Seriously. How erudite and enlightening.

                • Makroon

                  Seriously ? How else should I comment on pious waffle ?
                  Save your sympathy for those who strive against the odds, and mostly just manage to scrape a living – not the parasites.

                • tastemylogos

                  Pious waffle? Oh do shut up. I was rebutting the pious judgemental crap from your moron brother, Wessex.

                  It aint me judging.

                  > Save your sympathy for those who strive against the odds,

                  You would know, obviously. Pah.

                • Makroon

                  Ha-ha, what a lovely assumption/presumption rich post.

                • tastemylogos

                  boll**** makroon. In my life, I have never met anybody who was lucky enough to do what I did and somehow free themselves from our underclass and think the people they left behind were anything other than victims of a sinister and guilt ridden benefits/comprehensive education trap. Not one.

                  Course, you may be the exception… but lets face it… you aint. So, again… nice view from up there?

                • Wessex Man

                  Judging by your replies to me and Makroon, I rather think it’s you that don’t know what you are talking about, I’ve never actually visited an Ivory Tower, what are they like? You sound as mad as Hitchens. The Education System you are talking about was imposed on this country by half-witted Socialists who wished to drag everybody down into the gutter to better control them and boy did they succeed!

                  As for growing up, yes I did years ago, and had it drummed into me from my working class family that there’s no such thing as a free ride, that you get an education and you work your bal** off to succeed. One of the reasons that the layabouts that exist in every city, town and village in the land can slob about doing nothing is because the taxes we’ve paid all our lives!

                  In the prism of the 1950s without the aid of the technology that is now available, teachers taught us all the three Rs and much more as well, with resources that the current mob would refuse to use!

                • tastemylogos

                  > ”udging by your replies to me and Makroon, I rather think it’s you that don’t know what you are talking about,”

                  Having been brought up on Lodge Lane, Toxteth and attending New Heys Comp, throughout New Labour experiment, I know exactly what I am talking about, fella.

                  > ”The Education System you are talking about was imposed on this country by half-witted Socialists who wished to drag everybody down into the gutter to better control them and boy did they succeed!”

                  On the one hand you concede that the state saw fit to drag everybody down and then blame the kids it was subjected to for not ‘making it’. Make you mind up, lad. You are incoherent.

                  > ”As for growing up, yes I did years ago, and had it drummed into me from my working class family that there’s no such thing as a free ride,”

                  In the 1950s no doubt. Social mobility wasn;t the problem then that it is today. Back then, you worked or you starved… correct? So what is you point?

                  >” n the prism of the 1950s without the aid of the technology that is now available, teachers taught us all the three Rs and much more as well, with resources that the current mob would refuse to use!”

                  Well done, you agree with me yet have somehow contrived to find an argument. Only Wessex.

              • Makroon

                I make you right. It is only the simpering middle-class who see these people as “let down victims” to be pitied and helped. Ask somebody from the working, not-very-well-off and you will get a far harsher and more accurate judgement.

  • JimmyLinton

    It made for horrific TV. The maniac who kept screaming about Tory toffs and ex military types is one of the best adverts I’ve come across for ending universal suffrage. The treatment of Charlie Mullins was appalling.

    Owen Jones, once again confirmed that he is, indeed an ignorant t!t.

    • Andy

      Yes well it would do Owen sodding Jones good to do a proper days work.

      • telemachus

        Far too much profanity from the right wing contingent

        • Andy

          Thought you had finally been hanged. Get ye back to the Condemned Cell.

          • telemachus

            I did have a good mission thank you
            And I am grateful to Mynidd, David Lindsay and members of my team and associates for keeping an eye on the likes of your goodself while I was away

            • Andy

              Others are saying you have been in the Gulag.

              • telemachus

                I spent a pleasant and fruitful sojourn in Yekateringburg a place of opportunity
                And incidentally where the Romanov’s learned that there was no going back
                More of all that in due course

                • Andy

                  That particular house was demolished and a Church now stands on the site dedicated to Nicholas the Martyr.

                • telemachus

                  Martyr
                  Martyr?
                  A symbol of repression and personal greed

                • Tom Allalone

                  Must have given you a thrill to be close to where the Bolsheviks bayoneted defenceless women and a sick child.

            • HFC

              The heir to Goebbels is amongst us!

    • telemachus

      I see
      And just who should have the vote?
      Those who can demonstrate 2 UK grandparents and a property qualification?
      Thank god we do not have to listen to the likes of you

      • Kitty MLB

        Dear telemuchus, your visit to Gulag did not do you much good.
        Its a pity we cannot hear Mr Linton’s voice, more often.
        but its difficult to hear through the squealing, wailing , hysterical noise
        of the Left.
        And stop putting words in his mouth that he did not say.
        He was never the one who how can I say, imported voters
        and expected them to vote Labour..that did not work,
        as George Galloway will tell you.

        • telemachus

          Neatherapologism is dead
          Do not try to revive it

          • Noa

            Always trying to shut put people up aren’t you comrade? Just like your hero Joe.

      • andagain

        People who demonstrate the capacity for rational thought, perhaps. Screaming out your own self-righteous hatred of somebody else is an ineffective way of doing that, in my experience.

        • telemachus

          Excuse me
          My forefathers fought for decades to achieve universal suffrage
          And you defend someone who wishes to abrogate it

          • CharlietheChump

            Forefathers? Don’t pretend you know who they are.

            And you are not excused laddie>

            • telemachus

              Generic term son
              Generic term
              But yes I hail from Hugenot ancestry

              • Tom Allalone

                So do I. The Huguenots were refugees from religious oppression who emigrated to a country where they integrated so completely that only the names serve to remind us of their ancestry. You support religious oppression, hate freedom and think religious separatism is culturally enriching. In other words, you have betrayed everything your ancestors fought for

          • andagain

            My forefathers fought for decades to achieve universal suffrage

            No, they didn’t. Children don’t have the vote, on the grounds that they are not competant to exercise it. And your forefathers were perfectly happy with that.

            So it seems to me that people incapable of rational thought might be denied it on the same grounds.

      • CharlietheChump

        Property owners with assets greater than £1M and earnings over £100,000.

        • telemachus

          I see
          The chaps Osborne gave a 5% pay rise

    • James Lovelace

      Owen Jones, like Tatchell, could have 10 shades kicked out of him by those who despise him, and he’d still speak up for them. These types are latter-day religious zealots. 150 years ago, they’d have been shipped out as missionaries.

      The fascist Left are masters of double-speak. Owen Jones can write a book defending “Chavs”, then spend the subsequent years using his position in the media to denigrate the EDL.

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