Coffee House

Squeeze are wrong: the Tories are hellbent on fixing welfare, not destroying it

10 January 2016

2:33 PM

10 January 2016

2:33 PM

Squeeze were at their best in the 1970s, and this morning demonstrated that their political ideas haven’t much evolved from that awful decade. Playing out the Andrew Marr show in front of the Prime Minister, Glenn Tilbrook changed the lyrics of this latest song to insert the line “I grew up in council houses, they’re part of what made Britain great. But there are some people who are hellbent on destruction of the welfare state.” Not quite. Today’s Conservative Party is hellbent on reforming the welfare state – so it helps people out of poverty rather than traps them in it. That is what’s behind today’s news that the PM is minded to knock down the worst estates, rebuild the property and help rebuild the lives of the tenants.

Let’s take a better protest song: Jerusalem. Blake famously wrote about England’s ‘dark, satanic mills’ – the scourge, as he saw it, of British society. The closest equivalent today is sink housing estates, with mass worklessness and high levels of criminality. Children growing up with no role models:- pitifully few workers around, pitifully few fathers at home. Estates where you can’t find any fresh fruit or vegetables to buy, but the off-license and the betting shop are always close at hand. Estates where you see syringes cast in doorways, and gangs often represent the surest economic route to success. The kind of place that a teenager might be taken (as Tilbrook once put it) “from bar to street to bookie’”. And worse.

In his speech tomorrow (the text of which has been previewed in today’s papers) Cameron will talk about the warmth inside the doors of in council estates. I used to live on one, and was grateful to be there: safe, affordable accommodation in the jungle of dodgy-landlord accommodation. Not so good to have various human deposits staining the lift, but it’s a mistake to see all council estates as welfare ghettoes. In fact, as a result of the recent rise in employment, a clear majority of social housing tenants are in work.

[Alt-Text]


But there is nothing compassionate about denying the extent of the social decay in the worst schemes. This is what happened during Labour years: the problem was ignored and the people living inside such places were abandoned – until, latterly, pioneering Labour reformers like John Hutton and James Purnell started the work now being taken on by the Tories. How much easier to keep writing welfare cheques and leave such people to decay in edge-of-town estates, economically isolated from the rest of society. No one accuses you of trying to bring ‘destruction’ if you leave these places to fester. The Conservatives have, under Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith, switched to a policy which aims to leaveno one left beind: no group deemed too expensive or tricky to try and help. It’s a risky strategy, with obloquy guaranteed. It means (for example) assessing all 2m people on incapacity benefit for what work they can do – knowing what an undertaking this will be, and how difficult it is to do properly. They are also replacing the notorious benefits trap with a new system, Universal Credit, which better rewards work.

I’ve long been in favour taking a hammer to the worst estates, and instead allowing parents to move to more mixed areas with better schools, safer communities and shinier prospects. But make no mistake: any idiot can knock down housing estates (as the 1960s proved) – it’s far harder to create places where people flourish. That will be Cameron’s next step. But the mission isn’t destroying welfare; it’s the destruction of poverty.

PS This graph shows who has seen their income drop the most so far under Cameron…

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Show comments
  • Graeme S

    wholesale abuse of the welfare system is killing in off … nothing else

  • fubar_saunders

    I profess myself to be disappointed in Difford & Tilbrook. Given that they’ve never been a protest band, they’ve never been a Billy Bragg or a Weller or a Dylan in terms of what they write, I thought that it was a bit of a cheap shot and that they had more respect for their art than that. And I say that as a Squeeze fan of over 30 years.

    Evidently not. Oh well.

    • Leftyliesrefuted

      Agreed. They produced some great music (Argy Bargy and East Side Story in particular were great albums) and it’s a shame to see them descend to cheap agitprop stunts like this one.

  • inothernews

    Shame when someone you’ve enjoyed, been to see play, then does something a bit nuts like that. Squeeze never owned the rights to their songs and there’s no such thing as bad publicity I suppose.

  • Ken

    I really don’t understand why people like this aspire to poverty or believe it to be an aspiration to be shared or passed on.

  • Mark Brookes

    I was brought up in council houses. I educated myself with 2 degrees. I now work as a Systems Analyst/Developer and am fairly successful. My parents both worked very hard whilst on these council estates. I now live in a much nicer area with countryside etc. I am glad my daughter will not have to be brought up in one of these places. That said, I appreciate that the vast majority of people who live in them are hard working tax payers. Basically, this article is Tory hyberbole. They will nock down, they will NOT rebuild. When Labour was in, I watched many old estates I grew up on both being knocked down AND REBUILT fast.

  • kyalami

    A couple of good charts there.

  • Gilbert White

    Cool for fat cats, the media fee?

  • King Zog

    Squeeze? XTC, please.

  • King Zog

    “I grew up in council houses, they’re part of what made Britain great.
    But there are some people who are hellbent on destruction of the welfare
    state.”

    Stick to the day job, Glenn.

  • Mary Ann

    If the Tories really want to help the welfare state they could put a penny on the income tax.

    • Mongo

      if they really wanted to help the welfare state they could try to reduce the numbers of people dependent on it, and those simply exploiting it

      taxing working people more is not going to achieve that, in fact it will likely make it worse

  • King Zog

    What a boring bunch of t*ats. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”… but it is broke. Any attempt to fix (i.e: reform) the welfare system is condemned by this type of celeb socialist as an assault on the poor by the evil capitalists, only looking out for their cronies in the City, in big business, etc, etc. How utterly predictable.

  • http://www.countygroundsussex.co.uk Daniel Harris

    Well done Squeeze, and half these comments about renting privately or not living in council estate slums is a load of tosh. Yes there are problems, the same as anywhere, except the biggest difference is the poverty. There are drug and alcohol problems in all areas, to stigmatise people living on council estates is wrong, councils offer priority to working households with lower incomes nowadays, they pay taxes. Absolutely Cameroon only wants affordable homes not social housing because all you buy to let addicts won’t get your overpriced rental payments as they will be paid to the state not you.

    • Mongo

      no, councils offer priority to immigrants and/or those with children because they are deemed of greatest need

      meanwhile ‘working households’ find themselves perpetually pushed down the waiting list

      • red2black

        I retired at the end of 2010, having worked in the private and public sectors.
        During my time working for a local authority, it became more and more the case that families in need of housing were referred to private landlords, hotels, or bed & breakfast places. In the meantime, no council house-building took place as a matter of central government policy. Of course, the private businesses that were housing people trousered bucket-loads at the taxpayers’ expense.

  • paul

    We should be talking about the fact that there is going to be no investigation into the working practices of the City of London Bankers !!!

  • colchar

    it isn’t the government’s responsibility to give a home except to the poorest of the poor.

    • Angela Sullivan

      Before the 1980’s there was a statutory duty on local Councils to House anyone who was homeless. These days you correctly state correct that it is not (in law) the governments responsibility to give a home. I don’t know why you add “except to the poorest of the poor”. The government takes responsibility only for housing vulnerable people. Simply being the poorest of the poor is not sufficient get anyone classified as vulnerable, so the ultra-poor will be left to freeze to death as they sleep outdoors.

  • Morris Jasper

    Squeeze are hellbent on flogging/promoting their upcoming tour/albumn, with scant regard to concepts of shame or hypocrisy.

  • Mynydd

    Mr Cameron proposal is to move out council tenants, refurbish or rebuild and then sell at a knockdown price to Conservative members or their children.

    • McRobbie

      So moving council tenants from slum housing into new estates is a bad thing ? Even if council tenants buy the council houses as many many labour voting council tenants did under the tory legislation that was not altered when labour were in power.

      • Mynydd

        What new estates? Mr Cameron’s proposal is for existing estates. This is just another attempt to clear council housing with their tenants out for central London.

    • Mongo

      do you have any evidence that the plan is to sell them to Tory party members?

  • Josh

    I’m not sure an article was needed based on the political views of a band (who are perfectly entitled to have them).

    • King Zog

      I don’t think it’s the nature of their views that warranted an article, but rather the way in which they chose to give them expression in this instance.

  • Greenslime

    Dear oh dear. Fraser has pulled a lot of people with ‘Simon Schama Syndrome’ out of the woodwork. Histrionic language to highlight whatever left-wing buzzword comes into their head. Spouting statistics about precarious or chaotic lifestyles or ‘poverty’ without an iota of backup apart from something they read in the Guardian or heard on the BBC (I know, they’re the same place but one broadcasts and the other prints).

    When are these people going to understand that the current setup just locks people into the benefits system. A welfare system should be there to help people at times of need and to help them get out of their hole. It is up to the individual to make things better for themselves with training, education and hard work. I know that some people are in positions where that is easier said than done but the system should be focused on helping those people, not paying for someone to sit on their back-end holding the widescreen TV down with their eyes because they don’t want to work for the minimum wage – or even just don’t want to work.

    If there is a problem with slum landlords – and I am sure that there are some really bad landlords but most are not – then let’s change the law and put in place proper penalties, but it doesn’t have to be the government which provides everything.

    Generally, governments are appalling at compassion. They are machines, focused on making a very complex thing work. People bring the compassion but you have to be realistic. The ‘Give Me More’ Brigade will never be happy and will not be told that there is no such thing as a Money Tree.

    • Mynydd

      Unfortunately there are many, unlike bankers, who can say, if I don’t have my million bonus, I am leaving

      • Greenslime

        Do you speak English?

    • Mongo

      the Tories are trying to deal with the Slumlord problem by ending the exploitation of illegal immigrants, but Labour are attempting to block it by playing the usual racism card

      • Mary Ann

        Pardon. What are tories doing to try to make living conditions better for illegal immigrants?

        • Mongo

          they want to fine landlords and employers that exploit illegals

          • Mary Ann

            How is that going to help the illegals, it will just make them homeless and unemployed.

            • Mongo

              because they can then be picked up by immigration officers and sent to asylum centres where they can apply for asylum or be deported

            • Johnnydub

              We don’t owe Illegals anything.

  • willshome

    Here’s an idea – reverse the last 30 years’ drive towards massive inequality and the poorest full-time worker would have a decent living and not need to live on benefits (what we used to call social security before the name was dropped because it was a bit too difficult to demonise people having social security). Of course it means that the obscenely rich who have been siphoning off huge amounts of money into offshore accounts would have to manage on a little less. But I understand they already earned the average salary by 5th January so they won’t starve. (Unlike the 100,000 British children reliant on food banks in the 4th richest nation on earth.)

    • Mongo

      how is a living wage going to happen when mass cheap foreign labour suppresses wages, and when population growth continues to outstrip the number of jobs available?

      • Copyright101

        Shhh! Don’t you know that mass immigration has no effect on wages or employment?

        Thats what lefties always tell me.

        No effect on the availability or price of housing either apparently.

      • Mynydd

        You should ask your local Conservative MP why Mr Cameron is flooding the market with cheap foreign labour. Another failed target, tens of thousand indeed.

        • Mongo

          I don’t need to ask any MP, I know why – Because we have no control of our borders while we remain in the EU

          • Mynydd

            Not 100% correct, we have control of our borders for non-EU workers, yet Mr Cameron continue to flood the market with cheap labour from the world outside the EU

    • colchar

      Fourth richest? Britain doesn’t even crack the top 20. It is in 23rd position.

  • ohforheavensake

    Come on, Fraser. Not even you could be so gullible.

  • cmflynn

    What welfare state? The aim of the UN and other powers is to abolish all national barriers to the free movement of labour. The project is well under way as anyone can see. The collapse of ‘welfare’ is therefore inevitable as needy people move to their advantage. Those who are not needy will also move but to places where there is high reward for their efforts meaning low taxation and low welfare. Welfare in this country will be collapsed at a moderate pace so as not to alarm the sheeple

  • Mrs Crewe

    Another celebrity who doesn’t know the difference between being famous and being relevant or important. If he wants to be a politician stand for election otherwise he should just keep playing his guitar.

  • rhodaklapp8

    Somebody remind me of why we are still importing poor people if we can’t give a decent deal to the ones we have already?

    • Mongo

      the NHS will collapse without them, or something.

      just to add insult to injury, fresh-off-the-boat third world immigrants are often given priority over native Brits for council housing, especially if they have children which they usually do.

      I’ve seen some pretty swanky new blocks of flats go up in my area, but they seem to be populated mainly by new immigrants, mostly African/ME. I wondered how they could afford to live in such high-end accomodation until it became obvious they were council flats

      meanwhile swathes of working class Brits have been on the council housing waiting list for years while living in dilapidated deprived sink estates. Talk about skewed priorities

      • Adam

        It’s true that many of our hospitals could not operate without the migrant workers, but the other side of the coin is that most of the patients are also migrants. So logically without large numbers of migrants we would not need as many hospitals in the first place.

        • red2black

          At least ambulances are still white. (tee hee)

      • red2black

        It’s clear that neither the Conservatives or ‘New’ Labour ever had any intention of replacing council houses that were sold off to sitting tenants.

        • Mongo

          there might not have been a need for masses of new housing if the govt had got a handle on the population explosion

          • red2black

            There was a short-lived idea about some sort of property and share owning democracy going around at the time.

            • Johnnydub

              And then Labour let in 5 million people, and the Tories continued it.

              • red2black

                That’s right. Why would the Conservatives keep letting Labour voters in in so many numbers after having had their (and everyone else’s) noses rubbed in diversity? They’ve planned for another million or so up to 2020.

        • Mary Ann

          That should be the responsibility of the Tories, they started selling off the old ones just to bribe council tenants to vote tory.

          • red2black

            It was what around every eight in ten council tenants wanted.
            The cry was that they spent their lives paying rent and had nothing to show for it. I was brought up on a council estate in a Northern town during the 1960s, and very occasionally, a family would move to a house on a private estate, leaving the council house for someone who needed it. Council houses were built for people who couldn’t afford a mortgage or preferred to pay rent; not as market commodities.

          • Johnnydub

            That’s a possibility. As opposed to Labour who let in 5 million people from anywhere on the assumption they’d vote Labour.

            Which action has caused the most damage? Hmm tough one that….

      • Copyright101

        Apparently you need constant churn of people from the 3rd world to run a 1st world health system.

        No, I don’t know why either.

        • Mary Ann

          Because it is cheaper to take migrants who have been trained outside Britain than it is to train our own people. It’s a bit like all those university graduates from eastern Europe, coming over here to work, a young workforce we haven’t had to educate, and most of them are far better at speaking foreign languages than we are.

          • Mongo

            “Because it is cheaper to take migrants who have been trained outside Britain than it is to train our own people”

            and you think that’s a good thing?

            • red2black

              That’s what’s happening, in the private sector as well as the public one, whether it’s unskilled, semi-skilled, or skilled jobs. Part of the problem seems to be an indigent skills shortage coupled with a declining indigent population.

          • Johnnydub

            And they’re not the problem. Look at the welfare dependency lists. Its clear what groups are the problem.

            Cue – “Waycissst”

            • red2black

              Governments don’t seem to regard social welfare costs as being a problem.

      • Johnnydub

        Yup. And then add in the social costs of such imports:

        Voter Fraud
        Benefit dependency
        Crime
        Terrorism and extremism.
        Sexual Abuse

        Anyone would think we were suicidal. Oh wait, we are.

    • red2black

      A decent deal for poor people? Unthinkable.

      • rhodaklapp8

        Well, I admit that any decent deal I would suggest wouldn’t involve paying people to be poor. That has not worked for all the centuries we’ve tried it. And yes, welfare happened before Atlee, before Lloyd George. The poor are still with us.

        • Mongo

          inequality is the price of civilisation. Brutal truth is there have to be poor people – if everyone was rich then nobody would bother working and society wouldn’t function.

          unless we ever reach a Star Trek style post-scarcity society where money becomes irrelevant and machines do all the work. But even then someone will have to repair the robots

          • Angela Sullivan

            It is true that people who are rich enough to get by comfortably without doing any work at all rarely apply for jobs in call centres or burger outlets. But observation suggests that it is not true that they do not work. Most of them work pretty hard at things that interest them and they want to do.

        • red2black

          They would be even poorer without social welfare.

    • Mynydd

      It comes down to Mr Cameron’s tens of thousands

    • victor67

      Because we spend £120 Billion on trident.

      • Johnnydub

        Balls. Trident costs about £5Bn a year. Welafre is £220BN a year.

        Gordon Brown ran a £50BN deficit at the height of the housing boom. There will never be enough money for the left to buy votes with.

  • The Dybbuk

    I’m assuming that Mr Cameron will be as successful at fixing welfare as he has been at fixing net migration numbers. Good job that there is no effective opposition to point out that words are easier to deliver than deeds.

    • P_S_W

      “Good job that there is no effective opposition to point out that words are easier to deliver than deeds.”

      Someone should maybe tell Squeeze that sage advice while they’re at it…

  • Skyeward

    Frasor Nelson used to live on a housing estate?

  • Chris Hobson

    Why am i paying a license fee for the BBC to pump out its leftist claptrap and promote bourgeois musicians.

    • victor67

      Yes much more comfortable paying your subscription to Sky and enriching a tax evading Billionaire.

      • Anglian Reed

        There is choice in the latter (Sky), but not the former (BBC).

        • Mary Ann

          You don’t have to watch the BBC. A TV is not compulsory.

          • Anglian Reed

            What if one wishes to watch Sky, or any other non-BBC channel?

            A licence is still required. A licence which funds only the BBC.

            Naif.

          • Johnnydub

            You’re right. I don’t. Which is why the BBC is working furiously to remove that element of choice from the next funding model.

        • victor67

          Some people now are choosing not to have a TV and watch on computers.
          So there is a choice.

          • Anglian Reed

            It’s only a ‘choice’ made as a result of compulsion, so not much of a choice at all.

            Real choice is entirely voluntary.

  • King Kibbutz

    Tillbrook is quite simply, out of tune.

    • Wessex Man

      I wonder if he’s a relative of Robin Tilbrook? He’s a t** as well.

  • Swarm of Drones

    Growing up on an ‘estate’ will hinder your chances in life.
    If you can afford to, don’t live there.
    Pay a private landlord and live in a slum instead.
    GET SMART!

    • David Belcher

      Get smarter and shop around for a decent landlord or a good housing association and avoid the slums, public or private.

      • Mary Ann

        If you can afford it.

    • Trini’s dad

      Yo bratha dat’s di spirit ‘mon. When me 26 me buy me first haus in di Caribbean. It gatta pool mon beleave dis I na lie? Cian do dis in Ingland unless you is a bankster crook or sum kind of ada petty criminal. A latta third wprld living standard in UK. It not good long term for dem angry UK peepol to live in shack wit no window me tell you, in particular in di winter.

    • London Calling

      Just like all those on benefits are scroungers, the view that all those who live on estates are out of work, is blatant stereotyping. What does this say about those who do live on council estates and DO work? And what does this mean for those who are ill or disabled, who are being castrated by Iain Duncan Smith, whilst at the same time being told they will be supported by welfare?

      A witness account…..Mine

      We lived in council house in the country when I was born. My Father rose to fame and we bought a house. Sadly my Father fell from grace, had an affair and my mother was made homeless with me and my siblings. We came back to London, where my mother was born and her family lived and we were put in temporary accomodation. The reason being we wasnt rehoused we were told by the council was due to the fact my mother had been out of London for ten years and therefore had to go an a long waiting list. Although a housing officer who my mum got to know quite well told her that nearlly all the houses in the housing stock was going to large asian families and that she didnt stand a chance of getting a house. The temporary accomodation we were put in was a house with one front door for two families. The family we shared with a couple and their small child, the husband was a drunk and would come home late and would beat his wife. The wife would run up our stairs which we shared and would cry for help. We had no phone so could not call the police and the husband would verbally abuse my mother. We were all scared and even though my mother reported this to the council, it was two years before we were then place in further temporary accomodation. Which was better as at least we had our own front door. During all this my mother worked two jobs, day and late evening and never once contemplated not working. My mother had always worked and being a single mother didnt change that.

      After living in cramped accomodation for a further two years we finally got offered a new three bedroomed flat on a new housing estate. For my mother and us siblings it was the happiest we had ever been. The Estate had no crime, the children including us could play out and made good friends. The caretaker, who lived in our block kept the place immaculate and everyone knew him well. The name of this Estate, was none other than ‘Andover’ the notorius estate Ann Widdecombe, Conservative MP made a document about twenty years later.

      Estate hits back at Widdecombehttp://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/aug/29/guardiansocietysupplement.youthjustice1

      Sadly my mother passed away with cancer in 1982.

      The Andover I knew growing up changed during the late 1980’s. Those who had the right to buy, later sold their flats and moved on. The caretakers were now living off the estate and the police and Council turned a blind eye to the problems that had arisen with some of the new familes moving in. In fact this was happening on many estates throughout the UK as social cohesion broke down. The causes are many, but this didnt mean that the whole estate was on welfare or that they were all responsible for the estates downfall.

      Sadly my mother passed away with cancer in 1982.

      Later I raised a petition to combat the crime on the Estate and I was set upon by a group who were part living on the estate and those from outside. I was nearlly killed when some youths threw a bag of cement from the top floor down on me as I was leaving my flat one day, it missed me by inches. As a consequence I was moved off the estate, yet the problems remained.

      Following Ann Widdecombe’s documentry on Andover Estate. The council invested money in repairing the main three blocks and put up metal fences around the estate. I have since visited the Estate and it looks like a prison. Three months ago a man I know who still lives on the estate and is a mentor for youths was shot in the hip by a gang on the estate as he tried to intervene with those who were arguing within the gang. His price for trying to do good.

      David Cameron want to fix run down estates. Good. But no amount of paint and fixtures will change the social problems until the problem of gangs and idol youths hanging around are met head on. The people who live on the estate are not trapped in a welfare trap, they are trapped in a social trap. Caused by the few. and not the many.

      London

      • London Calling

        And what does this mean for those who are ill or disabled, who are being
        castrated by Iain Duncan Smith, whilst at the same time being told they
        will be supported by welfare?

        There will always be those who need welfare. Pensioners, the ill and disabled
        and genuiine recipients whilst trying to find work. To think that
        wefare and those who recieve it should be eradicated and demonised by a
        constant negative view hurts the very people who have no other
        alternative to survive. Even those in low paid work cannot afford to
        survive without welfare. Face the facts. Cheap labour from abroad has
        kept wages down whilst living costs have sky rocketed. Take away welfare
        and the country will be on its knees. Whilst those who have security
        can find comfort in knowing the Tories (IDS) are hurting
        the poor and than that this is good for the country as a whole. I
        disagree.

        • Johnnydub

          Hysterical claptrap. Its the abuse of welfare that has caused the symptoms you describe. If we could get the 75% of Pakistanis and 80+% of Somalians for example off welfare, there would be more money for the disabled. [Source IPPR report]

          The focus of your ire should be the undeserving poor. The alternative is the assumption that the welfare pot is limitless; or that you can tax people living responsible lives into oblivion.

          • red2black

            Why not start at the top of the social heap instead of the bottom? Are there well-off people receiving welfare payments that they absolutely do not need? Is corporate welfare something that could be more easily tackled without affecting the recipients of it so badly?

            • Tom M

              Two ladies live together near us (yes is the answer) their house is an idylic farmhouse with several outbuildings with lovely views in a quiet country village in the south of France.
              They have about a couple of acres of nice land which includes a vinyard. They work hard themselves at renovating the property which they have been employed in doing now for about 5 or so years and it is coming along beautifully.
              Both are in their early 50s, unemployed but on invalidity benefits due to total exhaustion from their previous employment.

              • red2black

                Total exhaustion? I daren’t even ask what their previous employment was. (tee hee) Even so, good for them.

          • jennybloggs

            Probably true, but we know, don’t we, that they won’t get the people you mention off benefits.They won’t even try. They probably have no intention of trying. They will try as hard as they tried to sort out the grooming of British children.
            No, they will go after easy and vulnerable targets, the single middle aged woman in poor health, the teenager who has spent a childhood in care. People who are easy to bully..

        • whs1954

          I presume you mean ‘castigated’, not ‘castrated’.

      • Johnnydub

        And to me the situation you describe is down to welfarism. Simply put the scum who ruin things for everyone face no consequences for doing so – in fact welfarism often means that people are rewarded for making bad decisions.

        The most obvious one is people having kids for benefits. Another one is ethnic ghettoisation. Until these root causes are addressed social cohesion is just wishful thinking.

  • Tom M

    The Welfare State will never be brought to the level of a safety net, ever. Since it’s creation it has inched up and inched up where now the very economic survival of the country is in question because of it.
    It might be as well to note that the population of the country is at an all time high whilst at the same time all the possibilities of well-paid employment are diminishing. The two graphs are crossing.
    It is beyond the capabilities of any Government to reduce the bill to match our capacity to pay without major social unrest. People will, no doubt, tinker with the fringes (as now) but there will be no real reduction achieved.
    Some event totally unexpected and outwith the control of Government will bring it all down and it won’t be pretty.

    • Shazza

      It is just a giant Ponzi scheme and will go the same way as all Ponzi schemes do.
      Collapse.

      • Alex

        Except, of course, for the banks. Politicians cannot, however, apparently extend a similar generosity to the people they are supposed to represent.

    • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

      Yes, but this has been known for a while. The event? War.

      • Mynydd

        It’s the capitalist way, boom, slump, war, boom, slump, war. and Mr Cameron is trying hard, first it was Lybia, then Iraq and now Syria, get the bomb factories fired up.

        • David Whitehead

          “Okay, its a a good job our manufacturing industry is at its strongest ever, right?!”

          “Umm, yes, about that Minister…

        • nicks40

          Only States make war, booms and slumps. Nothing to do with capitalism.

          • red2black

            Arms manufacturers?

            • nicks40

              Who buys tanks, fighter planes and aircraft carriers? Not Waitrose, that’s for sure. If there were no states, would arms manufacturers exist?

              • red2black

                There will always be opposition to whatever system is in place, so if there was some sort of Capitalist Free Market, I wouldn’t be surprised if they thrived.

    • Ken

      The Welfare State is merely a method for transforming the market economy step by step into socialism.

      • Johnnydub

        Its a method to win votes by punishing the successful to reward the feckless.

  • C.U. Jimmy

    ‘..most people in housing estates work….’ perhaps, but at what? On a part time wage as a care worker, worse off than the people you’re supposedly caring for, or in a supermarket? And that’s if you’re lucky. The problem with the IDS ‘reforms’ is that the jobs that have been created in recent years are badly-paid and insecure. The old ‘working class’ has gone. The ways of moving ‘up’ through society have largely gone. Libraries are closing. University and college places are an expensive dream. People survive on scrappy ‘self employment’, payday loans and expensive credit. Even farm labour is bought in cheaply via agencies. Life is brutal, undignified and precarious and it is harder than ever to get out of the mire.

    • victor67

      Indeed, There is now around 20% of our population classed as having a precarious existence. The vast majority are the working poor and are far more dependent on public services than more affluent citizens.

      That’s why Osborne wish to cut the state to 35% of GDP will throw many of these people into even deeper poverty. And Tory shrills like Nelson should be ashamed for being the mouth piece for these right wing ideologues.

      • Ralph

        The way to help the poor is not to make them dependant on the state but aid them in being self sufficient. Raising the tax threshold and increasing the minimum wage do that, tax credits and the like stop them getting ahead.

        • victor67

          Housing?
          When your spending more than half your modest income on housing to private landlords you don’t stand a chance.

          The doctrine that small state is good must be exposed for the ideological fundamentalism that it is.

          • Alex

            Oh, they love the big state all right, when it’s being used to victimise the weak. Makes them feel powerful – until the austeri-state turns on them.

          • Roger

            The right size of State is good and that is likely to be nearer 37.5% of GDP than 50%. It is well understood that GDP growth is hampered by State spending. A few years back they, some Economists, calculated that a 1% increase in State spending reduced growth in the Private Sector by ~0.3%.

            • Mynydd

              Five economists in a room came up with five different answers to the same problem. Are we to believe the state spending on HS2 will reduce GDP growth. Are we to believe state subsidizes on wind turbines will reduce GDP growth. What we do know is that Mr Osborne includes in his growth figures, fees paid to ladies of the night, and the increased cost of class A drugs.

              • Johnnydub

                Yeah he’s got to keep the myth of GDP growth going to stop the interest rates on our bonds spiking and bankrupting us. [Which is rubbish] Your alternative, that of the magic money tree, will simply lead us straight to bankruptcy.

                So the Tories are rubbish., Your alternative is worse.

          • Ralph

            The big state’s answer to housing was to knock down solid if dilapidated Victorian houses to replace them with estates that nobody now wants to live on and that are having to be demolished.

        • Mynydd

          Increasing the minimum wage go tell that to the employers who want to scrap it.

        • Mary Ann

          That’s all very well but could you live on the minimum wage especially if you have children.

          • Johnnydub

            FFS. You’re not supposed to have kids if you’re on the minimum wage. And if you’re on the minimum wage for a long period of time then the problem is you.

      • Roger

        I do not see the connect for wishing to cut the State to costing no more than average receipts as it is well known that State spending does not produce wealth creating jobs, just the opposite. Increasing State spending does nothing for our balance of trade deficit which is nigh on 5% of GDP or jobs. We saw that despite cuts in jobs in the public sector these were rapidly replaced by new ones in the private one. Me thinks your gripes are misdirected, we are paying the price for global competition which has swept bare all those aspects of featherbedding we once enjoyed.
        In truth we have seen the fastest recovery in public and private CAPEX of any recession and this has only just managed to get back to 2007 levels in % of GDP terms. That should be applauded. The real horror story is that after the 18 years of Tory reforms when the gross value added in manufacturing grew by ~£20b, we watched it decline by ~£44b under Brown, now less than 10% of our GDP is in manufacturing and that is bad for real wealth creating jobs particularly in the north of England. Want more real jobs then improve education, improve skills and make the UK attractive for long term investment in manufacturing. It is not yet too late, but nearly so.

        • victor67

          I would agree with a lot of what you say particularly around manufacturing and education.We really don’t value skill in this country anymore. Hedge fund managers and Casino Bankers are now King.

          You are correct in that the failure belongs us much with the last Labour government who were as comfortable with our finance based economy and the transfer of real power to markets and multi -nationals who serve only their CEO and their shareholders hunger for more and more profit.
          Quarterly Capitalism that ” radical socialist Mark Carney ” described it.
          Saying that the best examples of countries that fit your description(High skill level and manufacturing) like Germany and Scandanavia have a more mixed economies and invest far more in their public services and looking after their poor than we do.

          It’s no coincidence that economies that are financebased like the US and the UK are the most unequal.

          • Mary Ann

            It was Maggie who did the damage.

          • Johnnydub

            The elephant in the room is Corporatism. The ability of big business and big government to collude and exploit everyone.

            The problem is that the left think this problem can be solved with more government. Clearly it wont be.

        • Mary Ann

          Maggie didn’t think we needed manufacturing.

          • Johnnydub

            She was right. Or do you think our workers want to earn the same as Chinese assembly workers?

          • Roger

            Wrong. VA increased under the Tories y around 20b and subsequently declined under Labour by around 44b.

      • Wessex Man

        My word the trots are out in force on this one.

        • Mary Ann

          No doubt you are comfortably off.

          • Johnnydub

            That’s a bitter and moronic statement. Basic envy at its finest.

    • wibbling

      All because taxes are too high and the state takes so much from workers that theres no way to escape the poverty trap. As it is, services are cut to fuel the voracious salaries of these ‘executives; troughing away in councils and NHS trusts.

      • Mongo

        plus the catastophic effect of mass immigration which has seen a massive surplus in the labour market easily outsripping the number of jobs available, suppressed wages, lower living standards, and helped condemn a whole generation of young British people to a lifetime of unemployment/ low paid jobs /welfare dependence

  • Vukefalus

    It completely mystifies me why the rich leaders of the Labour party and their rich supporters in the media, the arts and especially past-their-sell-by-date semi-talented pop singers from the 80s want to keep people in run-down, crime ridden council housing and in welfare dependency. Could it be they prefer to keep a client-state dependent on the crumbs from their table and voting for an increasingly out-of-touch Labtard party, or is it one of those “noble poor, working-class heroes” memes that I and my siblings escaped from in no small part because of the great Margaret Thatcher?

    • Shazza

      The former I believe – by deliberately maintaining client-state dependency Labour believed it would be handling the reins of power ad infinitum.

      The Labour luvvies and rich Labour leaders pursue their policy of ‘low expectations’ to self-congratulate on how kind, generous and magnanimous they are.

      These patronising hypocrites ensure that they are cocooned from the reality of the policies they enthusiastically promote.

      • Mynydd

        Again I repeat what a load of gobshite.

        • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

          Again I repeat what a load of gobshite.

          Not again. And you’re wrong.

      • Angela Sullivan

        “Welfare dependency” is caused by decently paid and reasonably congenial jobs being absent, not benefits being present.

    • Mynydd

      What a load of gobshite

      • Wessex Man

        Wow! you’ve learnt a new word.

        • Mynydd

          No i have just learnt who to ally it to, and you are a good start.

          • telemachus

            I find folks with the views of Wessex tragic
            And not really worth energetic epithets

    • Roger

      Born into working class poverty, lived in a rented semi and had nothing to our name but an old bike and shabby clothes, but that was war time. Thank God I escaped all that due to the hard graft required to get a higher education. I have known real absolute poverty, not the featherbedded relative variety of today, and I certainly do not want to go back there or wish it on anyone else. We need to make our priority “well paid jobs”, well paid out of the value added not State subsidies.

      • telemachus

        You need a safety net

        • Johnnydub

          Not a hammock.

    • Mongo

      If it weren’t for Thatcher’s Right to Buy scheme my parents would not have got themselves on the housing ladder

      Labour’s ideology is to keep a whole swathe of society perpetually poor, miserable and welfare-dependent. The gap between rich and poor steadily increased when nu-Labour got in to power, and anybody who thinks Corbyn’s hard leftist approach will rectify that is delusional

      • http://www.countygroundsussex.co.uk Daniel Harris

        Right ok….. So the massive reduction in rent wouldn’t have allowed them to save for a deposit or something like that then, no? absolute load of rubbish.

        • Mongo

          no because my father was the sole breadwinner and he didn’t earn very much

          • red2black

            “Rent is the tribute paid by fecklessness to foresight.”
            Bradley Hardacre (tee hee)

          • Angela Sullivan

            So basically your father would have been a benefit claimant if he had been living today. He wouldn’t have got a council house – he’d be paying out an arm and a leg to live in a private rental and reliant on housing benefit and child benefit to enable him to live on his low wages.
            Incidentally I presume your mother got Family Allowance and your father got tax allowances for being a married man and for each child.

      • Mynydd

        If it’s Labour’s ideology to keep society perpetually poor, if this is so, where did your poor parents get the money from to buy, at a massive discount, their council house.

        • Mongo

          you just answered your own question – it was at a discount

          • Angela Sullivan

            Who paid for the discount?

        • Mary Ann

          It’s still the same, £80,000 for a three bed semi council house on the south coast when a similar private house would sell for over £200,000.

      • Mary Ann

        And it’s thanks to Maggie that people can no longer get council houses.

        • Mongo

          Maggie is responsible for our unsustainable levels of population growth?

          OK

          • Angela Sullivan

            No. Maggie is responsible for depleting the amount of publically owned housing stock. As well as selling at a loss – effectively robbing every citizen of this country who for whatever reason failed to buy a council house – she did not ensure that sales receipts were used to build new houses and upgrade exoisting stock. In fact she prevented Councils from using the money to rebuild.

        • mrs1234

          I know it’s hard but do try not to be ridiculous.

      • Cis

        Sure it had been possible to buy before Maggie’s day – my parents must have bought in the early seventies. Maybe the difference was that you had to have been the tenant for longer than under RtB.

      • Angela Sullivan

        It’s because of Thatcher’s right to buy scheme that youngish people are now paying so much to rent privately that they cannot save the deposit to buy a house, and are excluded from home ownership, either permanently or until their grandparents die.
        Which swathe of society do you think Labour wants to keep perpetually poor, miserable and welfare dependent? Pensioners? Disabled people? The sick? It has always been the Conservatives who close factories and throw people out of work. Labour policies create jobs (in the public sector), which reduces the number of able people forced to depend on welfare.

    • Monk D’wally De Honk

      Oh God help us all

    • Mary Ann

      How do you work out that lefties want to keep poor people poor, I thought that was the job of the Tories.

      • Mongo

        more poor = more votes

        • Mary Ann

          Is that why so many less well paid people vote Tory and then complain when the Tories implement Tory policies.

          • Johnnydub

            Are you Owen Jones in drag? Your tribalism and stupidity seem to know no bounds.

      • Hairy Bob

        Because that is what they do. The Labour Party have embraced welfarism root and branch. It is absolutely not in their interest for their core vote to get off welfare and take responsibility for themselves. People that do so eventually see through the socialist con-trick and grow resentful of paying half of what they earn in tax; far better to keep them dependent on the system and blame their predicament on the evil tories.

        • Angela Sullivan

          Bollocks. I’ve been off “welfare” for years, but wouldn’t vote Conservative if you held a gun to my head. Their policies would never have helped me to get of benefits. I would have been forced into low-paid work and trapped there. It is thanks to having a decent benefits system (in the 70’s) that I was supported when I was a single parent and consequently in a fit state to get off benefits when my child was older. Must admit, I’ve never earned enough to pay half of what I earn in tax, but neither have most people

    • Graeme S

      nailed it

  • hindleA

    And the result of believing own propaganda about incapacity benefit-to be fair both parties are equally quilty in false portrayal;apart from a miniscule amount of people(which does not mean fraud,just no longer eligible)all.remained eligible,unsurprising of course,given there always was a test and they remain ill/disabled.For falsehood and money obtained on false pretences look elsewhere.

  • Mike Barnes

    Can you speak to some real people please?

    It’s just every time a real ordinary person with actual experience of the welfare system gets a voice in the media (very, very rare I admit) they seem utterly terrified of what is happening to them. The Question Time tax credits lady being the obvious example.

    Go out and find some success stories please, who knows, maybe the job centre can even use these real life examples in their promo materials, rather than making up cases. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/18/dwp-admits-making-up-positive-quotes-from-benefits-claimants-for-leaflet

    • fundamentallyflawed

      The question time tax credits lady who was grossly misinformed? Self employed earning relative pittance and in no danger of having their benefits cut?

      This is partly due to a Labour opposition who has nothing to say apart from “Tory this” and “Tory that” and hysterically opposes all changes because their focus groups tell them its a good idea.

    • David Belcher

      It’s self-selecting. Someone who shows the graft and initiative get off benefits is unlikely to go running to the media, they’re too busy. Instead it’s those with the sense of entitlement to other people’s money that scream the loudest. Too often this wailing makes for better TV drama just as “Victims threatened with cuts” makes the headlines instead of “Self-reliant people getting on”.

  • Shazza

    Not content with smearing David Cameron regarding his so called favourite sport, fox hunting, Marr now resorts to outsourcing his nasty jibes.

    This way he won’t have to *cough* apologise.

    BTW if readers really want to understand just what the welfare state is all about, I can recommend
    “The Welfare State We’re In” by James Bartholomew.

  • ROUCynic

    A spirited and inventive defence but Mr Tilbrook is fairly accurate in his assessment. Thatcher sold off council housing and prevented more being built, so far Cameron seems to be following her design.

    • Roger

      Did Mrs Thatcher prevent Gordon Brown from stimulating the building of houses? I did not know that, do you have some evidence?

      • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

        He’s obviously a BBC drone for whom the New Labour years never happened. They even avoid the first few years of ‘honeymoon’ ** to avoid having to mention what followed.

        ** still a disaster when examined in full.

        • southerner

          Unfortunately the New Labour years are still happening under Cameron and his mates. And they are fawningly supported by once-conservative publications like this one.

          • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

            Indeed. Liberal wets more than Conservatives.

    • colchar

      Why should the government provide people with homes? For the poorest of the poor ok, but not for everyone else.

      • jennybloggs

        We used to have a contributory social security system. Which broadly meant if you had not paid in you could not take out. Then it was decided that we would have a needs based system. You did not have to pay in you just had to prove a need. It was a predictable disaster.

      • Angela Sullivan

        Because that is what the people voted for them to do. It’s called democracy.

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