Like there’s no tomorrow

January 1, 2014 21 Comments
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File:Flag of the NSDAP (1920–1945).svg

I work for the underclass.

I also work for a bunch of other people who are in the financial mire – temporarily or permanently – and from which I suspect no amount of health insurance and voluntary pension saving could ever have diverted them; pace my purist libertarian former comrades.

Basically, a major part of my job is to help the unemployed or over-parented to understand and sometimes to do the paperwork and walk them through the process of means testing so they can show The Social and The Housing just how broke they are and hence can they have some more money, please?

For some, injury and illness or the loss of a job is a temporary misfortune that they intend (and actively seek) to escape as soon as possible. My cynical colleagues and I find it hard to begrudge them the taxes we all pay to keep the roof over their heads and the electricity on and food on the table. Dear reader, you may disagree with that, but absent compulsory individual or family-based unemployment, sickness and retirement funding – something likely only in a vibrant, thriving, successful economy supported by well-educated workers and intelligent middle managers (yeah, right) – it just doesn’t seem decent not to pay minimum (or even briefly better than minimum) poor relief to the innocently, accidentally skint.

(Pensioners are a much tougher and bigger problem in that since the Pensions Increase Act generations of workers and housewives (and increasingly cast-adrift fifty-something first wives) have been encouraged  and duped to face retirement age without a pension pot of their own above whatever the National Insurance scheme provides.But let us set that Godzilla-class train wreck aside for now and concentrate on what the system has unselfconsciously dubbed Working Age benefits recipients.)

A sizeable minority of folk whose reports, letters and emails cross my desk and whose (expensive mobile) phone calls sound in my ears are victims of a generations-long experiment in wishful thinking, unfunded social liabilities, and all-round good intentions and so here we are in the Inferno that the Clever and Decent have unintentionally built: The Bolgia of the Intergenerationally Useless. The ‘Vulnerable.’ Peace be unto them.

Now, I sometimes joke at work with my colleagues about the wide variety of first names with which the latest cohort of the Vulnerable have been branded by their hopeless, clueless, husbandless mothers. All those Ka-s and Sha-s and De-s that unmarried Kylies and Julies choose to imagine raises their offspring to the glamourous level of America’s Great Society black underclass, the poor sods.It really helps you to assess a boy’s life chances when you learn that his first name is Tyson; may his tribe increase. Because nothing quite says ‘aspirational parenting’ as well as naming one’s tiny baby son after a tattooed, bipolar, serially bankrupt, multiple-bastardizing, drug-addicted convicted rapist who publicly lamented the non-lynching of a brown-skinned man found not guilty of murder.

We chortle too at the narrower range of surnames. These are often double-barrelled in memory of Mum’s latest bedwarmer-but-three who stayed around for three entire Christmases and for almost one whole gestation before he flew the nest leaving another cuckoo for your children, dear reader, to support and endure lifelong. Support, that is, assuming that the little hellions will in fact shut up and stop screaming long enough for your kids to acquire what the political class nostalgically refers to as a publicly-funded ‘education’.

The Vulnerable won’t read (even if they can read, kind of,) and their commonest first resort when faced with officialdom’s requests for further information (intended to allow means-tested benefits to be commenced or to continue in payment) is to ignore such requests altogether…until some welfare bureaucrat somewhere is obliged to suspend and eventually to cancel their claim – whether of a principle (subsistence) benefit or a supplementary payments for help with housing, children, illness and injury, etc. Their next resort; rather than reading and responding to the authorities concerned is to go for help to some third party advisor or case officer such as the CAB or a social worker and who, in all  probability, will eventually ring us up and discover they don’t have written permission to discuss the ‘customer’s’ private business and who wait another fortnight while written or verbal permission to discuss is obtained and who then learns that, yes, answering the letters and providing pay slips, birth certificates, proof of rent, debts, etc, is exactly what is needed to get the money flowing again as requested three, four, five patient months ago.

Their childlike, untutored minds – infantilized by child-centred ‘progressive’ education and protected culturally from blame, shame or responsibility by the Guardian class of anti-demonizers – simply will not take responsibility for any of their acts at any time. They literally cannot understand why their serial idleness, fecundity and absence of thrift should in any way be mentioned at a time when the debt chickens have finally come home to roost; such as when the repossession of their homes is imminent or enormous Sky TV packages are about to be cancelled despite a months-long series of advice and warning letters.

“How do you expect me to pay my rent when I’m only on Maternity Allowance before my Income Support, Child benefit, Child Tax Credit, free school meals and prescriptions will kick in when I have the baby, and now you tell me I’ve got to pay my poll tax as well? If I kill myself, it’ll all be your fault.” Tomorrow is finally right here, and nothing very much belongs to her.

These are the great grandchildren of the nation of shopkeepers that stood almost alone against the greatest war machine ever devised and that fought it to a standstill while awaiting the nascent superpowers to join the fray.

But they are human beings, and despite Julia’s unceasing evidence of their Hobbesian lives I feel stricken whenever I see their children, snotty-nosed and toyless writhing in primal frustration in our interview room (while an ageing teenaged mother wrestles with the intellectual challenge of understanding that ‘help with rent’ requires proof of rent and thus maybe binning a tenancy agreement provided by an expatriate, incommunicado landlord wasn’t her smartest move ever) when I know with little room for doubt that their ‘home’, though full of broken bikes and computer games, lacks both books and ornaments. What could those poor kids have become with even a little sense and sensitivity? We’re looking at spiritual genocide here.

And yet. And yet.

Here’s a thing.

A few weeks ago I was walking home from CastleCity’s Office Of Vulnerable Affairs and I heard in the middle distance screaming so high and broken that it could only be the voice of a creature in torment. On I walked through the gathering gloom until along the canal path towards me came a man, forty-something; not overly tattooed, pushing a child of three or four in a baby’s push-chair. Three or four and she was still being wheeled along; not skipping or waking alongside and holding the man’s hand. Many of today’s Morlocks probably start at school with muscle development inferior to their Eloi ‘protectors’ and advocates.

The little girl had a crown of blonde curls, wasn’t jam-smeared or grubby, and she was singing. Cheerfully. Out of tune, but loving it. Smiling. It was Tomorrow, from the musical Annie. Annie is schmaltzy and celebrates America’s awful, proto-totalitarian New Deal (and here we are in its lousy British equivalent), but it’s also optimistic and upholds the western – and may I say Christian – ideals of hope and love and making the best of a bad job in truly hard times. And musicals are very middle- and aspirational working- class things and not always too gay. Just how the hell does a pre-school tot, wheeled around like shopping by a possibly related male get to see musicals, and thus absorb a little notion of hope and love and neighbourliness and friendship and crossing the class ‘divide’ and the possibility of happy endings arranged, in part, by non-malignant rich folk and despite the conniving dishonesty within a corruptible, fallible child-protection system? Who or what brings the love in?

Is it cheap DVDs or streaming? Is it a truly aspirational mother who is actually out working to support her kid while anonymous Dave or whoever wheels her to the park or back from his court-appointed contact hours?

Is there room in that tiny, curly-haired cargo’s future for books and something better than i-phones and broken bikes and absentee, revolving-door ‘fathers?’ Love and laughter and peace ever after?

As we near the boozy end of the season where some of us still recall the most successful (and the most aspirational) single mother of all time I’m allowing my cynical heart to admit that – rather than spiritual genocide – that little girl and others like her might possibly find amidst all the empty debt-fuelled material plenty and her pictureless Council housing walls a lovable tomorrow that’s a day away rather than a tomorrow that belongs to semi-intellectual thugs and their brutal, ignorant cannon-fodder.

Happy New Year.

 

 

 

Picture from here.

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21 Responses to Like there’s no tomorrow

  1. adams
    January 1, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Britain is shit and you don’t have even one answer or partial solution to offer ? Is that it ?

    • January 4, 2014 at 11:11 am

      Sorry I’m late in replying to your comment/question-work, life, etc.
      Actually, solving the biggest generator of fatherless, poorly brought up kids is simple: stop paying for it.
      Child-related welfare payments: Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit have no ceiling. With each child you have you get more of the same [and a bonus higher Child Benefit weekly payment for the first child.]Limit child related payments to , say, three children in the lifetime of a particular mother, and she’d have no marginal reason to have more than she can, except for help with rent and Council Tax [possibly.]With the hated Coalition’s “Benefit Cap” limiting annual tax-free annual benefit income to £26,000 for single parents who don’t work as well as claim, some fountain-head mothers are altering their households, with excessive offspring moving to hitherto invisible and unknown fathers’ homes. Tax Credits and Child Benefit drops the weekly take below the £500 per week and bingo! Dear old dad gets to claim for more and mum doesn’t get her Housing Benefit reduced. It really works. The way ahead – and perhaps the coalition has foot in the door here – is to set some future time when Mommy Dearest’s decades-long maternity leave from the workforce is reduced to a few years.

      How does that sound? Genocide, or not rewarding familial and moral failure? Or both?

  2. Penseivat
    January 1, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Adams,
    If you read the article, I mean really read it, you would see that, in describing the problems, the solutions are laid out before you. If you can’t see that, perhaps you don’t understand the reasons for the problems. On the other hand it may just be me experiencing empathy for North Wester.

    • January 3, 2014 at 7:46 am

      Some people see those solutions, but would rather not see them. That way, they don’t have to act on them.

    • January 4, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Empathy, Penseivat? then thanks, and my commiserations.
      It costs about £100,000 of publicly-funded education to deliver each functionally illiterate, innumerate child (about 20% or so of them each year]to the dole queue at 16, and now they’re planning to keep the little darlings in training or education till 20. That’ll work, don’t you think?

  3. January 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Like many libertarians, I have no problem with a ‘hand up’ to those who want or need it. Where I do have a major problem is with giving a more or less permanent ‘hand out’ to those who have chosen benefit dependency as a lifestyle choice.

    • January 4, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      The Coalition – for whom I did not vote – seem to have a foot in the door with the Benefits Cap introducing the idea of benefits having a ceiling and the ‘Bedroom Tax’ – the abolition of the Spare Room Subsidy that allows benefit recipients to hoard social housing actually need by larger households. Beveridge’s Britain is an oil tanker but I think it can be diverted to something less awful, but baby steps a propaganda-soaked public can stomach seem to me to have the advantage of generating Consent. Which means that future governments could do more and more. Lifetime welfare payment limits: five years, a decade of child-bearing? A three child policy? Ideas that someone can get through Parliament, anyone?

  4. Errol
    January 1, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I don’t sypathise. I can’t. I’m paying for them. I can’t afford children. Together my wife and I cannot afford them. Thus *we don’t have any*.

    It’s called responsibility. It’s discipline. What we cannot have we go without. A child requires planning, preparing for, providing for.

    That some people have decided not to take that responsibility is not my fault, or mine to provide for. I have paid for their education. That they wasted it is not my fault. It is not my responsibility, through the tax system to subsidise providing for them a job.

    It is theirs and their family’s. Where is the father? Why is he not paying for the child? I assume he is broke and on benefits as well. Stop them. Just let him starve. Why should others cost me money simply because they have the self discipline of a virus?

    The solution, painfully, is very simple. Scrap the welfare system. Some people – a tiny minority – need help. They should get it without restriction. I’ll never forget filling in 60 page forms for a chum with motor neurone disease. The state does not know how to deal with people who need help. It’s fine with wasters. It *loves* wasters. Keef, Kailey, Keesah and Kennedy should be thrown to society’s wolves – just like the rest of us are.

    Is government too big? Yes, of course. Is it inefficient? Yes, of course it is. Does it waste most of the tax raised? Yes. However as long as there are troughers there will be Kailey’s all wanting – and thinking they deserve – a place at the trough.

    It is time to kick it over for both groups and stop feeding the poison. It’s time to be cruel to be kind and prevent these wasters – at both ends – from soaking up the money and infesting society with generations of useless people we would be better off without.

    • January 3, 2014 at 7:48 am

      +1

    • January 4, 2014 at 11:39 am

      Sorry I’m late in replying to your comment also–work, life, etc.
      Ok, I share your anger for the largish number of people who could stack shelves or mine or plough or deliver pizzas, etc., if they were forced to do so by removing their benefits, but I’m pretty sure your nuclear option is a fantasy [politically] and that in practice it’s going to seem equally inhuman to the public at large – a public generally in favour of benefit reform [reduction.]
      The children and many adults caught in the poverty trap are there today partly because of massive, systemic failures of government to educate children well enough that they can step into jobs and do adequately well enough to make a living – but it’s also an inherent part of free enterprise [the goose that lays the golden eggs of all our prosperity and upon which it is not possible to improve if the provision of chap, effective goods and services is what you want in economics, which I do] to seek to lower costs. The former employees of the now-defunct Blockbuster and HMV chains aren’t unemployed because they were idle and didn’t work hard, but because digital, steaming and other IT are replacing discs and other widgets that people had to sell in local shops. Amazon killed the video trade, yeah? That’s just consumer sovereignty and free enterprise seeking to serve it. And the folk who are no longer scanning our groceries at supermarkets because management are introducing self-scan tills all over the place; they are on the dole due to technological unemployment and businesses perfectly natural wish to cut costs.
      Elites can usually look out for themselves, but the great grandchildren of miners and welders and farm labourers and domestic servants: what are these people to do? It’s not as if our world-class economy and our train wreck state education system are producing cohort after cohort of smart, skilled, adaptable young people and mountains of jobs in new industries to pay them all. Some jobs will continue to be generated by free enterprise; but enough for our three million or so unemployed? And in Britain, instead of China and Indian where they’re still making stuff in large, well-manned factories?
      Technological unemployment is a feature, not a bug, of free enterprise, and I think it unjust to pay no welfare at all to people trapped by it if there are too few jobs that our less thrusting and less intelligent compatriots to do.
      Marx was, as far as I can tell, right about precisely one part of one harmful feature of free enterprise, and it’s this – immiseration. But he missed the half that it was technological unemployment that would likely make the workers suffer rather that evilly nasty conditions which free enterprise and free labour tend to replace with bearable conditions.
      And no major political party has the first clue about how to deal with it, and treat so many British subjects as worthy of some respect. Can you deduce what I’d do, if I had my druthers?

  5. Mudplugger
    January 1, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Perhaps one approach would be to link working-age benefits with voting. If you choose to receive any working-age benefits, you don’t get to vote. If you want to vote, get out there and start contributing. Your choice – nobody’s forcing you either way.

    This would include all the middle-class Tax-Credit bribes introduced by Brown’s vote-hoovering machine, so it’s not just aimed at the Kylies.

    That would have an interesting impact on the electoral profile, particularly the politicians’ pandering to the ‘welfare vote’ – because there wouldn’t be one. Those who are paying the piper would be calling the tune.

    • January 4, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Good luck with that. ;-)
      And these days, due to the culture war fought and won by the Left throughout education, government and the media there’s no guarantee that a sufficient link between responsibility and power would ever be made in the minds of middle class or other tax-paying Lefties to a sufficient extent that they’d do much or anything at all to break out of their ‘government is good’ narrative; they have too much invested in being right [Left] to transform themselves into responsible tax payers rather than self-declared humanitarians. How do you force someone who thinks ICI poisons badgers and wants to wipe out all the bats if only it could get away with it to read Hayek or Friedman?
      It might take generations of our people getting the academy and maybe some of the church back on our side – and unless someone goes Full Orwell on the Internet and media to balance it, any such policy like yours are likely to be sunk form the start for decades. Also, I don’t think I could live through whatever major crisis it would take to make such as policy even possible. But a bit of tinkering and early attempts to divert the tanker, I think politicians might go for.
      The benefits cap and the removal of the Spare room Subsidy [the ‘bedroom tax’] are actually changing peoples’ behaviour for the better (by our lights) in double quick time. I think we’ll have more success with softly, softly catchee monkey this way than just trying to shoot King Kong and hope to be done with the poverty trap your way, even if it could solve technological unemployment, which is another story.

  6. January 1, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    and the reason for the display of that disgusting symbol which reigned over such bestialities as Belsen, Dachau and Auschwitz is…?

    • January 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      My apologies, Mike, for the upset I caused you and to any others with an admittedly eye-catching banner.

      I was referring [too obscurely as your offence indicates] to the banality of evil and the hell you get to through good intentions.

      Everyone who dealt with ‘Baby P’, and the political and welfare mechanisms that allowed his useless mother and her psychotic household to torture that innocent child to death meant well; but he’s every bit as dead as if he’d been sent to the concentration camps, and Baby P’s situation was far from unique.
      The welfare state we have at present allowed the “adults’” serial dysfunctions and immorality to survive unchecked and even financed their gross, disgusting lifestyle. You don’t need the evil scheming of fascists to condemn many people to bleak, loveless existences and to sordid, tormented deaths – you just need to ‘care’ too much to absolve you from thinking about what actually works. The “war against poverty” in the States; the cradle-to-grave UK benefits system, are grinding a large chunk of each generation into something barely describable as ‘life,’ though I still feel some hope – particularly for the children of those who go against the flow and allow their natural parental instincts to do better.

  7. mona
    January 2, 2014 at 9:36 am

    A work of the utmost understanding of our poor hapless abandoned lower orders who are looked upon with disgust by Ian D Smith, and with their life chances significantly reduced by the treacherous immigration policies of Labour, Lib, and transmutent Conservatives. I should not, but I pray for a bloody revolution, you know like the French one.

    • January 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Hmm. No thanks, I’m a conservative. Bloody revolutions rarely put anyone like the good guys (as we here would define them) into power, because winning revolutions self-selects for the best fighters with the most effective forces rather than superior civic virtue. It’s handy if there are more-or-less good guys on both sides like in the American Rebellion but we don’t need to go all Washington versus Cornwallis here and now, tempting though it seems.
      Not that I’m not angry too you understand, but lots of Britain isn’t ‘shit’, pace adams’ first comment, and I’d like to keep much of it there and minimize innocent blood on the streets.

      I’m not sure that IDS actually looks on the individuals themselves with disgust – infantilization and immiseration has created a victim class, but they are victims rather than villains. I think he’s disgusted with their lives; government-made lives, and he’s trying to work with what we’ve got, following the perennial Irish joke: “Well, I wouldn’t start from here.”

      And yes; looking after our own in preference to foreigners strikes me as fitting for human nature and, well, actually closer to being actually affordable. Largely unfettered immigration from impoverished and largely lawless countries is just the shiny turd on the shit cake of the progressive Project.

  8. bobo
    January 2, 2014 at 11:25 am

    There are 2.5 million on the dole and about 400,000 job vacancies. This figure has been constant since the ’80′s and is de facto govt policy. The underclass are a product, the result of political will.

    • single acts of tyranny
      January 4, 2014 at 7:17 am

      Yes indeed. They don’t even talk about full employment anymore.

  9. single acts of tyranny
    January 4, 2014 at 7:34 am

    I have a friend who has done everything ‘right’ He went to university, did a professional degree, did not produce bastards, bought a house, married and now has an infant daughter. He’s about to buy a modest three bed house and will be on the hook for about £300k. Meanwhile across the street, I know an unmarried 21 year old with two kids by two absent ‘fathers’ She lives in a near identical house. She isn’t overtly evil. Probably not bright enough to be.

    But my friend is paying her rent through his taxes and I reckon all the money taken by the state from him just about funds her and the kids lives. She understod the system and made a choice. Meanwhile he cant afford to educate his daughter independently and she will in all likelihod end up at the same failed dump school as the bastard children.

    Who is the victim here?

    • January 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      Both, but obviously your friend (along with all the other honest grafters and pensioners) is at the head of the queue for my sympathy, too.
      But government has made hopeless children of so many – it’s going to take a while – and a lot of political will the LibLabCons have too little of – to teach them to grow up and act accordingly – and in the meantime, we have what we have.

      And I do mean teach. Individuals who have no concept of budgeting at all need teaching. I wouldn’t start from here.

  10. January 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I seem to be having difficulty replying to Mike Cunningham – or perhaps it’s taking a while for the reply to appear. So here goes nothing…

    My apologies, Mike, for the upset I caused you and to others with an admittedly eye-catching banner.
    I was referring [too obscurely as your offence indicates] to the banality of evil and the hell you get to through good intentions.

    Everyone who dealt with ‘Baby P’, and the political and welfare mechanisms that allowed his useless mother and her psychotic household to torture that innocent child to death meant well; but he’s every bit as dead as if he’d been sent to the concentration camps, and Baby P’s situation was far from unique.
    The welfare state we have at present allowed the “adults’” serial dysfunctions and immorality to survive unchecked and even financed their gross, disgusting lifestyle. You don’t need the evil scheming of fascists to condemn many people to bleak, loveless existences and to sordid, tormented deaths – you just need to ‘care’ too much to absolve you from thinking about what actually works. The “war against poverty” in the States; the cradle-to-grave UK benefits system, are grinding a large chunk of each generation into something barely describable as ‘life,’ though I still feel some hope – particularly for the children of those who go against the flow and allow their natural parental instincts to do better.

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