April 22, 2008 at 10:12 am | Posted in Working Class Britain | Leave a comment
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I wish I had more time to write a more balanced blog post about this new report by the Reform thinktank on the relationship between work and welfare in economically deprived areas, but for now you’ll have to make do with two brief, insulted observations:

  1. Describing their observations as being symptomatic of a “why bother economy” sounds nothing more than a dog-whistle to the right. It wrongly insinuates that the poor are simply lazy and that if only they were to turn off the daytime TV, get off their arses and put in a decent day’s work, all our problems will be solved. It won’t.
  2. I can’t believe I’m still having to say this 50 years after Beveridge, but the thinking behind the welfare state is not and has never been about ‘paying people to be poor and only the most brainless would insist that welfare can act as a tool of social mobility. It only takes a superficial reading of post-war politics to understand why the welfare state exists, but here’s a crude summary: it stops people from dying of poverty.

For what on the surface seems a serious and well-meaning effort to address problems, these are two ghastly errors in framing their argument.


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