|Jones: Twisted sociopath?|
Jones states this is not a honest portrayal of life in modern Britain. It is true that the producers have gone looking for the very worst aspects of life on benefits, but not at any time did the programme attempt to sell us the notion that it was. What this points to is a patronising, paternalistic mentality that we are not capable of making up our own minds, evidenced by a handful of morons on Twitter. What else would you expect to find on Twitter exactly? And that is quintessentially the leftist mindset, that we unenlightened masses must be protected from controversial influences that may lead us to disagree with what our intellectual betters are telling us.
He repeatedly trots out the mantra that only 0.7% of the welfare budget is fraud. I don't dispute this number. But that is only what the state considers fraud. That is not the figure of those taking from the system when not in acute need. In that regard Jones should be careful what he wishes for when he states that more focus should go on those in work and claiming benefits. Because when you add up the perks and discounts, we would see working people in receipt of state assistance who are by most people's standards comfortably off. As much as that provokes an envious and bitter reaction among those who decline to be a client of the state, what these benefits do is enable people to continue making poor life choices without considering or suffering the consequences. That is not just unfair. It's amoral.
I know of an individual, who I shall not name, but have made my feelings known to him, who has been on welfare most of his life, has only in the last two years held down any kind of job, under 15 hours (deliberately so to avoid losing benefits), who has now decided to have a child with his girlfriend, who will no doubt require extra state assistance - and he has done so without any financial planning. He hasn't even secured proper dwellings and has saved nothing for a rent deposit. Meanwhile, the fiscally responsible working class defer such decisions until such a time as it can properly be afforded, with proper regard to the grave consequences of bringing a child into the world.
There is every probability that this child will experience the kind of poverty demonstrated on the Channel Four programme - and that child will be the product of the welfare system. This is not a recent phenomenon. My good and dear friends from Bradford can testify that we have seen this for more than a decade, not just in isolated cases either; it's an epidemic, and it is self-perpetuating.
What is prevalent among both the working poor and those featured on the programme, is a deep rooted feeling that the welfare payments are not enough, yet I am routinely told there isn't a problem with a culture of entitlement. These people do not have the first inclination that it is OUR money, not "the government's" money.
I have had people coming to this page seeking to deny the scale of the problem by performing some clever statistical gymnastics, and manage to reduce the number who have never worked to around a million people. That says nothing of the number of people who bounce in and out of jobs but in the main spend the majority of their time out of work and on welfare. (There is no real way of accounting for this.) But it is not an insignificant number, nor is one million for that matter. Depending which metric you look at, anywhere between 35% and 50% of the workforce is touched by the dead hand of welfare, with almost a third of the budget going to households whose total income is above the national average. How is that right?
All these voices playing games with the statistics are seeking to maintain the status-quo and pretend there isn't a problem with our twisted welfare system - and it escapes me why they would. We are not a nation of incapables and we are not victims. But our system makes us so. What we have here is a welfare system that has suffered mission creep, and now has its tentacles in just abut every aspect of our lives - and it is becoming increasingly difficult to shut the state out of our private affairs.
As we, as a nation, become more dependent on welfare, we give more of a licence for the state to pry into our lives, scrutinise, judge and coerce behaviour and it shuts down our ability to make adult choices in our own lives. It is through this system we will surrender our liberty and potential in exchange for a welfare handout and a CCTV camera installed in our living rooms.
I ask of you welfarists; is this really the height of your ambition for humanity? That we train ourselves to be helpless serfs to be looked after by our betters? To have wise men like Owen Jones deciding what we are mature enough to watch on television? To have David Cameron dictating what we can view on the internet? Jamie Oliver setting the rules on what is permissibly healthy food? And the rest of the politicians deciding our needs for us?
I am both puzzled and dismayed that a man like Owen Jones, who can see as well as I the failings of the system, is leading the chorus of voices in defence of the status-quo. Why is this? I have attempted to ask him via Twitter and Facebook, but he has blocked me each time. I'm approaching this issue with a view to breaking the grip of the welfare state on our lives and helping people out of the cycle of dependency, and allowing them to realise their potential. I don't think Jones and the others seek that. He sees "the poor" as inferiors in need of his munificent protection; they who have not the ability to rise above their designated station in life. That is a sickening and twisted view of humanity.