Lack of "personal responsibility" was at the heart of the Shannon Matthews case, a senior police officer has said. West Yorkshire Chief Constable Norman Bettison told BBC One's Panorama programme that the nine-year-old's mother, Karen Matthews, had lived her life "without the sense of having to answer for the consequences of her actions".That's exactly it. She's behaved irresponsibly all her life and sugar daddy State's picked up the tab every time. She never grew up and never had to. It's not surprising she thought she could get away with it - partly because she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer and partly because she got away with everything else - how was she to know where the limits were ? As for her accomplice, I almost feel sorry for him.
There are tens of thousands of 'families' like the Matthews' all over the UK. Karen's just a particularly prominent peak on the benefit dependency skyline.
Ian Duncan Smith says it again about the underclass and points out one of Laban's favourite themes - that what used to be "the working class" in left rhetoric is now the non-working class.
Britain is witnessing a growth in an underclass whose lifestyles affect everyone. Perhaps the reason why most people haven't been aware of the extent of this is because housing policy has, over 20 to 30 years, ghettoised many of these dysfunctional families. In the Seventies, only 11 per cent of households on the estates weren't working; today barely a third of working-age tenants have full-time work. Less than 15 per cent are headed by a couple with children. Two-thirds are occupied by lone parents, lone men or lone women.
Ms Matthews was a great Jeremy Kyle fan. At which point Dalrymple says it all :
What, then, is left for them? Entertainment and personal relationships. Entertainment, absorbed passively, informs them, through television and films, of a materially more abundant and more glamorous way of life and thus feeds resentment. A sense of their own nothingness and failure breeds powerful emotions—especially jealousy and the intense desire to dominate or possess someone else in order to feel fully in control of at least one aspect of life. It is a world in which men dominate women to inflate their egos, and women want children "so that I can have something of my own" or "someone to love and who'll love me."
Personal relationships in this world are purely instrumental in meeting the need of the moment. They are fleeting and kaleidoscopic, though correspondingly intense. After all, no obligations or pressures—financial, legal, social, or ethical—keep people together. The only cement for personal relationships is the need and desire of the moment, and nothing is stronger but more fickle than need and desire unshackled by obligation.
Unfortunately, the whims of two people rarely coincide, and thus the emotional lives of people—who, remember, have very little else to console or interest them—are repeatedly in crisis. They are the stars of their own soap operas.