Monday, September 17, 2012

The End Of The Journey Will Soon Be In Sight...

Mass immigration doesn't "just" depress wages and reduce the power of working people vis a vis employers.

I haven't blogged much over the last year due to long hours, but still sniped over at CiF - and this comment sums my emerging view :

The greatest prize for the very rich would be the total dismantling of the welfare state and the removal of its consequent tax burden (although venture capitalists, on 10% tax - "entrepreneurs relief", do pretty well already).

It's a lot easier to justify a welfare state when the recipients are "people like us" and therefore easier to identify with and to think "there but for the grace of God". Social solidarity among working people, whether it be support for a welfare state or a trades union, will always be stronger in the absence of cultural, religious or racial divisions. Social scientists like Robert Putnam have noted how diversity weakens a sense of community.

So were I an evil capitalist billionaire looking to reduce the power of trades unions and destroy the welfare state, I'd start by funding Left groups supporting mass immigration.

I'd encourage such groups, and left-wing lawyers too, to support the most outrageous abuses of the welfare system, knowing that it would discredit welfare in the eyes of ordinary working people - and I'd chuckle to see Telegraph and Mail readers - and BBC commenters, too - getting angry when benefits rise, as they should do, with inflation.

"The plan is working ... heh heh heh ..."

I'd suggest, with all its faults, that the Welfare State is the most outstanding instance of UK social solidarity - started in Edwardian times by Lloyd George and nailed down in the aftermath of WW2 by a strong people, annealed in the fire of two world wars and quenched in the depression years of the 1930s.

I'd also suggest that the plan is continuing to work :

Despite the tough economic climate, the study by independent social research agency NatCen reveals attitudes towards welfare and welfare claimants have toughened. Only 28% of those asked wanted to see more spending on welfare - down from 35% at the beginning of the recession in 2008, and from 58% in 1991.

Report author and NatCen chief executive, Penny Young, said the study showed the public's view on welfare was "in tune... with the coalition's policies".She said: "The recession doesn't seem to be changing things; attitudes continue to harden. One thing that we've seen is that even where groups are seen as perhaps more deserving - so retired people, disabled people - again for the first time since 2008 we've seen that the number of people who are prepared to see more money go on disability benefits has actually fallen."
 "Heh heh heh ...." - the BBC Today programme this morning couldn't get over it - in the early 90s recession 58% thought we should increase welfare spending, now it's down to 28%. What could possibly have changed since the early 90s? They just couldn't understand such a dramatic shift in attitude.

"You beat your pate, and fancy wit will come,
Knock as you please, there's nobody at home"

In various posts over the last year, I've aired the fancy that in ten, fifteen years, the Guardian will be simultaneously

a) bemoaning the end of the welfare state and the new poverty of the working class
b) celebrating our ever-greater diversity

and I've pointed out that

Western welfare states carry a high tax burden, which makes life uncomfortable for the mega-rich. It would be a lot easier for them if social solidarity was destroyed to the extent that the welfare state no longer existed and their taxes could come down. A good way to do that is to create atomised societies of competing ethnicities.

Mass immigration will IMHO mean the end of the Welfare State, probably in the next thirty years. A pity. It was a good concept - for 1948 Brits and their descendants. And as an ageing boomer, I don't want the NHS to turn into any more of a death factory for the old than it currently is.

But at least we'll all be equal in our barrios, looking up at the gated communities on the hills.

UPDATE - "The government is considering ending the automatic annual increase in benefits in line with inflation, sources have told BBC Newsnight.

The whole point of benefits is that they're meant to be a liveable minimum amount.So if inflation rises, so should that amount. But there'll be little sympathy for that view from those whose expenses are rising but whose wages are static - and that means most of us. 

"Heh heh heh ..."

UPDATE2 - "To promote prudence and responsibility, rather than the dependency and waste of the welfare system, we should return to mutual aid societies

"Heh heh heh ..."


Ed D said...

Today's Telegraph has something to say on the subject:

Britain's welfare state is broken – so what’s next?

No mention of the I-word in the article of course, but plenty in the comments.

Sarah said...

Destroy too much and it will spread dissent, and the super rich in their lovely homes will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

Anonymous said...

Sarah - like the revolution in Brazil? That's our future, only with fewer natural resources and worse football.

South America's had these divisions and a wealthy elite for a century. They've also had death squads, hit men etc. The rich have survived pretty well. Among the many things money can buy is the service of men with guns.

Anonymous said...

Re: your comment on Peter Sutherland, here's a nice take down of the man

Kevin T said...

It's partly mass immigration, I agree, but also partly the existence now of an underclass as seen in all its glory on Trouble on the Estate the other night, which doesn't feel any need to work and thinks it's entitled to sponge. People can't be blamed for thinking, why am I paying for this?


1. Leave the EU or be legally prevented from doing 2. and 3.

2. Introduce a law saying foreign workers must have worked here for 5 years to qualify for benefits.

3. Put a time limit on benefits, as I believe the Yanks do. After that you work or you starve.

Otherwise folks, we are going bankrupt sooner or later, and it won't be the fault of "bankers" or "the rich".

Martin said...

Kevin T,

You're obviously a clever biy with all the answers, so here's a question for you.

You write,

"It's partly mass immigration, I agree, but also partly the existence now of an underclass as seen in all its glory on Trouble on the Estate the other night, which doesn't feel any need to work and thinks it's entitled to sponge".

Assuming such an underclass exists - something I doubt, perhaps due to my foggy liberal failing of thinking of those you have described as an underclass as fellow members of the human race - did it exist in 1980? Don't think it did. Underclasses are made, not born.

Anonymous said...

I have been on JSA for 6 months now. I cannot find a job. I may as well be buried alive. I don't want to turn age 30 like this but I can see it happening.

If things don't change I'm going to spend the money I have left on a massive bender and then kill myself.

staybryte said...

Suicidal anonymous.

Please don't do that.

joe90 said...

Second that. Suicidal anonymous: when I was in my early twenties I too was out of work and the future didn't look good.

You say that you can see yourself still out of work by age of 30. But in truth we can never really predict what's round the corner.

Things will get better for you and you have it in you to survive. Never give up hope and best wishes to you.

Anonymous said...

I think anon 12:54 is/was Laban?
Been reading his blog for years, and he's changed to a more troubled line of thinking, which isn't to say wrong.

But to the point of the post, I don't think its right.
The rich need the rest of us to have a half decent living standard so we don't look tooo enviously towards them. The mega-rich have never had it so good, and most people don't complain too much about them as things stand.

Ryan said...

The rich don't give a fig about the welfare state because they don't pay for it. The most expensive houses in the UK don't sell for more than 80million. The most expensive cars for not more than £0.5m. Basically, if you have more than £100m then you would be stuck with things to spend it on. So if there isn't anything to spend it on, you might as well keep it fully invested - in which case you won't pay any tax on it. Billionaires don't pay very much tax at all - because they don't spend much money (at least, not here in the UK). All that great family wealth ends up in trust funds where it simply accumulates even greater family wealth but never attracts any tax.

The rich have always tended to be
in favour of the welfare system. They follow the ideas of Swedish socialism, where it is better to buy off the poorest with welfare and minimum wages, than risk that they might rise up and join with the middle class to take a bigger slice of the cake by force. In Sweden everybody is lower middle class except for the super-rich industrialists - which was always the plan. So here in the UK the rich fund the Labour party who have consistently tapped the middle class to buy off the lower class.

The people that really hate paying for the welfare state are state doctors. This has become obvious in Greece, where it has been found that doctors are the most likely to fiddle their tax returns. Well, imagine how you would feel if you were saving the lives of the poor and then being expected to pay for them too!

Fact is we have a political system corrupted by the super-rich and feeding on a false dichotomy between socialism and anti-socialism as if no other system of government were possible. How would it be if we simply looked at the jobs that Britain needs doing an re-distributed the opportunity to do paid work, rather than the cash? As it is we pay for whole families to live in houses and have food on the table but get nothing back. Why? The whole nation could do with a lick of paint at the very least.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12.54 - don't you dare - and keep your head up!

A man's a man for all that

In your shoes I'd beg or borrow the air fare to Australia and a bit of cash besides. If you're under 30 you can get a working visa for a year - and if you work in certain areas and jobs (seasonal agriculture) you can get another one later.

I'm told it's not that hard to get work over there, though that's hearsay.

A fair few other countries have the same sort of deal - NZ for one and I think Canada.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I've often wondered how bad does it have to be before you can shoot them with moral excuse. There has to be an actual quantum of this alla Ceaucescu etc. p.s. Well said Kevin T