Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The waste of welfarism

Simon Heffer is someone I don't always agree with, but he has written a superb comment piece for today's Telegraph that I would urge everyone to read.

Heffer focuses on Glasgow East - the subject of a forthcoming by-election - to launch a withering attack on the failure of Labour, how welfarism entrenches poverty and inequality and how the Tories under Cameron are just as bereft of ideas on how to fix it as Labour is under Brown.

If you seek Labour's monument, look at this hell-hole of a constituency.

Its life expectancy for males is just about the lowest in Europe: 63, but in one ward, Calton, it is 54. Iain Duncan Smith, who has for years done what amounts to missionary work in the constituency on a heroic scale, has pointed out that the Calton figure ranks below the life expectancy of North Korea and Iraq.

A half of the people in the constituency are unemployed. A half - possibly the same half - have no qualifications. Only a third of families own a car. According to Mr Duncan Smith, thousands of children in east Glasgow are heroin addicts.

That three generations of some families in Glasgow East rely on welfare to survive shows how Labour's obsession with spending money entrenches poverty instead of alleviating it.

It is Labour's hopeless schools that turn out so many unqualified people, its so-called fight against "child poverty" that has bred new generations of poor children to poor families without providing the slightest ray of hope.

As Heffer points out, Glasgow East is not the only place like this in Britain - it is just somewhere where the problems are particularly evident. There are pockets of deprivation similar to Glasgow East in cities and towns all over Britain and they are all that way for the same reason. Welfarism.

Having lambasted Labour, Heffer then turns his attention to the Cameroons.

Mr Cameron picked up the Duncan Smith line on welfarism in Glasgow 10 days ago, as I noted last week. Last night George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, spoke of the need to reduce the demands on government in order to fix our "broken society". Are they at last getting it? No.

Any suggestions that they might were dispelled by Mr Cameron's dismal performance on the Today programme yesterday, in which he gave a flat "no" to a question about whether, in the light of the economic downturn, it was the right time to abandon his party's foolish promise to match Labour's spending policies.

This means always spending more public money, even though it is clear we already spend too much. If you can marry this philosophy to Mr Osborne's about reducing demands on the state, you're a better man than I am.

Well - no, I can't either. I've looked at Conservative policies - thin on the ground as they are - and listened to their leaders talk and I can't for the life of me see any significant difference between them and Labour. What differences exist are like the difference between Blair and Brown - merely differences in presentation.

I find it incredible that the Tory party faithful accept the current leadership as "conservative" when they act and behave like typical progressive liberals in everything they say and do. Like Peter Hitchens and, I expect, many other truly conservative people all over the country, I long for a party to emerge which will represent true conservative values. Anyone pinning their hopes on David Cameron's mob being that party are going to be hugely disappointed.

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TheFatBigot said...
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