No one likes bludging ratbags

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, and I suspect that Kiwis are the same…we don’t like bludging ratbags.

Norman Tebbit explains.

I was recently asked why the attitude of most people towards benefit claimants and the long-term unemployed seems to have hardened so much over the last 50 or 60 years. I think it is a most interesting question, and I suspect that there have been several factors at work.

Certainly one is that back in the Seventies and Eighties there was a lot less unemployment as a career choice and very few families where no one had ever worked or indeed wanted to do so.

There was a great deal of “concealed unemployment”, mostly in the form of overmanning in manufacturing industry, but overwhelmingly people who became unemployed were keen to get back into work.

Long-term unemployment was concentrated amongst older men made redundant from declining industries, particularly mining, and often in areas far from those where new jobs were being created which probably reduced any stigma of long term joblessness.

A second factor has been immigration. If immigrants are willing to travel a thousand miles to fill a job vacancy here, it is harder for British people to claim that there are no jobs available. At the same time there is also an understandable outrage against foreigners living off our welfare system with no apparent intention of working other than at petty street crime.  

Pretty much identical to New Zealand.

A less immediately obvious change over the half century has been within our state education system. It is not just that standards of literacy and numeracy have fallen in the last 25 years, but that there has been a long-term cultural change. Pupils have been encouraged to dream about the jobs that they would like to have, regardless of the realities of their talents and the labour market. In real life there are not that many jobs as celebrities, fashion designers or film stars, and creating a sense of entitlement to such careers, without any sense that to get to the top of the ladder in any career it is necessary to start on the bottom rung, does no good service.

Over these years we have also seen many good technical colleges and colleges of further education lumped together to create third- or fourth-rate universities. Instead of offering training to school-leavers as bricklayers, in other construction industry skills or in commercial catering and retail skills, they now sell youngsters poor-quality degree courses in humanities, sociology and the like, or even politics, rather than plumbing. All too often those “graduates” have little chance of finding work, and drift into professional welfarism while immigrants take up the real jobs left unfilled.

Sigh…seems we are stuck in a parallel universe.

At the same time the concept of traditional marriage and family has been rubbished. Too often, particularly at the bottom of the socioeconomic stack, the absence of fathers and presence of stepfathers in their stead has destabilised many young lives. Boys have drifted into gangs to find the mutual support that a family should give. Girls in their late teens have discovered that life living at home, perhaps with a disagreeable stepfather, while working for the minimum wage is an unattractive life, and they could be far better off as a single mother living in their own council flat.

In such circumstances living on benefits has become a lifestyle choice. Now more recently the squeeze on wages alongside the rising cost of living has narrowed or even eliminated the differential between working (particularly part time) and living on benefit, particularly for families with several children, leaving a deep sense of resentment among lower-paid workers.

It is a curious development. One might expect hard times to move consensus feelings on such an issue to the Left. In fact they have established an area of common ground which extends across the political divide.

And that consensus is that we don’t like bludgers. Labour though is now the party of bludgers and as such are flat out of support from middle New Zealand.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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