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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  • Pissedoffyouth

    “poor-quality degree courses in humanities, sociology and the like, or even politics, rather than plumbing.”

    Wood carving, tourism courses, barista courses, arts history. Scrap them – How about the government scrap student loans for them and instead add incentives for people to become tradies by sponsoring far more apprenticeships?

    • tspoon

      Exactly. Coming from the trades, these days I’m working with South African, British, Fijian and Filipino workers as well as the occasional immigrant from other nations. No disrespect to any of them, but these skills could have come from within the country.
      A lot of tradesmen are also surprisingly shrewd individuals, they don’t give much (anything) away in terms of intelligence to those coming out from the universities with degrees in advanced makeworking. Possibly the main problem is you sometimes need to get your hands dirty.

  • Balanced View

    I think that you’ll find that a growing portion of “middle New Zealand” is realising that the overwhelming majority of beneficiaries have a genuine need for support, and are therefore softening towards the left as they see capitalism slowly failing them.

    • Alloytoo

      Middle New Zealand recognises the necessity of a safety net for the unfortunate, not as a lifestyle for the unemployable.

    • Dick Brown

      I was with you right up until that last little bit blaming capitalism.

    • In Vino Veritas

      Balanced, interesting you should make the comment about “capitalism failing them”. Given that unlike socialism, which has failed everywhere that it has been introduced (see Russia, China, Venezuela, Greece, Spain and now France teetering, just to name a few), capitalism has never failed, what do you base this statement on?

      • Balanced View

        Depends on your definition of fail. I would see the disparity of wealth being a fail, and that it what I am alluding to in my original comment. Capitalism allows this to happen, not everyone can be wealthy under capitalism.

        • Muffin

          No but everyone is poor under socialism apart from the elite puppet masters at the top. You could move to north Korea if it appeals to you

        • Goldie

          “Depends on your definition of fail.”

          Are you serious?

          Free market economies have created enormous wealth and raised living standards, increased life expectancy, reduced illiteracy, and resulted in greater equality between men and women… There is a reason why people try to immigrate to places like New Zealand, Australia and the USA – it is because people are wealthier.
          China was a socialist “paradise”, and the result was famine and mass murder – since embracing capitalism China has improved the livlihoods of its people and pulled hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. And you think that capitalism has failed?!

          Socialist states or kleptocracies have done nothing but destroy wealth and peoples’ livlihoods. I don’t see you lining up to emigrate to Venezuela, Cuba or Russia.

          • Balanced View

            First of all, I’m not advocating socialism. Secondly, the path of true capitalism will end up being very similar to socialism. The majority struggling with the majority of the wealth held by a select few. It might feel ok now, with where we’re at in the cycle where a majority can afford to own their own home and purchase other luxuries, but as the super rich continue to expand their empires, a higher percentage of the majorities wealth will begin to transfer to them. Taking it to the end, it’s possible that just one person could own everything.

          • redeye

            Those that continue to rabbit on about the disparity of wealth have not bothered to look at history. There have always been the rich and the poor and the rich have always held a large percentage of the wealth amongst a relative few.

            Fortunately modern capitalism allows anyone to join the wealthy and not just those born into it.

          • philbest

            Balanced view; the big problem we need to confront, is zero sum rent seeking. Henry George lamented 100 years ago that “labour” spent all its time fighting its employers, while finance and property got away with ripping everyone off, employers as well as labour.

          • In Vino Veritas

            “Taking it to the end, it’s possible that just one person could own everything.”
            No, it’s not.

          • Balanced View

            Not far off everything.
            It wouldn’t happen, because there would be a revolt. That is why some are trying to preempt that and make changes now. I subscribe to that camp.

          • In Vino Veritas

            No Balanced, it wouldnt happen because for it to happen, there’d only be one person left on the planet.

        • Stephen

          Well not everybody works hard and has the same work ethic in a free society. That’s why their is a disparity in wealth, also point to know is that the poor in a capitalistic society are vastly better off than the poor in a socialistic society. This is why poor people in NZ have a TV.

        • Saccharomyces

          Why can’t everyone be wealthy under capitalism? Even the poorest in NZ are vastly better off than the overwhelming majority of the world.

          • Balanced View

            Remember that the ‘overwhelming majority of the world’ you refer to includes mostly capitalist economies. In isolation, nations can be wealthy, but that would lead to inequity elsewhere, and ultimately it would encompass the wealthy nations too. Wealth is ultimately finite, if someone has more, someone else must have less.

          • Stephen

            Not true, we do not have a net zero economy, economies grow and they can shrink.

          • Goldie

            Balanced View: “wealth is ultimately finite, if someone has more, someone else must have less”. WTF?
            You are sitting at a computer on the internet writing this nonsense. How did the creation of those tools deprive anybody of anything?
            Economies grow idiot.

          • Balanced View

            Economies can grow, but the world economy can’t. You can’t just invent wealth through innovation, the funds to support the new industry are coming from somewhere else. Where there is wealth, there must be poverty to pay for it.
            Don’t assume I endorse true socialist policy, I don’t. However, as one example, I do believe that the remuneration difference between senior managers and lower level staff is unhealthy for a strong society.

          • thehawkreturns

            “The world economy can’t grow”. Again, you are either simply trolling here or thick.

          • Balanced View

            I’m not trolling. Please demonstrate to me how the world economy can grow (in real terms)

          • dyannt

            “Wealth is ultimately finite, if someone has more, someone else must have less.”
            Rubbish. Look at all the natural wealth in the world that hasn’t even been touched yet. And wealth is in all the creative minds that haven’t yet let loose their creativity. (A better mousetrap, anyone?)

          • Balanced View

            Natural wealth that hasn’t been touched? Are you referring to minerals? How does that create wealth?

          • In Vino Veritas

            “Wealth is ultimately finite, if someone has more, someone else must have less.”
            Your assumption that wealth is finite is incorrect, unless of course you have a crystal ball that works. Wealth is based on some form of exchange value attributed to tangible things that are ever expanding and relies on willing exchangers. So long as they exist, and see value in the exchange, wealth is infinite. Wealth is only limited by the human brain.

          • thehawkreturns

            Economies and wealth is not a zero sum game. Either you are rabbiting erroneous socialist dogma that has been proven such through all economic studies or you don’t know what you are talking about.

        • Alloytoo

          But the average under Capitalism far outstrips the alternatives.

          • Balanced View

            I agree with that. But I think that we could alter some aspects of capitalism that would make it more workable.

          • Alloytoo

            We do, it’s called “Welfare.”

        • In Vino Veritas

          What disparity Balanced? An lawyer earns more than a cleaner for a reason. And accrues assets faster for that same reason. Is this what you are talking about?
          As I say, socialist economies that have made everyone equally poor (or rich, whichever way you want to look at it) have failed, since the people generating the “richness” get tired of supporting those that don’t. And they stop generating since they can get the same wealth with way less effort. For a while. Until the economy runs out of other peoples money.

        • dyannt

          It seems that you subscribe to the view that the pie is of a certain size and the capable are getting a bigger slice that the not-so- capable.
          If everyone pulled their weight (which is fair, don’t you think?) then we could all make the pie bigger so everyone gets the amount they DESERVE.

          • Balanced View

            To a point. But I think we’re beyond that now. If everybody worked identically hard from tomorrow, there would still be massive areas of poverty worldwide. It’s not just as easy as saying if you work hard you will earn a better life for yourself.

          • In Vino Veritas

            You assume Balanced, that people who are dirt poor, like say, African tribespeople, are unhappy with their lot. Given that people like this have been living like they are for millenia, who are we to judge whether they are rich or poor, particularly using western standards?

        • Bea

          Why not? Capitalism isn’t a zero-sum thing. It doesn’t require poor people to be viable.

          • Balanced View

            True, it doesn’t require it, however it does (and has) create the environment for that to happen at an alarming rate.
            Capitalism encourages businesses to trim costs (usually at the cost of employees) in order to undercut opposition businesses that are also trimming costs. You end up with two (or more) businesses that end up in an identical competitive situation as they were previously, both with work forces that have lower remuneration.

          • Alloytoo

            Which potentially frees up people to be productive in other areas.

    • Pissedoffyouth

      Softening towards the left? Maybe the new generations that never saw the unions strike because somebody farted and held the country to ransom vote left, but most people who have worked a day in their life hate beneficiaries because they see them popping out kids and living a great lifestyle without leaving the house!

      You can’t say its not a massive number of people.

      And if you think capitalism has failed people, go to China and see if they are unhappier now then they were 50 years ago

      • Bikersteve

        It may be a difficult concept for some to understand but there is also the concept of the management ‘strike’ which was equally unproductive as the union ‘strike’ that it intentionally provoked.
        Historically from time to time it has suited management to cause a ‘strike’ so that no goods were produced. This resolved issues of over stocking when not enough people were buying the product.
        These were often the result of a deliberate insult to the workers, which was designed to stop over production of product while preserving management roles. If a factory was shut then management and worker jobs were lost, it was often more convenient to get the workers on strike so no worker payments due, until the overstocking was reduced. This often disguised the fact that the problem was too much stock, but moved it to be a shortage due to a strike.

      • Caro

        I don’t hate beneficiaries and I don’t think popping out children is why most people require benefits, have you actually looked into this. I think you are spreading an unfounded diatribes of hatred with very little factual knowledge.

  • Whinging Pom

    The problem is compounded by parties of the left nowadays being overwhelmingly controlled by those who only have a theoretical acquaintance with ordinary hardworking people, rather than coming largely from that sector themselves, as was the case in previous generations.
    If Labour as a party was still made up of those who’d toiled in front of blastfurnaces, or at the coal face, for 8 hours a day there’d be much less appetite for throwing good money after bad at the feckless.

    • Hazards001

      Exactly right. Correct me if I’m wrong but I seem to remember Mike Moore once commenting to an interviewer’s question “Would he leave politics if he was rolled as PM” (or something like that) and he replied “I’m a qualified drainlayer…” and left it at that.

  • philbest

    I reckon one of the things that has hardened the attitudes, is TV shows like Jeremy Kyle, where families of bludgers frequently feature, usually because of bad relationships and habits of screwing everyone else in the neighbourhod to pass the time….. at the taxpayers expense…..

    • Caro

      Really, reality TV, Jeremy Kyle do you think Jeremy Kyle is real. What is reality TV ,a studio set up with actors and scripts, not reality. How abut watching some class documentaries to get some good reality TV experience. Or using your brain not just believing what suits you.

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