The Industrial revolution bestowed great wealth on capitalists in the United Kingdom, but the accumulation of wealth resulted in up to one third of the British labor force living in abject poverty. Enfranchised voters reacted to this gulf between rich and poor by voting in large numbers for the Labor Party in 1906 and the Liberal Party laid out numerous welfare reforms to counterbalance the growing political unrest that threatened the British ruling class with the possibility of a communist uprising.
Health care, education, retirement benefits, housing benefits, and labor laws stemmed the tide of the Left and in 1945 the Labor Party promised the British people the benefits of a benign cradle to grave existence.
Almost seventy years later the system has come under attack by the present austerity policies of the Tory Party and PM David Cameron has vigorously assailed various entitlements sacred to the working classes such middle-class, family pay-outs, rises in university fees, military budgets, and most recently the withdrawal of housing payments to under-25s. According to the BBC the Prime Minister has argued that the present system promotes a “something for nothing” culture of entitlement to regain support from the more extreme members of his party, who have become disenchanted with the PM’s plea for Compassionate Conservatism.
One wit once wrote that the difference between a conservative and a progressive was that if a man is drowning twenty feet from shore that a progressive with throw out thirty feet of line and walk away, while a conservative will toss out ten feet and tell the drowning man to swim the other ten feet.
Tony Blair’s Labor Party would have publicized the thirty feet of line without actually helping the drowning man and David Cameron’s more radical followers would be in favor of turning their back on the drowning hand figuring that he had gotten himself into that problem and he should know how to get out of it.
Mind you none of them feel that way about the failing banks whose zombie economics ruined the monetary system with overwhelming debts ladened on the back of the taxpayers.
Welfare in some cases is a good thing.
Hundreds of billions were given to the City.
The Tory’s George Osbourne has figured that the government can save two billion sterling by scrapping the housing benefits to nearly five million under-25s.
While I agree that doling out money rarely leads to the betterment of people’s lives. Curtailing essentials is simply cruel. All for the benefit of not so much the rich as the banks’ casino crack habit.
Jobs for the young would solve much of the problem, but the Financial Times has accused the press of fabricating the crisis by tweaking the numbers by including university students as unemployed to radicalize the situation, however I’ve met many graduates from top level schools who have discovered the only jobs awaiting them are either low-paid service placements or non-paying internships which smacks of slavery ie working for nothing, although slaves were at least fed by their masters.
Numbers can lie.
The media can lie even better with numbers as seen by the callous consideration of the Financial Times.
The Mirror blamed youth unemployment on spending cuts and austerity, but I fault the banks and their unwillingness to spend the wealth cloud which has been accumulated over the last three decades.
Unfortunately the youth of today has been placated by Facebook, video games, and dreams of instant riches from a TV show foisting mediocre talents of a world sadly missing the Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, or KLF, the dance band who burned a million pounds as a comment against commercialism.
Regrets they have a few, but the young of now will have more as the Tories seek a new way of looking at things and that view is called abject poverty.