Sunday, 10 January 2010

Lord Norman Tebbit: New Kid on the Blog

The Thatcher years were marked by a creed endorsing the unfettered pursuit of money and being mean to those who don't have it. She had guts, she had personality, charisma and she didn't b***s**t anyone. That said, her policies were brutal and you will see something in her little speech here which reminiscient of social darwinism. Ultimately, Thatcherism was about the survival of the fittest.

Lord Norman Tebbit of Chingford has been given a Telegraph Blog. It is very 'Daily Telegraph'. This kind of social snobbery is the reason why I will never actually buy a copy. I would imagine that the Telegraph team is chock full of misanthropes. Here is what the man said.

'When I was at school in a less than fashionable working-class suburb of London before the Second World War, I knew plenty of kids whose fathers had been unemployed during the great slump, but I did not know any whose fathers had never worked in their lives. I did not know anyone who had been mugged, or even anyone who knew anyone who had been mugged. I soon learned that not every one was growing up in an ideal family, but I did not know anyone who had several half brothers and sisters, all by different fathers.

Every one of my classmates could read and write and manage basic maths by the time we were nine or ten years old, and none of us would ever set out to disrupt a class except as a bit of harmless fun. For such an act, or for being plain silly, we might have our hands caned or be kept in for half an hour after school, but we seemed to suffer no lasting traumatic harm. Oh yes, and none of us was obese.

So what has changed and why? Is it television, mobile phones, prosperity, computer games (and I have heard each of those held to blame)? For what it is worth, I do not blame Lord Beveridge or Clement Attlee. Would that we had a leader of any party to compare with him. So who or what is to blame? To be fair, it did not all start to go wrong in 1997, although I certainly think that poisonous vine Tony Blair has had a hand in it all.

Or is there nothing to worry about at all? Certainly it is not all gloom. I dropped my wallet in the street on Saturday and it was picked up and returned intact.

No doubt some of you have your theories, too.'

It is likely I will be heavily criticised for saying this by other commentors but I said.

I would argue strongly that the social breakdown, poverty, misery and exclusion from society now experienced by the very people Tebbit looks down upon has at its first cause, Thatcher and the man who posted this blog.

Oops! Me and my big mouth, eh? That was me being charitable and more than a little black and white. You have to respect the man, if for no other reason than the fact that he is not fat, poor, a father of multiple children from multiple women, 'workshy', welfare dependent, a convict or any other 'undesirable' person. He is, however, quite old and as we all know, the older people get, the more they become set in their ways. Still, at least he voted pro-life in his career, or so I hear and was quoted as saying, "I am in favour of post-natal abortion for adults who have done things that are thoroughly evil and not pre-natal abortion for innocents who might be an inconvenience."


Physiocrat said...

Why blame Thatcher and Tebbitt? They were merely articulating and endorsing widely held views.

Surely the blame lies with the society in which they rose to leadership? It is too easy to blame a few politicians. They are us.

It goes further. In 1997 people voted for something different. It turned out to be very little different. Why? One reason is that people who should know better are too intellectually lazy to think about important matters, and amongst Europeans, the Brits are particularly lazy intellectual slobs.

Richard Collins said...

Yes, I recall those days. The poor were released from their council homes and enabled to purchase the roof over their heads, those poor souls who were subject to the communist closed shop regime were released from their fetters, companies and public sector organisations who were ruled by shop stewards were freed to become proficient and efficient once more, we lost our title of "the sick man of Europe", the job market started to move again (I was marooned in Lincolnshire for 5 years because, under Labour, companies could not afford to replace those who left), there was a boom in start up businesses encouraged by tax breaks and, suddenly, the country started to lose the welfare state whinge - I do miss those days!

The Bones said...

Hmmm...the Council housing stock is somewhat depleted though isn't it, so those who genuinely need protection don't get it.

Personally, I see Thatcherism as the encouragement of the strong and the knee-capping of the weak.

Physiocrat said...

Shepherd - the problem with free market liberarianism is that it is founded on an illusion of a free market. Not everyone can participate even on remotely equal terms. Eventually, more and more people fall by the wayside and end up in welfare dependency and worse.

That is the inevitable dynamic of the libertarian so-called free market.

One cannot have laissez-faire economics unless the playing field is levelled, everyone has an equal opportunity, and the genuinely weak have a decent safety net.

Sadly, neither Labour nor Conservative levelled the playing field, but instead followed policies which inevitably propelled the economy into boom-and-bust, which was nothing to do with the world economy but everything to do with the fact that so many countries were following the same stupid economic policies.

The Bones said...

Well said, Physio.

Richard Collins said...

What could have been fairer than the poll tax?
The poor, widow alone in her flat now has to pay council tax whilst the family of 12 next door pay precisely the same amount.....Margaret Thatcher was undoubtedly the best PM this country had in the 20th century. Not perfect I agree but very, very good.
The *poor* all too often are free loaders on the welfare state. She did a great deal to sort them out but perhaps not enough to aid the genuine poor.

Physiocrat said...

Shepherd - the poor widow in your example is occupying a flat that could accommodate 12 people. How often does that really happen? But if it does, should people be encouraged to live in six-roomed flats all by themselves? It costs much the same to provide most of the public services regardless of whether the premises are empty or fully occupied. The area still has to be policed, the streets maintained, swept and lit, etc.

And another thing. I live in the middle of a city, with excellent amenities within walking distance and close to a railway station with very frequent services to a wide selection of destinations. Much of the cost of providing these amenities falls on the taxpayer. The advantages of my location are reflected in the value of my house. The rents for these houses are about £1100 per annum, per square metre. The rent for similar houses just a few miles away are little more than half of that amount. The difference is the market value of the locational advantage.

Is it right that a family who live out in the sticks should pay the same as I do when I enjoy the benefit of so many more amenities?

That is not all. If people are not working, then the Poll Tax had to be paid for out of benefit, which had to include an amount to cover it. If they go to work, then their pay has to include an amount to cover the benefit they no longer receive. This creates a poverty trap, as they are better off not working.

Now just do a simple calculation. Round here, someone on minimum housing benefit and JSA will receive about £150 a week. How much does it cost an employer in gross labour costs to leave that individual with the same amount in take-home?

The main reason the poor are trapped in welfare dependency is that the tax and benefits system figures don't add up. It is as much as anything a matter of simple arithmetic.

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