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Taming the savages

Posted on February 20, 2014 by

It takes a startling amount of arrogance to try and impose your morality on someone else. We no longer send our privileged white men to the dusty, dirty parts of the globe to educate the natives, to show them how to speak and eat and dress and worship. British toffs don’t hack their way through jungles any more, subduing spear-wielding tribes with Browning machine-guns and renaming their rivers after tubby queens.

barbarism

The map is no longer Empire pink, and the British zeal for moral crusades has largely faded with it. But in the Telegraph yesterday, the charming David Cameron took us on a nostalgic trip back to glorious, Union-Jack-fluttering Victoriana.

For the Prime Minister has announced himself to be on a “moral mission”. Some may have thought he was a politician in a 21st-century democracy but no – he’s a crusader, a bold and fearless navigator, a man who knows what’s good for you better than you do yourself.

He may not possess khaki togs, an antique map, a sunburnt nose or have a train of cowering natives skulking behind him as he ventures into darkest Africa, but he’s doing his best, regardless, to command the old Empire spirit. He’s descending from his spotless, imperial throne to civilise the savages.

We, of course, are the savages: the ordinary folk who work and struggle and feel the pinch – or increasingly, the hunger pang – of poverty. He’s been able to sleep sound at night knowing that we savages are quiet and occupied, but now there’s deprivation and poverty and our children have rickets again. The poor have nowhere to turn but the workhouse – sorry, “Work Programme”.

The first step in civilising these primitive brutes is to stop using the expression welfare state. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that Cameron never says this now, preferring to say welfare system, and it’s not an accident.

The former phrase suggests it’s the government’s role to assist when a citizen encounters poverty and illness. The state will keep you in relative safety until your condition improves, after which you can return to work and contribute to the society that helped you, ensuring it can do so for others in turn.

attlee

That’s been the ideology of the UK since 1948 and is usually held up as something to be proud of. Cameron wants to nudge us away from that  ideal, so now refers to the welfare system. Systems can be corrupt and broken and changed and revised. You can have no loyalty or pride in something as technical and mundane as a system.

A welfare state suggests dignity and constancy, a national aspiration to decency and humanity; a welfare system suggests nothing but spreadsheets and bureacracy.

So the PM is on a moral mission to convert the heathen and the savage, to make us accept this way of thinking, which is that your tax and NI doesn’t go to creating a safety net or a wholesome society where the weak and unlucky and sick are protected and helped back to strength. It goes to tax breaks for the rich, great circuses to distract the poor while the elite rob them blind, and poisonous black submarines trailing unseen through our lochs.

The crusade is to make us shake off the old-time religion of the welfare state and convert to his creed of “standing on your own two feet”. But it’s hard to stand on your own two feet when your bones are softened with rickets and you’re wheezing with asthma from the black blots of dampness on the spongy bedroom wall.

But just as the missionaries would erect a church, give out some bibles then scoot back home to their plush drawing rooms, Cameron won’t really mind if the great unwashed don’t embrace his philosophy wholesale. As long as there’s a token gesture of submission he’ll be happy.

He’ll be content if we all just stop clamouring for jobs and food and telling the media about the hunger and the depression and the suicides. And if we won’t, then there’s always the option of turning that to his advantage too, by luring the unwary and naive on to TV programmes like Benefits Street, where they’re easy meat for vilification by a media only too eager to let its readers gawp at a subhuman underclass almost as frightening as the evil-looking tribesmen with bones through their noses that 19th-century periodicals titillated/terrified their readers with.

zulu

And of the unwashed savages in darkest Scotland? Well, missionary zeal works best when backed up by overwhelming force of arms and technology. It’s not so powerful when the natives have a ballot paper, assuming their rickety legs hold them up long enough to get to it.

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    1. 21 02 14 12:56

      A timely reminder | Dissenting Radical

    64 to “Taming the savages”

    1. mogabee says:

      What was that you were saying about female writers?

      I would rate this article pretty highly, thanks Julie.

    2. Geoff Huijer says:

      Unfortuntely he DOES have a ‘train of cowering natives skulking behind him’.

      They’re called ‘Scottish’ Labour…

    3. David Boddie says:

      From the Telegraph article: “Let’s be clear about the welfare system we inherited. It was a system where in too many cases people were paid more to be on benefits than to be in work. A system where people could claim unlimited amounts of housing benefit – in London there were people claiming truly astonishing sums of £60,000, £70,000, £80,000 a year.”

      And that’s just the MPs… 😉

    4. Betty Boop says:

      Aah – We used to use the words “social security” which put it exactly where it should be. By aiding those in need, society was more cohesive, inclusive, safer and that was also a benefit of the welfare state to the country.

      Weasel words to change perspective, as in “human resources” instead of “personnel”. Employees openly viewed as cost units instead of assets. When that happened, I knew it was all over for society.

      The onward march of government corporatisation neither sounds nor feels much like social security.

    5. John G says:

      Thank god that this “man” has morals!! Because who knows what he could do, if his morals were not there to guide him!!

    6. Brian Powell says:

      As Max Kaiser said, The City (London) doesn’t need workers, who ask for wages and standards of living. They are just a nuisance.

      All that is required are the Markets and London at the center. The rest of the country is just a drain.

    7. fairiefromtheearth says:

      You forgot about the fluride in the tap water and the strange planes that spray chemecals on us from before dawn to dusk.

    8. fairiefromtheearth says:

      oh and the mercury in our fillings and vaccines.

    9. fairiefromtheearth says:

      ive had too many thats why im as MAD AS A HATTER.

    10. Our banks, crooked investment companies, bankrupt insurance companies, and big business have all been living on welfare handouts for decades.

      We don’t call it welfare but grants, yet it amounts to the same thing, public taxes diverted to subsidise companies. We should rename the largesse “welfare,” sums frequently totalling many millions of pounds to a single company.

      A company encouraged to set up a factory on (say) a new industrial estate is given free rates for its early years, roads and services laid to it without cost, all to help it get on its feet and create employment.

      The money comes from the public purse, sometimes by inducement, but usually on application.

      I’ve lost count of all the car manufacturers that demanded government handouts in order to stay in the UK – that is, England.

      I call it welfare.

    11. Clootie says:

      DC was raised and educated to be our “leader”. Nothing has changed in several hundred years.

      Good article Julie – a timely reminder of their mindset.

    12. Robert Louis says:

      Something which so far I have see no mainstream media mention in relation to this right wing ‘welfare bashing’, is the way the system used to work.

      Many years ago, I worked a lot, but on occasion I would be unemployed, but not of course through choice. In such circumstances, I would go the unemployment office, and tell them of my circumstances, and regardless of how many jobs I was applying for or writing for, IF I had paid enough National Insurance contributions over the previous two years, I would automatically qualify for what was termed unemployment benefit.

      IF however, I hadn’t been working very much in the last two years, and hadn’t paid in enough National Insurance contributions, then I would simply NOT get unemployment benefit. Sound harsh?? No, not really, because if I didn’t qualify for Unemployment benefit, then I would receive what was called supplementary benefit instead (with its own whole new set of forms etc..). Supplementary benefit was paid at a lower rate than unemployment benefit, so there was a clear advantage to having been in regular work.

      The point of telling this however, is simply this, it was NOT a something for nothing system. I paid my national insurance which provided unemployment benefit if I lost my job. The clue is in the name ‘National INSURANCE’.

      Now both Labour and their cousins the Tories seem to have spun an entire population to think that such benefits are for scroungers. They simply are not. It is partly what National insurance is for.

      There was what you might term a contract between worker and state, you made sure you paid N.I (your stamp, as it was), and when you lost a job, you automatically got UB. As it was something you had effectively paid for, although there was help to find a job, there was none of the bullying and working for nothing that happens now.

      People in the UK have effectively been cheated by both Labour and Tories from getting things which they pay for. So far as I know people in the UK still pay National Insurance, so UB is simply NOT a freebie. It is NOT something for nothing, as Labour’s Johan Lamont likes to say.

    13. BigSteveChisholm says:

      There’s a fresh dollop of mince being served over at the Guardian.

      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/feb/20/alex-salmond-scottish-osborne-currency-union-independence#start-of-comments

      Comments are open if anybody wants to watch the Unionists vent in real-time. I’m over it myself. There’s no point in arguing, it’s too wearing. Instead I’m going to spend my time constructively, speaking to DKs in the flesh and driving as many readers as possible to places like WoS and Bella Caledonia.

      It comforts me to know that most of the ranters don’t live in Scotland, have no vote in the referendum and have absolutely no influence over the outcome. Little wonder they’re getting irrational – the pound thing is driving them crazy.

      “BUT WHERE’S YOUR PLAN B?!!!!”

      They are angry and frustrated but hurling their invective in the wrong direction. Wait until it dawns on them – the UK is as good finished, the sun has set on the Empire and their representatives in Government have been lying to them for years. “It’s all fine, Britain is still Great.”

      My point, I guess, is – dinnae feed the trolls. Pity them.

      And send them a postcard once in a while, via re-nationalised ScotMail.

    14. Robert Louis says:

      The real benefits scroungers in the UK are

      1. the Royal family

      2. Unelected ‘Lords’ at Westminster.

      When will we see a Channel 4 documentary showing up THOSE benefits scroungers, fleecing the taxpayers.

    15. dmw42 says:

      Front foot stiff Julie. Thank you

    16. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I beg your pardon?

    17. Ian Mor says:

      Hasn’t Scotland already been divided into ’40 separate tribes’ Wasn’t that the premise of the Better Together ‘Patriot’ offensive?
      http://tinyurl.com/pozffon

    18. Jimbo says:

      Good article, Julie.

      I’m sure the new Tory – Labour alliance will have a Plan ‘B’ in place to combat the many years of economic failure they’ve presided over from their Westminster lair.

      Lashings of programmes like Big Brother and Benefits Street to distract Joe Public from austerity measures and vitamin D tabs handed out with benefits should do the job for the Westminster elite (the cost of the vitamin D tabs to be deducted from benefits of course).

    19. Robert Louis says:

      Bigsteve chisolm,

      You are right. You can indulge the britnat lunatics who comment in the Guardian for a while, but it’s just time wasted.

      Such people are irrelevant. getting the positive message about Scottish independence to the people of Scotland is much more important. We have a winning argument, and despite the blatantly biased BBC Pravda and English controlled newspapers, we are starting to win.

      The arguments for Scottish independence are very powerful, and the better campaign have none.

      It all comes back to the old saying:’ Never wrestle with a pig, you will get dirty, and the pig will enjoy it.’

      Better together want to tie us all up in their negativity and doom mongering, but it’s all getting so repetitive and boring now, I’ve started ignoring it. We have a much stronger and better message to tell the people of Scotland.

    20. Wayne says:

      I am not sure I agree with everything here, there is a tendency to rely too heavily on caricature and stereotype at times (albeit appealing ones from out point of view), but nevertheless I really admire Julie’s spirit and the strong empathetic voice she brings to her writing. We could do with more female writers on here, and in the pro-independence blogosphere more generally.

    21. Murray McCallum says:

      Julie’s article sets the exact scene where Scottish Labour should be have long ago out established a policy totally separate from New OneNation British Labour Party.

      The British Labour Party that Gideon Osborne dictates the economic policy for and ID Smith sets the minimum standard for being tough on welfare.

      I guess that’s why Labour don’t seem too upset about what is going on. It’s all about market prices apparently – nothing to do with systems of government.

      BTW what is Allan Breck Stewart doing in a red uniform attacking that laddie?

    22. Clydebuilt says:

      noticed that bbc radio Scotland morning call with Louise white is not available for replay on iplayer . Before Christmas it was on iplayer

    23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “noticed that bbc radio Scotland morning call with Louise white is not available for replay on iplayer”

      Um, I just listened to this morning’s on iPlayer about 20 minutes ago.

    24. Murray McCallum says:

      What has happened to archive.is? Their main site gone?

    25. JGedd says:

      @Robert Louis

      It’s strange, but about 20 years ago, the Royal Family’s popularity was at rock bottom because of the Charles/Diana saga. Then, at some point the massed ranks of spin doctors seem to have been brought in to use their black arts on behalf of the Royal Family. However, it looks like a co-ordinated project of the establishment, so that Royal Family events have been smoothly integrated with ” national ” celebrations. Thus the standing of the Royal Family has been greatly enhanced and has become inseparable from the ” Britishness” project.

      As in so many ways, the British state has regressed to an earlier, more heartless manifestation, so too, have we appeared to have gone backwards to the primitive veneration of monarchy, in which we are all supposed to join. So much so, that Stephen Fry was heard to say on QI, without fear of contradiction from the panelists, that whereas Americans invested their sense of identity in a flag, “we ( the British ) invest our identity in the Royal Family”. He sounded like a pompous old Victorian from the age of Empire. I suppose we are beyond satire now, sadly.

    26. Yes you did, I want my rose garden. 🙂

    27. Andy-B says:

      Good piece Julie.

      Here’s the rise and fall of the British Empire, condensed into a couple of minutes.

    28. Cindie says:

      Archive.is is down and, Business for Scotland seems to be down too right now 🙁

    29. Green Bean says:

      Business for Scotland website appears to be down, as well as archive.is. What’s happening?

    30. Green Bean says:

      Apologies, Cindie.

    31. Richard Bruce says:

      Betty Boop says:

      “Social Security”.

      I agree with your sentiment, but, have to disagree with the social security bit. It was always the “Welfare State”, until it was tampered with by the Heath lead Tory government of the early 70s, who changed the name of the department to “Social Security”, copying the USA name for welfare.

      My father was appalled when they changed the name of the system he fought for.

      Sorry to be pedantic, but this is from my memory of the time, my dad who was a real trade unionist, (DC Thomson tried to get him fired from his job, for handing out leaflets against religious bias in their hiring of workers), kept on about this on every occasion he could. He was Labour from when he could first vote 1946, then SNP from 1974.

      Also this gives me the chance to log in too!

    32. Cindie says:

      @Green Bean – then they come to fight you…

    33. Findlay Farquaharson says:

      the man that made time made plenty of it.

    34. Cindie says:

      @Green Bean, no problems, our comments were obviously posted round about the same time. I’m just glad Wings is still here *clings*

    35. Alba4Eva says:

      Thank you Julie for a great piece, which articulates the pessimistic outlook, should we simply shrug and accept the old ways and the failed experiment that they represent.

      There is an option for something fresh and new…. YES 🙂

    36. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      Murray McCallum says:
      What has happened to archive.is? Their main site gone?

      It does seem to be gone at the moment.

      While waiting to see what happens next, maybes read:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Archive.is_RFC

    37. Helena Brown says:

      BigSteveChisholm, popped in looked and left. I have no wish to enter that arena ever again, bunch of right wing looneys, regardless of which English Paper you look at.
      May I say an excellent article and encapsulates it all. I worry though that some of our natives will need to see the colour of their weaponry before they start to fight.

    38. heedtracker says:

      Its interesting to compare ConDemLab Britain with the USA and their right wing Republicans. Extreme inequality, vast numbers of slave wage earners, immigration blame target for reactionary right, colossal military spend/waste, Wall Street bail out,frauds with far right hard core Murdoch, Dacre, BBC style propaganda. Its all there for Scotland to turn away from for good with a YES win in Sept.

    39. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      Green Bean says:
      Business for Scotland website appears to be down, as well as archive.is. What’s happening?

      You are right Green Bean, Business for Scotland was indeed down.

      (Green Bean … initials = GB … Hmmm … is somebody at GCHQ taking the piss?)

      … but BfS is back up now.
      … and archive.is is still down.

      Still … All us Cybernats should congratulate ourselves.
      No matter how you look at it, we really do appear to be doing something right …

    40. Murray McCallum says:

      Business for Scotland twitter
      “We’re aware that our website is currently down. We hope to get it back up as soon as possible. Thanks.”

      Calgacus MacAndrews
      Thanks for the archive.is wiki link. I don’t fully understand the tech speak stuff. They seem to be saying archive.is allegedly used to spread malicious software?

    41. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      Thank you Julie for your article, it’s always good to have a varied point of view on this site. I am sure you are aware that it will be read and re-read many times until the next thread.

      For me your opening paragraph left me with a jaundiced view of what was to come, which was rather unfortunate. However I persevered and while your central argument of welfare system/state was good, your illustration of bible throwing missionaries running away is somewhat disingenuous and should not be associated with Scotland. Ask any of the many Nigerians here in Aberdeen why they are here to study and its because of Mary Slessor who lived, breathed and died to help them in their country. Not to subdue or run away.

      To return to my jaundiced view and I will probably be castigated for this but hey ho.

      We DO send our privileged white men to dusty, dirty parts of the globe who are in charge of less privileged white men who cannot complete the Telegraph crossword in 15 minutes. They go to the dusty places to retain superiority, maintain or gain future financial interest by encouraging a compliant local government.

      In my humble opinion your article would have been better if you had left out the Victoriana and rickets.

      I await the deluge.

    42. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @Murray McCallum says:
      Calgacus MacAndrews
      Thanks for the archive.is wiki link. I don’t fully understand the tech speak stuff. They seem to be saying archive.is allegedly used to spread malicious software?

      Can’t say for sure, but, if you look at the mentions of IPs (intellectual properties) on the wiki page, I suspect that archive.is is open to getting shut down for copyright infringement.
      Especially if a something of the ‘clout’ of the British State suddenly woke up, and needed to get all that inconvenient archived stuff disappeared pronto.

      Just sayin’ …

      Better start issuing Cybernat passwords …

      🙂

    43. ianbeag says:

      Some back-up for Andy-B’s entertaining video of The Empire’s shrinkage and a history lesson to David Cameron on his legacy after September 18th. An interesting map from Stuart Laycock’s book ‘All the countries we’ve ever invaded’
      http://www.humanosphere.org/2013/08/map-of-the-day-where-the-brits-never-invaded/

    44. geeo. says:

      I have been reading the articles and comments on here for a while now and generally agree with the majority of them.

      The message IS getting across, not by scare stories about a future no vote but more by positive responses to every negative attack.

      I am 47 and have always been interested in politics and workers rights due to my old man being political minded and scottish organiser for the GMB previous to retiring.

      I well remember the after effects of the 1979 referendum and the subsequent brutal assault on Scotland.

      That is not a good enough reason for voting Yes however, the strength of the argument is the key factor for me, and despite the years/decades of wasted revenues, the argument for an independent Scotland remain valid.

      Can we run our own affairs..Yes
      Can we afford to run them…Yes
      Can we transform Scotland into a fairer society, socially, financially and morally ?
      Of course we can.
      Can we trust the politicians to deliver ?
      Well, if they do not, we can vote them out, a luxury not available to us today.

      It is a no brainer for me and I am more convinced than ever Scotland are about to embark on a long awaited voyage of self discovery.

    45. chicmac says:

      Another highly charged and highly accurate article Julie.

      Duly shared on FB.

      My but our on line champions are really stepping up to the plate in response to the imperialist hysteria we have been getting from the Brit meeja of late.

      Here is another great article from Robin McAlpine over on Bella.

      http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2014/02/20/the-anglosphere-media/

      Recommend we share these and the other recent efforts from Cath Ferguson and Derek Bateman with as many folk as we can.

    46. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      geeo. says:
      It is a no brainer for me and I am more convinced than ever Scotland are about to embark on a long awaited voyage of self discovery.

      Brilliant. Your piece of 8:23 says exactly what I imagine so many of us feel about where we are at this amazing point in time.

    47. joe kane says:

      Excellent stuff as usual Julie.

      Cameron justifies his human rights abuses against British disabled people as a “moral mission”. This is the same reason used by LGBT human rights abusers in Russia.

      The British establishment is currently using the staging of the Winter Olympics in Sochi to wail and gnash its teeth about the LGBT human rights abuses of the Russian Government. Yet it was completely silent about British Government human rights abuses against British disabled people during the London Olympics and Paralympics which has resulted in tens of thousands of disabled people being sent to an early grave with no end in sight.

    48. joe kane says:

      Useful infographic on the TUC blog about UK unemployment and job vacancies. The moral of these statistics being never trust anything the DWP and IDS say about anything at anytime –
      http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2014/02/for-facts-sake-the-real-picture-of-unemployment-in-the-uk

    49. Murray McCallum says:

      David Cameron, Daily Telegraph article in link
      “It was a system where in too many cases people were paid more to be on benefits than to be in work.”

      Cameron’s approach is to hack back the welfare safety net with seemingly no care for the most vulnerable in society. Why doesn’t Cameron step back and, rather than scapegoat the poor, think about the bigger picture.

      I think the symptom Cameron described in his Telegraph piece is linked to the following three, more significant, symptoms (extracted from Robin McAlpine’s excellent article on Bella http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2014/02/20/the-anglosphere-media/):

      “British wages have fallen faster than all but three other EU countries – even though we work the third longest hours.” LOW WAGES

      “Britain has the third highest housing costs in Europe,…” EXPENSIVE HOUSING

      “Britain’s productivity is 16 per cent behind the average of advanced economies and has the worst record on industrial production.” LOW WAGES SUBSIDISING INVESTMENT

      It’s easier to scapegoat than address the fundamental issues, especially in a complex state like the UK that is filled with powerful vested interests.

    50. Murray McCallum says:

      When I say “LOW WAGES SUBSIDISING INVESTMENT” I mean LACK of investment. You employ more cheap labour than otherwise through mechanising a skilled workforce.

      Costs low but sub optimal productivity.

      Very short term economic view.

    51. Caroline Corfield says:

      I seem to recall someone defining ‘civilisation’ by the way that society treated it’s most vulnerable: on that basis we must conclude that the current society under the Coalition is not a civilised one.

      We seem to be heading towards the frontier-ship kind of individualism that the US tries to convince (mostly successfully) it’s population is necessary for the pursuit of happiness ( and apple pie?).

      When politicians tell churchmen that their compassion is misplaced. When the press colludes with the government of the day and the government of the day colludes with the press ( I’m think of the revelations about our Tone and Ms Brooks here). And when unelected second houses can over-rule devolved democratically elected parliaments then we haven’t gone back to the Victorian age, but have disappeared into the Dark Ages.

    52. joe kane says:

      It was a system where in too many cases people were paid more to be on benefits than to be in work.
      – There are so many truly vile lies in that Cameron piece it’s difficult to know where to start but just to take this one.

      No one has been able to work out, under any circumstances, how anyone can make more money being unemployed than they can in work. It’s impossible. People will always make more money working than they can on welfare benefits alone.

      Indeed, Mark Sertwotka of the PCS union, which covers Jobcentre staff, and who ought to know what he’s talking about one would presume, has issued a personal challenge to IDS to publicly prove this oft repeated assertion. That was almost a year ago. Nothing been heard from the Tory coward and bully in charge of the DWP since, and he has never been heard to repeat it again in public. Yet here we have the Prime Minister repeating it as if it’s true, which it isn’t.

      Reference –
      The “better off on benefits than in work” claim is a complete fallacy – where’s the evidence?
      http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/04/better-benefits-work-claim-complete-fallacy-wheres-evidence

    53. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

      I am afraid I have to agree with Archie-not-erchie about what I am sorry to say are ignorant and bigotted comments re:”…the missionaries would erect a church, give out some bibles then scoot back home to their plush drawing rooms” Really? No doubt there were some who might fit that category but none come to mind. Bibles can only be read by literates and so the foundation of an education and a literary culture is created. Look at Scottish history – to destroy that language the enemies of Gaelic effectively blocked a generally accessible bible translation until shamed into it by an Englishman – and the Presbyterian reformers by taking the lazy route of adopting the English translation essentially sabotaged the development of Scots as a major literary language.

      The Kalahari or Malawi or coastal Nigeria were very unlikely locations for anything “plush” and many of those who went out to spread the Gospel and minister to the people physically and spiritually paid with their lives.

      When someone smears their own – perhaps good and useful-arguments – by smearing the good deeds of others it is a very unfortunate thing. Much of the no campaign has been outright lies and malicious slander. Often they show themselves trite and ignorant when they are attempting to be “clever”. If Scotland is to be the better, kinder place it should be let’s not emulate the speech of those who represent all that is repulsive in the present situation.

      I’ll end metaphorically – I would choose Iona over Gruinard .

    54. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @Caroline Corfield says:
      And when unelected second houses can over-rule devolved democratically elected parliaments then we haven’t gone back to the Victorian age, but have disappeared into the Dark Ages.

      It’s not like we have Clerics passing Laws, like in Iran.

      … Do we?

    55. Betty Boop says:

      @Richard Bruce

      No worries. I always knew the welfare state as the cover all which included the health service as well as monetary and other benefits, the social security part being unemployment, supplementary benefits, etc. Anyway, I agree with the author of this article about the change now to “system” and all that conveys.

      Know what I love about this campaign; apart from all the frustrating negativity, despite what I “knew” already, I learn something new almost every day.

      Good on your Dad – the current day media, especially BBC, could do with some folk with backbone like his.

    56. Murray McCallum says:

      joe kane
      I shouldn’t have described Cameron’s crappy generalised lie as a “symptom”. Housing support costs will always be high if you don’t build enough houses and live in an area where expensive houses are bought with cash and lie empty.

      Cameron’s approach, seems to me, will be to lock in a low wage culture in the UK. 10 people fighting for every 1 job. An inadequate safety net. No culture of the state protecting the vulnerable.

      This is incredibly short sighted. An economy can’t reach anything like its potential this way. Wealth will be increasingly concentrated with the few. Money will be hidden overseas. The overall tax take will fall (feeding the cycle of the “smaller state”).

      And so it will continue.

    57. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @Frazer Allan Whyte says:
      The Kalahari or Malawi or coastal Nigeria were very unlikely locations for anything “plush” and many of those who went out to spread the Gospel and minister to the people physically and spiritually paid with their lives.

      I’m with where Frazer Allan Whyte is coming from here.
      Me and Mrs Calgacus both lived and worked, with our young children, for 5 years in Northern Nigeria in the 1980s.
      It was easy as younger and less wise people for us to have a European view on how things should be, and to initially fail to understand the different situation facing the Nigerian people we were working alongside.
      But by the end of our time there we had learned not to be so sure, and not to judge things by European standards.
      With hindsight we were sent out to Nigeria by the Commonwealth Development Corporation as their minions in the failing light of last days of The Empire.
      But we were free-spirits at heart, and that saw us through to a better understanding of what we had experienced by the time we left, and helped us to make friends and earn affection and respect while we were there.
      We weren’t missionaries, but sometimes, on weekends-off, we slept in the empty not-plush mission-houses in remote places on the Nigerian-Cameroon border, left behind by long-gone missionaries, but maintained in good order by the local people, in case the missionaries should one day return

    58. Taranaich says:

      Ah, this puts me in mind of the problematic but still powerful “Savages” from Disney’s Pocahontas (and you think Braveheart had historical accuracy issues?)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2av9SQsMIi8

      @Caroline Corfield: I seem to recall someone defining ‘civilisation’ by the way that society treated it’s most vulnerable: on that basis we must conclude that the current society under the Coalition is not a civilised one.

      I’m of the opinion that civilization is a neutral term meaning nothing more than “an organized culture encompassing many communities, often on the scale of a nation or a people; a stage or system of social, political or technical development.” A civilization, like technology, is not inherently good or evil: it’s just a way of life.

      So regrettably, the Coalition’s despicable treatment of the poor & vulnerable is not “uncivilized” in the slightest: it is merely the sign of what kind of civilization it is.

    59. Muscleguy says:

      @fairiefromtheearth
      I suggest you hie yourself to wikipedia and and inform yourself about all the different forms and compounds of mercury and how the toxicity or otherwise changes and not all are toxic, or not to humans.

      I have had my share of vaccines, I’ve still got the big circular scar on my shoulder from the smallpox vaccine I got when I was 6 (travelling through the hot parts of the world where it was still current then). Having had my dentistry done through the schools in NZ I have a mouthful of amalgam fillings too. I also have a Biology PhD and am of completely sound mind and body and of course understand a mite more about biology and chemistry and stuff than you do. So my anecdote trumps yours. So I suggest we resolve it by recourse to science. So get yourself to wikipedia and learn.

    60. Meg McLean says:

      Archie [not Erchie] Maybe you better read this http://www.uhs.nhs.uk/AboutTheTrust/Newsandpublications/Latestnews/2010/Topchildrenssurgeonsayspovertybonediseasehasreturnedinsouthampton.aspx Rickets is back with a vengeance. THE disease of poverty next to T.B.

    61. BarbarianoftheBorders says:

      Well written Julie – it shows why people should listen “carefully” to what these people say and HOW they word things !

    62. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      As I understand it school milk greatly reduced rickets, particularly in the West of Scotland where the “soft” water was a contributory factor to the calcium deficiency which contributed to rickets (and apparently heart disease).
      There is no doubt rickets is back with a bang.
      I rather wonder if the school milk generation produced big strong children and led to us winning European Cups and Cup Winners Cups.
      When I was at school in Glasgow in the fifties I was aware that school milk was the only decent meal many kids were getting daily. My father,who was a teacher in primary schools, used to make sure some of them got extra.
      Time we reinstated it.

    63. joe kane says:

      The crusade is to make us shake off the old-time religion of the welfare state and convert to his creed of “standing on your own two feet”. But it’s hard to stand on your own two feet when your bones are softened with rickets and you’re wheezing with asthma from the black blots of dampness on the spongy bedroom wall.
      – Anyone interested, below is link to a typical example of the kind of neoliberal propaganda being produced by academics to justify government policies, in this case by Scottish medical academics. The use of language, such as “worklessness”, and victim-blaming rhetoric should be more than familiar now to people after nearly 4 years of the Westminster coalition government attacks on the weakest and poorest in society.

      The foreword is by that well-known medical academic Eddie Barnes –
      Tackling the Failures of the Welfare State – “Thinking the Do-able”: A Paper For Policy Makers
      Glasgow University
      2008

    64. joe kane says:

      Apologies for the missing link in my previous post –
      Tackling the Failures of the Welfare State – “Thinking the Do-able”: A Paper For Policy Makers
      Glasgow University
      2008
      http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_166963_en.pdf



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