Saturday, 13 December 2008

Kite-flying on the 'underclass' issue

For those of you who have been showing an interest in the welfare debate, Hazel Blears' interview in today's Times is worth a look.

On a minor point, far be it from me to challenge the veracity of a Cabinet Minister's words, but I think Hazel (4'10") is being a teensy bit economical with the truth when she claims to be the same height as the Queen (officially 5'4"). For those who care about such stuff, I've spent many an hour on this website, Celeb Heights, which is totally addictive.


Bristol Dave said...

As minister responsible for communities, her priority is tackling the growth of the underclass. The cases of Shannon Matthews and Baby P have revealed huge divisions in British society. “We have to acknowledge that we have done a lot but there are still pockets of people who have not got on the train, they have been left behind, and we have to make sure that no one is left behind.”

A poor choice of words, I feel.

Yet again, it implies that it is someone else's fault that huge swathes of society simply cannot be bothered to work pay their way - why should they, if the state will happily fund their feckless, lazy existence? But let's not blame them - it's always someone else's fault.

timbone said...

I read the article by Ms Blears. Just a point about the 1950's. In those days, especially where she was raised, it was a lot different. There was much more unskilled and/or semi skilled work. A person could leave school at 15 if they were not inclined to pursue something academic, and walk straight into a secure job in a factory (or in her vicinity, the Salford Docks) with strong union support. There was a sense of community where you were glad to go and work with your mates. I also have to mention that high employment in the industrial sector meant a higher NI contribution which kept the NHS more healthy. Another thing, lack of forced education post 15 and beyond meant that educational funds were not being wasted, and those who did want to go further in the academic field could get a decent maintenance grant.

Oh well, enough of that. One final point. She said - "Teenage mothers, could ... be housed together in residential units rather than in individual council flats." mmm, they already have mother and baby units in female prisons, can't we use those?

Sorry, couldn't resisit that last paragraph - it made me laugh anyway.

Chris Gale said...

"Watching people celebrating with champagne when other people were really struggling was not an image of society that I wanted to live in.”

Has she told Mandleson?