Two nations: those who work, those who won't

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by slim, Mar 20, 2009.

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  1. Has the Times taken on a Daily Mail Reporter?

    Just read this and I musy admit I'm in complete agreement with the author.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article5941255.ece

    Two nations: those who work, those who won't
    Blaming immigrants for our unemployment levels misses the point: the problem is people who are bone idleAlice Thomson
    Michael's alarm still goes at 5am every morning, by 7am he has cleaned his Notting Hill house, at 8am the children have a three-course breakfast and by 9 he has walked them to school and is sitting at his desk sending out his CV. Six weeks after he lost his job at Goldman Sachs, he still works a 14-hour day. He now waits tables at his favourite restaurant, sweeps the leaves from the communal garden tennis court and helps the neighbours' Filipina housekeeper to clear the drains.

    Paul Bright, a factory manager for a paper doily factory in Essex who has also been made redundant, has the same drive. At 60, he could retire. “All I want to do is work again,†he says. “I am like a smoker who doesn't know what to do with his hands once he's quit. I need to feel useful.â€

    The Chawners wouldn't understand. Mr and Mrs Chawner and their two daughters insist that they are “too fat to work†because they have a combined weight of 83 stone - so they watch television all day living off their £22,000 benefits. In the past 11 years, only the youngest daughter, Emma, has attended a job interview and that was on The X Factor, where she was kicked out in the first round. Mr Chawner explains: “Often I'm so tired from watching TV I have to have a nap. I certainly couldn't work. I deserve more.â€

    These are Britain's two nations. Not those born abroad and those born here, not black or white, rich or poor, men or women, North or South, public or private sector. But those who belong to the world of work and those who are alienated from it, living off the taxes from other people's earnings.

    Background
    Two million unemployed in biggest-ever rise
    Public sector shielded as jobless hits two million
    This recession is private sector versus public
    Chancellor really stood no chance
    In the past ten years a chasm has opened up between the workaholics and the quaintly named “work-shyâ€. Labour still isn't working, claims a revised version of the classic Tory poster, as unemployment passes two million.

    In fact, nearly eight million people of working age in Britain have been “economically inactive†for the past few years. More than 2.5 million of them are on incapacity benefit - of these 2,130 people are too “fat†to work; 1,100 can't work because they have trouble getting to sleep; 4,000 get headaches; 380 are confined to the sofa by haemorrhoids; 3,000 are kept at home by gout; and half a million are too depressed to get a job. According to Dame Carol Black, the National Director of Health and Work, one child in five now comes from a family where neither parent works, yet at the end of last year there were half a million job vacancies.

    The BNP's message over the past decade has been loud and clear - your job is being stolen by the Somali next door. But it's just not true. The Somali and the Romanian, Chinese and Ukrainian are doing jobs that many British won't now contemplate. The majority of migrants to Britain - more than 80 per cent - are earning less than £25,000 a year in industries that have become unpopular for British people to work in.

    That is why immigration in Britain rose by 2.5 million in the past decade and why English is now a second language for one in seven pupils in primary school. Immigrants have kept Britain working. It is also why the Tories couldn't turn immigration into a vote-winner in the past two elections. People recognised that we needed the Chinese to pick our strawberries, the Czechs to blow our children's noses, the Pakistanis to sweep our hospitals, the Afghans to drive our minicabs, the Australians to pull our pints and the Poles to put up the scaffolding.

    Only last year £13 million of British fruit and vegetables went unpicked because farmers couldn't find enough British labour to harvest their crops, forcing the Government to raise the quota for migrants under the seasonal agricultural workers' scheme. As one man outside a Jobcentre Plus in Peterborough explained: “I'd prefer to sign on than do that. I don't want to work in no cornfield for £25,000 a year.â€

    Now, however, everything has changed. The new unemployed aren't those who don't want to work, they are the committed, driven employees who are horrified at the thought of no longer being able to commute into the office. They are the 3,000 people who are prepared to queue for 150 part-time jobs at Twycross Zoo in the Midlands and who bitterly resent having to sign on.

    These are the unemployed who keep Gordon Brown awake at night. The millions of British citizens who are already economically inactive will be eternally grateful to the former Chancellor for having provided them with such generous pocket money, but those now joining the unemployment statistics won't be bought off so easily.

    They are the newly unemployed dry cleaners in Didcot and Devon, the estate agents in Christchurch and Cornwall, the factory-floor managers in Swindon and Staffordshire and building contractors in Brighton and Bedfordshire - people who won't vote Labour again if they can no longer pay their mortgages and don't appreciate being forced to watch flat-screen TVs all day.

    The Government's response has been to blame the immigrants who helped Britain for so long. Only this week Phil Woolas, the Immigration Minister, brought up Sangatte again. Yesterday, as the unemployment figures were released, Hazel Blears, the Secretary of State for Communities, suddenly announced a new migrant tax of £50 on overseas workers coming from outside the EU to pay for their public services.

    But the answer doesn't lie in supertaxing the migrants, cordoning off the white cliffs of Dover or forcing Ethiopians on to planes at gunpoint. Like drugs, immigrants will find a way into this country if the demand exists. They may be putting a strain on the NHS but many services wouldn't exist without them. In 2008, 14.7 per cent of health and social care workers were migrants.

    Attacking immigrants and talking about British jobs for British workers won't help anyone but the BNP. What is required now is the courage to push ahead with welfare reform despite the recession, and close the only gap that matters - between the active and the idle. Michael and Paul will find a job in the end, it's part of their DNA. Tackling the Chawners is the real challenge.
     
  2. Good post Slim. Next question we should all be asking is exactly when we privatised profit and socialised the losses.

    RM
     
  3. I think that article sums it all up very well, I couldn't find anything to argue against any of it.
     
  4. A superb piece, the above two paragraphs speak volumes. Immigrants do not steal our jobs, the idle British give them away.
     
  5. Well that was a fantastic article. :salute:
    But I'm afraid that is what the current generation is going to do, sit on their big fat arse and live off the social. Best thing to do is to say "here's a job in the cornfield for £25, 000 a year, do it or no benefit and fcuk your human rights snotty"!!! :x :x :x
     
  6. tiddlyoggy

    tiddlyoggy War Hero Book Reviewer

    Dont think many RR contributors will argue with the sentiments expressed here, I for one am in total agreement.
     
  7. The difference in attitude between the 60 year old Paul Bright
    and the Chawners family says it all.

    Jerry
     
  8. £25K for picking strawberries! Had she done a bit more research she'd have discovered that they pay less than than in parts of Kent.

    Most civil serpents earn less than £20K a year - perhaps the future of the civil service is employing ONLY immigrants or transferring their functions abroad?
     
  9. Indeed, isn't the average single earner income about £22k?

    Anyway, an unemployable underclass is nothing new, but it is interesting that the Times is taking the editorial position that separates out the immigration issue from the unemployable, although there is still no segmentation within the immigrant population.
     
  10. We have and always will have a section of the community who are unemployable. However many are in this category due to their anti social lifestyle or lack of education.
    The question which needs to be answered is:
    Should those falling into the above categories expect the rest of the country to support them and their future generations indefinitely?
    Or should the government require them to attend re-education, job training schemes or government work places or lose their benefits?
     
  11. I'd vote for the second option
     
  12. I think the answer to that was that in general what have become the privatised profits were socialised losses before they were privatised. I for one am old enough to remember just how good it wasn't under British Rail, Post Office Telephones, your Local Electricty Board, The Gas Board etc etc. No whilst they are socialised they will be losses.
     
  13. Nor me. Great article.
     
  14. Glad to see the truth is getting a mench for a change. It should be an easy fix, stop benefits after a certain time if slob hasn't got off fat arse and found a job. No more I'm too fat to work, a bit of physical labour would soon burn off that burger and chips belly and as for depressed, a little self esteem would go a long way to fixing that too. Plus services would surely improve.

    Will never happen though, far too many "it's not my fault it's everybody else is against me" types allowed today.
     
  15. Nothing new really except the extent to which it has spread.When I first went to London c1960 all the lower paid jobs on the underground and buses were done by Jamacians and us Paddys.Anyone prepared to work in the UK could always get a job and not just at the lower levels.Same when I worked around the Midlands in the 70's. I worked with some top class folks from many countries and jobs were easy to find
     
  16. The reason many of the "Jobseekers" give for not taking a job that is offered is that "I will lose all my benefits".Tells you all you need to know really.Trouble is many of those on benefits are incapable of earning enough after tax and N.I. etc to match what they get handed for watching the TV all week.People in real hardship should be supported I have no argument with that,but the system if played(as millions have discovered) can keep you very comfortably so why go out to find a job.
     
  17. For years I have been stating that total benefits should never be more than 37 hours at the minimum wage.

    At present many are on such high benefits that they would have to be stupid to go and find work.
    So is it their fault that benefits are so high?
    No blame the gvernment for putting them in that situation. :twisted: :evil:
     
  18. Good article.

    As someone pointed out though, the £25k for fruit picking is a major exaggeration. More like £5.70ph, or £4.00ph with free accomm on the farm. As an immigrant here in the UK, I've got friends who've done it.
     
  19. Agree a wonderful post.

    As for the above sitting on their big fat arse, I don't blame them, why work when a stupid government will give you money for nothing.

    The services 'has' to take some of the blame for not checking her out before they started paying her.
    The genuine needy get turned down and have to make appeal after appeal before they are given benefits.

    Lets blame it all on Gordon Brown again - the buck stops at the top.
     

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