There was a programme last week with John Prescott looking into class structure and whether it still exists in Britain. It made strange viewing. For someone who is so adamant about how bad class is he did a fine job of supporting the structure. A politician earning large amounts of money, with a lovely house and two Jags (he does have two now) and yet he still claims to be working class. Doesn't just claim it, is vehement about it. He fails to recognise, or refuses, that there is more mobility now, and that this is not a bad thing.
Even Prescott was confounded though when he was taken to meet a family living on benefits. They had 9 children but neither parent worked. Yet they could still by named gear for their children such as Nike. Prescott was asking the man of the family what he did? On the dole. But did he have a job when he left school? Yes he worked as a builder. How come he didn't still do that, the building industry had been doing well for years? Yes well he didn't like having to answer to other people, didn't like having a boss. So he wanted to have his own business? Yes but you need money for that. What about window cleaning? Oh yes I did that for a bit for a cleaning firm but wanted to be my own boss. So why didn't you set up yourself? You need money. What for? Ladders and the like. So, let me point out what I said a few lines up, they bought Nike clothing for their kids, and yet couldn't afford a ladder! The problem with the benefit system isn't that we help people, as a society we have a duty to look after each other, but we make it too easy for some people to kop out. It's self fulfilling. After you have been getting on quite comfortably on benefit why bother going back to work.
A seperate interview with a politician on the radio this week. He recounted a story about 18 years ago how a young pregnant girl had come to him asking for help. She thought that as the MP for the area he could get her a house. He did. Fast forward 18 years and a young pregnant girl comes in and asks for help getting a house. She tells him that she has come to him becuase he did so well in finding a house for her mother. What goes around comes around. We have to teach people responsibility. Saving them at the time isn't enough because then they will never break out of the mould. We have a duty to educate and to push people forward. And that duty is not served by giving people houses and money.