Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Unconscionable Cruelty of Polly T

Almost twenty years ago I pitched up in London, found a bedsit and took a job as a minicab driver. Knowing I would otherwise be on my own, one of the controllers invited me for Christmas dinner.

He lived on the fourteenth floor of one of three tower blocks that backed onto wasteground in Camberwell. The lifts were broken so I walked up the stairs, stepping round pools of urine, looking carefully for the small piles of human excrement that lurked in shadows beneath shattered light fittings. I knocked at his door, and it opened into a room of lights, decorations, children laughing by a Christmas tree, and the smell of roasting turkey.

A couple of years later I used to visit someone who lived in a lower-rise block on the fringes of Brixton. The car park was always full of playing children, even during school hours. I drove a very old ex-gas board long wheel base Land Rover at the time and somehow it developed that I'd leave it unlocked and let the children play in it while I was upstairs.

I think it was the little mother who started it, a girl of perhaps eight who always seemed to have her youngest, snot-nosed sibling on her hip while she bawled at her five year old brother to stop whatever he might be doing at the time. She was a friendly child with a beautiful smile. One day she confided in me as though she were telling me about a rare feast that her Mum had let her have a burger with her chips that evening. Normally, it was just chips, from a shop a couple of hundred yards away.

I only ever saw her mother from a distance. When she wanted the children to come in, because she wanted to go out with her latest boyfriend, she would come to the balcony and shout down,

"If you don't get up here right now, I'll come down and kick your cunt in!"

After a few weeks, there would be a dozen or more children playing in the Land Rover. The oldest and most senior taking it in turns to pretend to drive, younger ones camping in the covered back. The more adventurous would climb up the sides and over the roof. One day, as I came down the stairs, I was met by a delegation. Someone had broken an indicator light cover while scaling the south face of the vehicle. The culprit was there, shamefaced, in the middle, with half a dozen concerned friends along for moral support. These were good kids.

Then I started driving them all, very slowly, round the car park. There'd be kids on the roof, on the bonnet, holding on to the sides, in the back and on the bench seat in the front. The rule was, I had to be able to see them all at all times - a leg or arm at least had to be visible in one of the mirrors. They policed this rule assiduously, as I drove at walking pace, yelling at each other to make sure they were visible.

One of the mothers came out to see what it was all about, a shy young Irish woman, and she rode in the front with her son on her lap, chatting with the other children as we crawled around the hardstanding.

There was poverty there all right, but it wasn't financial. The children were poor - they would all have counted in child poverty statistics, but some were properly fed and some weren't. Some were loved, and some weren't. Some of them would be getting jobs in a few years' time. The little mother would become a real mother. But with others, the passage of puberty would see a setting of the eyes into a flinty middle-distance stare, and they'd start burgling, mugging, dealing or go on the game.

What makes the difference? One thing is for sure: it isn't money. All these people were on much the same incomes, the devoted Irish mother and the one who would kick her daughter's cunt in if she was slow to come upstairs, the cab controller and the people who shat in the stairwell of his block of flats.

Milton Friedman died a few days ago. He once said:

A society that puts equality - in the sense of equality of outcome - ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality or freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom. On the other hand, a society that puts freedom first will, as a happy by-product, end up with both greater freedom and greater equality. Freedom means diversity but also mobility. It preserves the opportunity for today's less well off to become tomorrow's rich, and in the process, enables almost everyone, from top to bottom, to enjoy a richer and fuller life.
At Harry's Place, someone called Norman the carpet commented:
Well its nice to get some good news for a change. An appalling person who pedaled (sic) a dreadful ideology.
Like many Libertarian bloggers, I actually know what it is like to be broke. I have lived in high rises like the ones described above. I have gone hungry. Travelling in the Yukon twenty five years ago, after a lumber strike had closed down half the seasonal industries, I went three days without food - though my dog didn't - before I found work doing odd jobs in a motel. I treated my own frostbite, because I couldn't afford to see a doctor.

One thing, and one thing only, keeps people trapped in the kind of poverty of mind where they don't feed their children properly even when they could, and shit in their own stairwells. It's a lack of ownership; a lack of self-reliance. It's a lack of the very concept of self-reliance. It's an idea that the mere thought that they should be self-reliant is immoral, evil, callous and cruel. And though this idea is gibbered out by halfwits like Norman the carpet, it actually derives from Polly Toynbee.

Not just Toynbee, of course, but she has made a particular fetish of "social exclusion". And she claims that
...growing inequality multiplies all these problems
No, it doesn't. What multiplies them is continued state intervention in and control over these people's lives. They shit in stairwells because they don't own the stairwells and they don't feel responsible for keeping them clean. The same people will complain that the council are slow to disinfect them, before they shit in them again.

I don't know this because I've held focus groups; I know it because I've lived there and seen it. I have seen someone whose father sent him to school from a tower block in Walworth with the carving knife to stab a boy who was bullying him (which he did) buy a house and take his kids on holidays through sheer hard work, and I've seen middle-class lefties spend decades on the dole.

Telling people who are institutionalised into dependency that it's all the fault of unequal income distribution, that they are victims and that their salvation lies in more government money is hideously cruel, for all the fatuous false moral posturing of Toynbee and her carpet-brained acolytes. The only things that achieves are a deepening of the sanctimonious self-satisfaction in which Toynbee and her entourage wallow, and a broadening of the base of the state on which they depend and through which they thrive.

The answer lies not in the redistribution of wealth, but in the creation of wealth, by the poorest, for the poorest - for themselves. For that to happen, the state needs to get out of the way, not just by intervening less with "help", but also by hindering less with regulations and taxes. Taking money from the poorest, then giving it back to them in housing subsidies, tax credits and income supplements is grotesque - it wastes their few precious resources (unless tax collectors start working for free) and it institutionalises the recipients who could have just been left alone in the first place.

Constant regulation and "quality improvements" simply mean cutting off the bottom rungs of the ladder; instead, the focus should be on removing barriers to work and self-employment.

But then there'd be nothing for Polly and her friends to do, and nothing to give them that glow of self-righteousness that comes from stooping down from on high to hold the little hands of the poor. And that's the really unforgivable aspect of this: the sense that the unconscionable cruelty of keeping these people trapped is motivated in part by the self-interest of the advocates of statism.


Jampat said...

This entirely sums up why I whole heartedly believe in libertarian principles and the reasons why the statist policies of the current government will never work.

Thank you for being more elequent that I ever could.

Guardian apostate said...

I agree, great post. I enjoyed reading it.

Serf said...

Thanks for that. I too know what it is like to have nothing but aspirations. I would hate to have lost that as well.

Polly and her ilk like to feed low aspirations, largely because of the poverty of their own intellects. Either that or they are truly evil.

Dirty Dingus said...

Exactly. Like I ranted at my blog yesterday POlly and co want to keep us all, especially the ppor, in a state of being children.

mkpdavies said...

So true, you have nailed it with that article.

I just hope one day people will start waking up to this fact. With the LibLabCon party, all dancing to the solidarity tune of the EU it looks like a distant dream at the moment.

Johnathan Pearce said...

I wonder if that character "Norman the Carpet" knows that Friedman championed causes such as abolishing military conscription, decriminalising drugs, opposed censorship and was an opponent of much of Bush's Big Government brand of conservatism?

Of course he doesn't. Friedman, in the eyes of morons like this person, is a fascist cartoon character. The fact that Friedman has, by his magnificent efforts, done more to better the life of millions than most twats like Polly Toynbee would never cross this person's mind (not a long journey).

I dislike ad hominem arguments and I do know leftists who are nice, friendly and even quite intelligent. In the main though, most statists are plain malevolent. It's that simple.

Praguetory said...


Chuck Unsworth said...

Splendid. A message of hope and decent criticism of superficial comment. Well done.

dmatr said...

Brilliant post.

Roger Thornhill said...

Spot on.

Polly needs to read the mantra "Lead, follow, or get out the way". Her's seems to be "Blame, patronise, or interfere"!

The Tin Drummer said...

Unbelievably good post. Should be a manifesto for a better world, not a half-heard cry against the evil of those too pleased with themselves to listen.

Blognor Regis said...

Brilliant post. Thanks.

Martin said...

I followed a link here that described this article as "worth reading", which I have to say is debateable at best and rambling unfocused nonsense at worst.

Peter - the nodding dogs who are dimly posting "Great Article" in response have fallen into the same trap as you in attaching the name of Polly Toynbee to all imagined leftist crimes against humanity. Bizarrely, you do so by linking to an article that flits from topic to topic yet the only quote you provide - about inequality - marks her out as a Cruella De Ville figure, yet doesn't say exactly how.

Anyway, the crux of my beef is this: I consider myself a Libertarian, but I don't consider that libertarianism should be summed up by the attitude "I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps, so fuck anyone else who can't". Especially when talking about children whose parents deliberately limit their world view to that of being pregnant at fifteen and a part-time job at Tesco's (because any thing else is "above their station")

The true libertarian spirit can only flourish when individuals get to see what opportunities are available if they want them. Ensuring that children get the opportunity to merely see what is possible in life is not incompatible with libertarianism. If it is, then shame on you for giving those children a ride on your Land Rover, you do-gooder.

Laban said...

In other words, people get out of poverty the way our grandparents did.

Education, family, self-reliance, community - things any Victorian socialist would relate to.

Thank God PT wasn't around 150 years ago.

(and no, community and self-reliance aren't contradictory. Look at all the Victorian friendly societies and workmen's associations)

Yurk said...


Virtually all people are born with the native resources pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, of course. Our ancestors and theirs evolved into modern humans in what is now Kenya, where they had to compete with lions for protein. Getting a job really isn't all that tough, you sniveling useless candy-ass parasite.

That having been established, maybe you can explain how the shit in the stairwell helps people "see what is possible in life". "See what is possible in life"? What the fuck does that even mean? My guess is that it means you want to take my money and give it to people who shit in their stairwells, so you can feel good about "helping those less fortunate". Goddamn idiot...

Peter Risdon said...

Martin said...

I followed a link here that described this article as "worth reading", which I have to say is debateable at best and rambling unfocused nonsense at worst.
[I assume you mean the article, rather than the words "worth reading". Basic syntax errors, grandstanding, overblown rhetoric... it's the hard left! What took you so long?]

Peter - the nodding dogs who are dimly posting "Great Article" in response have fallen into the same trap as you in attaching the name of Polly Toynbee to all imagined leftist crimes against humanity.
[I'm misting up... A straw man too! Apart from the capitalist running dogs and I doing nothing of the kind, you're right in every capacity. This piece was focussed on one problem, not every leftist crime.]

Bizarrely, you do so [no, I don't] by linking to an article that flits from topic to topic [eh?] yet the only quote you provide - about inequality - marks her out as a Cruella De Ville figure, yet doesn't say exactly how. [Perhaps because that's not what it's doing. Cruella De Ville is your contribution to this debate, not mine. In fact, I'm criticising Polly for dogmatically wanting to help too much, however much damage it does, to enhance her own status, position and self-righteousness.]

Anyway, the crux of my beef is this: I consider myself a Libertarian, but I don't consider that libertarianism should be summed up by the attitude "I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps, so fuck anyone else who can't". [Er... Who is saying this?] Especially when talking about children whose parents deliberately limit their world view to that of being pregnant at fifteen and a part-time job at Tesco's (because any thing else is "above their station")[This is fantasy. Nobody limits their children's chances to stop them getting ideas above their station.]

The true libertarian spirit can only flourish when individuals get to see what opportunities are available if they want them. Ensuring that children get the opportunity to merely see what is possible in life is not incompatible with libertarianism. [Let me guess - this has to be done by big government? That's what I call libertarian.]
If it is, then shame on you for giving those children a ride on your Land Rover, you do-gooder.[I'm all for private individuals helping each other. In fact, I'm in favour of a safety net welfare state, but not welfare as a lifestyle choice. And I still think the people who advocate this have one eye on the mirror, in which they see reflected the image of a saint.]

Martin said...

I am an idiot. Whenever people write about how people can best lift themselves out of poverty by their own effort, I read it as 'fuck everyone who can't do so', I have such an shockingly bad inability to read what others write it's untrue. Please help me.

Anonymous said...

The common denominator that is seldom considered in these attempts to rectify poverty is IQ.

Charles Murray studied siblings in a middle class environment [i.e. not poor]. He writes,

"Each pair consists of one sibling with an IQ in the normal range of 90-110, a range that includes 50% of the population. I will call this group the normals. The second sibling in each pair had an IQ either higher than 110, putting him in the top quartile of intelligence (the brights) or lower than 90, putting him in the bottom quartile (the dulls). These constraints produced a sample of 710 pairs. How much difference did IQ make? Earned income is a good place to begin. In 1993, when we took our most recent look at them, members of the sample were aged 28-36. That year, the bright siblings earned almost double the average of the dull: £22,400 compared to £11,800. The normals were in the middle, averaging £16,800. “[IQ Will Put You In Your Place, Charles Murray, Sunday Times, UK, Day 25, 1997]

The differences among the siblings go far beyond income. Marriage and children offer the most vivid example. Similar proportions of siblings married, whether normal, bright or dull - but the divorce rate was markedly higher among the dull than among the normal or bright, even after taking length of marriage into account. Demographers will find it gloomily interesting that the average age at which women had their first birth was almost four years younger for the dull siblings than for the bright ones, while the number of children born to dull women averaged 1.9, half a child more than for either the normal or the bright. Most striking of all were the different illegitimacy rates. Of all the first-born children of the normals, 21% were born out of wedlock , about a third lower than the figure for the United States as a whole, presumably reflecting the advantaged backgrounds from which the sibling sample was drawn. Their bright siblings were much lower still, with less than 10% of their babies born illegitimate. Meanwhile, 45% of the first-born of the dull siblings were born outside of marriage.

Desmond Jones

Martin said...


Thanks for responding to my post. The response has helped clear some things up.

It appears that you are American or at least have breathed too deeply of its fumes - the wild accusations unfounded in reality are a bit of a giveaway. Describing me as "hard left" with nothing to go on than a few paragraphs in a blog was very amusing – my political philosophy is similar to that of Harold Macmillan (look him up), and I suspect that describing SuperMac as "hard left" would provide equal amusement to anyone else aware of a world outside their own territorial waters.

Anyway, I digress. The prime response you made to my post was "This is fantasy. Nobody limits their children's chances to stop them getting ideas above their station". And as far as Britain goes, this statement is utter horseshit. I can’t speak for anywhere else, but since your post was primarily about Britain and it linked to a British writer talking about British issues, the frame of the debate has been set. So I'm afraid that dribbling fools like Yurt and fakeMartin (ho ho ho! What a jolly wheeze!) will have to sit on the sidelines for this one.

For generations there has been a variety of social forces to keep people in the place they were born. It goes from the upper classes (who sneer at arrivistes like Michael Heseltine for buying their furniture rather than inheriting it) right down to the sink estates of Peckham, where wanting to do well at school and keep your nose clean can get you stabbed to death in a stairwell (Google for "Damilola Taylor"). It's all part of the environment that leads some working class parents to actively discourage their children from experiencing the opportunities that they themselves didn't take and to do better for themselves (I am descended from such a family, which I’m afraid knocks your three-days-without-food poverty tourism story into a cocked hat). If you seriously think that no-one in Britain deliberately limits their children's chances in life, you couldn't have been paying that much attention when you visited Camberwell and Brixton all those years ago.

Back to Polly Toynbee. Hopefully she makes a bit more sense now (although admittedly it's not easy at times). You never explained what makes up her "unconscionable cruelty", and I'm still bewildered as to why attacking the inequality of opportunity is some kind of mortal sin.

Because that is what is being talked about here - opportunity. No-one is talking about meal tickets for life paid for by someone else's taxes - the issue here is giving a little bit of help at a crucial time in life to children in deprived and sometimes oppressive circumstances through no fault of their own. It’s about ultimately providing the “mobility” part of the Friedman quote you originally posted.

Earlier this evening Tony Blair gave a speech about his plans for education that hit upon the same topic. I'll have to paraphrase because it's not online yet, but the gist of it was about establishing a basis where schoolchildren can have an equality of choice - if they chose not to take certain opportunities, then it was up to them but he wanted to see that all children get an equal chance to CHOOSE a path. And in this instance I agree with him - Blair is, after all, merely a One Nation Tory cuckoo in the Labour Party nest.

Milton Friedman talked about "freedom to choose", and the emphasis is typically on the word "Freedom". But there isn't much freedom if your choices are restricted. An important part of freedom to choose is knowing what choices you have. The idea that it is somehow kinder to let a four year-old be browbeaten (or even beaten) by a parent into angry illiterate isolation than it is to offer assistance is utterly ludicrous, and is merely an abdication of any kind of moral responsibility as a member of the human race. And acknowledging that assistance is fine but making value judgements about who administers it is merely philosophical sleight-of-hand by misanthropic misers.

My sense of libertarianism isn't the ivory tower version; it's much more pragmatic. I don't soil my pants in horror at the mention of the "S" word – I am prepared to accept that the state can perform some activities better than the market. Truth be told, a lot of capital "L" Libertarians secretly accept it too - after all, how many modern-day Libertarians have you seen in prison for a principled non-payment of taxes?

So in summary, I liked your anecdotes on London and I recognised a lot of what you said. But it’s a shame that you only scratched the surface and never got to see how some individual’s mobility can be restricted in Britain before they even get to school. It’s also a shame that it was merely a long-winded lead into an axe-grinding session about Toynbee et al and their imagined foibles to an anticipated pliant and unquestioning blogosphere. Oddly enough, Toynbee is being viewed as a political influence by the Conservative Party (to the horror of some) and whilst I certainly don’t like some of her answers I do appreciate the questions she asks. I finally feel that a One Nation Tory like myself may once again be able to politically return home following the decades of the ivory-tower dogma offered by von Hayek, which taken to its extremes (as we find today) is a philosophical dead end foisted by hypocrites. I just hope that there’s room for those of us on the “hard left” (as you’d foolishly put it).

Peter Risdon said...

Martin, we all have restrictions on our choices. Everybody has limited mobility. To see these unavoidable realities as problems and wheel in the state to try to level the playing field does cause some problems.

Whatever our circumstances, we need to feel a sense of ownership of our futures and our circumstances; these need to be real, people aren't stupid. The state adds some destructive choices - sit on welfare for ever, orientate yourself around working the system instead of being free of it, refuse to take responsibility for your own circumstances.

These effects are destructive, as Frank Field and others on the left have noted. The libertarian response is to see the state intervene less both in terms of "assistance" and also in terms of adding barriers to work. There should be less (not none) of the former, and none of the latter.

To fail to realise this and to fail to tackle the issues raised is to collaborate in the misery trap some people live in. There's nothing morally or intellectually acceptable about that. To preen yourself because this is the approach you take is idiotic.

Your contempt for the blogosphere speaks volumes, especially when you are unable to argue directly with the points raised in my post. You also have an unusual idea of what constitutes Toryism of any flavour; in its tone and content, your views are more in line with those of the hard left.

Unless you post a comment that is on topic, I'll refrain from further comment.

Caveat said...

Excellent piece. I'm Canadian but I see strong parallels here with the British experience. My daughter lives in Glasgow near the social housing area and it is not at all dissimilar to what we have here in our cities.

Like you, I have enjoyed my share of hardship, hunger and even despair but due to determination luck and the right mindset I now find myself living better than most of my friends.

The problem with socialist intervention on the scale we see here is that it has created an underclass of people who feel disenfranchised (they don't even vote in elections according to research), who have the belief that they must depend on the faceless nanny state for their bread and bed. They won't take the plunge, their sense of self-worth has been destroyed because they have been led to believe that they can't succeed on their own.

I always thought of myself as 'broke', not 'poor' when I was struggling to survive. It makes a great difference to your outlook because it speaks to hope, not dependency. It also means you'll take any job you can find.

We have people here who have been 'on the dole' as you would say, for generations - and most of them are native Canadians, not immigrants as popularly supposed.

My personal view is that the socialist meddlers are driven by self-interest, not altruism. Poverty has become an industry here in Ontario - social workers, food bank operators, tenants' advocates and all the rest would be out of work if their espoused goal of elminating poverty were ever attained. You don't kill the goose...

There is no hypocrite like the busybody who feels qualified to decide what's best for someone else. This is not the same as lending a helping hand in a time of need.

Obviously, there are those who are unable to fend for themselves to an even minimal degree; however, they are a minority within the dependent minority created by social engineers who revere conformity above all else.

Equality does not mean sameness, something the extreme socialists fail to grasp.

Larry Teabag said...

This is a thoughtful piece and deserves better discussion than a simplistic dichotomy between liberarian and statist - there is a whole spectrum of opinion here.

You say "I'm in favour of a safety net welfare state, but not welfare as a lifestyle choice" - and who could disagree with that? Only someone who is at one or other extreme end of the spectrum and therefore probably not worth talking to.

But you see *the moment* you introduce a safety net, you get the problem of benefits leading to benefit-dependency. So the problems you see in Toynbee's world would also be present (though reduced) under your own philosophy. You'd set the net lower, and of course the lower you set it the smaller the risk of the welfare-trap. But the flipside to that is that the lower you set it, the greater will be the suffering of those who fail to bootstrap themselves back into the money and remain in poverty, whether through idleness, stupidity, bad luck, or whatever. Laban Tall's Victorian utopia was also the home of the work-house, the debtor's prison, and starving children.

So there's a balance to be struck - Toynbee represents one end of the scale, and you the other, and both have their failings. A decent dialogue about where the right compromise lies is what's needed, not a mud-slinging match between the two extremes.

Peter Risdon said...

And that's a thoughtful comment, Larry - thanks very much. You're absolutely right about the need to strike a balance between the safety net - which at its most extreme would just be keeping people alive - and welfare as a lifestyle choice.

But there's another kind of balance needed and it's missing, so the post was intended to advocate a rebalancing of the morality in this debate. Laban is absolutely right to draw attention to the merits of Victorian socialism. I'm right, I believe, to draw attention to the merits of the libertarian approach and the fact that it is drawn from compassion for and an understanding of those in poverty.

It's also true to say that the proponents of statism have self-interest among their motives, as well as a very immoral desire for power and control.

So I'm trying to rebalance that morality argument as well.

Martin said...


It's unfortunate that you've still got yourself stuck in the mental beartrap of believing that I am "hard left" merely because I disagree with you.

I'm pretty sure it's because you are subconsciously implementing a revisionist political history. You may think I have an unusual idea of what constitutes Toryism, but Macmillan knew the score - after al, it was he who defined socialism as "paternalistic Toryism". And for our international readers, I put it that Frankin D. Roosevelt knew the score when referring to the "freedom from want" in the Four Freedoms speech to Congress (where he also advocated more unemployment insurance and pension coverage).

Peter - can you seriously tell me that FDR is a member of the "hard left"?

Anyway, you've mentioned that somehow I haven't addressed the points that you made in your original post. Let me give you a summary:

You write an post called "The Unconscionable Cruelty of Polly Toynbee", because she dares to support a government policy that addresses high-risk families; a policy that intends to limit parental harm of children and the harm those children could inflict on others.

The bizarre thing here is that in this instance Ms. Toynbee is a lot closer to the spirit of J.S. Mill than you are when he said "The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." and all I am wanting to do is to call you on this.

And you haven't given a satisfactory answer yet.

Anonymous said...

SuperMac was a traitor to our nation (c.f. Suez), responsible for the deaths of literally millions of Africans (the policy of decolonisation), an adherent of economic policies that everyone in the mainstream now accpets are deomonstrably false (that is to say Keynesianism), an ignorant snob and basically an all round piece of s**t.

Anyone who would actually volunteer their admiration for the man and his sickening politics (I'd take New Labour over his acolytes whp now run the Tory party any day btw) can be safely ignored, especially if they are so deranged as to simultaneously call themselves a libertarian.

Elliott said...

Thank you for this post ... poetry.

I was moved by your reminiscences and could not agree more fully with your points - that people aren't stupid, that there's more to the world's problems than money, that the poor can look after themselves and build a civilised and happy life just as well as the rich. Toynbee and others of her ilk just don't get it. She might have done her Marie Antoinette bit and roughed it on the minimum wage for a while, but will never understand that by far the best thing you can do to help people is (as you say and as you quote Milton Friedman saying before you) to let them get on with making their own decisions. By entrusting them with the kind of responsibility for their own lives that people like Pol take for granted in her own.

In fact, there is an excellent account of a society which used to function in this way (it's called early twentieth-century Britain) by James Bartholomew - a book called The Welfare State We're In. You've probably read it, but if not, get a copy. (Amazingly enough there's a review of it by Friedman on Amazon!) I know a fair bit of history and took it as far as university, but had no inkling that what came before Attlee and his lieutenants was so superior to what they replaced it with. To give one example: BUPA. It's now a symbol of private profiteering in medicine for the idiot Left, but the British United Provident Association was typical of grass roots community support organisations established by ordinary working people to provde for themselves and each other. And who does a better job of looking after ordinary people's interests? Men and women themselves? Or big government by priviliged Toynbeeites who hold them in intellectual contempt?

So thank you for your superb post. Perhaps - just perhaps - some people who really care and know about this stuff (Frank Field for instance) might one day get a chance to do something about it.

roGER said...

Best post ever - poor people like being poor and those who don't but who remain poor are just lazy!

Remove all state benefits and the NHS and lets return to Victorian values!

As for libertarianism - if only all countries could be like the wonderful government free paradise that is Somalia! I do hope many the people who commentate here are planning to move there soon where they can inhale the warm intoxicating (alas lead filled) air of total freedom!

Peter Risdon said...

Impressive comment, roGER. In a few short sentences, you show you didn't understand anything you've read, not even a little bit - not the post, nor the comments - and for good measure you showed you don't understand what libertarianism is either.

Impressive, as I said.