Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Guardian's Daily Dose of Bollocks Continues...

Polly’s article today turns her guns on the book "Compassionate Conservatism: What Is It and Why Do We Need It?". As usual she hates anything to do with David Cameron as he's threatening her cosy love nest with Gordon Brown. Today she blathers on making her usual amount of sense.

"Compassionate Conservatism sounds uncannily familiar ”This oxymoron "compassionate Conservative" turns out to be true-blue "shrink-the-state" Tory” "

Whereas this ‘Guardiamoron’ doesn’t want that. Personally Guttersnipe is over the moon that they plan to shrink the state. Just like the ‘Dave the Chameleon’ adverts this reinforces the message that grassroots Tories want to hear, Dave is actually a Tory. ‘Conservative to the core’ I believe his words were and a good thing too.

“Norman [Author of the book] dates the beginning of society's downfall at precisely the point when the left would celebrate the foundation of the good society: Lloyd George's radical 1911 budget and the welfare state.”

Actually Polly wasn’t the welfare state set up after the Second World War as a thank you to all those who gave such a sacrifice? I can send you recordings of Bevan’s speeches if you like. The state intervened to give quality of life to those who could not support themselves after the war, not to support those people who won’t help themselves.

Lloyd George’s crowning achievement was of course that he was the last person to sell peerages and honours. Now that’s solid Labour ground… stick with it.

“Like all Cameron's people, he harks back to the pre-welfare state, particularly to the friendly societies (though they came from the left).“

So just because the idea came from the left Cameron should abandon it? Despite it being a leftist idea, the Friendly Socieies encouraged saving, encouraged investment and encouraged responsibility for your own future. Frankly if you have spent your life working you have earned money which can be put aside for when you are not working. Since when was my retirement the responsibility of the tax payer or my employer?

“Strange factoids pretend there was "a huge advance in voluntary provision for sickness and old age by means of these working-class societies. By 1938, 20 million working people were registered members" - but then the state "inserted itself".
It is hard to know if this fanciful social history is sincerely believed or not. Most of these friendly societies offered weak help because participants were too poor to pay much in. Most people didn't belong to one at all. “


20 million people seems to be a decent sized proportion of the working classes I would think. The middle and upper classes had other means of investment to take care of themselves. Friendly Societies offer tax breaks now to further encourage saving.

“Many of these "20 million" members were only paying a penny a week towards their funerals. “

In 1911 the average wage was 28 shillings a week (£1.40) for miners in South Wales, a fairly good stereotype of the working classes.

Now let’s compare that with minimum wage increases to £5.35 per hour in October, taken with a 40 hour week gives a pre tax wage of £214.

152 times the equivalent wage in 1911. If people were paying in ‘only a penny a week’ to their funeral plans then that’s the equivalent of £1.52 a week now, or to put it another way – the cost of a Friendly Society Life Assurance Plan, and you even get a carriage clock and no medical. So why is this leftist idea a bad one Polly?

“If Cameron means to roll back the state, there are only two ways. He can create enormous mutuals or private insurers for people to pay into while cutting their tax bills (though who pays for those that can't?). “

That’s where the state does intervene Polly, we might be capitalists but we’re not slave traders. The state can intervene as mentioned above to support those who cannot support themselves, currently it is supporting those who will not help themselves and strangling the people who want to take responsibility for their own lives.

Social mobility, ambition and responsibility create strong societies. State dependence creates slave states. Get this through your head will you?

“Or he can do what Conservative governments do: just keep cutting what the state spends.”

Yes.. exactly. As I’ve blogged recently the state has spent money on ‘naked civil service sex orgies’ and ‘overpaying tax credits’. Surely we can cut this out. Or alternatively if you’re so concerned about the poor you could donate some of your £140,000 salary which you cling to and claim to earn.

“So who is going to stand up and say that government is a force for good?”

Errr…. You?

“Who will say the blindingly obvious”

Errr…. The Tories?

“Markets can only thrive with strong government regulation. The happiest, most socially just and economically successful are those that embrace big government: the Nordics. “

Ah.....a land of trolls, crisp meadows, insurance based health services and no minimum wage. Now you’re extolling the very things you claim to support. If it’s such a magical land of paradise why don’t you live there?

-They won’t pay you £140,000?
-They don’t want someone who opposes everything they’ve set up?
-They just think you’re a blind leftist tosser?
-Or all of the above?

2 comments:

The Remittance Man said...

Snipe,

I'm afraid I have to take issue with your assertion that miners, even Welsh ones, were paid the average wage. It's considered skilled work with the added disincentive of the danger and unpleasant working environment.

Even in the days of nasty Edwardian mine owners, miners were paid significantly higher wages than the average. Whereas the minimum wage is for burger flippers in MacDonalds.

A quick Google suggests that the average poor law hand out in 1911 was around 7s per week. If we allow that this was lower than the average wage of even the street sweepers and dunnikin divers may I suggest that 10s per week would be a better starting point?

This would raise the freindly society subs to the equivalent of 4.28 quid in modern terms (unless I've got the maths wrong).

Sorry to be picky and all, but I have to defend my own profession.

RM - a mining engineer

Ranting Guttersnipe said...

Point taken RM,

That then means that the poor were paying the equivalent of 3 times my estimate, Polly still remains wrong and I can remain happy.

Be picky... pedantry is what fisking Polly is all about.