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Tony Grist

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Think Before You Speak [Jul. 17th, 2013|10:37 am]
Tony Grist
Ailz has quit Facebook because she was tired to getting into spats with feather-bedded young people who think the poor would stop being poor if only the State treated them harshly enough. Take away their child benefit and- hey presto- no more children living in poverty- that sort of thing. Is it just my neighbourhood or are today's young people a lot more right-wing than we were?

It so happens I ran across a quote from Marx this morning. Boiled down to its essentials it was saying that the morality that obtains in any society is the morality that serves the interests of the ruling class. So, for example, it isn't theft to enclose common land but it is theft to poach a rabbit or a deer from the land-encloser. It makes you want to spit, doesn't it? Or at least it does if you sit down and think about it.  Only people don't think. They just swim around in the murk gulping down the intellectual fish food that drifts down from above by way of the Mail, the Telegraph and the BBC.

I seem to have Dickens on the mind at the moment but it strikes me that if only the feather-bedded young people would read him (he's easier than Marx) they might stop believing it was so cool to be cruel.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: glitzfrau
2013-07-17 10:07 am (UTC)
I read a massively, massively depressing recent Graun article about conservatism among British young people. Basically, today's young people grew up post-Thatcher, with precious little support from the welfare state and are looking at a bleak future without guaranteed pensions, affordable higher education, secure housing or reliable healthcare; they have no reason to believe that the welfare state is in any way on their side. Instead, they buy the Tory line that the poor are their enemy, making things 'unfair' for the rest of us 'hardworking' people.

On the other hand, there's Occupy and plenty of leftie idealism among today's young (I know, I teach them). But the sour poor-hating attitudes seem to dominate.

Sigh. I don't blame Ailz.

Edited at 2013-07-17 10:18 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-07-17 10:20 am (UTC)
Most of the youngsters Ailz has been debating with are relatives or sort of relatives of ours. It's dispiriting. They weren't raised to swallow the Tory party line but they have done.
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From: cmcmck
2013-07-17 10:48 am (UTC)
I was raised in a working class household where there was little money (two grandads invalided out of the pit and a bootneck father often absent fighting nasty little post colonial wars.

I may have made good in life via education and would probably now be described as middle class and moderately wealthy, but I haven't forgotten where I come from.

The privileged rarely see beyond that privilege and as you say, that's mighty depressing.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-07-17 01:57 pm (UTC)
I had a middle-class upbringing- public school- the works. And then I took myself off to Manchester. Now, because of how things fall out, I find myself back in my parents house living the life I put behind me 40 years ago- and it's weird.
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[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2013-07-17 10:55 am (UTC)
I've been despairing over this lately. All the gains that were made at such huge cost in the 20th century being wiped out & so many young people growing up with all sense of social conscience removed.

Not all young people though - my niece who works in the NHS gives me some hope for the future.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-07-17 02:00 pm (UTC)
I don't think the present order of things is going to last much longer. We lurch from financial crisis to financial crisis and sooner or later the whole culture of bankers and neo-conservatives is going to go over the cliff. It won't be pretty, but maybe what comes afterwards will be better.
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From: artkouros
2013-07-17 11:52 am (UTC)
Y'all just need to put your poor in prisons, like we do.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-07-17 02:01 pm (UTC)
First we'd have to build the prisons. The old ones are full to bursting.
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[User Picture]From: dadi
2013-07-17 01:15 pm (UTC)
I am generally noticing a lot of extreme views among the Young.. either the right-wing attitude you describe, or feeling entitled to practically everything from the state, without having to work for it, ever. Sometimes even the two of them together.. here in Germany, there are a lot of young people who are 3rd generation social security aspirants who freely express their wonder why anybody would actually want to work hard, if one can live like their parents and grandparents, on the dole - but also spit hate and venom against "foreigners who come and take away our jobs". Very few in between these, alas.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-07-17 02:04 pm (UTC)
Unhappy times. I think we're heading towards crisis. Our culture is just too corrupt and inefficient and rackety to last much longer.

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre,
The falcon cannot hear the falconer.
Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold..."

And so on.
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[User Picture]From: ingenious76
2013-07-17 04:30 pm (UTC)
I've never quite worked out how taking benefits away from the poor stops them being poor.

Perhaps someone could explain it.

From what I observe, it just pushes them to desperation. And then things get worse.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-07-17 05:34 pm (UTC)
Exactly.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-07-17 08:47 pm (UTC)
I like it.
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[User Picture]From: davesmusictank
2013-07-17 07:59 pm (UTC)
I totally agree with most of the comments here. This bunch of Tories have no idea what it is like for the poor and even those who are working and yetfind it a real struggle with keeping their families fed and warm.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-07-17 08:49 pm (UTC)
No, they don't. How can they? Most of them were born into money- and few of them show any signs of imagination.
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[User Picture]From: Michael John Grist
2013-07-17 10:45 pm (UTC)
Feather-bedded young people is an interesting expression. I guess I would tend to fall into that camp, though I don't know if it's because I'm spoiled/under-read or not. To me it seems an issue of fairness, and the right/wrong way to live.

From what I understand, the benefit cap is 500 a week, which can add up to 26,000 a year. Unless I'm misunderstanding, that seems like a hefty amount still. People who work full time earn less than that. I don't see how its unreasonable to aim to make any job pay more than benefits.

What's the argument against it? How much do you think should people be able to get in benefits?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-07-18 06:56 pm (UTC)
I'm not really talking figures. And I'm not against the benefit cap as such. What I'm talking about is a culture in which the unemployed and those on benefits are demonized by government and in which people pick up on government rhetoric about scroungers and the workshy- as percolated through the right-wing press- and tweet it mindlessly.

I wouldn't say you were feather-bedded. You've always worked for your living- and you never got much in financial backing from your dear old dad.
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2013-07-20 08:42 am (UTC)
I notice this a lot too. Being middle class of course Mummy and Daddy provide everything and they don't seem to recognise the irony...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-07-27 05:51 pm (UTC)
I'm middle class and I was feather-bedded through school and university. It makes life a whole easier if you never have to worry about money.

As the Americans say, you've got to recognize your privilege
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