New Blog – Hug a Hoodie

Posted: 15 August 2011, in Blog

Now that the chatterati have had their say on the UK underclass, here is my tuppence worth. My second blog for the coalition was entitled NEDS: Execute or Rehabilitate – well worth a read and available on this website.

A Marxist (Frantz Fanon) analysis of the underclass (no one likes to call them the lumpenproletariat anymore) recognises that this class is characterised by ignorance and desperation. I agree and think that if I was a young member of this class I’d probably see it as logical to behave and believe the way they do.

After all, TB is a war criminal, investment bankers are enriched beyond the dreams of Croesus and these contemptibles are lauded and protected by our society. So (I imagine their thinking goes) who cares about a few windows, some consumer goods and the wider collateral damage of some ruined lives, businesses and communities in what is our very unequal society? It is to the eternal shame of the Labour Party that inequality got worse during their reign.

Watching SKY news (yes I know Rupert is another one), my grumpiness factor became very evident and I succumbed momentarily, to the notion that we should brutalise the looters into submission – this attack of lunacy soon passed. My excuse is I’m getting old and cranky.

So what to do? Let’s turn to Bill Clinton. His aphorism; “It’s the economy stupid” demonstrates that he understands politics better than most politicians and that work and a job are the basis of any solution to this problem.

My (part) solution is not to ask for more resources for useless training and job creation programmes that under the Tories would achieve very little and only enrich their chums. Instead, I suggest that if every small business in the UK (SMEs account for 99.9% of all UK businesses) was freed from much of the anti-employment legislation, bureaucracy and government initiatives of the last 20 odd years then we’d be on the road to success. Tax breaks to stimulate youth employment would also help. If every sole trader, social enterprise and charity in the land employed one young person each we would have a real chance of building a more equal, successful and contented society.

I take the view that most people are basically good in their intentions. The solution we need is based on trusting more entrepreneurs to do the right thing – without unnecessary State interference. Of course there would be problems and some crooks, business people and some employees would abuse their position. That is life I’m afraid to say but the law would be our protection. The State ought to be vigilant in looking for these abuses rather than whether or not someone has filled out a risk assessment before using a ladder or stopping local people from sweeping up after a riot!

If opportunities existed elsewhere in local labour markets, folk could vote with their feet and communities (remember them) could learn to ostracise bad employers and bad businesses. Feckless employees would be reintroduced to the disciplines of the labour market in order to change their attitudes and employers would not be punished by the State for this. Welfarism would be redesigned to make people do something constructive for benefits or opt to work for a salary. I’m old enough to recall left wing folk agreeing about the fulfilling and liberating nature of work yet we have created a welfare system that is an alienating disempowering barrier to this.

The defenders of the status quo would hate my ideas with a passion. Imagine telling the unions, the nanny-state, the lawyers, the media monkeys (Thanks Mr Romanov), the “elf and safety” gurus and the think tanks of the liberal-centre left that entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship was required to make us more competitive, profitable and to secure the future of our young people. Nah, their response is to demand more of what we know does not work. They are incapable of learning from the past, they don’t trust or understand markets and their addiction to public sector solutions blinds them to the realities of the global economy.

So let’s avoid using terms like scum, feral youth, and “respect” for a wee while. After all our society actually laughs at and is entertained by the Rab C Nesbitts, Vicky Pollards and Martin Bairds of this world – until they upset us or cost us too much money. Then we despise them.

I’ll sign off with the wisdom of Charles Darwin “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin”


NOTE: This blog does not necessarily reflect the views of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition or endorse any political position.