Monday, December 13, 2010
After 13 years of Labour party rule, public mood in Britain shifts right as most voters back Thatcherite values
Public opinion has swung dramatically to the right with most voters now backing welfare cuts and a smaller state. Sympathy for benefit claimants has halved in the past 20 years and barely one in three adults supports shifting income from the rich to the poor.
Veteran Tory Lord Tebbit said that after 13 years of Labour rule the country was falling back into line with the Thatcherite values of hard work and lower taxes.
Analysis of the British Social Attitudes Survey shows:
* There is growing distrust of institutions such as the police, the BBC and banks;
* Contempt for politicians and the government is at an all-time high, with record numbers not trusting anything they say;
* Support for an English parliament is on the rise among voters resentful of high levels of public spending in Scotland;
* No support for redistributing income but widening concern over the pay gaps between bosses and workers;
* Britons are in denial about their age, with many rejecting the suggestion they are middle-aged or older.
The survey, partly funded by the Government, found that only 27 per cent want more to be spent on benefits. In 1991 the figure was 58 per cent.
Penny Young, chief executive of the National Centre for Social Research, which carried out the survey, said: ‘It is 20 years since Margaret Thatcher left office, but public opinion is far closer now to many of her core beliefs than it was then. Our findings show that attitudes have hardened over the last two decades, and are more in favour of cutting benefits and against taxing the better-off disproportionately.’
But while the country is in tune with the Coalition’s plans to shake up the welfare state, ministers could find it more difficult to get support for reforming health and education. Satisfaction with the Health Service was at an all-time high and has doubled since 1997 to 64 per cent. Mr Cameron promised to ring-fence health spending at the election but plans for wider reform could prove contentious.
And Education Secretary Michael Gove may struggle to press ahead with plans to emphasise traditional subjects in schools after the survey found 73 per cent want schools to teach children life skills. Only half of the 3,421 people interviewed said schools equipped children well for the real world.
Miss Young said: ‘Perhaps the biggest problem for the Government is how to lead the British public away from recession and implement reform when trust in politicians, government and banks is at an all-time low. ‘It will need to convince a sceptical electorate that it is working with their best interests at heart. ‘Emphasising the fairness of any cuts while protecting the tangible outcomes of increased spending will be crucial. ‘The public may want the Government to spend less but they don’t want to lose the gains of record investment.’
Lord Tebbit, who served under Margaret Thatcher, told the Mail: ‘Thatcher values were in line with human emotions and they are values which have been assaulted during 13 years of a Labour government.
‘Her values were that you should not choose idleness over working, that work should pay and that people should keep a larger proportion of what they earn, particularly those on lower incomes. They are all common-sense values.’
Every year, the National Centre for Social Research carries out in-depth interviews with more than 3,000 people in their homes. Since 1983, more than 80,000 have been asked for their views on British life.
Suicide bomber lived in Britain: Islamic fanatic in Stockholm car blast was radicalised while studying in Luton
An Islamic fundamentalist was radicalised in Britain before carrying out a suicide bombing on a busy street in Sweden. Iraqi-born Taimour Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly, 28, blew up his car, then himself, in the capital Stockholm. He had spent much of the last decade in Luton – long known as a hotbed of terrorism – where he studied for a degree and continued living there with his wife and children.
The Iraqi-born bomber first set his car on fire and then walked 200 metres before the explosives, believed to be in a backpack strapped to his body, detonated.
Just minutes before, he had sent out an email to the police and a news agency warning of deadly reprisals for having Swedish soldiers in Afghanistan.
He was the registered owner of the car that blew up and was believed to have worked on the street corner on which he died, carrying a sign advertising a local fish-and-chip restaurant..
The Bedfordshire town has a Muslim population of 20,000 and has been linked with a string of high-profile extremists. Last year Muslim protesters disrupted a homecoming march of soldiers returning from Afghanistan. Police were investigating Abdulwahab’s British connections last night. Neighbours in Luton suggested that his wife, who herself has fundamentalist views, and their children are still living there.
The involvement of a student from a British university in yet another terrorist incident will raise fresh questions about admissions to UK universities, and the radicalisation of Muslim students when studying in this country.
It is less than a year ago that a worldwide alert was sparked when former University College London student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian, was arrested on suspicion of trying to blow up an aeroplane with explosives hidden in his underpants.
The latest bomber moved to Sweden with his family from Iraq when he was 11. He came to Britain in 2001 to study sports therapy at the University of Luton, now the University of Bedfordshire. He moved back to Sweden more recently and is believed to have separated from his wife, but they have not divorced.
His Facebook page features an Islamic flag being raised over a world in flames. On the page, he says he is a member of the group Islamic Caliphate State, which seeks to establish Islamic rule worldwide and adds: ‘I’m a Muslim and I’m proud’. On another website he is said to have pictured Tower Bridge engulfed by an inferno.
British couple banned from hanging fairy lights for 'health and safety'
British bureaucrats get a kick out of hurting or obstructing people. It makes them feel powerful
A retired couple have been banned from decorating the top floor of their tower block with festive fairy lights because of health and safety fears.
For the last 10 years, Ian and Linda Cameron have lit up the top floor of their tower block with a sparkling display of festive lights, enjoyed by thousands of people who can see them from miles around. But this year the council told them to take them down because they are too dangerous.
The couple live on the 19th floor of Brighton's second highest clocks of council flats, right in the city centre, and for many, the switching on of their lights is the unofficial start to the Christmas season.
Last summer tenants in the block were ordered to remove their doormats from internal corridors because they were considered a fire risk.
Mrs Cameron, 53, said: "Now they are picking on our fairy lights. A woman from the housing office called me at home and told me to take them down immediately. "I was quite upset because she talked to me like I was some kind of criminal. We only put them on when we are at home and turn them off at bedtime. "I asked why and she simply said: 'Health and Safety.' "Have they got nothing better to worry about?"
A Brighton and Hove Council spokesman said: "There is no suggestion that this action is 'suddenly' necessary. In fact, we are responding to a complaint from a member of the public and were not previously aware these lights were being suspended so high above the ground. Far from being 'health and safety gone mad', this is common sense. "Where electric lights are being hung more than 100 feet high, we have a duty to ensure they are not a danger to passers-by."
Mr Cameron, 63, said: "People can see our lights right across the city. I've looped them along the balcony, which stretches half way round the top floor, every year since we moved in a decade ago and nobody has ever said anything before.
"If they haven't noticed them before they can't be that much of a problem. They are proper outdoor lights, secured with cable ties to our solid metal balcony. They're not going anywhere. The very worst that could happen is they could knock out my indoor trip switch. "I understand the need to protect the public but this is way over the top."
The council has now offered a compromise of sending an electrician to check the lights but ordered the couple to take down the lights until they have a certificate saying they are safe.
Mr Cameron said: "At first they said we had to pay for our own safety checks. Now they have agreed to do it but I don't know when. I haven't been given a date and I can't imagine it is a priority at this time of year. "But I don't see why taxpayers should foot the bill to check some fairy lights. Other private blocks of flats have got them up. "Everyone in the block is getting a petition together. They are fed up with health and safety madness."
Debbie Williams, chairwoman of the block's tenants' association, said: "We have told them to leave them up and switch them on. "There are chunks of concrete dropping from the building where it has frozen and cracked and we have two-foot icicles hanging from the balconies above which the council does nothing about. "But we can't have doormats or twinkly lights because they're too dangerous. It's ridiculous."
Moral or Immoral Government
Walter E. Williams
Immorality in government lies at the heart of our nation's problems. Deficits, debt and runaway government are merely symptoms. What's moral and immoral conduct can be complicated, but needlessly so. I keep things simple and you tell me where I go wrong.
My initial assumption is that we each own ourselves. I am my private property and you are yours. If we accept the notion that people own themselves, then it's easy to discover what forms of conduct are moral and immoral. Immoral acts are those that violate self-ownership. Murder, rape, assault and slavery are immoral because those acts violate private property. So is theft, broadly defined as taking the rightful property of one person and giving it to another.
If it is your belief that people do not belong to themselves, they are in whole or in part the property of the U.S. Congress, or people are owned by God, who has placed the U.S. Congress in charge of managing them, then all of my observations are simply nonsense.
Let's look at some congressional actions in light of self-ownership. Do farmers and businessmen have a right to congressional handouts? Does a person have a right to congressional handouts for housing, food and medical care?
First, let's ask: Where does Congress get handout money? One thing for sure, it's not from the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus nor is it congressmen reaching into their own pockets. The only way for Congress to give one American one dollar is to first, through the tax code, take that dollar from some other American. It must forcibly use one American to serve another American. Forcibly using one person to serve another is one way to describe slavery. As such, it violates self-ownership.
Government immorality isn't restricted only to forcing one person to serve another. Some regulations such as forcing motorists to wear seatbelts violate self-ownership. If one owns himself, he has the right to take chances with his own life. Some people argue that if you're not wearing a seatbelt, have an accident and become a vegetable, you'll become a burden on society. That's not a problem of liberty and self-ownership. It's a problem of socialism where through the tax code one person is forcibly used to care for another.
These examples are among thousands of government actions that violate the principles of self-ownership. Some might argue that Congress forcing us to help one another and forcing us to take care of ourselves are good ideas. But my question to you is: When congressmen and presidents take their oaths of office, is that oath to uphold and defend good ideas or the U.S. Constitution?
When the principles of self-ownership are taken into account, two-thirds to three-quarters of what Congress does violate those principles to one degree or another as well as the Constitution to which they've sworn to uphold and defend. In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 to assist some French refugees, James Madison, the father of our Constitution, stood on the floor of the House to object, saying, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." Did James Madison miss something in the Constitution?
You might answer, "He forgot the general welfare clause." No, he had that covered, saying, "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one."
If we accept the value of self-ownership, it is clear that most of what Congress does is clearly immoral. If this is bothersome, there are two ways around my argument. The first is to deny the implications of self-ownership. The second is to ask, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi did when asked about the constitutionality of Obamacare, "Are you serious? Are you serious?"
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.