Monday, November 26, 2012
The Crews missile
A British father, retired nuclear submarine captain Nick Crews, has recently got a lot of publicity by sending his three children a critical email, somehow made public. You can read it here.
Two of his children have become what American sociologists call "skidders", people who have dropped down into a lower social class ("station in life", to use the British euphemism) than their parents -- and the third is unhappily living in France, married to a French dentist.
The father is greatly disappointed by all that and finally let his feelings be known in the email. He gave his children the very considerable advantage (in Britain) of a private school education and feels that they have squandered their opportunities in life.
Responses to his email have been very mixed, with people both approving and disapproving of it. But what I want to point out is that there is an extent to which the email is not personal. It is an intergenerational email and marks a large transition in British values over recent decades. The views of Capt. Crews RN are probably still the dominant values in Britain but not by a big margin. Younger Brits are notably more libertine and morally unanchored. The old British values of duty, hard work, patience and self-restraint are fading.
I suppose I stand somewhere in the middle on all that. I have been married four times so am no exemplar of the old values. Yet I put in a lot of effort in my earlier years that has seen me comfortably situated economically and also given me cordial personal relationships generally. And that includes relationships with my son and three stepchildren. And my stepson, with whom I get on exceptionally well, is actually a bankrupt!
So were the children of Capt. Crews RN my children I would certainly be disappointed that they were living unflourishing lives but would not be at all critical of their financial or social situations. I would offer what advice I could but would draw the line -- as he has -- at becoming a listening ear for a torrent of whining. "Making something of oneself" does not really figure in my scale of values. There are many paths to a happy life.
More than 150,000 parasites forced off the British welfare teat
More than 150,000 jobless people have been stripped of benefits after refusing to accept help to get back into work.
One in ten long-term unemployed on the Government’s flagship back-to-work programme opted to go without benefit rather than accept help to get them a job.
And thousands more voluntarily stop claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance as soon as they are referred to the Work Programme.
Reports last night claimed that results to be published this week would reveal that fewer than one in 20 on the scheme had so far found a permanent job.
Welfare critics will hail this as proof that many benefit claimants are ‘dole cheats’ who are secretly working on the side.
But there are also suspicions the figures may have been released to distract from the Work Programme’s wider performance.
The Work Programme, launched in June 2011 with a £5 billion budget, pays private firms and voluntary bodies to retrain the long-term unemployed for the jobs market.
Those who refuse to participate can have their unemployment benefit docked for three months in the first instance and six months for a second refusal. Anyone who refuses three times in the same 12 months can lose benefits for up to three years.
Last night, the Department for Work and Pensions revealed that up to April this year, 73,260 of these sanctions had been handed out – accounting for roughly one in ten potential participants. By September, the figure was on course to rise beyond 150,000. The Mail on Sunday understands that sanctions are now running at about 15,000 a month.
Last night, Employment Minister Mark Hoban said: ‘Sadly, some people are clearly very determined to avoid getting a job at all.
'But we are very clear – sitting at home on benefits is not an option for those who are fit and capable of work.
'Through the Work Programme, we are offering the hardest-to-help claimants extensive support in order for them to take control of their lives and return to work. ‘They need to do their bit to find a job but we’ll be there to help them.’
But in an interview yesterday, Mr Hoban admitted that returning people to work was ‘proving difficult’ and called on the firms running the programme to ‘get their act together’.
Earlier this month, Labour welfare spokesman Liam Byrne claimed that referrals to the scheme were plunging as Jobcentre staff lost faith in it. He said: ‘The Government’s back-to-work schemes are descending into a chaotic mess.’
'I need more staff but they'd rather live off benefits': Bakery boss blasts claimants - and the system that rewards idleness
When orders for their award-winning pies took off, a family bakery business urgently tried to recruit more staff.
They offered decent pay rates and a permanent job. The only skills boss Roger Topping asked for were ‘common sense and a work ethic’.
But what followed has left Mr Topping ‘frustrated, bewildered and shocked’ and more convinced than ever that reforms to the benefits system can’t come soon enough.
For it soon became clear that the recruits who turned up at the Topping Pie Company in Doncaster weren’t interested in a job.
Ministers plan to bring in a Universal Credit payment to simplify the benefits system to ensure those who take a job don’t lose out financially.
Last night Mr Topping criticised the way the current system rewards the workshy. ‘They don’t want to work and more to the point they don’t have to work,’ he said. One young man lasted just two minutes into his first shift before he walked out.
The company gave another 22-year-old, who had been to prison, the chance to turn his life around. But after two weeks doing a packing job, he stopped coming in and decided ‘he couldn’t cope with working’.
Another applicant was a middle-aged man who put on his CV that he had just served a long prison term for aggravated burglary, was a member of the BNP and suffered from a bad back.
‘I assume he put all that down to make sure he didn’t get a job,’ said Mr Topping, 64. The pie company has seen its order book almost double in value since the spring. Their freshly-made pies are sold in supermarkets across the country, as well as Selfridges, Fenwicks and numerous upmarket delis and farm shops.
Yet despite a recruitment drive, their 34-strong permanent workforce is slightly down on what is was six months ago.
The only way the company has been able to fulfil its orders is by overworked staff doing even more hours than before.
Management want to hire ten workers in the bakery and packing departments, but it is proving an almost impossible task. The unemployed of Doncaster – of which there are officially 18,100 – don’t seem up for the job.
Mr Topping, whose father started the company as a butcher’s in 1960, said: ‘I don’t think this is a local problem, it’s a national problem. We all know the system is wrong.
‘It would appear to be too easy not to have to go to work to earn a living and to pay the bills. How are they paying their bills?
‘From an employer’s situation it’s extremely frustrating. The work ethic is sadly lacking.’ Mr Topping said he used local agencies to hire staff, who are given a pay rise and taken on permanently if all goes well after a short trial period.
‘I don’t care what background they come from I just want good, honest hard-workers,’ he said.
‘We are a family business and our staff are not just numbers, they are people. If the company is successful, they keep a job and we all prosper.’
However, Wendy McMahon, the supervisor who sifted through dozens of CVs, said usually the raw recruits complain after a few days about having to do proper work hours. ‘They always seem keen and committed to the job and then we start getting excuses. All they need is to be willing to learn and do a hard day’s work.
‘We tell them they have a future here and can move up the ladder, they just don’t seem interested.’
It’s not the first time the business has faced recruitment problems. Mr Topping took on six Poles several years ago because vacancies were left empty and has been delighted with their work ethic. ‘The problem seems to be with the long-term unemployed,’ he said.
Investigation launched into why couple's foster children were taken from them 'after they joined Ukip'
A council that broke up a foster family because the parents were members of the UK Independence Party (Ukip) was strongly criticised by the Education Secretary today for its 'indefensible' decision.
Education Secretary Michael Gove said social workers at the council had made 'the wrong decision in the wrong way for the wrong reasons' and that he would be personally investigating and exploring steps to 'deal with' the situation.
The married couple claimed they had their foster children taken away from them for joining the political party by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.
By the council's own admission the youngsters were happy and there was no question mark over the foster parents' provision of care.
The council has also launched an investigation into why the three youngsters were removed.
Mr Gove, who heads the Government department responsible for children's services and who was himself adopted as a child, accused Rotherham of sending out a 'dreadful signal'.
'Rotherham council have made the wrong decision in the wrong way for the wrong reasons,' he said. 'Rotherham's reasons for denying this family the chance to foster are indefensible.
'The ideology behind their decision is actively harmful to children. We should not allow considerations of ethnic or cultural background to prevent children being placed with loving and stable families. We need more parents to foster, and many more to adopt.
'Any council which decides that supporting a mainstream UK political party disbars an individual from looking after children in care is sending a dreadful signal that will only decrease the number of loving homes available to children in need. 'I will be investigating just how this decision came to be made and what steps we need to take to deal with this situation.'
Roger Stone, leader of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, today said 'We are going to investigate to make sure everything has been done professionally. If the professionals give advice, we take it.
'We are going to investigate - we always would if somebody complains. We are looking to make sure all the correct procedures were carried out before the decision was made. There is no policy, as has been implied, that if you are a British National Party member you can't foster children.'
Social workers told the couple, who were caring for three children from ethnic minorities, that the party had ‘racist’ policies and that their membership of it made them unsuitable carers.
The foster parents, who have been caring for children for nearly seven years and had been described as ‘exemplary’, said they were left feeling ‘stigmatised and slandered’.
The case has provoked outrage from across the political spectrum with Labour leader Ed Miliband saying: 'Being a member of Ukip should not be a bar to adopting or fostering children. 'We need an urgent investigation by Rotherham Council into the circumstances of this case.
'I don't know all the facts of this case but I am clear, what matters is children in Rotherham and elsewhere, and being a member of a political party like Ukip should not be a bar to fostering children. 'We need to find out the facts and the council urgently needs to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.
'The couple concerned are making extremely serious claims, very disturbing claims.
'Right-thinking people across the country will think there are thousands of children who need to be looked after, who need fostering, we shouldn't have the situation where membership of a party like Ukip excludes you from doing that.
'We need loving homes for children across the country. That can come in different forms, it's not about what political party you are a member of.'
The couple are worried they will be stopped from fostering again because of their membership of the UK Independence Party, which campaigns for Britain to leave the EU.
Around a dozen children have been cared for by the couple, who do not want to be named.
The three latest children, a baby girl, boy and an older girl from a troubled family, came to them in September on an emergency placement. But just eight weeks later, two staff from the Labour-run Rotherham council – the nearest to their village home in South Yorkshire – arrived and announced the local safeguarding children team had been told they were Ukip members in an anonymous tip.
The wife told the Daily Telegraph: ‘I was dumbfounded. Then my question to both of them was, “What has Ukip got to do with having the children removed?”
‘Then one of them said, “Well, Ukip have got racist policies”. The implication was that we were racist.
'[The social worker] said Ukip does not like European people and wants them all out of the country to be returned to their own countries.
‘I’m sat there and I’m thinking, “What the hell is going off here?” because I wouldn’t have joined Ukip if they thought that. I’ve got mixed race in my family.’
She claimed the social worker said: ‘We would not have placed these children with you had we known you were members of Ukip because it wouldn’t have been the right cultural match.’
The children were all removed by the end of the week, leaving the couple ‘bereft’. The wife said that the children had been loved like they were the couple's own. The wife said: ‘We felt like we were criminals. From having a little baby in my arms, suddenly there was an empty cot.’
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, 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. Email me (John Ray) here.