Fraser Nelson

The dangers of state dependency

The dangers of state dependency
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A powerful Panorama was shown tonight about the Broken Society (as the BBC didn’t call it). It was about how if communities get together they can reclaim control of the streets. What the documentary didn’t look at was the roots of these problems: why do kids wander around like this? What has caused communities to disintegrate in this way? Answer – mass joblessness/ welfare dependency.

I looked up the data (Excel) for two areas in the programme: East End Park in Leeds and Bulwell Hall in Nottingham. In both areas, a staggering 28% of adults are on welfare (but just 5% on jobseekers allowance). This was called a “Great Depression” when it happened in America. And this depression – with its accompanying social breakdown – is happening in hundreds of communities across our supposedly booming Britain today.  So the horizontal ties which once bound communities together are replaced with vertical ties between the individual and the state. Things fall apart. This is the menace of socialism.

The Panorama looked at the idea of “social capital”; that residents should bully councillors and police to get rid of the louts. And so they should. But tackling the scandal of mass joblessness in booming, immigrant-absorbing Britain will require root and branch reform of the welfare system that is now incubating the poverty it was designed to eradicate.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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