Thursday, 2 February 2012

Heating, eating, drinking, smoking and breeding

I was about to blog this extraordinary story from BBC News, but I see James Delingpole has beaten me to it:
this glorious piece of unintentional comedy from the BBC News website is too good to miss. (H/T Nicholas Jones)

It analyses what BBC reporter Julian Joyce seems to believe is the heartrending plight of a family in Wales struggling to get by on benefits.

Apparently – claims unemployed father-of-seven Raymond ("not his real name" – love that detail!) – if the Government manages to enact its heartless scheme to impose a £26,000 per annum cap on welfare benefits, then it could be a "choice between heating or eating."

Unfortunately, all sympathy for this family evaporates when Joyce goes into more detail about their budget. We learn, for example, that their weekly shopping bill includes "24 cans of lager, 200 cigarettes and a large pouch of tobacco." They also spend £32 a week on mobiles and £5 on their Sky TV subscription. But all this is now threatened by the heartless fascist Coalition government: why, if it gets its evil way, then this family's £30,284.80 annual benefit package will shrink by £82.40 a week!

The BBC article has a handy clickable graphic explaining the family's weekly income and spending.

Ray on entertainment:

'I go out once a week, on a Friday night. I meet up with my mates in the pub and have three or four pints.'

That's three or four pints courtesy of you and me, on top of the 24 cans of lager we buy him as part of his weekly shop.

Ray on communication:
'My wife and I have mobile phones, and so do all of the teenage children. You try telling teenagers they're going to have to do without their mobiles and there'll be hell to pay.'
Presumably Ray's teenagers share his sense of entitlement and aversion to work.

Ray on the weekly shop:
'Our biggest expense. We do all our shopping at Tesco or Morrisons in one big go. Mostly we buy the "value" range - tinned meatballs, baked beans etc. On the cigarettes, my wife tried to give up, but she missed one appointment on the course and they threw her off it.'
Poor woman.

Ray on library books and playing in the park:

'We get the Sky Movies package because we're stuck in the house all week - otherwise we wouldn't have any entertainment.'

It rains a lot in Wales, but usually not so much that people are "stuck in the house all week".

So far the article has attracted 1258 comments, which are worth skimming.

Delingpole concludes:

The whole piece is such a textbook case study of a) why Britain is completely screwed and b) the prevailing BBC-fomented left-liberal cultural assumptions which explain why we got into this mess and why it's going to be so hard to get out of it that you almost wonder whether Julian Joyce is in fact not a right wing plant parachuted into the BBC by the Conservative party's black ops department.

It's worth reading some of the 600 plus comments below to realise just how badly this sob-story jars with the national mood. Or at least the national mood among that part of the country which actually works for its living.

"They do not own a car or take a regular annual holiday"? I should ruddy well hope not if we're footing the bill.

"The market for my skills dried up 10 years ago"? Then retrain, you workshy sod.

"Father-of-seven?" Meanwhile in the private sector, hardworking couples think long and hard before having another child, recognising as they do that kids cost enormous amounts of money which they – as respectable people with a work ethic – fully expect to have to pay out of their own income, rather than as the feckless underclass do by spongeing off the state.


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