A letter to The Guardian posted at Samizdata
Dear Ms Featherstone
I think the people who should truly say sorry for such events are the opinion leaders of the Guardian. Please allow me to explain.
Last week I visited (as a doctor) a family in a council estate. The mother was concerned about her 12 year old son. She was very pleased that her older son was now on incapacity and would therefore do well for himself in terms of money. There is nothing wrong with this older boy that makes him incapacitated, but that is another story. She also had a 14 year old daughter, who while I was there, constantly argued with her mother demanding money for cigarettes. The three children had three different fathers, all absent. The kids, while I could see were still children, gleamed with malignant insolence. I can see them turning into damaged adults. I feel sorry for the trap they are in – the trap created directly by the welfare state whereby the family, and all those in the neighbourhood, see welfare as a lifestyle option. They live in squalor but have more wealth than most people I knew in India; they certainly have more material comforts than I ever had growing up in Delhi.
The Guardian describes such families as poor. The Labour party wants to throw money at the family. The Guardian readers blame Margaret Thatcher for this state of affairs, smug in their modern pieties, their intellectual laziness, and their stupidity masquerading as sanctimonious concern. I used to work with slum children in Delhi; they had very little, but even the most physically disabled amongst them made an effort.
There is no hope for Britian. Civilisations don't die, they commit suicide. And before they commit suicide, they read and believe the Guardian.
I truly and deeply feel sorry for all the children who are the victims of the welfare state. Things are much, much worse for the slum children in India, I saw more dignity among them and certainly greater hope.
I am not sure if you will understand this message. I am too tired to explain further. Either you will get or you wont. Either way, it will make no difference to anything.