How the Mail misrepresented cancer survivor as ‘scrounger’


by Guest    
10:15 am - February 20th 2013

      Share on Tumblr

by Steve Rose

Heather Frost is the latest victim of the Daily Mail’s agenda against benefit claimants with large families.

But many of the key claims don’t stand up and I have unpicked them here.

This new house is taxpayer funded
We’d probably be even happier – and perhaps a little humbled – if it was being specifically built for us and paid for by the taxpayer.

Not true. The council are not responsible for any new building work. Tewkesbury council sold a plot of land in Northway Lane to Severn Vale Housing at an estimated price of £210,000. This information is only revealed in the 20th paragraph.

Severn Vale Housing offer social housing in the area and will most likely foot the bill for the cost of the build. In their contract, they will build up to 12 more properties for those on low incomes. As stated in their proposal the project is not for the benefit of the Frost family exclusively.

The proposals also include a 6 bedroom family home and a four-bedroom bungalow at the request of Tewkesbury Borough Housing Officers as these will help meet the identified housing needs of large families and families with disabled members respectively.

Quoting the Tax Payers’ Alliance weakens your argument

Their campaign manager, Robert Oxley, stated: “It’s scandalous that so much time and money is being spent on one custom built mansion. Many people can’t afford to buy their own home, but have to opt for what their budget allows.”

Are they aware this is a social housing project? There is no evidence to suggest the Frost’s will have ownership of the property. Any housing benefit they receive will go into the pockets of Severn Vale. It is a stretch to call this proposed property a mansion.

She has been let down by private and council renting

Ms Frost’s story is a symptom of chronic housing problems we face in many parts of the country. Shortages originally forced her into the private sector where she had seven children inside a two-bedroom property. Their current accommodation involves a three-bedroom house with a knocked in front door that joins with another house.

A temporary solution became permanent as Ms Frost states: “It was meant to be for four months but we’ve been here for five years now.” You could argue it would be hard for the council to re-house large families but the conditions dictated its unsuitability from the outset. They must pay for two sets of electricity and gas bills. All of the new properties are built to be energy efficient to save money for low-income tenants.

She must be a scrounger

Ms Frost is presently unemployed. However, the media make no effort to explain her individual circumstances but play up the scrounger characture by quoting anonymous neighbours and the dilapidation of her property.

What we do know is she is a cancer survivor who is presently in remission. Her cervical cancer prevents her having any more children. Having a year of cancer treatment might explain why she has been unable to work. The use of ‘jobless’ in the headline already confirms the intended bias of the article that aims to divide the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor.


Steve Rose tweets from here and blogs here.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
This is a guest post.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Media ,News


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


She’s almost neighbours with Lord Rothermere, who manages to live here but remain resident overseas for tax purposes. He also owns the Daily Mail.

It was the mention of mansions that reminded me: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/1999/jun/13/theobserver.uknews2

The Metro version of the article I read yesterday basically implied it was good that she had been made infertile because of cancer because this would stop her breeding. Pretty vile stuff.

The Metro version of the article I read yesterday basically implied it was good that she had been made infertile because of cancer because this would stop her breeding. Pretty vile stuff.

It certainly sounds like she could do with a couple more kids!!!

Seriously,the OP gets into contortions about who is building the house and who gets the housing benefit etc but none of that is really relevant. The hook with such stories is that many get enraged at the apparent lack of personal responsibility shown by women who have large numbers of children they cannot provide for and who expect that the state will force others to pay tax to look after them.

And then they have yet more children and are given a bigger house- when many of the people working to provide for their children cannot afford one.

Can you see why they might get irritated?

4. Daniel Factor

The Daily Mail is scum scum scum!

The woman in question has stated that she would have had more children if she hadn’t had cervical cancer.

It may sound harsh for the Metro, Daily Mail and in fact the Gloucestershire media that broke the story to imply it is good that she can’t have more kids but I think most people would agree with the sentiment.

This woman has shown no personal responsibility in having such a large family – she is even quoted as having said she didn’t believe in abortion as it is a burden on the NHS!

Has she not heard of contraception?

The idea that people have too many kids is one that has been pushed by the green lobby too – not just the rightwing media.

TBF, if she’s got 11 kids and she’s 37 she won’t really have any chance to work.

Those who disagree with Heather Frost and her 11 children having this house, what is the alternative? Putting 11 children into an already stretched care system?

Perhaps pager, jon et al would be a lot happier if we had a system of compulsory abortions for people who weren’t able to produce viable business plans for bringing up children. It would after all be a lot kinder than making kids starve because their mothers enjoyed being mothers.

The big irony here is that large families were once the norm and are now the extreme, with birth rates falling susbtantially.

And the single biggest reason for this is precisely that we have a welfare state. Large families remain the norm in countries that do not have a welfare state for the obvious reason that people want kids to look after them in old age, and the more kids you have the more likely you are to have one of them become wealthy enough to do so.

Loving the Lord Rothermere quote. Is that true? Someone who makes a fortune in the UK and has a title to show how important he is to the nation, yet takes all the money abroad, then writes stories about people in need and manages to get thick people annoyed and deflect attention from his appalling behaviour.

“Those who disagree with Heather Frost and her 11 children having this house, what is the alternative? Putting 11 children into an already stretched care system?”

Exactly. This is the (biggest) problem with the right wing narrative here. It offers no solution. They can rant at people not to have children until ‘economically secure’ (as if anyone ever is, redundancy and serious illnesses can happen to anyone) all they like – but however loud the shouting, people with lots of children are sometimes going to end up on benefits. It’s not a solution. What exactly are they suggesting is the solution to this? All we get is repetitions that it’s outrageous and unfair to taxpayers. So what? Where’s your solution?

As far as I can see there are no solutions which are either humane or morally acceptable.

Imagine, a family with four kids loses employment (which as we all know doesn’t only happen to evil people). What happens when they apply for benefits? The state comes and takes kids away based on some rule of maximum numbers? Demands evidence of contraception? Sounds like East Germany to me.

Seems more likely they’d be allocated money as if they had two kids and the children have to be sent out to work/beg/steal to put food on the table, and sleep in the kitchen, while the right wingers shout “don’t look at us, blame the parents”. That sounds a bit 19th Century, and like it might have major disadvantages.

It’s not a problem for people like me who don’t think it’s that huge a problem in the first place, given these anomalous families take up only a tiny fraction of the total housing budget.

Plus this women is in the forefront combatting our ‘ageing population’ problem, which is apparently solved by immigration. Surely right wingers can’t have problems with both at the same time?

IsIt’s always priceless when the right wing can’t get it’s stories straight. The very same right wing commentators who whine about families having too many kids are usually the first to complain about the number of abortions.

It’s the great hypocrisy of conservatism. Economic Vs Morality. Just like Free trade Vs National sovereignty

During the Republican primary one of the debates was about health care. The questioner asked the candidates what should happen to those with serious illnesses who can’t afford health care insurance. A member of the overwhelming right wing audience shouted out ” in that case you die” This got tge biggest applause of the night. Which is ludicrous seeing as these same people regard themselves as pro life.

Tewkesbury is a conservative safe tory seat who’s MP used to talk endlessly about family values, Until he had an afair and ran off and set up home with his mistress. Yet the tory faithful, who talk endlessly about values still vote for him. Hypocrisy is a tory virtue.

“Surely right wingers can’t have problems with both at the same time”

Well as the right wing solution to the aging population problem involves privitising health and social care, then they would argue that the problem solves itself. Those who can pay for their old age will live, those who can’t won’t.

15. Chaise Guevara

I don’t disagree with her being given housing, but her own comments betray a breathtaking sense of entitlement (along the lines of “if I don’t like it they’ll just have to build me another one”). Hard to see how that could have been taken out of context, although I guess it could be wholly made up.

If you want a good laugh about people living off the state read these pieces about Tewkesbury very right wing tory MP

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Tory-MP-puts-wife-AND-lover-public-payr...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Tory-sex-god-socks-falls-blonde-riding-sch...

Here’s a taster of conservative right wing morality tewkesbury tory style…..

” The 47-year-old MP has separated from his wife Susan and taken up with 31-year-old Annie Adams, who has left her fiance. Mrs Robertson, a 50-year-old mother of two, has moved out of the couple’s £400,000 home and is “staying with a friend”. Her husband’s relationship with Miss Adams is the main topic of gossip in the village of Twyning, near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. The pair have been seen “canoodling” in the pub and “holding hands and smooching like teenagers behind the stables”. Mr Robertson, a devout Christian, gave fellow MPs an indication of what was to come soon after entering the Commons in 1997, when his socks were seen to bear the message “Sex God”. Three years ago his year-long affair with his blonde, married constituency secretary Claire Parker, 45, ended messily when he visited her home to call off the liaison and she took it badly. The MP for Tewkesbury made two frantic calls to the police claiming he was being assaulted, but when officers arrived he refused to bring charges.”

Just feel those God fearing tory values. Put your mistress on the state payroll.

@15 Yes, it’s probable that comment was made up. Frost was on one of the Breakfast shows this morning and said that she didn’t ask for this new house, it was offered to her.

Don’t forget the two grandchildren.
And, apparently, the horse!

Really this woman is the epitome of irresponsibility on any reasonable measure.

And of course the cost of the house is taxpayer funded; just indirectly.

19. Man on Clapham Omnibus

11. jungle

“Those who disagree with Heather Frost and her 11 children having this house, what is the alternative? Putting 11 children into an already stretched care system?”

Exactly. This is the (biggest) problem with the right wing narrative here. It offers no solution.

Is the idea of personal responsibility necesarily a right wing idea? Is it, for example, ok if someone fathers 30 kids and then takes no responsibility (financial or otherwise) for their upbringing. Maybe you could answer that one.

“TBF, if she’s got 11 kids and she’s 37 she won’t really have any chance to work.”

Bringing up kids isn’t work? Since when?

@18

So which of the following solutions would you prefer?

1. Enforced sterilization and/or abortions.
2. Putting the children into local authority care.
3. Forcing the entire family onto the streets.
4. Imprisoning the mother, children into care.
5. Forcing the family to pay their own way via e.g. crime or prostitution.

@21 Perhaps the horse could go?

Of course none of those “solutions”.

But the fact that society has to behave responsibly towards the kids (who themselves are unsurprisingly behaving irresponsibly btw given the existence of two grandchildren living in the same house) and that there is no obvious solution does not detract from the fact that she has behaved extremely irresponsibly.

Who can doubt it?

6. Pay Poundland to adopt surplus children.

24. Chaise Guevara

@ UKL

Ha!

@ Halloway

I have to admit that a quick search only turned up her most damaging quote in irresponsible newspapers.

26. Michael Rodgers

I like Sally.

@22 Of course, the horse is owned by Frost’s daughter, who is in work. But there’s no outrage to be whipped up there.

Isn’t it amazing how stories like this always seem to appear in the papers every time that Ian Duncan Smith finds himself in a spot of bother?

The right wing press have carefully selected details about Heather’s circumstances to paint her in the worst possible light. The house she could be moving to isn’t a mansion it is a six bedroom housing association property which will eventually be let out to another family when Heather no longer needs such a property. I thought all new houses were now meant to be eco-friendly so adding that detail to the story is fairly pointless.

I’m sure I read in one account that she had wanted to start her own business but having drawn up the business plans she was then diagnosed with cancer.

Whilst most people do try to ensure they are in a position to support children before starting a family however well you plan a serious illness is always likely to derail any plans.

Families as big as these are extremely rare so trying to use stories like these to shape the welfare system is a very silly way to carry on.

The Mirror said much the same, but if she wants sympathy she will find it between shit and syphillis

30. Sue not relying on you to bring up my kids Jones

Perhaps pager, jon et al would be a lot happier if we had a system of compulsory abortions for people who weren’t able to produce viable business plans for bringing up children. – NO NOT A BUSINESS PLAN – BUT A PLAN INVOLVING ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY MIGHT DO THE TRICK.

What gets me is that if the living arrangements for this family were different, no-one would bat an eyelid. Suppose this woman’s three grown-up children were living (with their own children, in at least one case) in their own housing-benefit-subsidised places. No story in that, is there? Yet suggest the family all live together in one six-bed house instead of four smaller places and suddenly the right-wingers are foaming at the mouth. This is what you wanted, isn’t it? When you talked about withdrawing housing benefit from under 25s, and said they should live with their parents, how exactly did you *think* that was going to work in cases where they have younger siblings or their own children? By your own logic, the taxpayer is getting a good deal here (relative to other options for housing the same people).

32. Chaise Guevara

@ 30 Sue

So, to be clear, you’re behind this compulsory abortions idea? I doubt you’ll sell it, somehow.

I think what the right-wingers are heading towards is:

A) Loads of homeless kids to kick and abuse.

B) A construction of a massive workhouse type prison where whole families are rounded up if they cannot afford to look after them, including if the family looses a job/gets ill etc. They’ll be branded a burden and all of the family must work in some capacity to repay their debt to the corporate-state. Not to mention under this model most people will be born owning debt, tax will be re-branded as lifetime debt repayment, the failure to pay it sends you off to the special debt prisons.

C) A cull of people deemed to be worthless to society. (Ironic because abortions are bad but once a person is born they are responsible for themselves.)

D) Enlighten me as I can’t think of any sane or non-brutal solution to the supposed problem.

A mother of 11 housed in a ‘mansion’? Spare us this modern morality tale

http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2013/02/20/a-mother-of-11-housed-in-a-mansion-spare-us-this-modern-morality-tale/

P.S. Where’s our other comment?

35. jo pritchard

Hang on a min…unless I missed the part about the woman never working or having any marketable skills she might have earning power of 100k and become sick???
Everyone likes to point and judge when no one knows what’s around the corner. Look out…Karma’s a Bitch :)

Whilst there are many factors in the MSM about the story which aren’t true or a bit twisted, the views put here that Heather Frost is totally blameless and totally entitled to have a home built for her are also a bit twisted.

She is not entitled to just any house. She is given a roof over her head so that she is not homeless. The property she was given is adequate for her needs, not perfect, but adequate. When you are on benefits, you should not get the best and latest and greatest, you should get just enough for your situation.

Oh, and Steve Rose, Heather Frost is a scrounger. She hasn’t worked for 18 years. Having so many kids means that she can’t have worked if at all. It doesn’t matter if she is in remission from cancer or not, many other people have worse cancer and don’t go around claiming they are entitled to fantastic brand new homes.

38. Chaise Guevara

@ PumpkinTree

Hey, it really doesn’t help the left when you use your paranoid fantasies to turn the right into monsters. Just saying. Nothing on your list is remotely likely to happen. It’s like right-wingers calling us Stalinist for supporting the NHS.

As a taxpayer I have no problem that my tax money goes to help people like this woman. I would rather her and her family were in a safe environment than on the streets. I also dont mind my hard earned tax helping thos
e who are disabled, unemployed and vunarable. It appears that compassion is in short supply in this country.

“Don’t forget the two grandchildren.
And, apparently, the horse!

Really this woman is the epitome of irresponsibility on any reasonable measure ”
Huruff, Huruff
Bloody irresponsible working class, they breed like rabbits.
Put them down the mines or up chimneys

“As a taxpayer I have no problem that my tax money goes to help people like this woman. I would rather her and her family were in a safe environment than on the streets. I also dont mind my hard earned tax helping thos
e who are disabled, unemployed and vunarable. It appears that compassion is in short supply in this country.”
You are too reasonable , the many righties (cjcj , sad and very mad and many others )will be coming for u

Heather Frost is a parasite. However, she is only responding rationally to the perverse incentives our non-judgemental, value-neutral welfare state provides. As such, it would not be appropriate to punish her or her children now. Rather, the welfare system needs to be reformed so as to discourage idleness and breeding-for-benefits (child benefit for only the first three children, perhaps?).

Oh dear, more secrets coming out about Heather Frost. Whilst it is the Mail so many of them should be taken with a pinch of salt, but it does come across that she is pretty much taking advantage of the state’s largesse.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2283258/Dole-queens-country-pad-The-idyllic-vicarage-Forest-Dean-benefits-mother-Heather-Frost-used-live-owns-1-000-parrot.html

P.Diddy, you’re right I will go after Senua. Like Senua I’m happy that the tax I pay goes towards those who through unfortunate circumstances need some temporary help. But note the use of “unfortunate circumstances” and “temporary”. Heather Frost’s case is none of this. She has put herself into this situation by having children from multiple fathers who are not helping her. Neither is it temporary after 18 years. Anyone else would think “I better not have more kids as I need some way of being able to care for them”. Instead she thinks “I can get loads of money from the state for doing nothing except having babies, I’ll take the easy route” as noted by TONE.

Social care should always be there to help those who need it but it should never be the easy route.

GO @31:

Interesting approach, I can certainly see your point. But then I would say that, I’m culturally conditioned towards large, multi-generational establishments being normalised because they’re collectively cheaper to run. This country has rather conflicted social norms when it comes to that sort of thing.

Raising children is work. Very hard work in fact.

The welfare state was founded to assist those who hit upon temporary hard times and the vulnerable, that’s why Heather Frost’s children are being provided with suitable living conditions and a carer.

I don’t mind my taxes going towards enabling children and the vulnerable generally to be free from hunger, but what I do object to is my taxes going towards the not-so-vulnerable private interests so they don’t have to pay a market/living wage. Perhaps the daily fail can get their teeth into that.

steveb @ 46:

“The welfare state was founded to assist those who hit upon temporary hard times and the vulnerable, that’s why Heather Frost’s children are being provided with suitable living conditions and a carer.”

SBML @ 43 has already answered your point when he writes: “Heather Frost’s case is none of this. She has put herself into this situation by having children from multiple fathers who are not helping her. Neither is it temporary after 18 years.”

Heather Frost is a parasite, a scrounger and a freeloader. Why can’t you admit that? No sensible person would suggest that the Frost family be thrown onto the streets. It’s too late to do anything about them now. But we can – and must – reform welfare to prevent future Heather Frosts gaming the system.

47

You will note that I made reference to Heather Frost’s children who did not ask to be born, unless, you are the sort of tory who believes in ‘the sins of the fathers’, exactly how would you deal with the situation?

I note @42 you mention that the welfare state encourages/reinforces ‘breeding for benefits’, perhaps your possible solution to the Heather Frost case might also be useful in addressing the billions of benefits claimed by low-paid workers by discouraging employers from being indirectly subsidized by the welfare state.

steveb @ 48:

“I made reference to Heather Frost’s children who did not ask to be born, unless, you are the sort of tory who believes in ‘the sins of the fathers’, exactly how would you deal with the situation?”

Nothing, as I have said, can be done about the Frost family. Any sanctions against Heather Frost would hurt her children, and that would be unacceptable. We have as a society no option but to support the existing Heather Frosts in the style to which they have become accustomed.

However, future Heather Frosts can be deterred from reckless and feckless breeding by removing the financial incentives that the welfare state provides for their irresponsible behaviour. For a start, we could limit child benefit to the first three children from a stipulated and widely publicised date in the future.

People respond to financial incentives, and you will get more of anything if you subsidise it.

50. Sally Cripps

Does she not realise that sleeping with numerous partners leaves herself open to contracting cervical cancer, known fact!!!! She could have taken preventive measures to not have so many children by three different fathers. Sorry no sympathy, why should she get a bigger property. Many people with large families in private accommodation would like a larger propety but can’t afford it.

Paranoid fantasies?

Not really. I got that from actual peoples comments so… they aren’t really my fantasies, sorry if they show themselves up without my help.

I never said that is what will happen or that they’ll go that far, rather that those are the paths that they are heading to if it doesn’t stop and they don’t properly re-evaluate their hate.

Anyway lets see some comments on the subject matter, to show I’m not making stuff out of thin air. I’m naming people but they made their comments public for all to see so I don’t think they’ll mind me quoting them (swear words censored):

“Jo Rennie shes already sterile due to cervical cancer – thank god!” (Pro-sterilization. Happy that someone got cancer.)

“Roberta Montagnini The benefits should not be cut. The benefits should be there to when people need by unpredictable causes. This woman should be taken to a sort of prison where she would have to work hard to earn money, and have her kids growing with other kids in a school, this would generate jobs and It is cheaper to have a teacher to look after kids and pay them a salary rather than having a mum like this to abuse the system and live amazingly comfortable. She should have had her uterus removed. Her kids will grow to become a scum like she is. And my kids will have to support these trash.” (Nicely outlining option B of mine to a point.)

“Nick Denison its about time more of these goings on were highlighted,just to let all the people who work to try and provide a better living are paying taxes for.NAME AND SHAME,EVERYBODY LIVES NEAR ONE” (Wishes to publicly humiliate people, think what you will of certain parents but this urge will target innocent children to systematic bullying and psychological damage for the rest of their lives.)

“Kelly Clark she should be forced to work now, scrounging ***!!!!!!!!!” (Maybe she means for a paid wage, maybe she is for unpaid labour. Intention unknown but language suggests something not so nice.)

“Elliot Mackintosh Young that’s beyond a joke now therers single mothers with two or three kids really strugling and she gets £400,00 house and gets her daughter a horse its sick I hope david cameron (********) deystoys her.” (Destroys her? Okay I doubt he means kill her, but he hopes to see the woman subjected to soul crushing grief)

“William R. Weiss (An American) After 3 kids they should be either sterilized or kicked off the dole. Why should councils and taxpayers foot the bill for someone’s (years long) nights of passion and sex and inability to buy condoms? Seems to me she’s getting ****** and ******* everyone else… “A womb like a clown car” lol I love the English sense of humor! The babies just keep coming out…” (Again pro-force sterilization and happy to see homeless)

“Alida Spencer Get a job you stupid ***! UK beneift system is too easy to allow for this abuse, yeah fair enough having a baby and some time off but you should have to go back to work and be forced to go back to work by the system.” (More forced work. Again might be pro-wage but then again might be pro-work for the sake of work in itself irrespective of any wage.)

“Bryony Jade Hitchon If you can’t afford to support your children yourself you are not worthy of having them. I would love nothing more than to start having a family, but I can’t afford to, so I haven’t. This woman deserves to be shot, she is EVERYTHING that is wrong with this country. Get real, have you read this story? Clearly this is a woman who milks the system and loves it, as does her pet horse I don’t doubt! I’m just happy nature saw fit to sterilse her, even if it was 10 kids too late.” (Well this one fulfils option C actual killing. And happy that someone got cancer nice)

“Mike Howard Where are the fathers? she shouldn’t be able to claim for children where she is unable to name the father, this is a ridiculous situation, the ‘i’d love to go out to work’ comment makes me laugh, she doesn’t keep her legs closed long enough and the comment be the 16 year old daugther just stinks that she’s bringing up another generation of hte same!” (Stereotyping her children as something they may not turn out to be. Making it harder for her kids to prove themselves as a future hardworking taxpayers, as they are labelled as lazy baby making scroungers and not given the chance because society potentially views them as automatic trash)

“Matthew Paul Osborne I think they should do what they do in the china.limit the amount of the children parents can have because people like this woman just make me sick -.- there’s people out there who have to work to get the amount of money shes getting and shes getting all that just by sitting on her ass all day. its no wonder we’ve been in recession if this country is going to pay benefits to people like her.” (More sterilization, the China situation doesn’t actually work well, they have a ticking time bomb with too many surplus males which is likely to lead to massive levels of violence. The thing that actually proves to lower birth rate: education but I haven’t seen many arguments for a massive quality education programme drive for adults like her, probably considered a waste of taxpayers money…)

“Sharon Roberts Just sickening, makes me so angry when there are real people out there that are ill and disabled / have problems that are getting there money stopped or halfed! and this woman is clearly taking a dam holiday and laughing about it. If I saw her in the street I would punch her as its people like this that is stopping the ill and poor that need the money not get any.” (Yay physical violence and yay it is all her fault that other disabled and sick people are getting their benefits removed.I guess some cancer patients are more deserving than others.)

“Tony Glazier Better still take away all her kids except two and give them to be adopted by working people who can afford to look after them from their earnings.” (Forced removal of children from their family, happy to inflict psychological damage on them, happy to potentially put them in danger from a caring home to an uncertain situation. Being Taxpayers doesn’t make people automatically saintly)

It isn’t that unreasonable to think bad stuff can happen as a result when you demonize people, it has happened, it is happening and it will keep happening if we don’t strive for better. Maybe I’m too jaded from researching genocides and wars but honestly the UK isn’t a special state with a specially enlightened population that is above stigmatisation and violence. For all we know the only thing that keeps people from tearing each other to pieces in this state is economic wealth and stability. The peace and wealth we have today may not exist 50, 100 years from now and then what? You have a large chunk of people being geared towards hating certain people with everyone having lost significant living standards, they’ll likely turn against the elites, those “below” them or even both. Note I’m not fantasising that middle class/working class right-wingers et al are going to rise up and kill part of the population or that civil war will happen. Just horrible views could make a bad situation into a horrific nightmare. Also the same thing goes the other way, “benefit scroungers” and other demonized groups could target those who have, for decades, branded and humiliated them. While the following sounds crazy one of those 11 kids could grow up to be the revolutionary leader of x or y because of such abuse now. Everything has consequences,ranging from ones with minimal damage, benign and easily stamped out or could lead to actions that will shame generations to come. The thing is people, a lot of people, are saying terrible unthinkable things, there is no point to say it doesn’t exist or that it won’t lead to anything, because it could, better to foresee the worst case than ignore it all.

There is one thing though, I should stop using the terms right and left, since they don’t actually exist as anything meaningful; the former exists to justify bad things as good and the latter to create an enemy for the followers of the establishments that have defined what the right means. And I don’t believe in any rigid ideology anyway, sure I believe in freedom, striving for good standard of living and equality of opportunity but any solutions and policies have to be practical. For instance if the markets were actually good for providing state services, I would support them but they don’t so the neo-liberal ideology gets thrown out of the window (similarly libertarians can justify all they like, but they would lead to a crime ridden nightmare of a state) but that doesn’t make me a socialist etc. either even if I agree on certain stuff.

@38

Nothing on your list is remotely likely to happen.

Why not? Are people today really all that different from the people of the Weimar Republic in the 1930′s? Throw enough hardship at them, destroy any future they might have, starve them, give them someone to hate, you really think they’ll react any different?

Cylux: people today are subject to a vastly more effective and pervasive ‘bread and circuses’ system than those in Weimar Germany. Last time round, even those with work were in true, real hardship. 60 or 70% of the population, minimum; arguably more.

This time round, the supply of regular food, central heating (bread) and Sky TV, the X-Factor and the Internet (circuses) has remained steady for better than 85% of the population. That’s pretty much how you run an extractive society while not having a revolution. No country in modern Europe has more success at just barely avoiding substantive revolt than the UK.

54. Chaise Guevara

@ 51 Pumpkin Tree

You went on the internet and found some wankers. That’s not hard. So what? It doesn’t represent “the right”. It doesn’t mean that half of the country are working towards a system where they can murder, jail or beat up the unfortunate with impunity.

55. Chaise Guevara

@ Cylux

Same people. Different circumstances. If you really think we’re on the brink of going around shooting the jobless there’s something wrong with you.

56. Chaise Guevara

@ 49 TONE

“Nothing, as I have said, can be done about the Frost family. Any sanctions against Heather Frost would hurt her children, and that would be unacceptable. We have as a society no option but to support the existing Heather Frosts in the style to which they have become accustomed.

However, future Heather Frosts can be deterred from reckless and feckless breeding by removing the financial incentives that the welfare state provides for their irresponsible behaviour. For a start, we could limit child benefit to the first three children from a stipulated and widely publicised date in the future.”

So when, under your preferred system, someone nevertheless has 10 kids and can’t support them, what happens? Is it ok to let those kids starve because their parents had fair warning?

@53

This time round, the supply of regular food, central heating (bread) and Sky TV, the X-Factor and the Internet (circuses) has remained steady for better than 85% of the population.

For now. However a lot of policies that will significantly reduce that 85% figure go into effect this year, namely the caps on council tax benefits, the rolling out of universal credit and the bedroom tax. Not to mention that the horsemeat scandal has of course ‘forced’ the supermarkets to put up prices.

How well will circuses hold up on their own? Or we placing all our hopes on the food banks Cameron reckons aren’t needed?

@ Pagar –

“The hook with such stories is that many get enraged at the apparent lack of personal responsibility shown by women who have large numbers of children they cannot provide for and who expect that the state will force others to pay tax to look after them.”

Did you actually read the article? She is PRESENTLY unemployed. There is nothing to suggest she wasn’t working at the time of having children. She is also in remission from cancer, is it not possible (indeed quite probable) that her illness is the reason for her not working now?
Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty, and giving the benefit of the doubt?

@55

If you really think we’re on the brink of going around shooting the jobless there’s something wrong with you.

Shooting? Why only concentrate on option C when option B worked out quite well for the Government last time?
Here’s some historyDuring the prolonged unemployment of the 1920s the British government proposed a scheme for transferring labour from the worse effected areas to training schemes in the South of England. For this purpose an Industrial Transference Board was set up in 1928 to monitor and control the transfer of labour form unemployment black-spots. The ITB soon brought to the attention of the Ministry of Labour a ‘class’ of men not easily fitted into the broader scheme, men deemed ‘soft and temporarily demoralised through prolonged unemployment’. These men were considered a danger to the morale of the other men and were considered unfit for transfer until they had been ‘hardened’.

The scheme for ‘hardening’ in Labour Camps (on penalty of loss of the dole) was devised by Baldwin’s Tory government, but was carried through with Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour Government and expanded by the 1931 National Government. They were supported by the TUC as well as the Labour Party, and were opposed and exposed only by the National Unemployed Workers Movement, in which the Communist Party was the leading influence.

Between 1929 and 1939 25 secret concentration camps were built in the most remote areas of Britain and more than 200,000 unemployed men were sent to these camps. The Labour Camps were conducted under military discipline and men were interned in the centres for three-month periods, working for up to nine hours a day breaking rocks, building roads and cutting down trees. In August 1939, in preparation for the war against Germany, the Ministry of Labour issued instructions that the managerial records of its own concentration camps should be weeded out, and much of the documentation was destroyed.

Workfare anyone?

CG @ 56:

“So when, under your preferred system, someone nevertheless has 10 kids and can’t support them, what happens? Is it ok to let those kids starve because their parents had fair warning?”

Without the state subsidies, very few people would have families that they could not support. It would no longer be a lifestyle choice or a career option to have children that someone else pays for. The fourth and subsequent children would not receive any subsidy, and various agencies would become involved well before the family reached the size of ten or more.

Incentives do work; and you will get more of x if you subsidise x, and less of y if you tax it or remove a subsidy. (Curiously, I was once in a car with someone who denied incentives mattered, even though he was driving out of his way to save 1p a litre on petrol.)

If, however, irresponsible people did have 10 children that they could not support, this would be a matter for social services. The parents would have brought these children into the world knowing that they could not support them and as such they would not be responsible parents. So it would be in the interests of the children to be fostered and probably adopted eventually. So no child would starve.

As I say, though, without the subsidy, we are unlikely to see such families, particularly if ante-natal services intervened at the time of the third pregnancy with financial and contraceptive advice, and the mother was warned that a subsequent child would be taken away by social services if she could not afford to support it.

61. Chaise Guevara

@ 60 TONE

That’s not unreasonable, but I’m not happy with the idea of children being dragged away from the parents they love just because they can’t afford to keep them.

What if a condom breaks while a poor pro-life couple with three kids are having sex? What if they have two kids and then get preganant with twins? What about Catholics?

62. Chaise Guevara

@ 59 Cylux

There was far less respect for human rights back then. You’re talking about only a couple of decades after a world war in which men were basically used as meat for the grinder.

Comparing workfare to concentration camps is bloody stupid.

CG @ 61:

“the idea of children being dragged away from the parents they love just because they can’t afford to keep them.”

Neither am I. But social services would have to judge on a case-by-case basis what was in the best interests of the children concerned. For example, the biological parents could be helped to increase their earned income while a child (or children) was temporarily in foster care. And such fostering often occurs now when parents succumb to mental illness, major injury/surgery etc, and by and large it works well.

As for poor Catholics, I don’t see why the UK taxpayer should subsidise the production of more Catholics, or pay to ameliorate the consequences of the Church of Rome’s bizarre doctrines on contraception. If the benefit rules were clear and well publicised – viz that Child Benefit would paid for the first three children only and that Housing Benefit would not be increased for subsequent births – poor Catholics would have to consider sterilisation/contraception or rely on funds from Catholic charities. The Church of Rome is wealthy enough to fund the consequences of its own doctrines for its adherents.

As for twins resulting from a third pregnancy, I’d probably see that as a reasonable exception. However, if a first or second pregnancy had produced twins, the parents would receive benefits for only for the first three children.

Few if any children in a large benefit-dependent household are likely to upwardly socially mobile. So one social advantage of removing financial incentives to people to have children they cannot support would be to break the cycle of poverty in such families.

Cylux @57:

How well will circuses hold up on their own? Or we placing all our hopes on the food banks Cameron reckons aren’t needed?

Hmm. Have you heard about across-the-board unemployment getting higher than 15%?

I’m unemployed in the West Midlands. I’ve recently had the DWP stop my benefits due to a clerical error (theirs) and have spent three weeks getting my arrears back, during which time I got really hungry. Also cold. Very cold. And angry. Very angry. But I doubt I could have found enough others who were breadless to start a revolution.

If 85%+ of the country are still eating regularly and can afford gas and electricity, we’re not going to see revolutionary change, or even any significant attempt to face down the Tories over their war on the poor. Let me know when unemployment reaches 20%, in the South, across all age groups: and that number includes senior civil servants being made redundant without pensions, middle- or upper- corporate management being sacked wholesale, food and staple supply shortages in Tesco and Sainsburies. Then the bread part of the equation has fallen far enough that we might see something happen.

I’ve lived in a country where 60%+ were malnourished for several years in a row and had seen their livelihood permanently affected by climate change. That caused a real ‘revolution’, or rather a coup d’etat. (I’m referring to Ghana 1979-1984 btw).

Basically, things are shit if you’re unemployed right now, things just aren’t shit enough for enough people to get anything done. Compare and contrast with the sheer scale of deprivation during the Winter of Discontent, and then bear in mind that they failed, even then, in part because there just wasn’t sufficient popular support for change; not enough people were sufficiently badly buggered.

But social services would have to judge on a case-by-case basis what was in the best interests of the children concerned.

Er, please, please no. This is the social services who took children from innocent families because a US fundamentalist wing-nut came over here and persuaded them that Wiccans were, literally, raising children for blood sacrifice. Yes, this really happened.

Talk to anyone who’s been through the system. You cannot trust social services with that kind of subjective decision; those who’re in it to look after people get driven out, and those who’re in it to take power over people get promoted.

cylux @ 59:

To what CG said at 62 I would add that your claims are not sourced. And I see you have copied that screed from websites that give no sources (other than historic CP propaganda documents).

Moreover, wikipedia does not list the camps you refer to here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_concentration_and_internment_camps

So do you have any unbiased evidence for your claims?

I am failing to find anyone demanding that the Child Support Agency ask the various fathers to contribute to the cost of supporting their children.
Anyone like frogman who imagines that Heather Frost could take on a paid job while looking after several small children needs a reality check. That doesn’t per se make her a scrounger – it must be bloody hard work looking half-a-dozen or so kids (if she has two grandchildren the oldest must have self-sufficient by the time the youngest was born).

cylux @ 68:

But the BBC piece does not support the description you have copied and then pasted @ 59. The BBC article says:

“They were voluntary establishments and were the brainchild of the Ministry of Labour. Their aim was to help young men from the distressed areas of the country where unemployment was particularly high…

“… papers such as The Daily Herald called them “concentration camps”. It was an emotive response, one that was undoubtedly aimed at selling papers.

“No matter how much persuasion the Ministry of Labour used to get people into the camps they were, at the end of the day, voluntary affairs. Men could – and did – leave whenever they wanted.”

@70

No matter how much persuasion the Ministry of Labour used to get people into the camps they were, at the end of the day, voluntary affairs. Men could – and did – leave whenever they wanted.

Indeed. Of course they’d forfeit the only source of income they had if they did so. Hunger makes for better chains than those forged of iron.

cylux @ 71:

“…they’d forfeit the only source of income they had if they did so. Hunger makes for better chains than those forged of iron.”

But that is less than you claimed. You quoted an unattributed source (in fact, old CP propaganda) as:

“Between 1929 and 1939 25 secret concentration camps were built in the most remote areas of Britain and more than 200,000 unemployed men were sent to these camps. The Labour Camps were conducted under military discipline and men were interned…”

Yet this is simply not true according to the source quoted @ 68. And your claim @ 59 of this being “history” is untrue.

Please will you withdraw your unfounded claims?

@ #65 Chris Naden
“Winter of discontent” – a majority of the discontent was at the the behaviour of the public sector unions that demanded more pay and pay without work while they were on strike. Not like the ’20s. There *was* enough popular discontent for change: so we got Margaret Thatcher.
I can remember being cold and hungry under the Wilson government – when I was in work!
That can’t have been nearly as bad as it has been for you as I had some savings in 1974 and they lasted for a year or two and I knew I had a salary coming in at the end of each month but it does mean that I can feel a small fraction of the sympathy you deserve. However you’ve got one big thing wrong: it was New Labour who oppressed the poor. New Labour is the only government in my lifetime that has left office with a bigger wealth gap between rich and poor than when it started: the bottom half’s share of the country’s wealth fell by two-thirds relative to that under Mrs Thatcher before Brown’s HMRC stop publishing data; in the last two years taxes on the rich have gone up
(OK – not by what would be morally desirable but by as much as they reckon is collectible) and HMRC has been let loose on tax evaders.
@ #66
Not just right-wing US nuts – female centre-left German nut persecuting innocent families on trumped-up charges of child abuse.
But that doesn’t make every social worker evil any more than every Olympic/paralympic athlete a murderer – not that that we know any one is

“I can remember being cold and hungry under the Wilson government – when I was in work!”
Ah you poor thing, starving but look at you now all rosy and chubby.

@72 The Labour Camps were conducted under military discipline

The camps were run, in the main, by ex-service personnel and the regimes were both hard and draconian.

That’s from the BBC. Now the majority of the files relating to the camps were destroyed, and aside from a few crumpled old flyers in protest at the scheme and 1 single BBC report it’s as if they never existed at all, now why might that be?
I find it hard to believe that a militarily run, hard and draconian regime aimed at ‘hardening’ people is just going to let people wander off when they feel like it. Plus given how economical with the truth people at the DWP are these days, I find it highly unlikely that their predecessors were more honest. Particularly since ‘fucking off in the dark of the night while the guards backs are turned’ can actually fit the definition of “Men could – and did – leave whenever they wanted.”

cylux @ 75:

“military discipline…The camps were run, in the main, by ex-service personnel and the regimes were both hard and draconian.”

So were schools at the time. Mine was run that way in the 50s and early 60s.

‘the majority of the files relating to the camps were destroyed, and aside from a few crumpled old flyers in protest at the scheme and 1 single BBC report it’s as if they never existed at all, now why might that be?
I find it hard to believe that a militarily run, hard and draconian regime aimed at ‘hardening’ people is just going to let people wander off when they feel like it. Plus given how economical with the truth people at the DWP are these days, I find it highly unlikely that their predecessors were more honest. Particularly since ‘fucking off in the dark of the night while the guards backs are turned’ can actually fit the definition of “Men could – and did – leave whenever they wanted.”’

But you have precisely ZERO evidence for that. What you think might have happened in the past, and what you want to believe happened in the past, are not supported by any evidence you have provided (or that I can find).

So, please, have the grace to withdraw your unsubstantiated claims!

Tone is a fascist tory cunt along with that moron SadButMadLad trying to push Welfare reform propaganda/agenda.

http://t.co/6YpZ5IvoSR

@Tone: Do fuck off and die you tory cunt.

78. Tonewasinbred

http://t.co/6YpZ5IvoSR -Tory cunt/Nazi TONE launches propaganda against disabled claimants

@ 77/78:

I have obviously riled you with my practical suggestions. for reforming welfare. And all you can do is try to show your moral superiority by abuse, death threats and the politics of hate. You are risible.

I see the Tory trolls are out in force today.

No, @77 @78, it’s not “Tories” who want to reform welfare. Labour is going to reform welfare by introducing regional benefit caps and expanding workfare, as Liam Byrne has made clear.

Right-wingers might like to pretend that Labour has no plan to crack down on scroungers but that won’t save you from defeat at the election.

No2NewLab, I’m not a Tory. I hate Maggie Thatcher. I also hate Tony Blair. I hate most politicians. I am neither right wing or left wing. As for fascist, that is also wrong. Anything but. I believe in people being able to do what they want to do, and not be controlled by the state. Most socialists can only get away with their dream societies by implementing fascist policies. They need to otherwise human nature being what it is, everyone would do their own thing. The Tories are not much better in the authoritarian stakes. They also believe that they know better than the plebs how people should run their lives.

Anyway, going back to the original article. It seems like the wheels are coming off the story about Heather Frost. More and more stories are coming out that do not paint her in a positive light. Will LC still be happy to be connected with such a low life – or will they say it’s not her fault, she’s a victim of the Tories – even though she lived most of her life under a Labour government.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2289076/Heather-Frost-Widows-diary-reveals-hell-living-benefits-queen-mother-11-given-new-mansion.html


Reactions: Twitter, blogs




Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.