Labour's moral squalor | Melanie Phillips
Labour’s Treasury spokesman Ed Balls has been expressing his horror at the ‘divisive and cynical’ remarks made by the chancellor, George Osborne, who asked why taxpayers were subsidising lifestyles such as Philpott’s. It would surely have been rather more edifying had Balls expressed his horror instead at Philpott’s lifestyle.
For it was not just that Philpott had caused the deaths of six children in the house fire he had plotted with his wife and a friend to frame Philpott’s mistress for arson and gain a bigger house. It was that he used his women as milch cows, producing children so that he could live off the welfare benefits they accrued, raking in thousands of pounds per year in child benefit and working family tax credits as well as the money his wife and mistress brought in from their work as cleaners. The more children they produced for him, the more cash he trousered from them – while all the time treating them abominably.
In other words, he used his children’s very existence to gain money for his sexually depraved, drug-fuelled, abusive lifestyle. And while of course other benefit claimants do not deliberately torch their houses and kill their children, the fact remains that unconditional welfare payments, in particular child benefit which is paid on the birth of every child regardless of family circumstances, act as a direct incentive for the mass fatherlessness and the consequent instrumentalisation and gross neglect of children that now characterise welfare deserts up and down the country where depravity, cruelty, neglect, sexual abuse and violence are the norm.
Britain’s welfare system, in other words, is inescapably implicated in creating lifestyles of profound amorality and barbarism. It not only subsidises them, but actively creates an attitude of mind which is deeply self-centred, regarding the world as owing the claimant a living, sinking into patterns of indolence, hedonism and squalor, and treating those who should be recipients of love and duty instead as objects to be used for self-gratification and as whipping-boys when they dare make any demands of their own. Worse still, it then perpetuates itself down through the generations in inherited cycles of dysfunctionality, creating a class apart which is simply separated from civilised society.
Those who claim that such an analysis demonises the poor are themselves wholly complicit in condoning and incentivising the neglect and victimisation of children, the abandonment and abuse of women and the spreading of violence and hideous selfishness in ever widening circles of demoralisation and dysfunctionality.
There are many truly poor and disadvantaged people who, through no fault of their own, really cannot escape their straitened circumstances but who nevertheless lead lives of sobriety, orderliness and civilised values. It is hard to exaggerate the fury felt by these people, who are forced to live on welfare benefits, at the way in which people like Philpott not only shamelessly milk the system but are treated as equally deserving as themselves.
But of course, to the left the distinction between the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor is itself evil and must never be drawn because it ‘demonises the disadvantaged’. But drawing a distinction between good and bad behaviour and holding people responsible for their actions is the essence of morality. If you insist on non-judgmentally rewarding those who behave badly or antisocially, you actively encourage that bad or antisocial behaviour – and thus you help make victims of others.
Such non-judgmentalism is therefore a profoundly amoral position. And that is the position taken by the left. It not only negates personal responsibility but also free will -- which is the essence of being human. Shedding crocodile tears for the poor, the left in fact treats them as sub-human – and in its own narcissistic moral blindness, actively promotes both individual and social harm.
That is the true evil of the left; and that is the revolting yoke which, by screaming at George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith over Philpott and welfare reform rather than crying out over the dead children and the lifestyle which created that horror, Balls and Miliband have now hung round Labour’s neck.