How to deal with the underclass.

Thoughts on the welfare state and the British underclass

Re: How to deal with the underclass.

Postby Caleb » 04 Jan 2013, 01:30

In theory, I support it, I just don't think it will be effective. People will simply game the system in a different way. They will go to a gym, swipe their card and then hang around having a chat, watching TV, reading magazines, etc. Some might exercise. Even if they do, all of that could be undone by a cigarette or two outside afterwards, or a trip to McDonald's.

To be truly effective, it would have to be tied to some measurable outcomes, but that really would be a slippery slope to all sorts of really invasive measures by government that would inevitably be extended to everyone else also.

In short, I could see this thing doing little to address the real issue for the people concerned, and just becoming yet another advance of the nanny state into the lives of normal, responsible people.
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Re: How to deal with the underclass.

Postby Gavin » 27 Aug 2013, 17:43

In a ray of hope today, Lord Hutton has called the welfare state "unsustainable". Daily Express columnist Leo McKinstry also just spoke on the radio about the injustice the system which rewards people for not even trying to work.

I am about to link to an article by this apparently first-rate columnist, Mr McKinstry.

Further, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has spoken out against the way the underclass often claim to have no money for food, yet have large plasma screen TVs and cigarettes, and often choose expensive unhealthy food instead of cheap fruit & veg.

Good stuff, the tide turning in favour of common sense, perhaps, at last.
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Re: How to deal with the underclass.

Postby Charlie » 19 Sep 2013, 21:37

I was originally going to put this in the "Vulgarity of the British" thread, but as it involves the underclass I'll put it here instead. So yes, I bring you a story of my clash today with some of this country's finest. It's not earth-shattering by any means, but I just feel the need to write so that I can get things off my chest. Furthermore, actually having to come face to face with the underclass not only makes every single word that Theodore Dalrymple has written come startlingly to life, but it also makes you wonder how he put up with it all for so long.

Well, when I have to travel to Leeds and back, my journey involves a train journey and a bus ride. I was already feeling fairly misanthropic after today's train journey, due to a mixture of loud mobile phone conversations, fully-grown adults playing hand-held computer games at full volume and people, well young women actually, placing their shoes on seats, but I wasn't prepared at all for the family I would meet on my bus ride home.

A brief aside. Just for your information, I live in a small-ish village next to a medium-sized town in the middle of England. The village itself is pretty middle class - by that I mean that there is a lovely old church, a cricket green, lots of well-to-do families, lower middle class families and some new developments for young couples starting out. However, recently, a few underclass families - if family is the correct substantive to use - have somehow moved in. We've seen them around - it's difficult to miss them. More on that later.

So the bus was fairly full and just after paying my bus fare I became aware of a family at the front. There was a young woman with a pushchair, an older lady who I presume was the young woman's mother, a man sitting to the right, and a hooded figure - roughly 5ft 7in - in front of me with his back turned. He was blocking the aisle so I politely said: "Excuse me". He jumped round and aimed a punch like a boxer would do in sparring. He didn't aim it at me but at one of the adjacent bars - one of those with a bell on.

Fancy a f**king fight pal?

I stayed silent but stopped still and noticed the scary scar on his forehead - it was as if someone had stuck a stanley knife in there. I duly noted the effortless malevolence and smell of alcohol. He continued:

I'm a f**king good boxer - I'll f**ing knock you out.

I remained silent, but I was aware of two things: that no one else on the bus was really bothered, except a retired man at the back, and that the thug was standing next to a child in a pram. Regardless of whether or not he was the "father", what future can that poor child expect?

Anyway, the girl with the pram grabbed our budding Manny Pacquiao and pulled him back, and I moved past them with my hands raised to try and signal that I was not going to fight. I moved further down the bus and stood next to where I would later sit down, but I turned to face him once more.

I f**king love f**ing sparring me. Come on, I'll f**king have ya!

Again, I didn't say a thing, but watched as the same young girl grabbed him again and shoved him off the bus. She shouted:

Get f**king home!

The underclass thug was left grinning as the bus set off and he punched the front doors and then the rear windows where the old man was sitting. I finally took my seat and focused my attention on the "family". The girl took a big shopping bag and placed it right on top of the pram. I'm not sure what the young child must have thought of that - it totally blocked his/her view. The girl had the word "Kylie" tattooed on her hand. The mother then said:

F**king hell! He always gets like this when he's had a drink!

She'd clearly had a few in her time too, but she turned round to face me:

You should've f**king battered him mate - he thinks he's well 'ard.

I chose to remain impassive. As she turned back I noticed the word "mother" tattooed on her neck. The other young man, presumably of some relation to the young child, had his head down - he was staring at his mobile phone. The girl - that is to say the one who had just thrown her child's father (?) off the bus - was now looking rather bovine and her dim expression focused on her mobile phone: "shiny thing make it all better", as they say in The Daily Mash. It was as if nothing had even happened. I noted that their phones were fairly flashy; they certainly wouldn't have been cheap.

About a mile down the road the bus stopped and two schoolgirls alighted. The mother caught sight of one of the girl's tattoos. The tattoo on her lower back said "No Regrets":

Look at the f**king state of that! What a f**king sight!

Our charming progenitress had revealed herself to be quite the aesthete!

Luckily, the "family" got off the bus at the next stop, but as I wrote earlier, no one else on the bus really cared; no one could even make eye-contact with me as a simple gesture of solidarity. One stop later, however, the elderly man who had been tutting made his way to the front of the bus and said to the driver:

I don't know what's happening to this town.

The driver responded:

Aye, this town's finest.

Soon afterwards it was just me and the driver left. Although I had nothing to apologise for I said:

I'm sorry about all the bother.

The driver responded wearily:

It's ok. He should get a job, but he wouldn't be able to hold one down.


You should have heard the mother going on before you got on...

There wasn't enough time for him to explain - it was time to alight.

The incident made me think of many things, but two aspects stood out: First, that I was lucky that I didn't have to defend myself; I've never been in a fight in my life and I want to do my best to keep it that way. Second, how come this "family" have a house? No one in the family worked - even just the alcohol made that obvious, so there was no way that they would have had the financial means necessary to buy a property or to get a mortgage. And then I think about other friends of mine around here; friends who have got young families, and who are working their backsides off to either pay a (basic) mortgage or to even get one... Yet these irresponsible, feckless, violent thugs can just get a place like that? It absolutely stinks...

They're not the only family like that either. Like I wrote above, the underclass presence is growing around here. I'd love to have a chat with our council...

I'll just finish by asking you to have a look at this article from 2011. The article is spot on, but nothing has changed since then. In fact, if you look at the paragraph about Nick Clegg, it makes his speech yesterday all the more farcical.

Like Paul said recently, we're good at complaining in this country (I know I am), and we probably don't talk enough about the good things in the UK, but such are this country's problems that a solution to them seems often impossible. When it comes to the vast underclass, the damage has been done.
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Re: How to deal with the underclass.

Postby Elliott » 19 Sep 2013, 21:56

It sounds like a very nasty experience, Charlie, and I'm sorry you had to go through it.

One thing I would suggest is that perhaps the other passengers were not oblivious or uncaring, but simply trying to do as much as possible to avoid attracting the thug's attention. I had a similar experience on a bus in London and the only thing anyone could do - including me, I'm sorry to admit - was look away, look at the floor, look out the window... It's pathetic, but, unless you're a bodybuilder or a trained fighter, it would be insane to take on these thugs. You can't know in advance which of them are blowhards and which of them are in fights every week - and you and I have never been in a fight in our lives.

Looking on the bright side, at least the thug's girlfriend took your side rather than his. She may have tattoos and appalling choice in men but at least she knows not to encourage his thuggery.
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Re: How to deal with the underclass.

Postby Charlie » 19 Sep 2013, 22:23

Cheers Elliott.

I'm quite relieved that, when faced with a dangerous thug, I didn't suddenly think I was Bruce Lee or pretend that I was "well 'ard". After all, I am a man, I do have plenty of testosterone and I do work out, but thankfully there wasn't any more to it than that. I was surprisingly calm, which, I think is the best way to be in such circumstances.

The other thing, now I think about it, is that all the other passengers except the "family" and the elderly man were young women. Obviously I would never have expected them to leap to my defence, but my impression was that they were being apathetic. I may be wrong though and your explanation makes total sense.

Had it been someone else in my situation, I'm not sure what I would have done...

As for the family, I never thought I would ever use this phrase, but you really do have to think of the children. And of the teachers who will one day have such kids in their classes.
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Re: How to deal with the underclass.

Postby Elliott » 19 Sep 2013, 22:29

It's interesting that the thug just happened to get into an argument with the only other young man on the bus.
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Re: How to deal with the underclass.

Postby Charlie » 19 Sep 2013, 22:45

Oh, the malevolence was really quite something - he was desperate to pound on something. Like you say, a male, any male would have fit the bill. He would have done the same even if it had been Lennox Lewis saying "excuse me".
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Re: How to deal with the underclass.

Postby Rachel » 20 Sep 2013, 00:52

I'm sorry to hear about your experience Charlie. If it makes you feel any better, this sort of thing happens to a lot of people and I don't think it is a British thing. A friend of mine and her boyfriend were shopping at a cut price supermarket. They were in the 10 items or less queue. A woman with a loaded cart and a few family members pushed in. My friend and her partner quietly said that they were there first. The queue jumper turned on them and put her face 5 cm away from the boyfriend's face and screamed at him that she was going to give him a thumping. She was fat, muscular, had tatoos ( tatoos are rarer in Israel than Britain) and was about twice the size of my friend and her boyfriend put together. They got so terrified that they ran away, leaving their supermarket cart there.
I forgot to say, she was also dressed like an underclass from their description.

Perhaps extremely civilised places like Singapore or Scandinavia don't have people like these but I think thugs exist in most places. The correct thing to do in these situations is either to flee or back down. I think you did the sensible thing.

The important point is what you said; that people like that should not get free housing while others struggle to pay a morgage.
The interesting thing is that in Israel free council housing does not exist and the benefits system is not as generous as in Britain yet you still get thuggish people. I also notice that the benefits system of America is not exactly cushy, yet they have similar problems with thugs. So I suspect there is something else on top of the benefits system causing this behaviour.
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Re: How to deal with the underclass.

Postby Charlie » 20 Sep 2013, 19:06

Cheers Rachel.

You're right, violent behaviour is obviously not just the preserve of the English and I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your friends in Israel.

As Dalrymple has often said, and as we well know, humankind is capable of all kinds of evil, but there's just something about the threat of violence here in the UK, and for the excuses made for such behaviour that really riles.

What's more, when I've travelled to places which really did have a problem with crime and where I easily stood out - Mexico City is one example - I still somehow felt safer and freer from the malevolence so typical of many towns and cities in England. My impression as a traveller might have been an incorrect one, and the picture I had was certainly a superficial one on some level, but that was my gut feeling at the time and it continues to be so.

The other thing is that some liberal minded friends of mine have avoided certain parts of their town centre at night for years because of the threat of violence and rowdy behaviour; they just haven't quite joined up the dots. When it comes to the underclass, they probably wouldn't be naïve enough to use the typical lefty line and blame violent behaviour on poverty, but they're not as angry about the fact they have to avoid many areas of their own town centre after 6pm as they should be. And yes, when the underclass encroach on your area you do end up wondering what the council are doing. When you know that figures like Joyce Thacker are much closer geographically than you'd like them to be and that such people have wreaked havoc, one's mind begins to reflect on this whole issue just that little bit more…

As I wrote above, I felt the need to write about it just to get it off my chest; on the one hand it was nothing serious, on the other hand it easily could have been. As that Telegraph article from 2011 demonstrates, nothing has changed in the intervening time, and who would bet against more rioting again at some point?
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