The poverty of responsibility and the politics of blame – part 2

KittysJones here gives a detailed summary of the social psychology behind the foundation of the welfare state, and its destruction by the Conservatives. Everything she says about Conservative psychology is true – the belief in a natural hierarchy with the economically fittest at the top, and the connections to Fascism. Left-wing critics of Neo-Conservatism have also remarked that their worldview is essential Hobbesian. Like the 17th century, they really do believe that humans are engaged in ‘a war of each against all’, and that this cannot be changed, only regulated.

The article is also important for its statement about the various UN resolutions which give people economic as well as political rights, and the links at the bottom to piece exploding the Tory’s various myths used to justify their attacks on the welfare state. As for Peter Lilley and his attack on welfare scroungers with his ‘little list’, I can remember when various impressionists did present him as a Nazi concentration camp commander. And just to makes things worse, Lilley is the man who invented the Private Finance Initiative as a way of making money from the NHS. Its privatisation started with him.

Politics and Insights

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Social security came about precisely because we evolved to recognise a need for a social safety net to protect vulnerable citizens, because we learned last century that we are all potentially vulnerable, and that it isn’t anything to do with a person’s characteristics, they are not to blamefor socio-economic circumstances, or becoming ill and disabled. Unemployment, accident and illness can happen to anyone.
In 1992, Peter Lilley, the somewhat salacious Tory department of social security secretary said he had “got a little list” of people to stereotype as scroungers. Lilley amused the Conservative Party conference with a plan to “close down the something for nothing society”, delivered in the form of a parody of the Lord High Executioner’s “little list” song from The Mikado  by Gilbert and Sullivan:
“I’ve got a little list / Of benefit offenders who I’ll soon be rooting out / And who never would be missed…

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