Local MP: People on benefits "lack social skills" and don't know "what is right or proper"

Labour’s Bristol East MP, Kerry McCarthy, has been getting a bit of useful publicity from her slightly obscure attacks on the Jeremy Kyle Show made in Parliament yesterday.

She has continued her old-fashioned Tory-style moral crusade on this less-than-urgent matter of public policy on her blog too.

And the Labour MP – who has previously argued her six-figure city lawyer salary wasn’t that much and, besides, people in the city work really hard so deserve their money – has this to say on the subject of the unemployed raking in all of sixty quid a week:

The problem is, that some of these people are unemployable – not just because of lack of qualifications, but more because of lack of social skills or any awareness of what is right or proper behaviour

Deserving and undeserving poor anyone? Kerry, the right wing of the Tory Party is that way →

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38 Responses to Local MP: People on benefits "lack social skills" and don't know "what is right or proper"

  1. Sam says:

    i was on the grand total of 47 pounds a week with my dole. shes a fucking tory shit head. the labour party would throw people like her out if they had any sense.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Kerry’s comments are totally classist and out-dated!

    Actually, many people on benefits are far more intelligent than the idiots who work in useless careers and allow themselves to be treated as modern slaves because after rent and food they are left with a pittance.

    I would argue dis-engagement with the economic establishment is something to be proud of (possibly a moral duty given recent events) and living on benefits necessarily entails being frugal and more crucially limits one’s engagement with the superficiality of our senseless consumerism.

    I feel sorry for the NEET culture (not in employment, education or training) as they get blamed and stereotyped for the jobs that simply don’t exist! Worse still, it’s the universities and government funded training schemes who are raking in the money with false promises of careers and enhanced professional development.

    What I admire about that particular class of benefit lifestylers and council estate communities is their social skills and their way of simply getting on with life – enjoying their time, having families, refusing to do low-paid meaningless work.

  3. Pingback: Money, Stock and Finance » Blog Archive » Local Mp: People on Benefits “Lack Social Skills” and Don’T Know …

  4. SilentBob says:

    What asute timing, launching an attack on a section of the unemployed on the very day that MFI and Woolworths went into administration, jeopardising tens of thousands of jobs.

    Not to mention the fact that we’re in the process slowly tipping over the edge into one of the most severe economic “downturns” (pick your own catchphrase) of all time, a downturn which will see the failure of many more known and unknown corporations and possibly entire industries – the end result of which will of course be a vast increase in the numbers of the unemployed.

    There are various descriptions which come to mind, “downright stupid”, “blinkered” and “callous” spring immediately to mind.

    Comments like these are why so very many people are completely apolitical and regard politicians as no more than self-serving soundbite engineers who actively hinder, rather than help, the country they are meant to serve.

  5. Des Bowring says:

    ‘shes a fucking tory shit head’

    Blimey a tory AND a City supporter! Die!

  6. Des Bowring says:

    Anonymous is more than a little patronising. For many people on benefits, theirs is not a lifestyle choice – most want to work for a decent wage and good workplace conditions rather than live on benefits.

    I get a little fed up with middle class people banging on about the ‘superficiality of senseless consumerism’ when most ordinary people just want to enjoy a decent lifestyle and have the same things as everyone else. This might sound unnacceptably materialistic to some ‘alternative’ types but that’s the way it is.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Des – I’m ON benefits and it certainly isn’t my choice, though I contribute to society through voluntary work.

    “ordinary people just want to enjoy a decent lifestyle and have the same things as everyone else” – we’d better think about a Planned Economy then, because Capitalism isn’t achieving this! Come, come… most consumerism is driven by branding and feeding upon our society’s perverse yearning to display wealth. It’s certainly not equality!

  8. Des Bowring says:

    I agree that capitalism is exploitative and iniquitous, but I think we should just be a little less romantic about poverty, ’tis all.

  9. Rosso Verde says:

    If she looses her seat, she can always get a job as a Daily Mail writer!
    Unimaginative, reactionary guff!

  10. Cheesey says:

    Blah blah blah

    I think she’s right — there is a group people on benefits who are incapable — the sort of people who pop up on Jeremy Kyle. Benefit payments do not solve their problems like they would for most unemployed — ie. covering costs until they find more work. Their problems are many and varied so a bit of money is not going to help them sort their lives out — gawd knows what will.

    Kerry M was not talking about everyone on benefits. But none of the people she was referring to will be reading this, so don’t let that fact get in the way of smashing the system.

    Here’s a more complete quote:

    “The problem is, that some of these people are unemployable – not just because of lack of qualifications, but more because of lack of social skills or any awareness of what is right or proper behaviour. And then you get onto the question of how can you try to make sure their kids turn out a bit better.”

    And you missed this one which seems to refute most of the twaddle:

    “…gives people the completely erroneous impression … represent a true cross-section of the working class. …. But it then gives people the licence to dismiss anyone who is unemployed or a single parent or struggling on a low income as good-for-nothing layabouts, scroungers, junkies, slags, etc.”

  11. Dona Qixota says:

    “most ordinary people just want to enjoy a decent lifestyle and have the same things as everyone else. This might sound unnacceptably materialistic to some ‘alternative’ types but that’s the way it is.”

    Sorry to be annoying, Des, but MOST of the nearly 7,ooo,ooo,ooo people on this earth DON’T have FA, and no matter what the libs bleat on about the “free market”, there simply aren’t enough natural resources to provide everybody with a modern Western lifestyle, which is effectively parasitic on the people whose countries and resources we are using to provide it. And the Earth and all the other species we’re destroying to get what we want.

    We’ve overshot, and every day the squeeze is getting tighter. It’s just a matter of time now.


  12. Des Bowring says:

    Irrespective of the unsustainable nature of consumerism, I’m afraid that my observation is still valid i.e. people will always want ‘stuff’, and if, unlike many who comment here, they are not from a privileged background, who are we to tell them they are wrong?

    Regarding population control, I’m doing my bit by not having kids,but not sure what else I can do (although you may have some ideas!) Raising people out of poverty and improving child mortality in the developing world will almost certainly reduce the birth rate.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “people will always want stuff”… let me finish… if our culture contuiues instilling this through all the marketing, branding and media. Well, peoples’ morals are changing very rapidly, what with all those London types selling up and going into pig farming, etc! Good for them!

    Des – we have enough stuff already, which is why there are so many swap shops and recycling initiatives like freecycle and our very own Sofa Project. There’s even that trendy middle-classed one for women to swap their clothes (can’t remember what its called) instead of spending rediculous amounts at the Carboot Circus.

  14. thebristolblogger says:

    There’s even that trendy middle-classed one for women to swap their clothes

    Switch and Bitch. Coming soon to the Living Room I believe.

  15. Dona Qixota says:

    “Switch and Bitch” – love it.

    “Throw any considerable goods among men, they instantly fall a quarrelling, while each strives to get possession of what pleases him, without regard to the consequences.” Hume, “Of the Source of Allegiance”.

    The more stuff we generate, the more intrusive government will become, wars, surveillance etc. It’s a bit of a curse really.

    You can’t buck Nature, Des.

    Who’s telling who what to do?

    And as for “privileged”, don’t know about you, but all my clothes came from jumble sales when I was a kid, and birthday presents were some old books from same source. Not like the vastly expensive designer-crap and computer games that are demanded and “essential” nowadays.

    Seems like there’s a bit of a paradox here. Most modern kids in the UK are showered with material goods but left emotionally deprived, the opposite of the many in the past. In this topsy-turvy world, now privilege = misery.

  16. Des Bowring says:

    Please, enough self-righteous finger-wagging you lot!

  17. Anonymous says:

    So Des, you don’t believe in positive change and think people should just carry on regardless of the state of the planet, or the economy for that matter – LOL!

  18. John Serpico says:

    Lack of social skills or any awareness of what is right or proper behaviour? That sounds to me like a lot of middleclass people that I have come across in my time. Seriously.

  19. Spectator says:

    Yeah. In my experience it’s academics that usually take first prize in that department.

  20. Des Bowring says:

    Cats are another example of lack of social skills.

  21. Dona Qixota says:

    It seems to me more like it’s the neo-liberal peddlers of consumption who are forever wagging their fingers at us, Des. You raised this here, but sadly it’s the sort of propaganda I hear all the time, and I’m pretty fed up with it, so …

    For a start, the word “poverty” is ambiguous, it fails to see the difference between (material) poverty, which is how most humans have always lived, and degradation, which is often something imposed on people by other people. For example, Samoa is now divided into two parts; American Samoa and West Samoa. West Samoans live in “poverty”; they have little money, but they do have self-determination and mostly live a traditional and healthy lifestyle. In contrast, American Samoans have Jobs, they work in the canning factory, earn money, eat hamburgers and chips, drink cola, and live the degraded and unhealthy American nightmare lifestyle which imposes huge pressures on the environment.

    Another example. Some people say the personal is the political, and I live without television, fridge, hot running water, heating, or car, and do my washing by hand in cold water. It saves me a hell of a lot of money. It also keeps me very fit and healthy. Now, you may say that I’m a nutter. The bean-counters would stigmatise such living conditions as unacceptable poverty, and Business would tear their hair out if this way of life became widespread. It’s not a question of “romanticising poverty”, it’s just a perfectly normal and healthy way of living. I can’t see a problem with it.

    The real problem is the degraded culture that Anonymous speaks of, the constant pressure to buy more, consume more, work more, the culture that tells us we’re somehow inadequate if we don’t have a deadly lifestyle of 24hr central heating, ten showers a day, smothering ourselves in expensive (and often injurious) chemicals, eating fast food, wearing the latest trendy gear, and driving a flashy car. For children now this pressure is applied pretty much from conception – a form of child abuse, imo.

    The costs of this consumer culture are so huge as to be incalculable, and they are only just starting to bite. The costs to mental and physical health of living this artificial consumer life-style are now increasingly visible in obesity, degenerative diseases, alcoholism, drug abuse, mental breakdown and so on. The cost to our fellow species (who we also need to survive) birds, fish, animals, flowers, trees and their habitats is growing worse exponentially, such that scientists are now warning that we are causing a Mass Extinction of geological proportions.

    Face it Des, it is not refuseniks like Anonymous and myself, but this culture of consumerism which is oppressing people and planet with a culture of domination and control; it’s about those at the top having power over those at the bottom. It’s about humans having power over Nature. It’s about a mad neo-liberal ideology having power over our true human selves as beings co-existing with the rest of our ecosystem.

  22. TrollyWally says:

    Talking of social skills, here’s a gem:

    the same reason as the greens and trots are allowed

    by harbinger Sat Nov 22, 2008 11:40

    lol. How ironic the two groups to complain, the trots and greens, are only allowed to post here themselves as hierarchical organisations, for the same reason the stalinist society are allowed to post. The reason being that Bristol Indymedia have relaxed the hierarchy guideline, that chokes much of indymedia to death, reducing it to a hypocritically anarchist front group in many places.

    Bristol Indymedia instead allows occassional posts from hierachical organisations like the trots, greens and stalinists, while the rest of imc generally do not, so be careful what you wish for trots and greens, as if you want the hierarchy guideline tightened up again you’ll be barred again along with them. So careful trots and greens, it’s only occassional posts from you lot too, so don’t used up your allotment in comments and end up getting yourself barred along with the stalinists. 🙂 ”


  23. thebristolblogger says:

    Cats are another example of lack of social skills.

    Got to take issue with this Des. We’ve got a cat and a dog here at Blogger HQ and the cat’s got a whole lot more social skills than the dog. It knows when to get lost for starters whereas the dog is all in-ya-face bad breath and endless crotch sniffing.

    I’d employ the cat; don’t know about the dog though.

    Mind you I like the idea of cats lacking social skills and being part of Kerry’s underclass. Sounds like one for the Cancer. First person to get a letter published in there demanding ASBOs for cats gets four cans of Stella …

  24. chinadoll says:

    Poverty is nothing to take pride in, I grew up with poverty as a bedfellow, but my Mum bless her could make a Kings feast out of practically nothing, she could sew stitches better than a sewing machine, she utilised flour sacks by embroidery into table cloths, and recycled woolies, clothes, potato peelings etc long before this Government introduced their recycling project, which incidentally we do for them free of charge!!
    The most important lesson I learnt from both my Mum and Dad was that nothing compared to a loving family unit. Nothing else really mattered, no materials objects could compete, unfortunately this is slowly being crushed out of our society.
    Living on benefits is no joke to those who have to struggle and would prefer to be in work getting at least a decent wage, but if there is a loving family unit around, survival is made possible. No-one in my family would have to go hungry or be cold and alone, that was the basis of the lesson I learnt growing up, take care of each other. I am not alone, there are thousands like me out there caring for each other, but unfortunately there are more who do not.
    MP’s like Kerry McCarthy don’t help this situation when they show by their callous remarks that you could actually be in her position of wealth and privilege if you walk over everyone in your way and leave your heart buried up your ass with your brain!!

  25. Dona Qixota says:

    “The most important lesson I learnt from both my Mum and Dad was that nothing compared to a loving family unit. Nothing else really mattered, no materials objects could compete, unfortunately this is slowly being crushed out of our society.”

    I totally agree with you. Getting by with little material consumption – minimum exploitation – IS something to be proud of, and an art that younger generations are losing, along with durable family relationships.

    As the socialist economist GDH Cole put it – poverty is not the problem, slavery is.

  26. Ella says:

    “The most important lesson I learnt from both my Mum and Dad was that nothing compared to a loving family unit. Nothing else really mattered, no materials objects could compete, unfortunately this is slowly being crushed out of our society.”

    Erm well I grew up without a loving family unit and I know other people who grew up the same and no one would blame it on consumer culture. You guys are buying into the lie that has evolved in recent years by the other end of politics. If you people had any experience, and I mean actually living it without the choice you are utilising, of your imaginary ‘degraded culture’ you wouldn’t agree with yourself. This is just more of the same from throughout history. What do we do now? We tell those without they can’t have things because it’s bad for the environment. You have to exaggerate about ten showers a day, 24 hour central heating and whatever else because you know the truth doesn’t fit with your political beliefs.
    Your attitude is quickly, although I’m sure you’d deny it, becoming the attitude of the establishment. Blame those without and say their lifestyle and culture is keeping them down because they cannot escape from it. Thus the cycle continues.

    I’m kind of revolted by this bourgeois spluttering in a discussion about benefits. You don’t know better than anyone else, infact you sound like you know a lot less, and history isn’t on your side and I hate to say it but I can’t see you being vindicated. No one will ever listen to you because you live in on a different planet.

  27. Ella says:

    And by the way a loving family unit is the most indescribably precious thing in the world. I’ve always said love over gold. I know people mentioning no names who only want their kids to make money and don’t recognise their other beautiful qualities and it disgusts me. However, these are normally loving family units lol. What I’m saying is the value of a family unit and reasons for the lack of it are never really going to have anything to do with consumerism and it is ignorant to attempt to link them.

    I’m not trying to be like harshly insulting but I feel slightly insulted by all this.

  28. chinadoll says:

    Well I’m sorry you grew up without a loving family unit Ella, but thats no reason to be derogatory about my personal experience. A lot of my friends were not as fortunate as I was either, although many of them had material comforts, none of that made any difference to me then as a child or now as an adult because I value friendship as much as I value family unity.
    Who linked consumerism with family unity? I certainly did’nt.
    I know a great deal about benefits and indeed the ‘means test’, don’t even try to teach the teacher. For your information History is on no-ones side, but it is the basis of the present as the present of course will become the history of the future. If we do not learn from it we will be poor indeed ( and I don’t mean financially)
    I certainly do live on this Planet and have done for a considerable number of years, I still think there is a lot more to learn in life, one thing for sure I have learnt and that is never to assume that I know a person from their written contribution to an ongoing debate, and never to insult a persons respect for their family however good or bad they are.. or in my case were.

  29. Chris Hutt says:

    We all know our own family background, be it good or bad, but we should all hesitate to draw conclusions about the family backgrounds of others. We cannot know that which we haven’t experienced directly, other than through second hand accounts which must be regarded with caution.

    We all assume that a loving family background is a good thing, but how do we ‘know’ this? For generations wealthy families have paid good money to pack their offspring off to boarding schools where the ambiance was far removed from that of the loving family. Were they willfully damaging their children?

    We can judge others on the basis of their behaviour but not on the basis of their background, although we might think the latter causes, or excuses, the former.

  30. Ella says:

    Erm my entire post wasn’t aimed at you chinadoll in fact I didn’t even recognise your name so I think you’ve taken offence to something nonexistant. I also wasn’t being derogatory to anyone’s experience, at least not yours. I was talking to the people bragging about living without hot water. So think about someone’s post before you assume it was all a bazooka shot at you. Also I’m not trying to teach anyone. What are you on about? This is what happens when adults use the internet, they get bare sensetive. The only part of my post aimed at you was saying the destruction of the loving family unit has nothing to with the society we’re in that is the one everyone is discussing that is related to consumer culture. In short I was talking to you for about two sentences. Sorry to disappoint you.
    “never to insult a persons respect for their family” see I never did that. What on earth are you talking about? I just read my posts three times and no where can you draw that conclusion unless you want to.

    chinadoll, read people’s posts next time and THEN make an informed decision about whether to go off on something irrelevant and untrue. There was no reason to act like I’m trying to chat about other people’s lives except for what people have said i.e. I’m bare proud to live without hot water. Jam your hype for now on.

  31. Ella says:

    Also lol @ Chris Hutt.

  32. Chris Hutt says:

    “I’m bare proud to live without hot water.”

    Another one (Dona being the other)! And I thought I was frugal. It says something when people can live without hot water but not broadband.

  33. chinadoll says:

    Ella, you headed your post with a statement I made in mine. I thought that brought me ever so slightly into the equation, otherwise why make a point of that particular statement.
    “Erm well I grew up without a loving family” made me feel that my statement was unimportant. I did’nt mean to sound sanctimonious and I aplogies if it sounded like that to anyone else. I was simply trying to point out that my childhood was impoverished by everything except love, and it did’nt stunt my growth.
    You followed up with “you guys are buying into the lie”, “if you people had any experience”, “you don’t know better than anyone else,in fact you sound like you know a lot less”, etc, etc.
    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but as you used my statement as a header I assumed it was loosely directed at me I see now that it was directed at all of us posting here as the collective “you” states.
    In your reply, and now I’m confused as to whether it was directed to me or not? you say “this is what happens when adults use the internet, they get bare sensitive” I was’nt aware adults were not allowed to use the internet, though I must admit that children have a far better grasp of it in most cases.
    “Jam your hype for now on” On your advice I will now ‘jam’ my ‘exaggerated publicity’???
    Chris Hutt your right, nobody can know what they have’nt experienced directly, although sometimes we can get a clear picture from being in close contact with various situations. I don’t think anyone can say or know whether having a loving family background makes any difference, but it is a good thing and certainly helps.
    Personally I would imagine a boarding school to be one step up from an orphanage, can’t think thats a good move to make for wealthy parents, their choices though and we’ve all got those have’nt we, its how we make them that shapes the future in some small way.

  34. Dona Qixota says:

    Ella, I don’t know why you get all spluttery at the thought of people managing quite happily without destroying the environment quite as much as we’re brainwashed we ought to by the State and Big Business.

    If you want to be a good little consumer like they want you to be, spending loads of money and working ever longer hours to get it, like they want you to, then that’s your business. Count me out.

    Your annoyance reminds me of Christine Melsom, who whinged:

    “When we were first told that polluters should pay, we were given to understand polluters were power stations and chemical works. Now it is anybody who puts rubbish in their bin.”

    Every time you choose to generate pollution, you make yourself a polluter and you have to pay, one way or another.

    And no, Chris, I don’t have or want broadband, In fact I hate the whole effing computer crap, but have to have it to earn a living these days.

  35. Dona Qixota says:

    Oh, and by the way, Ella, despite your hasty assumptions, you’d better know that some of us have probably been longer on the dole than you have been out of school, love … and I don’t mind what Kerry makes of my “social skills”, but I reckon I have a better handle on what’s right and proper more than she does, as a member of the ZNL commissariat.

  36. Me says:

    Proud of how long you’ve been on the dole eh, says it all really…..

  37. Dona Qixota says:

    Try reading what is written “Me”. Nothing to be proud of in being on the dole, I’m just fed up with people whingeing on about how tough it all is and how nobody understands … blah blah blah.

    As a now self-employed person, my distant ambition is to reach minimum wage!

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