Benefits Street Is Unrepresentative. Really?

January 15, 2014

Benefits Street, Channel 4’s hit, fly on the wall documentary about a Birmingham street full of welfare claimants, is a gross distortion of reality.

We know this because a group of charity heads has written to the Telegraph to say so. They claim to speak for more than 100 charities and community groups, all of which are “calling on Channel 4, as a public service broadcaster, to review how this damaging and grossly unbalanced programme came to be shown.”

Apparently the series focuses on “an unrepresentative minority”, “reinforcing harmful stereotypes where the most extreme examples are presented as the norm.”

Gosh. I wonder how they know. For example, when I checked the annual accounts of one of the concerned charities, I couldn’t help noticing that its top paid employee – presumably the chief executive who signed the letter –

gets between £100,000 and £110,000 (plus benefits). This is not remotely abnormal in the lavishly pampered charities sector; I expect the other signatories of the letter do similarly well. So at a guess, none of these people lives in roads anywhere like the one featured by Channel 4 – James Turner Street in Birmingham. They can just flit in and out of poor people’s lives, like Mrs Jellybys, feeling virtuous about the good they do (often courtesy of the taxpayer who gets stung, willy nilly, for so much charity funding these days) – and terribly echt too, what with some of the, ahem, earthy types they meet – while never actually having to engage with the real consequences of our bloated, demeaning and destructive welfare state.

I suppose their ideal programme might have shown someone like Radek Stakhanofski, the heroic Polish tractor driver who gets up before dawn, ploughs a thousand acres, and sends the money to his apple cheeked children in Wroclaw, none of them on UK benefits, of course. And the jolly Roma family in their delightful painted caravans who scour the fleamarket every Friday to look for suspected stolen goods which they spend the rest of the week trying to return to their rightful owners. And Doreen, Brummie born and bred, who has never worked a day in her life because of her terrible, crippling and genuine back pain but will never claim benefits – “more than moi loife is worth, arkid, I’m tellin yow” – because her pride just won’t permit it.

Problem is, these people don’t actually exist – and even if they did, they’d hardly be representative. Not in a street where, we learn,

90 per cent of residents living in the 137-house street claim one or more benefits ranging from £500-£900 a month in free hand-outs.

Of course, I can see why these charitable bods are concerned about Benefits Street. They admit it in their letter:

Such portrayals skew the public debate about benefits and cause distress for many of the millions of people who need this support.

That’s lefty speak for: “If working people ever get to discover where their tax money really ends up, at a time when they find it tough enough to feed their own families, let alone those of workshy scroungers, then that’ll be the end of the line for our welfare state gravy train.”

(Oh – and that phrase “millions of people”. Millions. Scary, no?)

Related posts:

  1. How the green lobby smears its enemies
  2. Lefties have got away with feeling superior for too long — let the fightback begin
  3. Broken Britain
  4. Back in the Delingpole fold

 

Why Britain Is Stuffed: An Unintentional Masterclass Courtesy of the BBC

I was going to post on biofuels but they can wait: this glorious piece of unintentional comedy from the BBC News website is too good to miss. (H/T Nicholas Jones)

It analyses what BBC reporter Julian Joyce seems to believe is the heartrending plight of a family in Wales struggling to get by on benefits. Apparently – claims unemployed father-of-seven Raymond (“not his real name” – love that detail!) – if the Government manages to enact its heartless scheme to impose a £26,000 per annum cap on welfare benefits, then it could be a “choice between heating or eating.”

Unfortunately, all sympathy for this family evaporates when Joyce goes into more detail about their budget. We learn, for example, that their weekly shopping bill includes “24 cans of lager, 200 cigarettes and a large pouch of tobacco.” They also spend £32 a week on mobiles and £5 on their Sky TV subscription. But all this is now threatened by the heartless fascist Coalition government: why, if it gets its evil way, then this family’s £30,284.80 annual benefit package will shrink by £82.40 a week!

In case we fail to see why this is very sad, the reporter whips out an onion:

Unemployed father-of-seven Raymond (not his real name) and his family rent a former council house on a social housing estate in north Wales. They do not own a car or take a regular annual holiday.

Raymond, a former educational software writer, has been jobless since 2001. His wife Katherine suffers from bipolar disorder with an anxiety disorder and is unable to work.

Says Ray: “The market for my skills dried up 10 years ago – there’s a total lack of work in my area of expertise.”

The whole piece is such a textbook case study of a) why Britain is completely screwed and b) the prevailing BBC-fomented left-liberal cultural assumptions which explain why we got into this mess and why it’s going to be so hard to get out of it that you almost wonder whether Julian Joyce is in fact not a right wing plant parachuted into the BBC by the Conservative party’s black ops department.

It’s worth reading some of the 600 plus comments below to realise just how badly this sob-story jars with the national mood. Or at least the national mood among that part of the country which actually works for its living.

“They do not own a car or take a regular annual holiday”? I should ruddy well hope not if we’re footing the bill.

“The market for my skills dried up 10 years ago”? Then retrain, you workshy sod.

“Father-of-seven?” Meanwhile in the private sector, hardworking couples think long and hard before having another child, recognising as they do that kids cost enormous amounts of money which they – as respectable people with a work ethic – fully expect to have to pay out of their own income, rather than as the feckless underclass do by spongeing off the state.

“bipolar disorder with anxiety disorder”. Know the feeling, love. I too find myself daily crippled with anxiety about the fact that our economy is tanking, in part at least to the massive burden being placed on it by people with convenient mental problems which render them “too ill” to work. That’ll be why, for example, you never, ever see Stephen Fry on TV do you? Hmm. Stephen Fry whatever happened to him? Oh yes, that’s right. He’s a depressive. He’s got bipolar disorder. He can’t work, can he? Hasn’t done for years…

Related posts:

  1. Britain: still stuffed under joke Tories
  2. Why should broke Britain bankroll immigrant spongers?
  3. Family photos, paedophile scares and the Stasification of Britain
  4. As Dirty Harry was in the Seventies, so Harry Brown is today: the movie warning of just how irredeemably stuffed we are