What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
35 views
35 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
69 views
69 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
109 views
109 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
93 views
93 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
121 views
121 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
169 views
169 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
124 views
124 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
261 views
261 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
205 views
205 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
216 views
216 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
248 views
248 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Bliss Signal Album Review
News
2 views
2 views

Bliss Signal Album Review

Ryan Bridgewater - October 18, 2018
186 Views

Has the welfare system become a parody of socialism?

Unlike my friend Eleanor Griggs, who wrote an article a few weeks ago condemning the Tories’ welfare reform proposals, I am not the product of a middle-classed family. In fact, I could scarcely even claim to have a ‘working-class’ background; there would be a contradiction inherent within such an assertion, considering half of my family do not work and have never worked. Unless the Tories have their wicked way, they will never work. That’s not because they’re unwell or otherwise incapacitated, it’s because they’re feckless. They’re trapped in a habit of worklessness, the tiniest of afflictions providing much-coveted excuses, not reasons, to avoid employment and live off state benefits.

There’s a peculiar irony in the notion that the Conservatives, the very same Party whose classist ideologies decimated Scotland and the North in the eighties, will be the Party to put paid to Britain’s unemployment crisis. By 1984, the unemployment rate in the north-east hit an all-time low of almost 20% as a generation of industrial workers were left jobless when Thatcher closed down the shipyards and the coalmines. In my opinion, the region has never quite recovered from this – and not just economically. I return to my hometown of Sunderland essentially as an ‘outsider’ nowadays to find it characterised by an air of pessimism and a lack of ambition.

“No matter how you look at politics”, I overheard a girl inform her friend as they marched past me on their way to the Jobcentre when I was up north this summer in the weeks following the general election, “there’s always going to be someone at the bottom, and someone at the top.”

After generations of being at the bottom, the people of Tyne and Wear appear to be staying there. It’s not that there’s no opportunity, it’s just that being caught in a cycle of unemployment, state dependency and dead-end jobs like your parents before you and maybe even your grandparents before them means that, for the majority, knuckling down at college and going to university to better yourself simply isn’t the done thing. It’s much easier to knock a couple of kids out and sign on.

In her article, Griggs argues that it isn’t fair to demonise the jobless for ‘sapping the economy dry’ in the context of last year’s expenses scandal and rife tax avoidance amongst the rich, which together cost society far more than benefit payments do. Indeed she is quite right to assert that: “those who don’t claim benefits are [not] completely free of the immoral ills which have supposedly infected jobseekers up and down the country”. Rich or poor, I think we need to accept the fact that it is human nature to do as little work as possible for as much money as possible; like MPs who fiddled their expenses, if people can get away with claiming more than they are entitled to, they will. Of course, both economically and morally, the nefarious activities of the rich are far more damaging than the paltry scroungings attributable to the lower socioeconomic classes in their day-to-day struggles.

However, I consider the social impacts of the dependency culture to be far more alarming than any financial problems it may or may not entail. In that vein, I think Griggs’ point regarding the UK’s comparatively meagre benefits bill in light of copious tax avoidance by George Osborne and his ilk is somewhat void. I’m not downplaying the abhorrence of such activities but considering that 34% of the Government’s income is spent on helping the poor and that we are each afforded merely £6,475 of tax-free earnings per year, even low-paid workers are footing the bill: directly funding the UK’s dependency culture.
Imagine how much it smarts to return home after a hard day’s work at your shitty job to see your next-door neighbour lazing around in the garden; he’s had his rent and food paid for and he’s even got some spending money on top from his on-the-side, part-time job.

Our current system doesn’t help people out of poverty – it  keeps them in poverty

Okay, so fraudulent benefit claimants are never going to bring the economy onto its knees but that’s not the point. I’ve been in the position I’ve just described and I guarantee that it does nothing to enhance your work ethic. In fact, I was fairly close to throwing in the towel altogether and signing on myself. I mean, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em – right?

This is why I back proposals to force the long-term unemployed into mandatory community work placements. The Tories obviously need to ensure jobs are available, particularly in the wake of such brutal public sector cuts, but I frankly find it impossible to believe that one cannot find work following a year’s thorough job-hunting. In my experience, such people actually have no intention of obtaining employment or are being too snobbish. Well, I’m afraid that when it comes to looking for a job, beggars can’t be choosers. Compulsory community work will break this habit of worklessness, flush out benefit thieves and, where people genuinely cannot find work, enhance employability skills.

Of course it is not the case that all benefit claimants are spongers. It probably isn’t even a majority and caring for the genuinely disadvantaged is a vital component of a civilised society. Nonetheless, I argue that well-meaning, middle-classed liberals – ‘champagne socialists’, if you will – need to alleviate themselves of their ‘class-guilt’ without delay and seriously reconsider their typically vehement defence of the welfare state. Because I’m afraid that this culture of dependency and joblessness that seemingly riddles lower-class areas cannot continue for much longer.

Of course, wanting to help those that are worse off than yourself is clearly very honourable; however, the fact is that our welfare system does not help people out of poverty – it keeps them in poverty. A life on benefits should be a last resort; it should not be a mildly attractive alternative. While I’d never suggest that those claiming benefits have money to burn, by the same token many aren’t exactly out of pocket either – with no small minority reaping the rewards of a cash-in-hand job on the side.
At any rate, there’s hardly an incentive to get yourself into work if it stands to leave you with less money than your benefits do, as is often the case. The effect of this is that people get trapped beneath a glass-ceiling. They are disenfranchised, ambitionless and, indeed, lazy; an underclass segregated from mainstream society with no hope and no real prospects.
Radical action is needed; this is not what the welfare state was meant to achieve. Claiming benefits was supposed to be a stop-gap; a desperate measure for the genuinely needy. Instead, our welfare system is a parody of socialism; it perpetuates the class divide and the indirect oppression this entails isn’t going to instigate what champagne socialists like to refer to as a ‘working-class uprising’ anytime soon.
The Government is clearly approaching this issue from an economic perspective and is slashing the welfare budget as a means of tackling the deficit, which is appalling because it will penalise the genuinely vulnerable members of our society. For me, though, tackling the dependency culture is fundamentally a social issue so my reasoning will never be on par with that of the Tories. However I reckon that, while their plans relating to this specific matter will never be a solution, they might just be a step in the right direction – even if their intentions are less than honourable.
Griggs, however, says that the Tories are just being cruel. Maybe she’s right. But making excuses for people, dousing them in pity and throwing money at them isn’t going to teach them how to stand on their own two feet so in the long run, it’s callous.

That’s why sometimes, just sometimes, you have to be cruel to be kind.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
35 views
35 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
69 views
69 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
109 views
109 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
93 views
93 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
121 views
121 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
169 views
169 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
124 views
124 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
261 views
261 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
205 views
205 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
216 views
216 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
248 views
248 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Bliss Signal Album Review
News
2 views
2 views

Bliss Signal Album Review

Ryan Bridgewater - October 18, 2018
Name Changes Made Easier for Students
Campus News
7 views
7 views

Name Changes Made Easier for Students

Matthew Nicholls - October 18, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

De-Stressing with Rob Cowen’s Common Ground
Arts
24 views
Arts
24 views

De-Stressing with Rob Cowen’s Common Ground

Hal Keelin - October 18, 2018

Upon my transfer to Sussex University, I found Robert Cowen’s Common Ground a particularly comforting read. After nearly a year out from academic study, I was finally…

What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
35 views
Arts
35 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018

  All you need to know about autumn at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts If you have not seen the ACCA’s new autumn programme, you…

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
69 views
Arts
69 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018

In celebration of Black History Month, Sussex Student Union organised a number of interesting talks and events across October. One of these exciting opportunities was a chance…

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA
Film & Theatre
61 views
Film & Theatre
61 views

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA

Anonymous - October 10, 2018

At the outset, Mr Messier’s FIELD at once invoked The Matrix and Daedalus’ Boiler Room set.  The basic concept of this mixed media performance relies on transducer…

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development
Arts
93 views
Arts
93 views

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development

Kate Dennett - October 10, 2018

To commemorate to this year’s Mental Health Awareness Day, I found it increasingly difficult to draw attention to just one book of relevance in recognition of this…

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective
Campus News
88 views
Campus News
88 views

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective

Chris Ahjem - October 9, 2018

Annually, the University of Sussex welcomes thousands of new students to our Falmer campus and every year the Student’s Union and Brighton based clubs and businesses increase…

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known
News
124 views
News
124 views

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known

Chris Ahjem - October 6, 2018

To celebrate National Badger Day here are 10 fun facts about our animal kingdom namesake Badgers can run up to 16-19 miles per hour which is the…

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
109 views
Arts
109 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018

This coming week marks the celebration of Libraries Week, an event solely dedicated to praising the work of libraries across the UK. This annual event is taking…

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
93 views
Interview
93 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018

The young star is often a tricky title to navigate. There are the big names, who explode into the world with noise, bright light, a big record…

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry
Lifestyle
124 views
Lifestyle
124 views

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry

Rachel Badham - October 3, 2018

Fenty Beauty, launched in September last year, is a makeup line created by global superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known as Rihanna. It’s not uncommon for celebrity…

Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
121 views
Lifestyle
121 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

Once an art form disregarded by many, 2018 bears witness to the continuous rise of drag as a legitimate, celebrated art. Spearheaded by RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag…

In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
169 views
Arts
169 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Alannah Myles, the 1991 Grammy winner for best female rock vocal performance for her outstanding vocal abilities for the…

Brighton Needs You!
News
124 views
News
124 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018

Brighton is a vibrant and thriving city that many students at Sussex are lucky enough to call home. But there are many in the area in need…

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
261 views
Arts
261 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
192 views
Film & Theatre
192 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Olek Młyński - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
205 views
Sports
205 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
216 views
Arts
216 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
248 views
Arts
248 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1303 views1
Campus News
1303 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Bliss Signal Album Review
News
2 views
News
2 views

Bliss Signal Album Review

Ryan Bridgewater - October 18, 2018

By Ryan Bridgewater CD/Vinyl/Download At first glance, the worlds of black metal and electronic dance music do not seem to have very much in common. The former…

New Student Energy Project Launches at Sussex
Campus News
5 views
Campus News
5 views

New Student Energy Project Launches at Sussex

Jessica Hubbard - October 18, 2018

A new Student Energy Project has started at Sussex. The project is run in collaboration with The Student Energy Project, the University Sustainability team and Sussex Students’…

Name Changes Made Easier for Students
Campus News
7 views
Campus News
7 views

Name Changes Made Easier for Students

Matthew Nicholls - October 18, 2018

The University of Sussex will now accept unenrolled deed polls as proof of name change to those who wish, granting more freedom and anonymity to those in…

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors
News
27 views
News
27 views

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

The court of appeal has quashed sentences handed to 3 fracking protestors calling them "manifestly excessive". Jail sentences of 15- 16 months were given to the three…

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit
News
28 views
News
28 views

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

Veteran human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, gave a talk on campus. Known for his work with the LGBTQ+ community, he spoke about free speech under attack and…

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’
News
18 views
News
18 views

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’

kenyon55 - October 17, 2018

The NUS has expressed its support for a national referendum on the final Brexit deal, also referred to as a ‘People’s Vote’. This came after Labour MPs…

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter
Campus News
21 views
Campus News
21 views

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

An open letter started by Sussex academics has gained over 1,000 signatures. The letter, entitled ‘Open letter from UK academics: The harsh sentencing of anti-fracking campaigners sets…

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes
National News
43 views
National News
43 views

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

Written by Danielle Ball Shocking witness statements have been heard from the fire crew and call handlers involved in the response to the tragedy The Grenfell Tower…

Renting Unaffordable for Young People
National News
31 views
National News
31 views

Renting Unaffordable for Young People

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

South East among the most expensive areas to rent as revealed by BBC research. Research carried out by The BBC has found that renting is unaffordable for…

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
52 views
Music
52 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018

Photo by Vojta Dvrocek Whether you’ve seen him in Ezra Collective or featuring alongside other breakthrough neo-jazz artists like Mr Jukes. Pianist Joe Armon-Jones is no stranger…

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur
Arts
60 views
Arts
60 views

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur

Olek Młyński - October 11, 2018

The newest film from the notorious Gaspar Noé was so critically acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival that the director himself could not believe it. Climax opens…

Kode9 & Burial – Fabriclive 100
Music
98 views
Music
98 views

Kode9 & Burial – Fabriclive 100

Ryan Bridgewater - October 5, 2018

Released 28th September Available on: CD/Vinyl/Download   The anticipation couldn’t have been greater when the final instalment in London nightclub Fabric’s legendary DJ mix series was announced…