Sunday, February 22, 2004

Our opinion of Matthew Parris 

Did anyone see Matthew Parris' return to the North East twenty years after the original progamme in which he attempted (and failed) to live on dole money for a week?

His opinion that life on the dole should be spartan had not changed, but he offered no insights as to what could be done to provide jobs for the unemployed. Basically, he shared a pint with these people in Newcastle, discussed their lives (one of the men he met twenty years ago had a son who comitted suicide, which was described in detail) and then left them behind to give his opinion that the wealth would "trickle down" as the plush new shops and galleries opened in the city centres.

It's all hit and miss, as most big employers seem to prefer to hire third world labour on a minimum wage than employ local people to do local jobs. Some Conservatives decry those who say that they shouldn't have to take low paid jobs, but we should remember that these are the descendants of the miners, shipbuilders, etc upon whom an empire was built. We owe it to them as a patriotic duty to ensure that we bring industries back to these shores by taxing imports and double taxing any firms that have branches employing workers overseas. Simply put, a policy of "Britain First" would get most of these people back to work and out of economic hardship.

Matthew Parris would have no conception of this policy. He was shocked to note that most people were on prozac in the estate he visited. It was pointed out that the young man who killed himself was not, and didn't drink or smoke. With the accompanying decline of religion, there seemed to be few outlets for people other than those which are addictive and health destroying. Matthew Parris criticised them for their lifestyle, but did not touch upon the fact that the Jarrow marchers, who in real terms were far poorer, had their dignity and were far fitter, considering their situation. Why not?

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