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The welfare state we are in, ctd.

This item in the FT reminds us that the spirit of enterprise has not reached all pockets of British society:

More than half a million young Britons are officially too sick to work and claiming incapacity benefits, a higher tally than the number claiming unemployment benefit, according to figures obtained by the Financial Times.

The word I think the FT is looking for but reluctant to use, I think, is “lazy”.

The figure, which includes more than 300,000 young people claiming for “mental and behavioural disorders”, shows continuing high levels of worklessness among the young, in spite of 10 years of steady economic growth and a concerted attempt to move people off welfare and into work.

I will not dismiss problems of mental health – this is a serious subject, but 300,000?

This does rather throw the issue of economic immigration – and indeed, emigration – into sharper relief. If a significant chunk of the potential working population is mentally not the full set of cards, or lazy, no wonder it is proving easy for motiviated, not-ill foreigners to enter the UK job market. Contrary to the Rod Liddles of this world, I dread to think what would have happened to the British economy had it not been for the influx of immigrants over the past decade or so.

42 comments to The welfare state we are in, ctd.

  • Ian B

    Wrong target. If a society incentivises and enables a behaviour, self interested agents within that society will adopt the behaviour. The problem here is a medical establishment driven by progressive ideologies eager to medicalise and create new arbitrary “disorders”. The general philosophy is to define an arbitrary ideal average person, then define everyone who deviates to some arbitrary degree from that as being ill, whether physically (e.g. body mass, cholesterol level) or mentally (various suites of syndromes defined by checklists of character traits).

    Self interested actors in the economy with low earning potential will naturally seek an excuse to obtain benefits. The problem is thus the provision of the excuse. As often is the case, the problem here isn’t the poor people. It’s wealthier professionals manipulating the system to their own ideological and financial ends. But who will dare challenge the BMA over the widespread quackery-peddling of its membership?

  • Lee Kelly

    There is an entire institutions, funded by the taxpayers purse, which exists to diagnose, treat and support such people. If they do not expend all their resources, by whatever means they can, then there is a good chance that their funding will be cut in the future. This, of course, would be quite disasterous to those who derive their wealth and power from such institutions. The “lazy” would not be so lazy if they were not faced with incentives which reward laziness.

    This is not to mention the barriers which the young and lazy face when entering the workplace, in the form of the minimum wage, health and safety laws and regulation “protecting” jobs. Each has the consequence of increasing the cost of hiring a new employee, hitting the inexperienced and unskilled hardest, and thanks to our inept and perverted eduction system, this typically means young men, who bereaucrats are all too willing to label “incapacitated”.

    Besides, it makes the statistics look a lot better, with fewer people on unemployment benefit. See, everyone wins? Oh no, that is not right. I mean, some win at the expense of others. That is right.

  • Lee Kelly

    “The problem here is a medical establishment driven by progressive ideologies eager to medicalise and create new arbitrary “disorders”. The general philosophy is to define an arbitrary ideal average person, then define everyone who deviates to some arbitrary degree from that as being ill, whether physically (e.g. body mass, cholesterol level) or mentally (various suites of syndromes defined by checklists of character traits).” – Ian B

    The remarkable thing is that the very same people tend to espouse the rhetoric of diversity, pluralism and individualism. These values, unfortunately, are quickly discarded when they run contrary to existence of the institutions on which their professional standing, wealth and satus, depend. Of course, the rhetoric never changes, and so we are marched off the reeducation camps by smiling faces telling us how wonderful it is to be different.

  • no wonder it is proving easy for motiviated, not-ill foreigners to enter the UK job market

    It is not that the foreigners are any more motivated or any less ill, the difference is that they do not receive such extensive welfare subsidy. That is why they, and most other people, work at all – the need of an income.

    Supply the income without need to work and most of us would be honestly lazy. Attach the income to a need to claim illness (mental or otherwise) and people will pretend to illness. The commenters above are correct.

  • More young people live at home,even into their late twenties and mid thirties,thus one imperative,to earn money to provide a roof, is removed.Immigrants often do not have this option.
    Another reason has to be taken into account,that firms want experienced workers,it is therefore easier to import labour than train it.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    folks, I kind of took it for granted that the perverse incentives of welfare/tax/regulations encouraged the lazy behaviour I talked about. Sometimes I make the mistake of assuming too much but I did not want to spell it out all the time, since I hate to keep stating the bleedin’ obvious.

  • Ian B

    Yes, but the point is why do those things exist, and to do that one has to take the analysis further to ask which interest groups promote them. It’s no use complaining that everybody’s on the sick without recognising the powerful incentive to the medical special interest group to put them there.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Ian B, to repeat, I take it as read that most people who read this blog know that the welfare state and the ills it causes are partly driven by a, its recipients, and b, the class of people who run it. We’ve been all over this before on the blog. I just wanted to note the sheer numbers involved.

  • Ian B

    Sorry Johnathan, I’m new around here. But I really believe that there is far too little attention being addressed to the massive manipulation of the system by those groups.

    Your initial post used the term “lazy” to point a finger at the people on benefits. Lazy is an inherently perjorative term strongly implying a moral lack in the person thus described. Well, we’re all lazy. We all want more, for doing less. It’s entirely rational. One may as well state as a fundamental of human behaviour “all people are lazy”. You further seem to be saying that foreign immigrants are less suffering from this moral lack as a support presumably for open immigration. You didn’t just note the numbers involved, you used them to draw a moral lesson; one which I disagreed with for the reasons I stated in my first post. I’m a bit sick of this constant pointing of fingers at the useless sponging smoking drinking fat ignorant lazy underclass, really I am.

    If you don’t want to address the underlying causes of an issue, I can’t really see the point of posting, other than to have a go at chavs. What is this, the Daily Mail? :)

  • Brad

    See what happens when England and France or England and Germany or England and Spain don’t go at it ever few decades? I think you need a good war every now and again to give the idle, twitchy youth something to do, and if they peg out, so much the better.

    Yes, that it sarcasm.

    With less sarcasm, every era of man has had “extra” people, those not absorbed by the economic mainstream, whether freer or more controlled. Slavery was a system to handle extra people. Feudalism was too. A more modern version was Welfare. Now simply being categorized as underpriveleged doesn’t cut it, the nom du jour has to involve a mental aspect to justify it. Considering everyone is a little nuts it’s easy for the modern version of the State to categorize the extras so, and create a niche of services that justifies them taking other people’s property and reallocate it, skimming some for themselves of course. This is simply freshening up an old, old angle.

  • Brad, I don’t know if you meant it this way, but from your comment it sounds as if those extra people are some kind of natural unavoidable phenomenon. If so, I have to disagree: it’s the system that creates them.

  • Lee Kelly

    “folks, I kind of took it for granted that the perverse incentives of welfare/tax/regulations encouraged the lazy behaviour I talked about. Sometimes I make the mistake of assuming too much but I did not want to spell it out all the time, since I hate to keep stating the bleedin’ obvious.” – Johnathan Pearce

    Sorry for the misunderstanding. Anyway, I was not trying to argue with you, but just following the thoughts which your post provoked to a conclusion.

    If nothing else, I just wanted to rant a little. I only discovered this blog recently, and it has since become a regular stop of mine. Keep up the good work.

  • Be warned, Lee, it is highly addictive.

  • Nick M

    Brad,
    The feudal serfs of medieval Europe were hardly a surplus underclass – they were the majority of the population! Slavery again is something different. The work-shy “benefitted” underclass don’t exactly grow cotton in the US South or toil on galleys now do they?

    Ian B,
    Hang around a bit longer here. The Samizdatistas are hardly Daily Mail! In any case this isn’t about chavs who tend to be hard working. You don’t get all that crap from Halfords to stick on your Citroen C2 on bennies now do ya?

  • Johnathan
    But I really believe that there is far too little attention being addressed to the massive manipulation of the system by those groups.

    I am not too sure how much “massive manipulation” there is; I think there is an element of class interest at work, but also there is the sheer inertia that comes with a welfare state in place for so long; it means that any discussion of cutting benefits – which is what we are talking about – is immediately attacked for being “uncaring”, or somesuch bullshit. Fortunately, the Tories are beginning to develop a little more courage in trying to copy elements of US-style welfare reform (Wisconsin), although I have my doubts on whether Cameron and his colleagues have the guts to follow through.

    Maybe my use of the word lazy was unkind. Economic incentives lie at the heart of the problem, but maybe my anger at 300,000 people pissing around while claiming to be a bit ill got the better of me.

  • Since I am somewhat fond of looking at numbers…

    As best I can tell from the FT article, the “young people” they are talking about are “people under 35″.

    …last May 504,000 people below the age of 35 were claiming incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance

    Presumably those under 18 needn’t worry about being permanently classified as unable to work.

    So let’s assume the article is talking about people 18-34 years of age. Why FT doesn’t just tell us the age range their talking about is beyond me but they don’t.

    According to the UK census data(Link) (you’ll have to work the “interactive pyramid” for yourself) there are 12,785,600 people in the UK in the age range 18-34. That means 4% of the 18-34 age range in the UK claim incapacity or severe disablement.

    That sounds like a lot. But is it? I don’t claim to know but US Disability data (if I’m reading it correctly), the 25-34 demographic in the US has a 4.2% rate with “Severe” work disability and another 1.8% with “not severe”.

    What am I missing? Why is the UK situation so dire?

  • Lee Kelly

    “Maybe my use of the word lazy was unkind. Economic incentives lie at the heart of the problem, but maybe my anger at 300,000 people pissing around while claiming to be a bit ill got the better of me.” – Johnathan Pearce

    I should point out, while I agree that concentrating on the laziness of some diverts attention from the cause of their laziness i.e. the incentives which the welfare state provides. It is also worth noting that the circumstances, whatever incentives entailed, do not absolve individuals from their moral responsibility. Indeed, often the defining characteristic of a moral person, is their willingness to do the right thing irrespective of circumstantial incentives.

    The fact is, that many of the “lazy” you refer to, are effectively stealing from everyone else via the coercive hand of government, and some no doubt understand full well what they are doing. I do not think for a moment that such people should escape beng exposed for what they are, and subject to the same stigma. An analysis of the invcentives may explain a particular decision, but it does not do anything to alter the ethical standing of that choice.

  • If a significant chunk of the potential working population is mentally not the full set of cards, or lazy, no wonder it is proving easy for motiviated, not-ill foreigners to enter the … job market.

    Heh! The Arab Gulf States nicely summed up in a single sentence!

  • permanentexpat

    Why does none of this surprize me?
    While it’s true that the free lunch doesn’t exist there is a plethora of means of making sure that the pocket you put your hand in isn’t your own.
    Moneyed folk stay that way through judicious use of the law & creative accountancy; truffle-hounds are amateurs when compared to the loophole seeking well-off.
    Nearing the bottom of the barrel are the less dosh- gifted who, in their own way, exploit the system which has been thrust upon them with every bit as much zeal. Moreover, their numbers being greater than the filthy rich, the impact on the State’s resources is, at least, debilitating.
    It is human nature (which doesn’t make it good) to seek advantage at the expense of others & has become the national pastime in The Septic Isle, football having been deemed a failure.
    Lest there be any doubt, I wholeheartedly believe that those who are genuinely disadvantaged or in dire straits (Directors of such as Northern Rock excluded) should have the support of the community. One small problem is that we don’t know the difference between a safety-net & a heated water-bed.

  • Lee Kelly

    Johnathan,

    To restate my last post more succintly: if the lazy people you are refering are acting rationally, as Ian suggests, then I can hand on heart affirm that I have no wish to be as rational as they.

  • Ian B

    The fact is, that many of the “lazy” you refer to, are effectively stealing from everyone else via the coercive hand of government, and some no doubt understand full well what they are doing. I do not think for a moment that such people should escape beng exposed for what they are, and subject to the same stigma.

    That’s all very well, but you have to remember they’re living in a society wherein virtually everybody is rent seeking to some degree and the few of us who call it what it is, stealing, are dismissed as either selfish antisocial individualists, or tinfoilhatty moonbats. You can hardly blame just one group for benefitting from stealing, I mean redistribution of undeserved wealth, when everyone’s at it.

    Being a sad git who hangs around the Daily Telegraph commenting, it has amused me for instance that those commenters who leap frequently to complain about the kleptocratic behaviour of our rulers, are often also the first to demand a special tax giveaway because they’re married. They really do believe that, if they choose to support two people on one income, this puts them at an unfair disadvantage compared to single people, despite the fact that keeping a woman as a paid housekeeper is entirely of their choosing and completely ignoring the economies of scale they enjoy. In the name of “supporting the family” they demand redistribution of income in their direction. They too demand the right to steal.

    Anyway, waffling again. I really believe the point here is to look at what’s driving the system and I really do think it’s important to point a very pointy bony finger at the class interests driving statism. When you do that, you find a frankly unpleasant circle jerk of academics, pressure groups and politicians with money flowing out of government to produce research that supports pressure groups who demand more statism which gets more money flowing out of government to produce research…

    I really think that if pressured to sum up the monumental rise of statism over the past century, I’d come up with something like, “a wildly successful power grab by technocratically inclined academics” and then I’d get dragged off to have my tinfoil hat refitted. The modern state is now a swirling morass of competing special interests (all pushing in the bigger state direction), but if you look back for the origin, you find it in the universities and medical schools. The philosophy is a state run entirely “on scientific principles” i.e. one in which academics set policies and puppet governments just implement them. They’ve just about achieved it too.

    ranty ranty rant rant

  • Ian B

    Lee, I use the term rationality without moral judgement, I just use it to mean a person who maximises their own advantage. In the free market, that’s best achieved by producing better products, working harder blah de blah. Under the state system, it’s best achieved by rent seeking, which just about everybody is busy at these days.

  • Alice


    Slavery was a system to handle extra people.

    Not quite so. In Old Testament times, a man down on his luck might chose to give his only value (his ability to do physical labor) to a more successful individual, and become his master’s slave. There were rules, such as the Jubilee, at which the slave’s service would be deemed completed. Basically, it was an early form of welfare (or rather, workfare).

    Chattel slavery had nothing to do with “extra people”. Before the US Civil War, a good slave was selling for about the price of five good horses. If the slaves were “extra”, why would they have been worth so much more than an animal?

    The question of what a society chooses to do with “surplus labor” (to use the Marxist expression) is a good one. Ancient Egyptians used their surplus labor to build the pyramids — 3,000 years later, still a valuable tourist attraction. It is doubtful that 3,000 years from now, anyone will be going to the remains of Whitehall to see the endless rows of filing cabinets full of never-read reports from Regional Equal Employment Outreach Officers.

  • Paul Marks

    As you know Alice, if people were allowed to engage in even fairly free civil interaction there would be no such thing as “surplus labour”.

    And, of course, “society” in the true sence of civil society (i.e. the complex web of civil interactions between people) does not “decide” things as if it was an enity. Even “market forces” are really many millions of people making choices.

    Society is not a entity – a thing, there is no such thing as society – but then hardly anyone understood what Mrs Thatcher meant when she said that (it was straight from her reading of F.A. Hayek and the traditional of civil society thinkers going back to the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century).

  • Alice

    Paul — you are absolutely right that “society” does not decide what to do with “surplus labor”; individuals decide. Of course, if that individual is the Pharoh backed up by other individuals (big strapping lads) who have decided to serve in his military and follow his orders, you & I would be making mud bricks with our “suplus labor” (or deciding to undergo whatever penalty the Pharoh imposed on recalcitrants).

    I was guilty of using “society” as a shorthand expression, and consider myself duly (& appropriately) chastized.

  • Ian B

    Were the pyramid builders “surplus labour”? Since they were doing something economically valueless (well, until tourism kicked off in modern times :) they clearly weren’t surplus labour in the sense of unemployed people. They were agricultural workers on their “season off” helping a Pharoah with his hobby, surely? In economic terms they may as well have stayed home and enjoyed the wife and kids, kind of thing.

    Not sure I’m putting this very well. What I mean is they were farmers, and the farming cycle was seasonal, so during the fallow period if there were no pyramids to build they’d just stay home and eat the produce they’d grown while waiting for the next flood. They weren’t surplus labour so much as “available labour” pressganged into pyramid building.

  • Lee Kelly

    Ian B,

    I apologise. I did not intend to argue against you position, but simply thought that your comment about rationality could be a neat launchpad from which to make my point. In short, I do not think that anyone should escape moral responsibility or judgement because they were acting “rationally”. I agree that concentrating on “lazy” people is somewhat diversionary to the real problem, but I am not particularly bothered by the condemning tone of the original post. That many do the same is not a defence.

  • Ian B

    Lee, there’s really no need to apologise especially to the likes of me :)

    I agree with your general point, and before I went off rambling as usual I guess I was just saying I get irritated that when many people are suckling at the public boobie, it’s only certain classes of people that get fingers pointed at them. I do feel that small governmentists tend to come across as being well-heeled types ranting about welfare recipients and I don’t know that that’s terribly good for making an anti-statist message look appealing to demographics beyond disaffected tories; nothing I add that there’s anything wrong with disaffected tories, some of my best friends are disaffected tories, honest, but I’d like to see the anti-statist message gaining wider support.

    We all have different perspectives. I think on a relative scale I have less ire against people at the bottom of the social heap exploiting a system for which others are responsible, than against those who have willfully constructed that system and enriched themselves by it. There’s a whole grasping horde out there who’ve never done a day’s productive work in their lives but get orders of magnitude more taxpayers’ money than disability benefit. Most of the government spring to mind. They too are acting rationally in exploiting and expanding the system they exploit, and I certainly don’t think they should escape disapproval :)

  • Paul Marks

    Alice I did not mean to chastize you.

    And as you know the Pharoh was not just an individual.

    State versus civil society distinction – civil society is “civil”, no lads with big sticks making people do things.

    As for farmers in the off season – I bet they could have found lots of productive things to do (if they had been alllowed to).

  • I think Ian B is onto something. I’ve definitely fallen into the trap of moaning about welfare recipients, and I’ve spent plenty of time moaning about the government for stealing my money and giving it to them. There are other groups involved like the media and academics and pressure groups. It’s definitely all a bit circular and really everyone is to blame, but I reckon there’s good propaganda value in pointing out what the academics and pressure groups are getting out of all this.

  • renminbi

    Maybe part of the problem is universal manhood (or should I say personhood ) suffrage. Maybe it would work better if those who got money from the taxpayer didn’t have a vote-leave the voting to those who pay the freight.Is there any “democratic” which has been able to keep the state from gobbling up more? Name it! AS it is we have three coyetes and two sheep voting on what’s for dinner.

  • renminbi

    Coyotes of course.

  • Laird

    Renminbi is definitely on the right track, and it’s a position I’ve advocated for years. Only the people who actually pay for government should have a vote. People who pay no federal income taxes shouldn’t get to vote in federal elections; people who pay no state income taxes (assuming there is one, of course) shouldn’t vote in state-wide elections; etc.

    A corresponding point is that people who pay for any particular government should have the right to vote at that level. For instance, I own a summer house and pay lots of property taxes on it, but since it’s not my “permanent residence” I get no vote there, not even for the town council or mayor. I pay no income taxes in that state, so I shouldn’t get a vote for the governor or state representatives, but I certainly should have a say in the selection of the individuals who decide how my taxes are spent. Alas, that’s not how it works.

  • Ian B

    Renminbi is definitely on the right track, and it’s a position I’ve advocated for years. Only the people who actually pay for government should have a vote. People who pay no federal income taxes shouldn’t get to vote in federal elections; people who pay no state income taxes (assuming there is one, of course) shouldn’t vote in state-wide elections; etc.

    The difficult problem here is that everyone is a taxpayer, because they pay taxes every time they buy something (tarriffs, sales taxes etc). And should we also exclude the low paid, the wife at home, the elderly on a pension, and so on?

    And what of those who derive their income from the government- ignoring the parasitic non-jobbers, what of the armed forces, police, the office cleaner in the parliament building? After all, any income tax they pay is just handing government money to the government.

  • Lee kelly

    Something I wrote on my blog a few months ago. I still do not know how I feel about it, oh well.

    “The potential for abuse is even more evident in the welfare state. Someone long ago said that democracy is doomed once the people figure out that they can vote themselves money, a prescient remark concerning the problem the welfare state presents. The question is what can or even should be done about this problem, would democracy be better served if particular groups who directly profit from the state, either in welfare cheques or public sector employment, were denied the vote?”

  • Laird

    It shouldn’t be that difficult, Ian. Embedded taxes (tariffs, etc.) and sales taxes are ignored; they’re just a cost of living in modern society, and if you don’t make enough money to be paying income taxes you don’t really pay those taxes anyway because you’re “paying” them with welfare money.

    If you pay federal income taxes you get to vote in federal elections (president, senator, congressman). If you pay state income taxes you get to vote in state-wide elections (governor, referenda, etc.). City income taxes, the same. If you pay property taxes you get to vote for whatever taxing authority receives a portion of the tax (county, city, sewer authority, whatever). Pretty simple.

    I wouldn’t try to exclude government employees (however worthless we may think some their jobs may be) because they at least are working and filing tax returns. (Maybe we can deal with that issue later, after the concept takes hold.) People filing joint returns are both liable for the tax so both get to vote. Pensions are usually taxable, so pensioners would get a vote, but if they’re somehow tax-exempt they don’t. As to the “low paid”, if their income is so low that it’s below the taxable threshold, yes, I secifically want to exclude them because they’re not paying for goverment. And I would subtract any welfare payments received from taxes nominally paid, to be sure that every voter is truly out-of-pocket for some taxes (i.e., we don’t have welfare recipients paying a nominal amount of tax just to obtain a vote).

    I don’t really care how much tax someone pays as long as he is at least paying something, so he bears at least a portion of the cost of government and has that on his mind when he enters the voting booth.

  • Ian B

    I wouldn’t try to exclude government employees (however worthless we may think some their jobs may be) because they at least are working and filing tax returns.

    The problem here is that if you’re trying to prevent corruption of government by rent-seeking, or something similar, you’ve just failed. A person who is doing low paid work below an income tax threshold is doing something productive for the economy. Businesses need somebody to clean the toilets.

    But many people living off the state’s largesse are doing nothing productive at all; indeed they’re economically harmful. Their main work is promoting their own parasitism. So they fill in a tax return and hand some of the money back? Woo.

    The point is, these are the very people who will vote for corrupt, expanding government, who will vote for politicans who will award them more community integration awareness officers and five-a-day inspectors, or more huge grants to their NGOs and faux charities. Why do these worthless slobs get a vote, when the hard working poor person doesn’t? They aren’t “paying for government” either.

    The low-waged private sector worker is productive; the unemployed welfare recipient is unproductive, the taxpayer parasite is actively negatively productive. Of the three groups, they’re the least deserving of a vote.

  • Evan

    The problem with excluding unproductive government employees from the vote is there is no objective way to determine which government jobs are truly necessary. Unless you are willing to say that government has no role outside of defense, law and order, and a court system, every department will lobby the department responsible for determining voting eligibility to ensure they are included, and then we are right back where we started. If you are willing to agree to an explicit definition of the role of the state, and I would generally agree with that one, then it seems more reasonable to simply prohibit outright the government from doing anything else. Unfortunately, the Constitution seems to have little bearing on the role of the government in the United States these days. I am rather optimistic, however, that a government voted on solely by taxpayers would be a strong force to limit worthless bureaucracies.

    Also, while the low-income worker is doing productive labor, they are also reaping all of the reward for their work.

  • May I briefly sway off-topic and say how fantastic this website is.
    I have just swayed here through a google image search and am hearted to find such sophisticated, positive, and often whimsicle writing on views I hold so dear.
    I’m unfortunately marooned in an old mining town in the north of England so am very happy to have found this site! Thanks guys!

  • Ian B

    Nizhinsky-

    I only found this site recently and seem to be getting addicted :) Welcome from one n00b to another!

    If it’s any consolation, I’m in Northampton, which is a load of old cobblers. Boom boom.

  • On the subject of only voting if you pay taxes, where does that leave compliance with the laws the government makes?

    Since the non-tax paying non-voters can’t effect government policy, by, say, voting against BNP members in their local area, why should they then have to be encumbered by laws that do not represent them?

    I understand the point that if someone does not pay for something then they should not have access to it, but that then surely assumes that democracy is a product or an asset, rather than a fundamental human right.

    To extend your logic the other way, you earn enough to own a summer house (well done you), but you don’t earn as much as the owner of Tesco. So, someone who pays no tax get zero votes, someone who pays a bit of tax (like your good self) gets one vote, and someone who pays in millions of pounds of tax a year, plus generates further billions in VAT payments gets 10,000 votes.

    So democratically, the poor are worthless, you are insignificant and Tesco can just make up any old rules they like and make politicians agree to it because they have all the votes.

    It becomes a slippery slope once you try to assign someone a democratic rating based on income or tax contributions, because you might get to go on holiday somewhere nice twice a year, but you really don’t earn anything at all. Don’t bank on the people who own Tesco to look after you because you have a bottle of wine with every meal.

    Also, as you own a summer house and you don’t pay the tax on it, you are responsible for keeping the council for that area out of a taxation income, while expecting them to maintain the roads, street lighting and so on. You are effectively stealing taxes from the local residents. This means that your current tax paid to the local government in your area becomes void because you are not allowing the local government of your holiday home the ability to raise funds for their area. You are not a lazy person, you are a greedy person.

    Cornwall is a prime example of an area financially crippled but smug sods with two houses paying no taxes. Ironically it also has massive unemployment. It does have tourism, though, so maybe they could be enslaved to build attractions?

    When you propose to take political power away from people, please make sure that you are in a situation where you will not be counted as a burden yourself.

    Oh, and hello everyone, I’m new here. It’s good, isn’t it?