Posts Tagged ‘Dalit class’

Our Dalit class had enough problems before Philpott

06/04/2013, 07:00:31 AM

by Kevin Meagher

So which class does Mick Philpott belong to then? I guess he would end up in the “precariat” group, described as the “poorest and most deprived” in the BBC’s new parlour game, the Great British Class Calculator.  After this last week it’s hardly a cheap shot to point out that he’s not exactly working class is he?

Hear, hear! snarks George Osborne, keen to insert himself into the furore over whether Philpott’s life on benefits caused his descent into immorality, chirruping the sentiments in Wednesday’s Daily Mail whose notorious headline labelled him a “Vile product of welfare UK.”

“There’s a question about the welfare state, and taxpayers who pay, subsidising lifestyles like that” Osborne intoned the other day, not one to let the chance to make a cheap political point pass him by. Not so much aspiration as aspersion nation.

Perhaps, then, Osborne and Paul Dacre can tell us when the rot set in? Just how many years does it take idling on benefits, as they see it, to warp someone’s values enough before a man will set fire to his own house and kill his own kids? Ten years? Twenty?

Given Philpott stabbed a former girlfriend back in 1978 – relatively speaking, years of full employment and plenty – could it simply be that he wasn’t wired-up properly to begin with and his employment status has nothing to do with his proclivity towards violence and nihilistic behaviour?

Back to class though. Twenty years ago, we talked gravely of “the underclass” to try and characterise those left high and dry by Thatcherism. You know the ones. Britain’s Dalits – our unloved and unwanted countrymen and women who long ago slipped out of the mainstream. Those whose ignorance is supposedly exceeded only by their fecklessness. The untouchables on housing estates we would gladly cross the road to avoid; that’s if we ever ventured into their neighbourhoods to begin with. Which we don’t.

The right now offers them castigation, the left, pity. But belief in true equality – in the equal worth of all – means these people should never have been allowed to sink so low in the first place. However sink they have; left with poorer health and fewer qualifications, living out a prospectless existence amid pawn shops, take-aways, drug-dealers, loan-sharks and bull mastiffs. Reduced to existing in the here and now. Too unskilled to keep pace with the modern world of work and priced out of low-skilled jobs by cheaper, immigrant labour.

No wonder they hate politicians. But given they’re not on the electoral register there’s not much they can do about it. I wonder if any of the parties knows how Mick Philpott votes? I suspect his street hasn’t seen a canvassing team in quite a while. The only time politicians meet these people is when they are pouring out tales of misfortune to them at their surgeries. Our political parties have nothing to say to those at the bottom of the pile because they want nothing from them. Labour long ago gave up trying to mobilise them.


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