Crimes of the Welfare State?

george osborneThere has been a major media storm over the last few weeks revolving around the Philpott family. For those of you who read my blog from overseas I’ll give you a quick run-down:

Benefit-scrounging nasty piece of work (wife-beater and had already been in prison for attempted murder of a previous ex-girlfriend), was jailed for being the ‘brains’ (and I use that term lightly) behind a plot to burn down the family home in an effort to frame his ex-girlfriend as retaliation for her leaving him and taking the children. Tragically, the fire took hold too quick and the six children died. Mick Philpott was sentenced to serve a minimum of 15 years after he was convicted of six counts of manslaughter.

While I wholeheartedly believe that sentence is an insult to the six lives he ended, I am not writing about that today. Instead, this blog post is about the media storm around the social classes.

George Osborne, our Chancellor, is attempting to use the tragic murder of the poor children to back up the Conservatives’ claim that the welfare state is subsidising inappropriate lifestyles – to the point where it seems he is implying there is a direct connection between people on benefits and crimes such as those committed by Philpott.

Surely that would imply that the majority of horrendous crimes are committed by those out of work and living off of benefits. Maybe some are. But I seem to remember a few more high-profile cases that disprove his theory.

Let’s start with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann on 3rd May 2007. The parents, both respectable tax-paying members of society, one a GP and one a cardiologist, went out for a meal with friends leaving their three children alone in their holiday apartment in Portugal, and (apparently) checked on them periodically throughout the evening. They left their children despite the availability of both a babysitting service and a crèche. Madeleine was three. Her twin siblings were younger. Maddy has to this day, not been found. Her parents were both suspects during the investigation but without a body/evidence no charges could be made.

I believe (and this in my own opinion folks so don’t go getting all argumentative with me), that somehow Maddy died in an accident and the parents covered it up to save their own skin. Too much about the parents actions and reactions was wrong. And I firmly believe that if the parents had both been depending on benefits and living in rented accommodation they would have been charged for child neglect. But I digress.

Maybe that was the wrong example to start with, as the only provable crime is child neglect. So I’ll move on to my next example.

Harold Shipman, Dr Death to his friends, was a British doctor found guilty of 15 murders. A clinical audit commissioned by the Department of Health estimates Shipman was responsible for the deaths of at least 236 patients over a 24 year period. He stole jewellery from patients and forged a new will for his last victim.

Surely this isn’t possible, George Osborne? A well-respected doctor? A tax payer? He studied medicine – he wasn’t some kind of benefit-scrounging low-life! How do you explain that? How can he be one of the most prolific serial killers in recorded history?

Blaming the welfare state is just as discriminating as blaming race or religion. Yes, you get evil people, but you mustn’t make the mistake of pigeon-holing. They can be anywhere. In any part of the social structure, be any race, and follow any religion.


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