Print Story Look deep in the iris of my eye
By Breaker (Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 02:14:35 AM EST) (all tags)
And tell me what you see
You might notice a difference about me.
I've taken the way of a lonely dreamer
Make you fall in love with a touch of my finger
But I don't know, I don't know what that means.

Footie-threatometer: caution

Poll: Is Breaker right on reforming social policy?

Of late I am working in C++ again.  Whilst I am enjoying returning to my roots, I am no longer enamoured with having to keep track of every single piece of memory I use.  Yes, I fully admit it, I am a weenie for expecting the compiler to do my dirty work for me.  That said, knocking up a throwaway app in C++ took me about a day when I reckon I could have done it in a couple of hours in Delphi or C#.

Borland: DOOOOOOOOMED.  Am not too happy about that.  El Reg has an amusing writeup however.

CAB and I had a major set to this week; I've had enough of doing all the food shopping, all the cooking and all the cleaning up after.  Which we discussed, there were tears and a big improvement yesterday; I cooked and she cleaned up.  I felt pretty bad at having a go but I tried not to be too excitable about it and I think some progress was made.  Although how long this lasts for, we shall see.

An additional point I made was that we don't spend time doing things together anymore, really.  We used to go out for dinner a few times a week, just the two of us nothing soppy like [1] but since CAB's been dieting this has fallen by the wayside.  She doesn't like RTFO or online gaming, I don't like watching TV.  So, at a bit of a loss to decide what we're going to do, jointly.    Apart from serving portions, of course.

Going to Russia in summer, oh yes.  Apparently we have to start visa negotiations early.  If you stay in any place for longer than 3 days then you have to register your visa with the local police.  Mmmm, communist super state.

There has been precious little RTFO of late, which has not pleased me greatly.  This weekend I will endeavour to get my ADC replaced I think.  On the plus side, CAB's brother is coming over and he's pretty good with the whole recording at home thing so I may be tapping him up for tips and tricks. 

Toon vs the Salford Buccaneers on Sunday; I am hoping for a draw but I think they may pwn us.  Roedererererer will have Dyer back possibly, which will at least give us some more options up front.  Shee-ra will be largely neutralised by Man USA's back line I think, so we need someone with a bit of pace to get through.  Roederererer also seems to have shored up our back line quite nicely; 2 goals conceded in 6 games is not too shabby a record.  I hope Luque gets a start though, I can see him going in the summer unless he begins getting some regular starts in.  Which will leave a massive gap in the front line; next year we will have Owen, SUPAH_CHOPS, Slower Ameobibi, and um that's it. 

After rampant trolling informed discussion with some of the bleeding heart socialists this week I have been thinking about social policy and how best to address the massive overspend in the public sector.  Whilst there really should be some sort of safety net for the sick and unfortunate, how is it best to trim the wastrels from the system?  And what to do with them?

At present, because both Tory and Labour governments have flogged off large swathes of council housing, many private landlords are letting their properties to councils, who in turn put state dependants in them.  This is clearly not the cheapest way of going about it.  Case in point: in my block of flats one apartment is held by a council tenant subletting.  Flats in the block go for about £1200/month, although the tenant is charged £200.  That's £1000 per month, of your money going to a single parent and her 10 year old child.  The parent does not work.  Whilst this is a localised case, it still shows the mentality and capability of the council to overspend.  Whether this is because all council housing has been sold off or what, I do not know.

In the private sector, it has always been the habit to centralise disparate departments, to take advantages of economy of scale and sharing resources.

Which is why we need to be moving forward in social policy, to bring these expensive outliers on the social budget into a more cost effective solution. 

I propose rebuilding the Victorian style workhouses. 

Obviously, we will need a more modern, sexy sounding name for these centres, something refreshingly NuLabour.  "Participation Centres" or the like.

Whilst the more fully featured social services safety net will still be in place, for those suffering temporary hardship, an arbitrary limit should be set for long term claimants.  These will benefit most from being assigned to the Participation Centres, and offer the largest savings to the local council.

A comprehensive review of those over the boundary of the long term dependant should be conducted, and the Participation Centres built around those demographics.  For example, single parent family units and special units for the disabled.

As a condition of entry, the residents that are of working age and fitness contribute to the cost of running the centre.  Large piecework contracts are to be assigned to the units, similar to the piecework completed by the prison system.  This means that the council is making further savings to the cost of providing care for the disadvantaged. 

[1] Bonus points for getting this reference

< Boom Boom Boom let me hear you say way-ooh | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Look deep in the iris of my eye | 44 comments (44 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Council house sell-off by nebbish (3.50 / 2) #1 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 02:55:44 AM EST
Was a bad idea for exactly the reasons you say. Another thing that has increased social security sspending was moving loads of long-term unemployed onto sickness benefit to bring the unemployment figures down.

Don't agree with your workhouse proposals, for obvious reasons :-) Sorry, really can't be arsed arguing today.

It's political correctness gone mad!

What reasons might they be? by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 03:03:22 AM EST
That it actually makes good fiscal sense?

[ Parent ]
Fiscal sense by nebbish (4.00 / 2) #4 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 03:21:29 AM EST
- building costs.
- planning application costs (I think you can expect a bit of nimbyism). And where will it all go?
- ratio of live-in staff to clients.
- creating rolling housing stock that somehow increases and diminishes in size in accordance with the unemployment rate. Either that, or constant rebuilding and demolition.

It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Ah yes by jump the ladder (4.00 / 2) #6 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 03:29:53 AM EST
creating rolling housing stock that somehow increases and diminishes in size in accordance with the unemployment rate. Either that, or constant rebuilding and demolition.

They call them trailer parks in USia

[ Parent ]
It's a thought I suppose by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 03:31:37 AM EST
Anything to make the UK look even nicer than it does.

It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Short term, yes. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #8 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 03:55:45 AM EST
I hear Wales is quite underpopulated in some parts, so no bother about planning. 

Building costs are only a one off expense anyway, besides which the government will see some of that money again in tax on the builders and on the corporate profits.

There will be limited live in staff costs; a couple of nursery staff and perhaps a doctor or nurse will be required Monday-Friday but that's about it.

It's not rolling accomodation either; the number of potential Participation Centre residents can easily be estimated to the nearest thousand, so build to that + 20% then ship them all to Wales.

[ Parent ]
I think you're overestimating by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 04:02:20 AM EST
How nicely adults are going to treat the place after being forced out of their homes. You'll need more staff than you propose.

At least we can agree on the Wales bit.

It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
In that case by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #14 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 04:12:28 AM EST
It's criminal damage, so straight off to the flogging rack for 20 of the cat, then no further state benefits will be served.  The place will be crawling with CCTV.

In fact, that gives me an even better idea - stream all the CCTV footage on t'internet and offer rewards to members of the public for noting infractions.  Sort of Celebrity Big Brother, without the celebrities. 

[ Parent ]
I'd probably watch it as well by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 04:22:09 AM EST
See a previous argument we had

It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
On behalf of the people of Wales by IEFBR14 (4.00 / 2) #23 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 05:26:30 AM EST
you can fuck right off.

That's a serious point, btw. If you have any intention of breaking the cycle of dependence on the state, either for the parents or their kids, you'll need to build these things somewhere busy enough to have a job market and / or public transport. A couple of crappy fields near Machynlleth is not going to cut it.

[ Parent ]
Lookyou, boyo! by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #30 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:20:50 AM EST
Scotland then?

Piecework - supply delivers large amount of components, retrieves finished widgets.  No requirement of any localised industry.

[ Parent ]
Nah - it's everywhere or nowhere by IEFBR14 (2.00 / 0) #41 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 07:04:58 AM EST
Besides, moving them too close to Rogerborg could have unpredictable consequences.

You're basically advocating collectivising the underclass and putting them to work in state-run factories.

While that's obviously a fresh and exciting idea, I would have thought that exposure to the free market would be more effective and efficient in the long run. You're aiming to change people's attitudes as well as saving a couple of quid, right? So you're going to want to be able to shift the reformed layabouts back into mainstream society, and shift in the next generation, and that's all much easier with more centres spread evenly throughout the country.

[ Parent ]
You're hired! by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #43 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 07:26:56 AM EST
Chief Integration Advisor sound OK to you?  I can bung you a couple of mil a year for the position.

[ Parent ]
Outsource the poor to India by jump the ladder (4.00 / 4) #2 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 02:58:16 AM EST
It's possible to live very well in India for £25 a week. So the poor have much better lifestyles and us tax payers foot a smaller bill. Plus the adminstrative costs would go down as well as that'll be outsourced too. It's a win/win situation.

I suggest that the whole of Liverpool should be outsourced to Calcutta as first step. It'll be a step up for most the inhabitants.

We know where you work. [nt] by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #13 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 04:09:01 AM EST

Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
RTFO and Gaming by cam (4.00 / 2) #5 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 03:26:37 AM EST
My wife spends her time with a phone in one ear, the TV in front of her and a laptop on her lap. I spend my time in front of a PC (games/writing/editing), with a laptop off to the center(IRC/Browser/Garageband), and iTunes blasting away. My guitar is behind me so I can RTFO when I am waiting for something, or am bored.

For some bizarre reason, we don't share the same space when doing these things ....

Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

You need a paradigm shift. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #9 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 03:58:39 AM EST
That's £1000 per month, of your money going to a single parent and her 10 year old child.

I would like to point out that the money is actually going to line the wallet of some fat bastard living on Bag End.

He sits at his desk, wondering how many trips to Tahiti can he afford this year.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Institutionalisation by gpig (4.00 / 1) #10 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 04:01:00 AM EST
I know this is a troll, but it gives me this great idea ....

I think it might be useful to provide people with institutions to join. A lot of people seem to function better when they have more structure and less uncertainty in their lives, but not everybody wants to join the Army. What happens to all the people who (in medaeval times) would have been monks or nuns?

Some jobs provide this to an extent, but I think it would be more honest and better for the people concerned to let them join a more all-encompassing group of some sort. It would probably be focussed around some purpose, though that wouldn't have to be religious. Problem solving is a good one. Imagine a dedicated group of programmer-monks working on large scale government IT projects.

I don't like the idea of compulsion where the people concerned are doing relatively little harm. Your example of a single mother getting housing benefit to rent a flat at an extortionate rate exposes a flaw in the housing system. This is the fact that private landlording is possible, so rental levels don't reflect the true cost of housing. For example, if the tax system were changed to favour housing cooperatives,
this figure would be much lower.

On the other hand, there are people who have proved that they can't be trusted in the conventional economic system -- those persistently guilty of theft, fraud, insider trading etc. It would perhaps be appropriate in such cases to compel these people to join an institution outside the conventional economy.
(,   ,') -- eep

Compulsion. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #12 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 04:08:24 AM EST
Because this applies to the long term unemployed.  Those that take state benefits as a lifestyle choice rather than as a stop gap until they can find work again.

[ Parent ]
Taking benefits as a lifestyle choice by gpig (2.00 / 0) #16 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 04:44:02 AM EST
is fraud, so I agree with you.
(,   ,') -- eep
[ Parent ]
on the other hand by tps12 (4.00 / 1) #17 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 04:55:17 AM EST
Who really cares? So some people might be lazy...what's it to you? Why be such a jerk about it?

[ Parent ]
I really care by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #19 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 05:04:44 AM EST
Seeing as it is my tax money that goes to fund these freeloaders.

[ Parent ]
but mostly not, right? by tps12 (4.00 / 3) #21 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 05:11:51 AM EST
I mean, most of your tax money goes somewhere else completely...I know the UK doesn't spend as much on the military as the US does, but I'm sure the social safety net stuff that is susceptible to abuse is a small percentage of outlays. So, what, a couple hundred pounds out of the year, a few days' pay maybe? Being directed to people whose lives are, if fraudulant and lazy, still not really excellent? Why do you have to be such an enormous jerk about it?

[ Parent ]
IAWTP. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #25 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 05:33:46 AM EST
Ouch, that hurts my fascist pride.

[ Parent ]
Yeah by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #27 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 05:49:18 AM EST
There's something in all this (especially as I've been getting it off him for days, every time I post a comment near him), that suggests to me that Breaker needs a holiday.

It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
I've been worried about it, too. by ambrosen (4.00 / 2) #28 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:00:10 AM EST
I can't understand why it's getting to him. I mean, we live in a place where he's been enabled by the state to earn what I imagine to be a pretty good salary, and he's resenting the fact that he has to pay to keep the state working. Seriously, try being well off and safe in Russia or Eastern Europe, and work out what percentage you lose due to corruption and protection rackets. And you still have to see extreme deprivation.

[ Parent ]
Oh yes. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #34 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:34:12 AM EST
And enabled by the state too many times to note that the state can't really be arsed to help when he has asked.  Now, what really grates my carrot is that I'm pumping in a bit more cash each month to Bliars experimental government, and receiving bugger all in return by comparison to others.

Like, if you bought a box of jaffa cakes, and left them on your desk when you went and made a cup of tea.  Then when you came back they'd all been eaten.  You'd be pretty narked at those who scoffed all your jaffa cakes, and even more so at the person that opened the packet, right?

I'm sure I'll feel much happier when Labour are no longer in government.

[ Parent ]
Too true. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #37 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:42:56 AM EST
I've already noted my tax revenue doesn't cover my prescriptions bill. It's like free Jaffa Cakes with my payslip every month. Which of your taxes has gone up significantly?

[ Parent ]
*shrug* by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #40 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:59:19 AM EST
I've no beef with those that require medical care.  I do have a beef that under Labour, NHS funding has doubled and I'm damned if I can see a commensurate improvement in services.

Income tax hasn't gone up, no.  It's extra tax on private medical care, NI (mmm sliding scales, proportional taxation goodness), council tax, capital gains tax, and tax tax.  Gordon "texture like sun" Brown really is a master of the death of a thousand cuts; a nibble extra here, a little pinch there.  It's only when you actually start adding it all up you realise you're being fleeced. 

Overall I am about £400 quid worse off a month under Labour, engaged in a potentially illegitimate conflict, watching corruption spread throughout the Cabinet whilst the PM spouts off that he's beyond judgement of his electorate and will be judged by history.  Oh no that was last year, he's now to be judged by God.

[ Parent ]
A holiday? by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #32 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:26:44 AM EST
From tax perhaps?

[ Parent ]
Why don't by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #33 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:28:27 AM EST
You go and sign on?

It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
That'd be a little hypocritical though, eh? by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #35 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:37:20 AM EST
Besides, I'd need to knock up a few chicks to ensure a decent handout from the state.

[ Parent ]
You've paid your taxes by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #36 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:41:27 AM EST
It's a way of getting some back. Trust me though, it's pretty miserable trying to get by on 50 quid a week.

It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
50 quid *a week*? by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #38 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:45:26 AM EST
For just rolling up to the dole centre every fortnight?  Not a bad work schedule, that!

Now, you really should have played that a little better; could you not have claimed some disability benefit, some trouser benefit and some slightly-taller-than-average benefit?

[ Parent ]
Perhaps by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #29 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:05:14 AM EST
Perhaps not.  But as the tax burden increases, it cuts me first.

So eliminating waste is a bad thing then? 

In this diary I've also noted that childcare and healthcare would also be provided at these centres.  More cheaply than before because of centralisation.  This enables those stuck in poverty traps to take advantage of the additional time they have on their hands, and look to be trained for a better job than at the Participation Centre. 

And if they are unwilling to undergo training, then they have the satisfaction of the piecework each day.  That can be empowering for them, knowing that they are contributing a little back to their society.

So, we have a situation now where the undeserved poor are given better access to resources to better themselves, at a cheaper cost to the tax payer.

Can you point me to how that makes me an "enormous jerk" then?

[ Parent ]
eliminating waste is fine by tps12 (4.00 / 2) #39 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:54:55 AM EST
Your near obsession with one tiny form of waste, to the exclusion of all else, appears to go beyond what can be justified rationally. You frame your argument in financial terms, but your single-mindedness suggests to me that your real opposition to the free-loading poor is rooted in morality and principle, not just finances. I.e., "it's just wrong."

Since I'm analyzing, might as well throw in that I read "undeserved poor" as a Freudian slip (the conscious "underserved" partially displaced by the subconscious "undeserving").

[ Parent ]
Would you also like by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #42 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 07:05:52 AM EST
Me to tell you about my mother?

And if you're any fan of pop psychology, you might want to have a look at "middle child syndrome" and relate it to what I've posted here.

Nope, by "undeserved poor" I mean those that are in a bad situation not of their making.  I'm sure you'll agree I have plenty of my own so stop putting words in my mouth.

[ Parent ]
Can we trade then? by R Mutt (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 05:11:56 AM EST
I don't mind supporting the long-term unemployed, but I really can't stand supporting the kill-tens-of-thousands-with-unnecessary-waste monstrosity of the NHS.

If I trade you 20,000 of my lifetime NHS tax money for 20,000 your unemployment tax money, will you call it quits?

[ Parent ]
No surrender! by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #44 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 07:30:46 AM EST
Tax cuts for all[1]

[1] That are currently paying income tax.

[ Parent ]
Random social reform comment by R Mutt (4.00 / 2) #18 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 05:01:08 AM EST
Benefits for single, adult, able-bodied people with no dependents are already very tight and restricted. I doubt they account for a very high proportion of the total.

The big payouts and the big money goes to unemployed parents. The problem with cutting of their benefits and kicking them out of the housing is that you then have to kick their kids onto the street too.

If you want to cut back on social spending, the question isn't "how much can we punish the undeserving poor", the question is "how much can we punish the children of the undeserving poor".

Indeed. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #20 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 05:07:11 AM EST
Compulsory sterilisation as well then.

This isn't about punishment, this is about getting the tax bill down.  And offering safe, secure childcare to those who might actually want to work can actually contribute.

[ Parent ]
Whilst forcing them out of their homes? by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #26 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 05:46:32 AM EST
What's wrong with nurserys?

It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
"Their homes" by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #31 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 06:24:00 AM EST
No, redistributing them to a different council funded facility.

We are struggling to deliver affordable childcare for the middle classes, far less anything else.  Centralise the nursery and it becomes more realistic to have low cost, effective childcare.

[ Parent ]
Common activity suggestion: by TurboThy (4.00 / 1) #24 Fri Mar 10, 2006 at 05:27:16 AM EST
Geocaching. 100-150 quid for a decent (read: Garmin) GPS, and then there's free exercise included. Plus, it's a hobby that travels well.
Sommerhus til salg, første række til Kattegat.
Look deep in the iris of my eye | 44 comments (44 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback