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for There But For The Grace Of God Go You

3/18/2004 c4 47Dave500
thank you for what you said. I've always tried to consider bith sides, before i make a decision of what i'm for. and i always try be understanding of the other side. even though i'm a conservative i agree with some of your ideas. one theing though you mispelled my penname. It's the mighty Lu Bu Not Lu Blu.
good job with these essays
1/18/2004 c3 150SpawnMeister666
I have my own opinions on immigration in England, and I guess I feel like sharing them right now.
How is it that we can allow someone like Abu Hamza to preach intolerance in a London street the way he does?
Because someone in immigration messed up a few years back and granted him British citizenship, which means he has the whole freedom of speech thing on his side.
Although I have no doubt if I stood across the road from him shouting 'death to all muslims' I'd be arrested pretty damn quick!
However, he was an isolated incident. Most people come here because they want to better themselves in any way they can.
Personally, I think anyone who is fleeing an oppressive regime should be granted asylum. I'm not totally convinced it should be Britain that grants it though.
If someone jumps on a plane in Baghdad, destination London, gets off the plane, and claims asylum, then fine. Investigate things thouroughly, make an informed decision about what is the best thing to do, and stick to it.
If he's in danger in Iraq, grant him asylum. I have no argument with that. And I agree they should be treated properly in the meantime.
However, if someone decides to come across land, and drives all the way through Europe before getting on a boat to England and then claiming asylum, I would say send them back immediately.
Why didn't he claim asylum in France? Or Germany? Or Austria? Or anywhere else on the way?
Fine, he isn't safe at home. Granted he should be allowed to live his life free from persecution. But he can do that in any country in Europe.
And if he's come all that way just to come to England, then I would argue he doesn't just want freedom from persecution. He also wants what he believes will be an easy life in England. And this is where I think the system is flawed.
I live in Manchester, and there are several hundred families who have been granted asylum here after fleeing the old Yugoslavia during the conflict.
Most of them have integrated well into society. Their children are doing well in school, getting good grades. The parents have been found jobs. Not great jobs, but jobs all the same.
And they turn up for work each morning, put in the 8 hours asked of them, and then go home to look after the kids.
All of them have been accepted into the community and are respected.
All except for one family that is.
Who are currently trying to sue the council because the house they were given for free isn't big enough to allow everyone to have their own room.
And because one of the kids was called a name at school, clearly they were sent to a bad school. Again, councils fault.
Plus, the father of the house got fired the fifth time he turned up for work drunk.
People like this family should be sent straight back to where they came from and sod what happens to them when they get there.
They clearly have no intention of doing anything for themselves, and just want the state to look after them.
And I know the tabloid you mentioned, personally I haven't read it since a certain article in 1989.
Unfortunately, it is families like the one I mentioned above that give that rag of a tabloid ammunition to fuel the hysteria over immigration.
As for the Czech's, I personally find it annoying that every time any of my friends want to come to visit me I have to send them a letter and then wait by the phone to explain myself should they get stopped at immigration.
As always, there are two sides to every argument. I've tried to play devils advocate a little, as I actually agree with the principle of what you say in all three of these pieces.
Which, incidentally, were extremely well written by the way.
1/18/2004 c2 SpawnMeister666
Oh the glory that is the NHS!
Or should that be, oh the glory that the NHS could be, if it were properly run and funded?
I used to work in a hospital, my first job in fact. Hard to believe it was 15 years ago now.
Even then there were massive shortages, and things have just gotten worse over the years.
And yet, somehow, despite all the efforts of the government to force us all into going private, the NHS still functions.
Okay, they can barely cope, and the fact they are funtioning at all is a huge testament to each and every member of staff in each and every hospital and surgery.
Although I can't help wondering if Harold Shipman would have gotten away with things for so long if everyone else wasn't working so hard just trying to keep things going.
1/18/2004 c1 SpawnMeister666
I was originally going to do one review for the whole of this, then decided in hindsight it would be better to take each section seperately.
I know people who refuse to work as they feel they are better off without working.
Okay, they only get £80 a week unemployment benefit. But they also get things like rent paid for them, council tax, free school meals for their children. Stuff like that.
Plus for each child they have they get more benefits. So in some cases it is actually better for someone to stay on benefits than to work.
There are other people who totally abuse the system by claiming under different names at different offices, working and claiming benefits at the same time. Things like that.
In my experience, a lot of these people are either builders or taxi drivers, which are both areas where there is little regulation of who exactly it is driving that taxi, or hod carrying on that building site.
Plus of course, both tend to pay cash in hand.
On the other side, I know plenty of people who REFUSE to claim benefits. Indeed, I'm one of those people myself.
I'd personally rather get a pound an hour to clean toilets than have to rely on some sort of handout. Even though I've been paying tax for pushing 15 years now, and would deserve everything I got benefit wise should I start to claim, I choose not to.
I think in this country we do need a benefits system. But I also think it needs a radical overhaul to stop money being thrown away on people who dont deserve it.
And I totally agree that anyone who REFUSES to attend job interviews or work should be denied benefits after a certain period of time.
Okay, if there's no jobs out there, we have to do everything we can to help people out. But if they just want to sit back and take the money without working for a living?
Personally, I say screw the lot of them!
1/8/2004 c3 33Tiefling
Brilliantly written, as per usual. I don't know all that much about immigration in Britain, but Australia, too is in the grip of xenophobia.
However, to my shame, we treat our asylum seekers even worse.
Being kept in 'prison like' conditions must beat the Hell out of actually being imprisoned,as people are here.
It never ceases to amaze me how some people seem to believe that halting or slowing immigration will stop terrorism. To do that you'd have to stop not only asylum seekers, but also tourists and everyone else from entering the country, then wipe out everyone who's already here just in case.
1/8/2004 c1 Retlor
Steven Lawrence:
'However, if they make no attempt to rectify the situation using the welfare benefits they receive, then they should be cut off.'
I seems fair, but the problem arises with the definition of 'rectifying the situation' If they spend money they need to on food, and they do not have enough left to heat the flat, should they be penalised for not looking for a job while they work out a way to strecth the last little bit as far as it will go?
If they go looking for a job, and in the process they don't spend enough on keeping themselves fed and warm, should they be penalised?
The idea is fundamentally a good one, like communism, but like communism it has flaws.
1/8/2004 c1 Steven Lawrence
Jago: Dont know if you saw the news lately, but over here across the pond Bush just scored points with the liberal crowd by doing something I'm not that happy with, and that's sign a new immigration law giving illegal immigrants (read: criminals) the ability to get my Social Security tax dollars.

"The plan will siphon off the hard-earned tax dollars of American workers who may never see a dime of their confiscated earnings and fork it over to foreigners guilty of at least four acts of federal law-breaking: crossing the border illegally, working illegally, engaging in tax fraud and using bogus documents."
-Michelle Malkin, http:/worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=36487

Is that what we should do James? Start giving the ones here illegally the money the law-abiding citizens make? That's swift.

Reltor: "Obviously poor will always exist, but it is the province of welfare to see that they aren't so poor that they can't live."

Agreed. I do not deny this.

"The problem is you seem to have aquired the Victorian view that the poor are there ALWAYS there by their own faults as obviously some are there by their own faults."

No, I did not say that. However, if they make no attempt to rectify the situation using the welfare benefits they receive, then they should be cut off. Period. Would you agree to that?

1/8/2004 c1 Retlor
Sorry. Where I said 'you seem to have aquired the Victorian view that the poor are there by their own faults'
I meant ALWAYS there by their own faults as obviously some are there by their own faults.
1/8/2004 c4 Retlor
Steven Lawrence:
You know, for all our arguing, I think we have remarkably similar views. The only reason you don't seem to be so supportive of welfare is because in your country they seem to be overdoing it according to you, wheras here it works out ok.
Obviously poor will always exist, but it is the province of welfare to see that they aren't so poor that they can't live. The problem is you seem to have aquired the Victorian view that the poor are there by their own faults. If you live below the poverty line it is VERY difficult to pull yourself out of it no matter how hard you work (unless your lucky enough to win the lottery or something)
1/8/2004 c4 MrFlames
You're wrong, it's *very* dismissive of people who hold differing views.
1/8/2004 c4 Steven Lawrence
First off Jago, you've been in several debates on other people's review boards and never once apologized to THEM, so if getting a review alert each time me and Reltor say something to each other bothers you, turn 'em off.

Secondly, you make it seem like a perfect welfare system will eliminate the poor class in society. And you don't just get money in this country-you also get free food, medical insurance, more money per kid, etc. In the United States, there is very little incentive to work, hence my point. And no, obviously the talk show crowd isn't the majority, but if you go into the inner city of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, DC, Tampa, NYC, Boston, LA, etc you'll see several minority groups abusing the welfare system-hence the number of critis. Sure, you could turn that reasoing on me with the war in Iraq, but its apples and oranges. A war ALWAYS harbors split feelings-that will never change. Giving my money to undeserving welfare recipients, however, will always get a strong criticism. You act as though the poor class can someday be eliminated in a capitalist society with the perfect welfare program. But what you and others need to understand is that in a capitalist society the poor ALWAYS exist-it will never change. They MUST exist for capitalism to work. It operates much like the bell curve: two extremes (extremely rich and extremely poor) and then everyone else inbetween, wherever you fall in. You just can't elminate the poor-they will always be there. Crutch, not wheelchair. And you said in my email "well what if you don't have any legs"...they make special mechanics for that. I can play the metaphor game all you want, my point is it should be limited, at least in the US, to FORCE people to get a job and FORCE people to not overspend, etc. You're making welfare into a solution to the Jones Effect: the Jones' are your next door neighbor and have all the cool stuff, so you go out and buy the same stuff or even better, regardless if you can actually afford it. That, surprisingly enough, is the main reason people are poor-not unemployment (which you seem to make out to be the biggest reason for the need for welfare). Hence, the entire reason why communism, something you seem to favor to a great extent, can and WILL never work.

1/7/2004 c1 Steve Lawrence
"The reason that there are so many critics is that there is an idea that everyone using the welfare system is a lazy commie scoundral who is only interested in making money at the expense of others. Not so."


"It is easy to manipulate a welfare system, but that doesn't mean we should cut the majority of legitimate users away from it."

No, you're right you shouldn't. You should cut out alot of the money...welfare needs to be a system that FORCES the recipient to get a job. That FORCES the recipient to take the intiative to get back on their feet. Like I said, think of it like a crutch: you're still forced to use your legs. You're still going to have to push yourself. In a wheelchair, almost everything is taken care for you.

1/7/2004 c1 Retlor
The reason that there are so many critics is that there is an idea that everyone using the welfare system is a lazy commie scoundral who is only interested in making money at the expense of others. Not so.
Many, indeed most, of its users are people who were unlucky enough to lose their job for some reason. Unfortunately, if there is little provision of welfare then the chances of them getting another one when they are worrying about how to pay the mortgage, or their child's university bills, or even the food for that day. It is absurd to expect the government to pay the first two, that would be a 'wheelchair' as you put it. However, they should not have to live below the poverty line.
Incidently, what I think welfare should be is somewhere between the wage that would put them on the poverty line and the salary they would earn on a minimum wage job.
When it comes to medical bills, we have an NHS and you have one if your poor enough, so I don't know what point your trying to make.
Yes, a recession now and again is a necessary part of a healthy economy, but the Tories did not help the situation, they worsened it. Some of the effects on British society were caused by the Tories so they should have to deal with some of it (ie. seeing that those out of work have enough to live on)
Yes if they caused it they should fix it, just as if I lose something a friend lent me, it would be fair for them to expect me to buy a new one woudn't it?
If the government provides a basic standard of living, then anyone who wants a better one, and most people do, will have to work for it as is fair.
It is easy to manipulate a welfare system, but that doesn't mean we should cut the majority of legitimate users away from it.
1/7/2004 c1 Steve Lawrence
The question I have for you Reltor is simple: if indeed it was a minority, then why is it there are so many critics of welfare programs? While you may want to believe it is a minority, it surely is not if it continues to be a problem. And what is "adequate" to you? If I was to take a guess, I would assume lower middle class living. Or just as long as you wouldn't be under the word "poor", right? That's wrong. The concern of the Republicans in 1932 is the same we Republicans have now: you give an inch and nobody wants to go the mile. What incentive is there to work (besides good morals which seem to be a thing of the past in this country) when the government is covering medical costs, food, and your basic standard of living. Its WAY too easy to manipulate a welfare program and sadly enough, there's plenty of people willing to do it. The natural business cycle in a capitalist enviornment is nobody's fault. A recession needs to occur to bounce a stronger economy. The point being that your comment of "well they caused it so they should fix it" is wrong. Because at that point you're beginning to advocate the government get it's hands in everything and just take care of everyone and everything. While you've yet to come out and say it, the reasons you've given would lead to a communist style government that we all know exists well only in theory. As I said before, welfare should only be a crutch, not a wheelchair.

1/7/2004 c1 Retlor
Steven Lawrence: I did not suggest that the government should make hundreds of jobs appear out of nowhere, that would be impossible.
What I did say was that the government should be responsible for seeing that those people have a decent standard of life (ie adequate homes, food, clothes etc) and that the best way of doing this would be welfare. It is their duty especially as they made the policies that made the situation so bad.
I would like to qoute from my history textbook (Ben Walsh and John Murray 'Modern World History' from the 'History in Focus' series) an example pertinant to the situation.
The 1932 Presidential Election
'Even more damaging to Hoover's reputation, however, was how little he tried to help those who were suffering because of the depression. He believed social security was not the responsibilty of the government. Relief should be provided by local government or charities. The Republicans were worried that if the government helped people they would become less independant and less willing to work.'
This recession, of course, dwarfs the 1980s but the principle is the same. People aren't quite as lazy as you seem to think. Aside from the shame attached to social security, some people feel that they have a duty to work, some enjoy their work, some feel that they make a difference (and they do). There are some
'teens on welfare and food stamps with 28 kids celebrating the fact that they don't need to work "cuz my baby daddy pays me and the government too."'
However they really are a minority.
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