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Here’s Your Welfare State

By ATWadmin On July 21st, 2009

IF THE graph below showed average global temperatures in the 20th Century, we can guess at the reaction of the ruling Establishment. We know it would be drastic, terrifying, would claim our wealth and proscribe our liberties. We know this because, on the basis of wholly equivocal evidence on the course of the planet’s climate, humanity’s influence on it and what we ought to do about it, the reaction of the ruling Establishment has been drastic, terrifying, has (but of course) claimed our wealth and proscribed our liberties.

source (pdf)

But as you can see, the graph – resembling something of a ‘hockey stick’, one might say – shows instead the course of crime in England and Wales during the 20th Century. From the lowest crime to the most heinous, in the words of the House of Commons report from which the graph is taken, it “records offences that are reported to the police and recorded by them.”

In other words, dear reader, we see in graphic form the inexorable rise of crime that has taken place under the growth of the British welfare state and an increasingly intrusive and fascistic style of government.

We see a marginal rise of crime in the 25 years to 1955. This may be partly explained by the welfare state being broadly in place by the mid-1930s. But look again at the from 1955 onwards. There are those who will tell you that “there has always been crime”, as if a society that was once famed for its gentility and civilisation has always been as violent as it now is. (We can dismiss the miraculous dip at the end, coinciding as it does with a New Labour administration that has rendered crime statistics meaningless). 

We can see now it simply isn’t true that crime levels have always been as great as they now are. What we can see is that, within memory for many of our compatriots, our country was once remarkably free of crime. The line from 1955 – in my opinion – represents the catastrophic effects of the growth of government and the welfare state, the war against our Christian morality, the destruction of marriage and the family, the effective banishment of any meaningful punishment for criminal behaviour and thousands more undoubtedly catastrophic social policies inflicted on the British people by an Establishment which protects itself with wealth and men with guns. 

That line represents millions of crimes and incalculable misery, all avoidable but made and fostered and sustained by the welfare state and the social policies of successive British governments. But then I would say that.

What is undeniable is that something went very terribly wrong in our nation in the last century, didn’t it? Shouldn’t we wonder, therefore, at the complacency of an Establishment that has presided over this breakdown in civilisation while waging apparent total war in the name of tweaking temperatures decades into the future?

To put it another way, instead of reversing our economy back into the 17th Century, shouldn’t we instead undo decades of ruinous social policy?

27 Responses to “Here’s Your Welfare State”

  1. "resembling something of a ‘hockey stick’, one might say" – made me laugh.

  2. Decline of Christianity, decline of respect for authority, drug culture, illegality of drugs in the first place, pernicious influences in the culture – all these are factors too.

    Crime is not just an economic issue – some lightly policed, yet poor countries have extremely low crime rates ( Vietnam ) . Other countries had low crime rates even when they were poor ( Korea, Japan ). A strong culture trumps economics here.

  3. …and as a corollary to Phantom’s observation…….I quote:

    >The Empire Windrush was a ship and an important part of the history of multi-cultural Britain. In 1948 the Empire Windrush sailed from Jamaica to Tilbury with a cargo of people wishing to start a new life in Britain, arriving on June 22 1948. The 500 passengers were the first large group of West Indian immigrants to Britain in the post-war period.<

    I would suggest that was the beginning of the rot, and not the Welfare State, perhaps?

  4. "we see in graphic form the inexorable rise of crime that has taken place under the growth of the British welfare state and an increasingly intrusive and fascistic style of government."

    Talk about confirmation bias.

    What other explanations have you considered? What do you think would constitute evidence against your theory?

    How hard have you tried to disprove your theory (which let’s face it you believed prior to seeking any evidence and will continue to believe in spite of any evidence to the contrary)?

  5. Frank O’Dwyer –

    Oh I’ve toiled and anguished for other explanations. But nope, I was right all along. The evidence really does back my opinion.

    Al Gore would pay a fortune for a temperature chart that looks like that.

  6. There are non-welfare state countries that have high crime rates, incl the USA. How do we explain that?

  7. It seems to shoot up after 1979 but the trend is plainly reversed after 1997. I think the explanation’s pretty obvious.

  8. The US crime rate did soar after the introduction of the Great Society era programmes, although there were other things that occurred simultaneously that also mattered because people who are rubbish at running a welfare programme are also rubbish at running the criminal justice and education systems.

  9. Pete,

    "Oh I’ve toiled and anguished for other explanations"

    It doesn’t seem so. Otherwise you’d look at other societies with ‘welfare states’ and see if they (all of them) have the same problem and (what you claim is) an inflection in the curve at the introduction of it. And when you found one that didn’t, you’d have abandoned your theory and looked for something else. You’d also point to model libertarian societies like Somalia and their low crime rates.

    But when it’s not actually a theory and just ideology then people don’t do any of that – ‘post hoc propter hoc’ will do, even if it’s not actually true.

    "Al Gore would pay a fortune for a temperature chart that looks like that."

    If the temperature chart (or any chart) looked like that and the cause was something that required global governance and regulation to fix, you’d deny there was a problem in the first place. And if crime required taxation or cap and trade, you’d say there’s always been crime, the dip at the end would suddenly be significant, or the free market fairy would fix it, and if push came to shove you might even argue that crime was a good thing.

  10. I can assume that "Pete Moore" isn’t a statistician. He seems to know nothing about statistical methods.

  11. The worst crime is intentional homicide/murder. And this list is interesting.

    Will exclude Iraq for obvious reasons

    The UK has more than twice the rate of Ireland.

    Jamaica has a rate about as high as anyone’s, mon.

    The welfare state Scandinavians are very good, except for Sweden which has a rate three times as high as Denmark – but which is still less than half that of NRA-occupied America.

  12. Phantom –

    The United States is no less intensely governed than the UK. It is welfarist in many ways and has undergone a social and cultural revolution too. Neo-Marxism is orthodoxy in many campuses, government departments institutions.

    Frank O’Dwyer –

    Well as you well know (since I’ve told you so) Somalia is no libertarian state. You ought not confuse the lack of central government with lack of laws and enhanced liberty. At least not there.

    Now when you’ve found a society that is comparable to ours – a glorious history, a tradition of light government, the Common Law, a byword for gentility – in which a cultural coup d’etat happened in a few shorts decades, let me know and we’ll see what the numbers look like. The closest comparison, the United States, tells a broadly similar tale in a number of ways.

    Alternatively, you can let us know what your explanation is for the catastrophic and undeniable rise in crime since the 1950s. Too little welfare?

  13. You cannot acurately compare recorded crime figures 80/90 years ago to to recorded crime figures today as anywhere near an accurate reflection of actual criminal offences commited. Society was very different then and there was no real sense of national ‘entitlement’ to the services of the police and the law. There was much less involvement by the State in most peoples lives and consequently there was much less desire amongst huge numbers of the public to get the State involved in wrongs done to you or your family. There was very little involvement with the police in working class areas and there was a strong belief that the police and courts were for the Middle and upper classes only in a nation that operated a much more rigid divided and observed class system.

    There were almost certainly a great deal of violent and sexual offences in the slums ghettoes and even more respectable working class communities that never reached the attention of the police . There would also have been very very little property crime in working class areas for the simple reason that no-one had anything worth taking. Compare that to today with virtually every home filled with electronic goods of use to any burglar and where people will report offences to the police purely for insurance purposes. There are many reasons why such comparisons of basic statistical figures are skewed and to read them as any sort of pinpoint accurate refection of actual offences in different periods of time is wrong.

  14. Denmark and Norway are if anything more social democratic than the UK is. But their crime rate, overall, is low.


    Your last comment I believe to be spot on. Crime has clearly gone up in England and other places since say the forties and fifties – but the 1900s is like another planet. And those were the bad old days in many ways, not because of crime but because the working people had so terribly little. They weren’t all emigrating to America for the climate.

  15. Phantom –

    I doubt the Danes and Norwegians have seen the social and cultural revolutions that ours have, Like the Dutch they are conservative people with still conservative institutions.

    But the point anyway is the rise in crime, the path, where we were and where we are now. As I said in the post, something went very wrong in the UK in the 20th Century. Whatever the explanation(s), this is undeniable.

  16. Colm,

    I just love your version of what life was like 100 years ago, – it was not a crime ridden wasteland as you always like to imply. For one thing, ‘back then’ the general populace had a genuine respect for the constabulary, – unlike today, where they earn more contempt than respect. People were far more likely to turn to their local ‘Bobby’, than you might imagine.

    Your contention that the police were solely a thing of the middle class, is far from fact.

    I suspect one of your ancestors might have been named Fagin.

    Far from the advent of ‘welfare’, I think Pete was tactfully trying to say that the increase in crime probably has more to do with the influx of immigrants from parts of the world with vastly different cultures than that of the UK. The much lauded ‘diversity’ includes the bad things as well as the good. That the former excedes the latter is yet another one of those unintended , – but, oh! so well intentioned, – consequences…

  17. "Well as you well know (since I’ve told you so) Somalia is no libertarian state."

    Of course it is. For those who believe the government which governs least governs best, a state with no functioning government at all must be paradise.

  18. Ernest

    I don’t view the past through the rose coloured ‘see no evil’ eyes that you clearly do. Nether do I have some sort of agenda to view today’s society as a multi cultural paradise. Of course it isn’t and I am fully aware of the problems caused by excessive liberalism. I was just explain a tsimple truth that should be obvious to anyone with a bit of intelligence. That you cannot take 2 slices of statistical records obtained in radically different societies cultures and circumstances and somehow believe that both sets of statistics are an accurate reflection of the reality of crime. If you really believe that the degree of involvement with state organisations , including the police was as great in 1900 as it is in 2009 then I can assure you are wrong. There was a much much greater culture particularly within working class communities to deal with crimes without involving the authorities. The idea of going to the police or the courts for redress of grievances is an idea that started very slowly in the early 1800s and took a long time to embed within Britain continuing right through the 20th century.

    To give you just one small example , I remember reading a local history book some years ago about the history of a particular street in Central London (Lambs Conduit St in Camden) . One of the stories was about a particularly rough pub in this street in around 1910. There was a brawl in which 2 people, a man and a woman both local drunks were stabbed to death and around 10 other drinkers were also stabbed. Nobody made a formal complaint to the police and when a local police constable did bother to make enquiries about a week after the event ,a decision was quickly made not to investigate or take any further action as ‘all involved in the violence were undesirables’. Whatever other problems we have today it is unlikely that the police would refuse to bother investigating a double murder and multiple stabbing wherever it happened.

  19. Colm, the point about some crimes not being reported in the past is reasonable, but the number of homicdes, which would have attracted police attention even in 1900, has increased by around 150% since the 1950s despite improvements in medical technology. In Scotland the homicide rate in 2004 was more than 4 times what it was 50 years earlier.

  20. Colm, you don’t even have to go back that far. The idea that pub brawls for example were any business of the police at all is a relatively modern development.

  21. Colm – you can’t beat eyewitness testimony.

  22. Jimmy

    Each neighborhood in sunny Somalia has a (mis)government by strongman and tribe.

  23. Colm,

    I do not see the past century through rose coloured spectacles, but neither do I see it as being all bad, as you seem to. Times were very different then, even as recently as the 1950’s, communities were less transient and were more family orientated, – and the extended families of those times, would most certainly had a restraining influence on the more bizarre behaviours we see today.

    Crime, like the times, are a changing, and to take any stats out of the context in which they were compiled, proves nothing, – indeed, such tricks are a favourite of the politcians.

    Re the pub killings and similar happenings, all that is really different now is that the police are more media concious, and are more adept at p.r. and making excuses. Nowadays the drunks are much younger, and the stabbings more frequent, – hardly an improvement, I would say.

    Mahons, – as predictable, and as boring as usual!

  24. Jesus things really got out of hand under Thatcher!!

  25. "Each neighborhood in sunny Somalia has a (mis)government by strongman and tribe."

    In other words the private sector has stepped into the gap. I can’t see why Pete would stay a moment longer in the American Soviet when this beacon of liberty beckons.

  26. Labour didn’t get in until 1997, the graph peaks around 1991.
    In the same report though, the prison population was around 67,000 in 1999. We know it’s at 80,000 now and has been for a while. It would be higher but for the government’s cunning decision not to build more jails, instead letting criminals out half way through their sentence or giving suspended sentences.

  27. Pete,

    "Well as you well know (since I’ve told you so) Somalia is no libertarian state"

    Well, yes it is. It clearly lacks government and tax and all of the other government-related things you say are the causes of increases in crime. Plus, other states have a welfare state and I don’t see you producing any graphs about increased crime levels there.

    "Now when you’ve found a society that is comparable to ours"

    Special pleading.

    If the ‘welfare state’ is neither necessary nor sufficient to cause the increase in crime you claim has occurred then what is left of your argument? That the welfare state causes crime but only in Britain?

    "Alternatively, you can let us know what your explanation is for the catastrophic and undeniable rise in crime since the 1950s"

    For a kickoff, you’re graphing reported indictable offences up there, not ‘crime’.

    An increase in reports could mean more crime, or it could simply mean more reports, better policing – or any mixture of them. It could also simply reflect the fact that there are more laws – it would not be too surprising if few people were arrested for motoring offences before the invention of the car.

    "Alternatively, you can let us know what your explanation is for the catastrophic and undeniable rise in crime since the 1950s"

    Since the 50s? I thought you claimed this started with the introduction of the welfare state? Even though your graph shows an upward trend before that.

    How to explain an increase in *reported* crime over the 20th century? Well, gee – Colm has already mentioned the obvious. Then there’s also a thing called the telephone – the 999 system came into being in the UK around the 30s. That might have something to do with more reports.

    Alternative explanations for a rise in actual crime or serious crime? A huge rise in the gap between rich and poor over the same period is one possibility.