Some months ago, the British papers were filled with the story of Shannon Matthews, a little girl who vanished from her home in West Yorkshire, sparking a huge manhunt. She was eventually found, 24 days later, at the home of her stepfather’s uncle. The big shocker, though, was the fact that both her stepfather and mother were later arrested, the former for child porn, the latter for interfering with the investigation (a bunch of sisters, cousins and aunts were arrested on these same grounds).
The Daily Mail found interesting the plethora of criminals in this one family and did a little investigation. It discovered that the family was descended from solid yeoman stock — never high class, but not the dregs of society either. Now, with the complicity of Britain’s vast welfare system, the family has descended into criminal chaos:
Our own researches have identified scores of her relations, living and dead, going back five generations to the thriving Dewsbury of the 19th century.
The yeoman surnames – Drake, Bell, Lamb, Asquith, Shepherd – suggest they could be traced back, somewhere in England at least, for several centuries before that.
What emerges is a fascinating, if bleak, pattern of gradual social disintegration. It surely resonates with what is happening in many other Northern, white, lower working-class communities. An epoch has passed.
Karen Matthews is a striking figurehead for this generation.
She has never been in regular work yet receives £400 a week benefits, having had seven children by five different men.
Her forbears, though, were the footsoldiers of industrial Britain. Some of her parents’ generation even worked in the last factories, mines and mills – relics of West Yorkshire’s status as an economic powerhouse.
Today, heavy industry has moved on to other, cheaper and more productive parts of the globe. Only 40 people are now employed in weaving in the whole of Dewsbury.
The original workforce and their descendants, however, have been left marginalised, often suspicious of growing immigrant communities. Indeed, 13 per cent of Dewsbury’s population is of Asian origin – who bring their own traditions and entrepreneurial drive.
Other traditional foundation stones have also shifted.
The powerful family cornerstone of marriage no longer exists, nor in many cases does the nuclear household and the maternal bond.
The result has been disastrous.
At least 13 of the children in the latest generation related to the Matthews family do not live with their mothers, for one reason or another. Several are being looked after by others.
One was put out for adoption. Another is serving a life sentence in prison.
You can read the rest here.
There is no doubt, of course, that the history of humanity is of people going up and down in their fortunes. What’s striking here is of how closely the downward trajectory seems to be connected to a welfare state that substituted the government for breadwinners. In other words, it strikingly parallels what happened in the African-American community, with the coming of welfare. Bert Prelutsky summarizes that well:
Back in the 1960s, the Democrats went in for social engineering in a big way. They concentrated particularly on black Americans. One of the first things they did was to increase welfare, but only to those homes that didn’t have men living in them. That not only created dependency on the part of black women and children, but, inevitably, led young blacks to grow up without male authority figures around to keep them in line. The results weren’t too great for the grown-ups, either. Single black mothers, more often than not uneducated teenagers, were faced with the prospect of trying to raise and discipline unruly young guys; while far too many black men became as rootless and irresponsible as their offspring.
Nobody should be too surprised that blacks, whose families, in the main, used to be even more stable than whites during the 30s and 40s, are now in shambles. Half of teenage blacks drop out of high school before they graduate, and 70% of black babies are born to unmarried females.
I guess you could say that families come and families go, but government is forever.Email This Post To A Friend
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