Status anxiety

Tell the truth about benefit claimants and the left shuts you down

How neuro­biologist Dr Adam Perkins became a victim of the new McCarthyism

16 January 2016

9:00 AM

16 January 2016

9:00 AM

Next month sees the release of Trumbo, a biopic about Dalton Trumbo, the screenwriter who was blacklisted by the Hollywood studios after refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. Trumbo continued to work under a variety of pseudonyms and won two Academy Awards for his screenplays, neither of which he was able to receive. He wasn’t rehabilitated until 1960, some 13 years later.

I’ve seen Trumbo and it isn’t much good, but Bryan Cranston has been nominated for numerous awards for his portrayal of the tortured martyr, including a Bafta. People who work in the film industry are, of course, almost universally liberal, and recognising Cranston’s performance is a way of signalling their disapproval of McCarthy-ism. It’s safe to say that, among the progressive left, the House of Un-American Activities has no defenders.

Which makes it all the more ironic that McCarthyism is alive and well and being practiced by the liberal intelligentsia. Last week, I wrote about the punishment meted out to Napoleon Chagnon, the evolutionary anthropologist whose work on the indigenous population of the Amazonian rain forest challenged liberal pieties about the goodness of man in his prelapsarian state. Chagnon was essentially blacklisted by the people who control the anthropology industry. This week I want to highlight another victim of liberal McCarthy-ism — Dr Adam Perkins, a lecturer in the neurobiology of personality at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London. Like Chagnon, Perkins is a social scientist whose research findings pose a direct challenge to one of the central planks of left-wing ideology.

Over the past five years, he has accumulated a mass of evidence about the personalities of welfare claimants and concluded that individuals with aggressive, rule-breaking and anti-social tendencies — what he calls the ‘employment–resistant personality profile’ — are over-represented among benefit recipients. He also found that their children are likely to share those traits, which helps explain why poverty has a tendency to be passed down from one generation to the next.

Now, none of that will surprise anyone who has spent time among the long-term unemployed or their -progeny, such as the police, social workers and teachers. You might even say it’s bleedin’ obvious. But to the progressive left, Perkins’s research is sacrilege. It runs counter to the anti-capitalist narrative that portrays the ever-expanding underclass as ‘victims’ whose only sin is to be born on the wrong side of the tracks. We’re back to the myth of the noble savage.

Perkins published his findings last November in a book called The Welfare Trait (Palgrave Macmillan, £19.99), but you won’t have heard about it or seen it reviewed in any UK newspaper anywhere because his research has been judged to be off limits by the self-appointed guardians of the academic establishment and their outriders in the media. A senior editor of Nature, one of the leading academic journals, refused to consider it for review because she regards scientific research into the personalities of the long-term unemployed as ‘unethical’, and a sociology professor whom the publishers had asked to peer-review the book refused to do so on the grounds that any book linking benefit dependency to personality must be nonsense because personality is a ‘capitalist construct’.

Colleagues with whom Perkins had collaborated in the past warned him off publication, worried about being associated with such a heretic; and a powerful American professor was so enraged by his conclusions that he lobbied for him to be banned from the conference circuit.

‘The basic liberal narrative is that there’s no connection between the individual qualities of unemployed people and their unemployment,’ Adam Perkins explained when I tracked him down on Twitter. ‘They’re just leaves being blown around by the powerful forces of the global economy.’

Perkins says that the link between personality, employability and welfare dependency has been known about for years by academics — ‘It’s old hat, really’ — but until now it’s only been discussed behind closed doors. ‘It’s fear of the political-correctness brigade that has stopped my colleagues going public — quite sensibly, as it turns out,’ he says. ‘But I felt I owed it to the taxpayers who are funding the welfare state to publish these data.’

Let’s hope Adam Perkins doesn’t remain on the blacklist for as long as Dalton Trumbo.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator.

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Show comments
  • davidshort10

    Lots of unemployment about because there’s a lack of real, properly-paying jobs. Rod Liddle understands this. Because he is in the north a lot he told us here about the plight of Middlesborough men who ‘got on their bikes’ to the London Olympics site but were rejected. Britain has a powder keg of angry young men. Watch it explode one day.

    • balance_and_reason

      Lots of unemployment in the North because they have voted socialist for 50 years….screwed society, rather like sink estates. It will be a struggle to turn it round. Entrenched socialist attitudes need to be dug out.

      • davidshort10

        I don’t think it was the socialists who closed the pits, the shipyards, the factories, the steel works. I think some of it was due to foreign competition and lower prices. Plus the addition of lots of foreign workers who undercut British workers hasn’t helped. It’s laughable when the Conservatives talk about putting people ‘back to work’. Compare the levels of unemployment and the number of vacancies and you’ll understand why. Lots of unemployment in the south too. I would say our substandard education system hasn’t helped either, by pumping out people who can barely read and write.

        • balance_and_reason

          oh really, so all those business’s failed by themselves, whilst flourishing in other countries and the mad communist funded unions of the sixties and seventies whose, self admitted, excess’s shut every factory almost monthly, resisted all change, destroyed any hope of competing internationally with emerging industrial countries, (and are still operating that way in the public sector…see the ultra successful state education/flexible change grabbing London underground etc etc etc)….in fact you blame conservatives for the fatuous education our kids receive!!! you need a little historic perspective to see who pushed and organised what.

          • davidshort10

            Sorry, I didn’t realise you were bonkers. I thought I was communicating with a sane, reasonable person. I hope you are getting appropriate help from the socialist NHS.

          • balance_and_reason

            sure, the perfect socialist NHS.

          • hobspawn

            The only sensible response to jenny’s lunacy which is too common, sadly.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Is 10 your age?

            That would explain why you don’t have a clue about the good old days of demarcation disputes, strikes, and secondary picketing!

          • jennybloggs

            Pitiful British management did not help. Still doesn’t. Sure the unions did dreadful things to the car industry but it wasn’t the unions who chose the unwanted and old fashioned designs of the cars.

          • RobertRetyred

            What capable, hard working, successful car designer would WANT to go and work for a strike ridden company?
            With management tied up in negotiations with Red Robbo, they wouldn’t have time to think of good design, or good anything!

          • jennybloggs

            Management of those days was ropey. Too many accountants on the boards of manufacturing companies and not enough engineers. Too many afternoons on the golf course. Too much short termism. Total lack of respect on both sides of industry. I am retired thank God. I don’t know what it is like now but we seem to have moved on to too much management in the public sector anyhow.

          • balance_and_reason

            British management was no worse across the piste than anyone else’s. When you have a union which prevented change and went on all out strike/with secondary( sympathy strikes) at any move for change, it is not possible to manage. The labour government backed the unions till it was too late, the nationalisation was the coup de grace, as usual.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Like the printing industry that still had to pay for people (who might not even exist – the foreman took their pay-packet as perk of the position) to do “jobs” that hadn’t existed for a century, or to do the modern equivalent of a former full time job which might just be pulling one lever and pushing a button, then going back to sleep for the rest of the night.

            Then there was the demarcation issues, can’t do a job that involves a spanner unless you are one trade, or a saw unless you are another, so the electrician would have to have a team of other tradesmen to fit the phone you’d been waiting a year for (remember land-lines?!). And if a problem cropped up that another trade was needed for it was back to square one while you waited for the right tradesman to turn up.

            Whole factories grinding to a halt because a key maintenance trade was missing to do a job most amateurs could do with the odds and ends in the top kitchen draw!

          • balance_and_reason

            indeed…people have short memories

          • Mr B J Mann

            Yes, but when your factory is on strike for a day or two a week, you have to pay for three days “work” plus “overtime”, but you only get a day or two’s production, but half of that falls to bits on the way out of the factory gate, management doesn’t really have any money to invest in new designs, new tooling, new machinery, new plant, new premises……..

      • Hagen vanTronje

        Blame the influx of Leftwing Teachers in the early 1970’s, the banning of corporal punishment and the idea it was OK to ‘sign on’.
        My generation from the 1960’s was brought up to be proud of Queen and Country, the idea of not getting a job was inconceiveable and if you did sign on then you got a pittance and were looked down upon, so you seriously looked for employment.
        Another thing, my generation was not competing against a load of Immigrants who were happy to take a job at half the going rate !

        • Todd Unctious

          Do you mean born in the 60s or coming of age in the 60s?

    • Hagen vanTronje

      It’s Middlesbrough.

  • SuzPa

    A lot of personality traits genetic too so not necessarily fault of person who has them. Seems likely these traits could also be caused by frustration and depression from finding things too difficult. I suspect a lot of people have what probably seem like small mild learning disabilities (ADD, et.c) that actually have pretty enormous effects.

    • hobspawn

       “A lot of personality traits [are] genetic too[,] so not necessarily [a] fault of [the] person who has them.”

      Instinctively I know there is a fallacy in there somewhere. Perhaps a wiser person than I can point it out.

  • Barry W

    Very brave article. Now lets see The Spectator carry a piece about the even more undeniable links showing blacks are more disposed to crime, and even group IQ differences between blacks and whites.
    Or maybe not. For the Cuckservative right,some things are off-limits. But – largely male – welfare dependents are a legitimate target.

    • flipant

      The Bell curve, as deniable as the Earth going round the sun

  • Malcolm Knott

    Surprisingly, there are a lot of closed minds in the world of science; especially in the soft sciences like sociology.

  • Cobden Bastiat

    What’s the difference between being “born on the wrong side of the tracks” and being “born into an environment that nurtures an hereditary employment-resistant personality profile”?

    • flipant

      There is no *wrong side of the tracks* in modern Britain, the idiom refers to an unfortunate accident of location for living when smoke bilged from passing steam trains. It is thus a geographical proposition.

      It does not imply fecklessness or immoral fecundity, merely a statement of relative wealth.

      People on the wrong side of the track could well have been aspirational AND hard working.

      This class based slur could also have been made at all working class housing estates in the 1950-1980s, and was by hoity toity middle class types, Margo The Good Life.

      The emergence of the underclass predicted, and now proved, by Charles Murray, since 1989 produced a different type of household, into which generational worklessness was a new phenomenon.

      Anyone involved in social services, prison, probation service, NHS, the Police and local government housing will attest to this

      in any case voters won’t vote for parties who canonise the mythical long term, unfortunate unemployed, which one reason why Labour the benefits party is finished

      The actual working class have had enough

  • James Thompson

    For a look at the original review which triggered the Twitter exchange, here is the link

    The blog then has a comment by Jonathan Portes and a reply by Adam Perkins.


  • SPPP2

    It is a disgrace to ignore scientific research just because it doesn’t conform to nice beliefs. However, what benefit claimants is he referring to? Purely Jobseekers? With tax credits now so widely claimed its not like the old division of unemployed and employed. Huge numbers of parents now claim tax credits when ‘in work’, even if that employment is planned strategically to work the minimum hours (16) to get maximum benefit incomes.

    The welfare budget is going mainly to those parents who are employed – they are the biggest benefit claimants as the top ups are far higher than most full time jobs pay.

    • flipant

      yes, lifestyle choice benefits

  • hearditallbefore

    “Jonathan Portes replies to Adam Perkins

    Adam Perkins has now admitted that his claim “the higher the proportion of unemployed adults in a household, the greater the number of children – on average – that it contains” is true only if you exclude households that do not have any children.

    This is, I am afraid, not how you calculate an average. It is roughly equivalent to saying that Manchester City would have scored more goals than Arsenal per match this year if you don’t count the matches where they failed to score any at all. He also justifies this by claiming: “the government dataset from which it is taken states that households refers to those where at least one occupant is aged 16-64 and at least one occupant is aged 0-15.”. This is flatly untrue, as anyone with the remotest familiarity with household data knows.

    The source data is here: …. ”

    Looking at the link, to my eye the relevant description is: “Out of the 20.7 million households (where at least one member is aged 16 to 64), in April to June 2015, in the UK, 11.6 million (55.9%) were classed as working, a further 5.9 million (28.3%) were classed as mixed, and 3.3 million (15.8%) were classed as workless.” In other words, the extra requirement which Adam Perkins states “and at least on occupant is aged 0-15” is not referred to in these data.

    Jonathan Portes concludes:

    As the ONS clearly states, this data covers all households, with or without children, where at least one occupant is aged 16-64.”

    • Pete Austin

      Many thanks for providing the link. It made checking your comment so much easier. As far as I can tell, you’re wrong and Dr Adam Perkins does *not* admit that his claim “is true only if you exclude households that do not have any children.”

      He accepts that this one government dataset only includes households with at least one child (so it was mis-described in the book) but that is not the same thing at all. To paraphrase, he says he has a lot of other evidence and does not accept the logic of the criticism.

      • hearditallbefore

        These are not my words. If you notice they are in ” ” . It is a quote from Jonathan Portes himself. Which he stands by. There was I believe a good debate between the two on twitter. You should check it out.

        • Adam Perkins

          Ahem…the ONS data from 6th October 2015 that are cited above as my source data are not my source data. Mine are from an earlier release of ONS data that occurred on 25th March 2014 and which contains the important information that “Households here refer to those where at least one occupant is aged 16-64 and at least one occupant is aged 0-15.” See this weblink for the full details:

          • hearditallbefore

            Ahem…. Don’t shoot the messenger Adam. But can I ask, does the newer data support your claim?

            Update. 53 minutes ago Jonathan Portes states on twitter “@AdamPerkinsPhD simply made an elementary data error.”

            To which you replied ( if indeed you are the same person) “Please do, I welcome rigorous, evidence-based critiques of the book.”

            I’m not claiming he is right of course. But like any sensible person I tend to err on the side of caution.

          • Adam Perkins

            You’re welcome: the newest data reported in Jonathan’s ONS weblink (covering April-June 2015) shows fewer children on average in all three categories of households than was the case in April-June 2013. The averages are 1.58; 1.41 and 1.68 for working, mixed and workless households. This contrasts to 1.63; 1.74; 1.83 as listed on p.72 of the Welfare Trait. With regard to the quote of Jonathan’s twitter comment, you missed out the full text from Jonathan’s offer, which was: “Happy to explain to @bengoldacre that @AdamPerkinsPhD simply made an elementary data error.” To which I replied: “Please do, I welcome rigorous, evidence-based critiques of the book.” because I embrace any contribution to the debate on personality and welfare as it’s better for society than no debate.

          • hearditallbefore

            “With regard to the quote of Jonathan’s twitter comment, you missed out the full text” I apologise, I did. No malice intended. Genuine error on my part. Apologies.

          • Mr B J Mann

            You also missed out that while the reviewer raises a few quibbles about the book, as is his won’t, including the price, he recommends purchase even at the full price!

          • hearditallbefore

            I didn’t miss it out. I didn’t know. I also don’t know what you meant by ” as is his won’t “

          • Mr B J Mann

            I thoughtyou’dhearditallbefore!

            No surprises there then!

          • sarahsmith232

            ok, posted a comment today, i asked a question in it, seeing that you’re on here, i’ll ask you.
            if you’re trying to understand society via numbers (i.e striped of the emotional/psychological complexities male brains tend to become confused by) then did you just accept the data on single mum benefit claimants? can’t be more than about 2/3% that genuinely are single. the males that they live with tend to be the dad of the kids. there’s a huge financial incentive for these types of males to work. they get to live under the radar, no rent/council tax, kids/woman paid for, it’s no hit to them financially to work.
            so the question is: did you take into consideration the idea that, actually, the males that are long-term unemployed are those that are unable to form relationships? it’s not in a single persons financial interest to work, G.Brown spent 13yrs making sure of that.
            single mum benefit claimant data is less than useless, actually, no, the opposite, v.useful to the Left but shows nothing of reality.

          • hearditallbefore

            Another comment by Michael O’Connor15 January 2016 at 14:23

            “In the perhaps forlorn hope of clearing up some confusion..

            Dr Perkins correctly reports ONS statistics about the number of households containing at least one child under the age of 16 and correctly calculates the average number of such children in these households according to the ONS categorisation of households as Working, Mixed or Workless.

            However, from these data, nothing can be said about whether ‘unemployed’ people – which is the term used by Dr Perkins – have more children on average than other groups of people. There are both conceptual and data reasons for this.

            Conceptually, the ONS definition of a workless household encompasses all households without anyone working. This does not mean that they are all unemployed in the ordinary sense of not working while being capable of work and available for work. It will also cover for example people who cannot work by reason of disability (whether temporarily or permanently) or who are temporarily out of the labour force because they have stopped work while looking after a young child but have every intention of returning to work when the child is older. This further illustrates that the ‘workless’ household might not have been workless yesterday or might not be tomorrow. The presence of a child in such a family today neither means that the child was born in a workless household, nor that the child will be brought up in a workless household, let alone born to or brought up by parents who are unemployed. So comparing the average number of children in households in which no one is presently working to the average number of children in households with someone presently working does not provide any information about the relative propensity of unemployed people to have children.

            From the point of view of the data used, it is obvious that the number of children people have cannot be calculated from the number of children presently in their household under the age of 16. A family with children aged 4, 14 and 17 has three children, not two children. Any attempt at estimating whether one group of people is likely to comprise larger families than another group must count all of the children that they have. The ONS data does not allow that comparison. It seems clear that the numbers of children under 16 in households categorised as Working, Mixed and Workless is not a proxy for total children because the distribution of households within these categories differs if all dependent children are counted rather than just those under 16. The picture is further complicated by the fact that not all dependent children live with both birth parents, and of course older children may have left home.

            So even leaving aside the conceptual issue, and presuming a impossible static state in which households could not move between the categories of Working, Mixed and Workless, it is simply not possible to calculate from these data anything about the relative propensity of people in ‘workless’ households to bear children.”

            As I say, I will err on the side of caution.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Just to clear up some more confusion, you forgot to mention you are quibbling about quibbles.

            The reviewer raises a few quibbles about the book, as is his won’t, including the price, but recommends purchase even at the full price!

          • hearditallbefore

            “you forgot to mention you are quibbling about quibbles.”

            Please advise me how I can forget to mention something I am not thinking?

          • Mr B J Mann


            You keep forgetting to mention things.

            One being that you are quibbling about things in a bòok and using a review to back your position.

            When the reviewer only had minor quibbles about the book, one being the high price, but revommened buying even at the full price!

            What WERE you thinking?!?!?!!!

          • hearditallbefore

            I will try to explain again. I cannot forget to mention something I was not thinking. I don’t why it is so hard for you to understand.

          • Mr B J Mann

            I’d advise you to re-read the thread, but you obviously haven’t got round to reading it for the first time yet.

          • hearditallbefore

            I’ve re read it. But it still stands that I did not forget to mention something I wasn’t thinking of mentioning.

          • Mr B J Mann


            That was my point!

          • hearditallbefore

            Your point was , I forgot to mention I was “quibbling about quibbles.” For the 3rd time I was not thinking it, so I didn’t forget it, did I ? Dear me.

    • Mr B J Mann

      You forgot to mention the reviewer raises a few quibbles about the book, as is his won’t, including the price, but recommends purchase even at the full price!

  • mickey667

    By your logic it just so happened that in previously industrial areas, where everyone worked bloody hard for life, suddenly a generation of biologically feckless people were born that by god given chance were born in the same areas that industry vanished from.

    Is that seriously what you are maintaining?

    • flipant


      I guess you mean Fatchers destruction of t’werkin mans factories in 1980s, including Minors
      which t’Labour party clersed doon in 1970s

      This is mostly to do with the last 25 years 1990-2015 , whereby generation welfare , incubated
      by Prime mentalist Brown since 1997-2010, with more taxpayers money, DID exacerbate the under class in all areas of the UK, trapping half a generation in a comatosed haze of *other people’s money*

      • mickey667

        Fine, but you agree with me not Toby then. We disagree on causes, but we both think it is caused by *something*.

        You by Brown et al creating welfare dependency, me by mass loss of industrial base.

        But Toby thinks people are born with it. Neither you nor I believe that.

        • flipant

          The question to which environment can alter behaviour or re-wire brains is perhaps too short for the 1990-2015 period, in any meaningful Darwinian sense.

          The welfare dependency trap is real; it feeds parents and children, the extent to which psychological existential experience corrupts thought and action through families is verifiable by observed recordable actions.Factors such as police calls for service,recidivistic criminality , excessive use of NHS and GP, through self-induced harm due to chaotic lifestyle choices, drugs, alcohol abuse, obesity
          poor diet..

          The numbers in terms of the population as a whole are relatively small, but the call on the apparatus of the state are disproportional costly, without the price of benefits being added in.

          Children who ape their parents will beget more the same, it become tribal, and a shared learned experience a mental construct for people.

          Examine the form and function of *Gypsy* or Itinerant Irish traveling community, to see how it cascades down the years

        • rhodaklapp8

          Maybe Toby thinks the problem is that you can’t discuss it or bring evidence, like the article says, rather than something you made up.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Welfare dependency is ‘created’ by overly generous levels of welfare. Those who would rather work, even for less than welfare payments, get on and find work. Which rather proves Toby’s professor’s point.

        • Oddsbods

          I recall the start of my military service back in the 1960s :
          We were all volunteers, conscription had ended.
          We were a large group of young men all of a similar age.
          We were all “blank slates” as far as the military were concerned.
          We all started with the same clothing, ate the same meals, shared the same acommodation.
          We all received the same training, had the same rank (status) and we all received the same pay.
          After the basic training was over and life had settled down, over time it became very obvious that some men were interested, wanted to get ahead in life, volunteered to do different things, were always available when work had to be done and were open for new ideas.
          Others were not interested at all (although we were all voluntarily there) and would spend so much time and effort finding ways to avoid work that I am sure the work itself would have been less demanding. They were also the men who were always moaning about how unjust the world was and how they would always be kept down so what was the use of anything.
          Over the years the initial group split up automatically, those with a good attitude got ahead faster, were promoted,received more money. At the end of their service they got good references and were mostly oprimistic about their futures.
          The men who thought work or helping anybody to get something done was “for gullibles” remained as lower paid, low rankers for their whole service, and left still moaning about their position in life.

          “But Toby thinks people are born with it. Neither you nor I believe that.”

          I do.

          • greencoat

            Yes of course this is true. We see it every day of our lives from childhood onwards.

      • Todd Unctious

        The Tories were in Government for exactly half if the period you cite.

        • King Kibbutz

          Same project, differently packaged.

      • Mr B J Mann

        The big problem is that all the manly jobs have been replaced by t’werkin on pop videos!

    • harryrsnape

      “suddenly a generation of biologically feckless people were born that by god given chance were born in the same areas that industry vanished from”
      People aren’t trees, they can move The unemployed would tend to gravitate to lower cost areas of accommodation.

      • Todd Unctious

        So you assume someone who loses a job in say Sussex moves to the former Yorkshire coalfields or a Tyneside dock area.

        • I don’t think that there is any evidence that unemployed people are
          migrating to live in areas of high unemployment. I think that what tends
          to happen is that when there is high unemployment in an area or low
          wages, more ambitious and more employable people who lose their jobs
          move to areas with better prospects. This tends to create a surplus of
          housing in areas with poor prospects and low wages suppress the housing
          costs even more because money is in short supply. These factors easily
          account for the difference in housing costs up and down the country.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Where did they mention a generation?

        Where was there any reference to all the unemployed.

        Never mind everyone on benefits.

        What was said was that “what he calls the ‘employment–resistant personality profile’ — are over-represented among benefit recipients. He also found that their children are likely to share those traits”!

        And no doubt in some areas of employment too:

        The BBC.

        Teaching and lecturing (and sociological “research”).

        Perpetual; students.

        Council offices.

        Cushy areas of the private sector, especially when contacts can get you in (see the CVs of Milliband, Clegg, Obama, oh, and Cameron…….).

  • magic1114

    McCarthy was spot on. Hollyweird was shot through and through with Communists and their sympathizers…

    • rhodaklapp8

      Senator McCarthy had nothing to do with the House Un-American Activities Committee. The House is the house, the Senate is the Senate. McCarthy was on a security committee and he was rightfully examining the question of communists in the State Department. He had nothing to do with Hollywood. And he was right about State.

      • Curnonsky

        And Trumbo was a slavish Stalinist for many years until running afoul of the Communist Party USA leadership.

    • Leftism is a societal cancer

      Both the USA Communist party and Hollywood were completely controlled by Jews.

    • Johnnydub

      Read Diana Wests book – American Betrayal.

  • Mnestheus

    Too bad the cultural marxists don’t have a monopoly on this sort of authoritarian doubletalk-
    James Delingpole does it all the time

    • Peter Simple


    • I think you need to read that again: (a) all VVUWT (oh haha) is saying about Delingpole is that he says WUWT is open. There are loads of comments on WUWT from John O’Sullivan; in fact alarmists are welcome IF they provide data and links instead of just slagging all and sundry for having a different opinion (funny, that mirrors trying to debate with lefties on any forum).

    • Mr B J Mann

      Strange, but that link leads to a blog that is complaining that a Sceptic blog is introducing an autocensor to speed up publishing of comments (like what seems to stop all non “liberal” ones at the Guardian) while not allowing ANY comments itself?!?!?

      And from the blog article:

      Apart from having full-time censors clipping away at inconvenient
      comments by actual climate scientists publishing in actual peer
      reviewed climate change journals ( full disclosure- this means me)

      These would be the actual climate “scientists” whose emails plotting to destroy the data their “science” was based on if there was ever any danger of it becoming public, whose emails plotting to coerce actual peer reviewed climate change journals from publishing anything they disagreed with, and to only allow actual climate “scientists” who agreed with them to peer review their “research”, oh, and if anything slipped through the net to ensure that no one who disagreed with them could publish their views, and if after all that anyone managed to, that they would always get the last say were revealed in Climategate.

      Oh, and whose coding notes demonstrating that they knew their “models” didn’t work and that “Warming” had stopped were exposed in the same hack!

  • Isage000

    ‘You might even say it’s bleedin’ obvious.’
    I do.

  • ianess

    having some knowledge of the homeless sector, I can only concur as regards ‘aggressive’ and ‘anti-social’ traits being predominant. Can The Spectator not give this book a review?

    • Atlas

      And the long-term unemployed in general. Anybody who has acted as an employer knows full well that there is a substantial section of society with no desire or intention to work for a living and that those people are enabled by the welfare state.

  • Lin Blackett

    Toby Young please look into what happens to ‘anthropomorphic climate change’ deniers. I think you will find a few in the same boat as Dr Adam Perkins and Napoleon Chagnon.

    • Mnestheus

      Lin Blackett:

      Please pass your science A levels before pontificatiing further

      • Dominic Stockford

        Please pass your primary school spelling tests before pontificating further.

        • Are you REALLY referring to an extra ‘i’ in the word pontificating, a trivial error caused by a few microseconds delay in removing his finger from a particular key? Very poor form old chap.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Not at all. If someone really feels the need to demand something from someone else, when they don’t actually know whether they have it or not, and in this case who may even have a Science Degree for all they know, then they should bear correction on their spelling.

          • Toby Esterhase

            It’s all about ‘standards’, Art!

      • Lin Blackett

        Until you can use your real name when posting you are a troll and your opinion means nothing.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Please pass your English GCSE before “pontificatiin” further.

        There have been numerous reviews of the global warmist “scientists” work by the universities that bask in their fame and enjoy the fruits of their research grants, and by the academic institutions that so likewise, and contrary to popular belief, and the claims of the True Believers, none of them confirmed Man Made Global Warming.

        In fact, what they all basically said was:

        On the evidence they looked at (ie not on all the available evidence) they couldn’t see anything that definitely proved (ie they might still be guilty), that they had deliberately (ie it could have been accidental) falsified their data or tried to mislead the scientific community, grant bodies, or the media and public.

        And that global warming “science” was basically very, very hard statistics, and, oops, the poor dears weren’t anywhere near up to coping with the math, so you can’t blame them, and perhaps next time they should include someone who knows what they are doing in their “research”.

        So you don’t even need GCSE science to know that the “science” is a load of BalderDaesh, just a basic familiarity with English!

        • post_x_it

          I presume ‘Mnestheus’ was merely protesting the use of ‘anthropomorphic’ when ‘anthropogenic’ is the correct term, but I can’t be sure.

      • cmflynn

        Please look in a dictionary to find out what ‘pontificating’ means.

  • Danny Meeker

    “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

  • John_Page

    Hm, Toby doesn’t sully himself with anything vulgar like numbers.

  • ohforheavensake

    Toby- He’s been published by Palgrave (one of the main academic publishers in the field). And what’s happened is that people disagree with him. Which is hardly the same as shutting him down.

  • HJ777

    Why are illiberal left wingers so often described as being part of the ‘liberal-left’?

    • ohforheavensake

      Who’s being illiberal? People disagree with him. That’s all.

      • HJ777

        I was making a general point.

        Those with a left wing persuasion can’t really be liberals because they don’t believe in individuals being able to do and say as they please within reasonable legal boundaries. Instead they believe in government or collective control which is obviously the opposite of a liberal approach.

        • ohforheavensake

          They don’t, y’know.

          • HJ777

            Socialism cannot happen without coercion. Even if you think that coercion desirable, it cannot be other than illiberal.

          • Johnnydub

            Hence the 200 million dead bodies in the 20th century. Something that makes the Nazi’s look like amateurs.

            Yet gits like MCDonnell are proud to be communists. Says a lot about their infiltration.

          • Mr B J Mann

            So the “liberal” left are quite happy to allow consenting adults to smoke in designated public places where the owners, management and staff would welcome them and their legal habit?

            When it was proposed that smoking should be banned in public buildings, it was the “liberal” left that insisted that some buildings should be able to get designated as, say, smoking pubs, clubs, and even restaurants, of the owners thought they could find enough customers to support them, and their staff were happy with that, probably being smokers themselves, was it?

            And I suppose that, when moves to remove that option from the legislation were put forward it was the “liberal” left who ensured that smokers could have a segregated, encapsulated, exhaust filtered place to indulge their “filthy habit” so as not just to protect their uman Rites, but to spare the rest of us from having our “fresh air” polluted outside?!?!

            Next you’ll be telling me that Obama and the Democrats are fighting for liberalisation of gun controls?!

      • Johnnydub

        Er safe spaces, no platforming, Banning Donald Trump?

        Oh yes the left is a paragon of tolerance.

  • Dominic Stockford

    It is interesting that when I was unemployed the agency left me alone, as it was clear that I was applying, seriously, for decent jobs, and in large numbers. They wished me well and didn’t feel the need to chase me. They made the opposite conclusion about me to the one this gentleman is being harassed for. Should we also, therefore, blacklist the Employment Agency and the Job Centres for the same crime?

  • Freddythreepwood

    ‘Now, none of that will surprise anyone who has spent time among the long-term unemployed or their -progeny, such as the police, social workers and teachers. You might even say it’s bleedin’ obvious.’

    No surprise either to the hard working family living next door. These will be the people whose votes Labour lost years ago.

    • greggf

      “It’s safe to say that it is the progressive left which shuts down any critique of the the long-term unemployed and others…..”

      In Britain it’s so simple, I’ve said it before.
      All claimants should use IDs including UK citizens.
      Migrants may (and do so) dump their own IDs then claim from UK’s welfare system on the basis of a UK address.
      All EU member states except Britain issue IDs to their citizens by which they can control benefits.

      • “Migrants may (and do so) dump their own IDs then claim from UK’s welfare system on the basis of a UK address.

        I don’t think that is true. It is my understanding that you require a UK NI number and to be registered correctly before you can claim any benefits. If I am wrong about that I would be very surprised.

        That said, government offices issued 800,000 NI numbers in 2014 to foreign workers.

        • greggf

          I live in France. Which controls whom and what gets access on their own ID – passport, foreign ID, Health benefits, community benefits including; for example – an address and schooling, etc.

          Once access is achieved into UK, an address – any address, which is an open market (for “friends” and an fee) – it is easy to get an NI number. There are many examples of migrants living in one house using one address.

          • France tolerates all kinds of anti-English nonsense: Calais Jungle, blockades by rioting ferry operatives, blockades by fishermen, blockades by farmers….. It suits the French authorities to pander to the anti-English sentiments of the general populace. If there ever occurred even a hint of English interest groups blockading our side of the Channel our police would beat them to a pulp within the hour.

  • Scradje

    These people are the descendants of Labour’s 1960’s strategy of breeding indolent, aggressive, future Labour voters, which
    Blair /Brown not only continued, but expanded by importing aggressive, talentless people from backward cultures. One of their greatest achievements. Unfortunately.

    • Texas Sunday Morning

      You think people who can’t be bothered to get their kids to school in the morning can be bothered to register to vote?

      • Scradje

        Yes; because they know where their bread is buttered. Just like they are always prompt when it is time to sign on. Labour activists herd them in to vote. Plus they have the postal vote scam.

        • Texas Sunday Morning

          Except the electoral turn-out figures, which show that the poor, the young, and ethnic minority communities are the least likely to vote, do not accord with your conspiracy theories.

          Indeed it is the over 55s who have captured policy making in this country, hence why we have a “triple lock” on pensions while the government abolishes maintenance grants for poor kids.

          • Scradje

            Look where Labour MP’s have their constituencies. With a few exceptions like Hampstead, they are all in areas with high concentrations of social housing and benefits claimants. Ethnic minorities vote 80% Labour, because they are permanent clients of the socialist welfare state. Even if they can’t be bothered to vote, ‘community leaders’ will ensure that they do.

          • Texas Sunday Morning

            You do understand the difference between correlation and causation right?

            Also, Douglas Carswell has one of the best postal vote operations of any MP, one reason he held his seat. Is it evil when he does it?

          • Mr B J Mann

            If he’s merely efficient at getting supporters who would vote for him if they didn’t have to go to the polling station to vote for him by post then no.

            If he’s efficient at getting people who don’t even know who he is, or what his party is, who might totally disagree with him and them, who perhaps don’t want to vote, perhaps who don’t even know they are voting, to “vote” by ahem, proxy, through the aforementioned community “leaders”, then yes, he is!

          • Johnnydub

            No because he’s not facilitating fraud as has been proven elsewhere.

          • Johnnydub

            If anything after white van man voted for Maggie the left abandoned the white working class and tried to build a new constituency of dole scroungers, immigrants and public sector workers.

            Hence the constant bleating that “we don’t have a spending problem, we have a tax collection problem.”

          • Mr B J Mann

            So you think that the academically gifted and oh so superior “liberal” left intellectuals in their ivory towers (including Millbank) could actually work that out?

            Just like they invented the term “hysterical” for wimmin, they invented the phrase “unintended consequences” for the academically gifted and oh so superior “liberal” left intellectuals in their ivory towers (including Millbank)!

      • Mr B J Mann

        So you think that the academically gifted and oh so superior “liberal” left intellectuals in their ivory towers (including Millbank) could actually work that out?

        Just like they invented the term “hysterical” for wimmin, they invented the phrase “unintended consequences” for the academically gifted and oh so superior “liberal” left intellectuals in their ivory towers (including Millbank)!

  • Richard Young

    Why not mention the obvious?By sneering at the state with no repercussion,violence becomes a norm.And that,with all its ramifications leads us to social breakdown.The left were always good at sanctimonious violence.

  • Alison Houston

    ‘Personality is a capitalst construct’. Please say you made that bit up.

  • Thanks Tank

    The left are too blind to the problems in the welfare state and the right are equally blind to the problems in the Financial industry and deregulated market.

    • oakdalesoft

      Actually the left removed most of the financial regulations. [Summers/Clinton]

  • Thanks Tank

    The left are too blind to the problems in the welfare state and the right are equally blind to the problems in the Financial industry and deregulated market.

    • HJ777

      I hope you are not implying that the financial industry is, or has been, deregulated.

      Exactly the opposite is the case. There are regulations and regulators galore. Financial regulation has long been one of our biggest growth ‘industries’.

      • Zanderz

        Ve vill have ze order, in ze European Market.

    • Johnnydub

      I hope you noticed the financial institutions that went kablooeey under Brown’s watch were:

      Royal Bank of SCOTLAND
      Halifax Bank of SCOTLAND

      Do you see that there might be a connection? Like Brown and the FCA turning a blind eye to Scottish institutions playing “catch up” with their London Counterparts?

  • Peter Watt

    Thank you for another stimulating article. Always a worthwhile read. May I respectfully suggest that “practiced” in the third paragraph should be “practised”?

    • Zanderz

      However, the wonderful Mr Perkins does indeed say ‘these data’.

      • John Burns

        I believe that is because the plural of data (singular) is also data.

    • Autolocus

      It depends from which side of the pond you come. Don’t always believe everything that a half educated yankee doodle spellchecker tells you.

      • Peter Watt

        Yes. In England there is the verb practise and the noun practice. In North America practice is used for both.

  • Tamerlane

    Eugenics please.

    • Texas Sunday Morning

      When you having the snip?

  • Zanderz

    The liberal left are all card carrying ‘noble non-white’ believers. Anyone not Caucasian is inherently more interesting, more worthy and more ‘appropriate’ than their whitey selves. Interestingly non-whites don’t have this cultural baggage. Without exception my Indian and Chinese friends are openly hostile to different types of Asian and seem to have no qualms in saying so – they don’t suffer from the self hating cultural baggage we are all taught to carry.

    • ohforheavensake

      … And no, we’re not. I’m white and Scottish, and very proud of Scotland: I don’t hate myself, or people like me.

      Thing is, I’ve liked most of the people I’ve met (wherever they’re from), and I wouldn’t say I’m openly hostile to types, because I haven’t met any types. I’ve met a lot of individuals, but no types.

      • Zanderz

        Then you’re a white supremacist racist, because, you know, how many Scottish missionaries were there, spreading their cultural and religious bigotry and apartheid to innocent worlds etc etc.

        By ‘we’re not’ you’re implying you’re a liberal, but do you pass the test?

        • ohforheavensake

          Nope- not implying any such thing. I’m proud of Scotland, but I can admit we’ve got things wrong in the past, and that we get things wrong today.

          So, yes, I do. Oh, and by the way: in that last sentence, it’s ‘you’re’ not “your’.

          • Zanderz

            Thanks – edited.

    • sarahsmith232

      you know, I don’t think it’s self-hatred, I think it’s the direct opposite. They are being egotists when they’re doing their whole ‘the immigrant, i care so very deeply for them, i cry most nights at their plight. . . . am i not so really very pretty? Am i not so much more virtuous, holy and beautiful?’
      i picked up a good way of saying this from the Daily Mail, the celeb’s on Aid trips use African’s as a backdrop to display their virtue, so true. When the liberals speak about immigration, it’s effects and their views on it, they’re seeing themselves in relation to their imaginary thick fascist objectors. They’ve been brainwashed to believe that those that oppose mass immigration are all uneducated/thick/racist, very much of the lower orders. Same deal, using the immigration issue as a backdrop to display their superiority compared to that cartoon.
      They need to called out on what that is. Stupidly ignorant, ego driven hypocrisy. if i have to sit through another actress doing their ‘i cry, i care, am i not so really angelic and so really very pretty’ airhead contribution to the debate, i’ll go mad.

      • MikeF

        Hi Sarah – I would describe it as a mix of immediate self-regard and displaced self-hatred i.e. they think that they personally are wonderful but they despise the culture from which they originate. Hence their increasingly frenzied attempts to distance themselves from their own origins which reach their ultimate absurdity when they ‘self-identify’ as something completely different from what they actually are.

        • sarahsmith232

          hello MikeF dear, how’s things?
          you know, i’m going to have to disagree. i think they’re cherry picking their history when they go in for all of this. Saw Ken Loche on Newsnight speaking about Britishness once, doing the whole ‘this nation is imperialistic and racist’ blah etc rubbish. But he believes the 40s was a socialist cultural/historical high point, the time when we created the welfare state. when he aligns himself with that he’s using our history to display his superiority, then uses ridiculous cartoon descriptions to show himself off as being very against, very much the more highly evolved opposite of.
          They’re the very most dependent English nationalists alive. They are very dependent on our Metro’, middle-class liberal, BBC generated norms to be able to understand themselves. The NHS being such a big one, same as it was in the 50s. Their statements about the NHS are more about themselves, using the NHS as a backdrop to show where they are in relation to their monstrous Tory Neoliberals.
          I think their statements about our history are the same deal, showing themselves in relation to a set of BBC generated cartoon imperialists. They need to believe that most in the nation are backward/racist/imperialist so they can get to tell themselves that they are so v.much the superior opposite. In those moments on Newsnight Loche was believing himself an educated superior, so v.different from the common thicko masses. Same as the worst kind of nationalist, using the nation to display superiority, but it’s directed against a different class instead of a different nation.
          We absolutely need far more discussion about all of this, but the gatekeepers will not allow for it.
          anyway, hope all’s well.

          • MikeF

            Hi Sarah – OK but angry is the answer to your first question. As for the ‘liberals’ well everything they do is really about themselves even if everything they say is an affectation of concern about something or somebody different. As I said there are two forces at work in them which are ultimately contradictory. That is why their behaviour tends to veer between a blithe complacency and a furious vehemence – the latter being a symptom of their semi-conscious recognition of how little real justification they have for the former. As for wider discussion – yes that is needed and we just have to create it.

        • Mr B J Mann

          Yup! Rita Ora is Caucasian, though probably Muslim (she’s from the Balkans, parts of which converted to boost their status to second class citizens rather than remain third class cattle who had to hand over their first born sons for castration and prettiest daughters for a Daesh of “Cologne”)!

          You’d think she was a “relaxed” negress to look at her!

          And as for that woman in the states who passed herself off as one?!

  • sarahsmith232

    caution – feminist rant alert.
    I just really don’t see how any of this makes sense. A) have you ever been to the North of England? it’s not a question of who, it’s who’s not. B) the male must be excluding 50% of the population, on the grounds that being a mother means they get an acceptable get out clause.
    question B) did he consider that maybe the males that are working in the North are didling the system by living with a female that’s falsely claiming to be singe? might the reason why the males that are claiming to be unemployed be because they’re the ones that are unable to form long-term relationships? are they aggressive because they’re the angriest about all of that?
    question A) why is EVERYONE in the north claiming? Labour set up a society where it’s not in most Northerner’s financial interest to not do. Which accounts for explanation B.
    I would actually really like to know. Did he understand that NONE, ZERO, can’t be anymore than 2, maybe 3% of all females claiming to be single mums actually are. The males they live with are usually the dad of the kid’s, they get to live under the radar, house paid for, council tax paid for, kids/woman paid for, financially they’re laughing. i.e there’s a huge financial incentive to not be unemployed, unlike with the ones unable to sustain/enter into a relationship.
    i’m afraid, unless this was a part of his analysis, then he’s just being your stereotypical, superficial male brain type, can tot up fantastically well, anything more complex and it’s beyond him.

    • WFB56

      Thanks for the warning, I should have taken it more seriously.

    • Mr B J Mann

      I once had a “man From The Pru” type job, collecting weekly insurance payments, door to door, in poor areas, mainly council estates. You’d be surprised, or perhaps not, at the number of “single” mums on the estates who had a long term relationship with the father of their kids, who were also unemployed, and “lived” with their own (single, unemployed) mother!

      And that’s just the ones that admitted it to me!!!

  • As Young says, anybody who has worked in the public service arena and is not a signed up leftist, knows full well that the situation of the long term unemployed is more about them than society at large. However, we are then left with the question of whether belligerent, rule breaking and determination to claim welfare however hard they have to work to get it, is a matter of genetic pre-disposition, or of a culture acquired as it were with mother’s milk, not that many of them I propose, were breast fed for very long. I am not averse to the concept of genetics endowing or the opposite with good qualities. I think it has a very powerful influence, but at the end of the day, it is extremely difficult to unravel the influence of living in a household that already breaks rules and is intent on staying on welfare rather than working for a living.

    However, all is not lost. This is an ideal topic for a well designed twin or even a sibling study. Take a suitably large sample from the same families adopted into different kinds of homes and see how these children develop…… Hold it there a moment – I suppose the social work profession might balk at allowing adoption into un-waged homes presided over by semi criminal adults… However – all may not be lost. There are plenty of disorderly families who are allowed the care of grandchildren when heroin addicted girls produce children. It could be done, and I predict that the addiction to welfare is mediated both by heredity and by environment. Most traits are.

    • quotes

      nice idea but surely the mere fact of all your subjects having been adopted would skew your results?

      • The aim would be to find children from particular families one of whom was left with the birth family and the other adopted into a different milieu. Ideally you would use identical twins because they have the same heredity whereas siblings only have about 50% of the same genes.

  • quotes

    The findings of social “science” don’t become relevant simply because we agree with them

    This research is of no more value than the reams of PC research it contradicts

    Unless he is a “real” scientist and has found proof that “aggressive, rule-breaking and anti-social tendencies” are exclusively genetic and never created by tough circumstances (like, say, poverty) then this seems just as easy to ignore as the countless studies it opposes.

    • Anthorny

      The problem is, the countless studies it opposes are never ignored. We are told to believe them.

      The same happens with the other new religion of global warming. Studies that dispute the evidence for global warming are automatically ignored. Furthermore, studies that accept the global warming beliefs, but dispute the anthropogenic causation of global warming are also ignored.

      • quotes

        haha can’t argue with that. but i don’t see that we have a leg to stand on if we’re saying “ignore that study, look at this one!”

        studies like this are useful in that they show us that we can ignore the studies we are being told about, but i don’t think they “show” let alone “prove” anything, any more than the others.

      • Texas Sunday Morning

        Ah, the conspiracy theory approach.

        • Mr B J Mann

          Of course it is.

          See my reply to Anthony!

      • Mr B J Mann

        Not only that, studies that accept the global warming beliefs, AND accept an anthropogenic causation of global warming BUT dispute that de-industrialisation and de-carbonisation are the best ways of dealing with it are not only also ignored, but usually demonised as heretics.

        The fact that the bloke who started this “not new, it’s been around a hundred years” science thought it was a GOOD thing is ignored.

        As is the fact that no scientist for the next half century was at all worried by it.

        Then there have been at least two heads of national scientific bodies who have lost their posts because they were non believers.

        And even that Bjorn Lomborg, a lefty “liberal” environMentalist sconomist who believes in Global Warming, BELIEVES it is MAN made, but doesn’t agree with cutting CO2, as he has calculated that we would all be better off investing a fraction of the cost into coping with it, and the rest in solving the rest of the worlds problems was demonised and the Danish(?) scientific community even tried to have criminal charges brought against him for his “Denier” beliefs?!?!?

        • Marashir Khan

          Perhaps nothing so clearly demonstrates the anti-scientific elements of the ‘Global Climate Change’ movement than their reposes to Prof. Lomborg. Which were, after some desultory attempts to show that their boondoggles would actually be profitable, lapsed into complete character assassination.

          They were the responses of a clerisy to a heretic, not scientists to drawbacks.

      • Johnnydub

        Look at how the left embraces utter rubbish if its helpful to their position.

        For example the Spirit Level or Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

        Both total rubbish, but lauded by the left i.e. The BBC/Guardian axis of propaganda.

  • davidofkent

    If anyone thinks that Man is essentially full of goodness, (s)he should read Herodotus.

    • Anthorny

      Surely there are now too many muslim beheading videos for anyone to still believe that Man is essentially full of goodness.

      • Toby Esterhase

        They are not ‘men’. They are F savages.

        • Mr B J Mann

          F Noble Savages?!

  • Emilio Lizardo

    Seems that the right has no monopoly on scientific bias and ignorance.

    • Marashir Khan

      First, the linked article is actually quite good (it’s a review of “Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science” by Alice Dreger).

      Second, both the above comment and the linked article suffer from the liberal piety that is closely related to the main point of the article: the deeply held conviction on the Left that the Right is unscientific and ignorant, while the Left is open minded and scientifically sound.

      This is, of course, nonsense, and illustrates the same Leftist parochialism that leads them to shut down scientific discourse noted above.

  • Tom Sykes

    “It runs counter to the anti-capitalist narrative that portrays the ever-expanding underclass as ‘victims’ whose only sin is to be born on the wrong side of the tracks.

    You misrepresent the argument. Being born on the wrong side of the track is a real disadvantage but I don’t recall anyone asserting that it was a sin.

    I am by no means a “Leftie” but I prefer to try and help the disadvantaged rather than insult them.

    • Mr B J Mann

      You mean portraying SOME benefits claimants as having an ‘employment–resistant personality profile’ runs counter to it.

      Wouldn’t want you to misrepresent the argument, now would we?!

      • Tom Sykes

        ????? Who said that? Go back to bed and cuddle up with your prejudices. Leave rational discussion to the grown ups.

        • Mr B J Mann


  • Texas Sunday Morning

    Toby, you do realise you’ve just made the point you’ve (erroneously) assigned to this amorphous ‘left’.

    Because if a child is destined to be unemployed because of the family they grew up in, then indeed it’s not their fault is it?

    Whereas if it’s because of simple barriers to unemployment, we can remove those barriers.

    Your new friend has in fact made the case for perpetual welfare payments, unless you want to set up a series of gulags for these people.

    • Mr B J Mann

      No, you yourself, miss the point(s).

      Firstly, it’s probably an inherited, rather than a learned trait.

      It refers to SOME claimants personalities (aggressive, rule-breaking and anti-social tendencies — …the ‘employment–resistant personality profile’), not their attitudes.

      But secondly, if it’s learned attitudes, who do they learn “the anti-capitalist narrative that portrays the ever-expanding underclass as ‘victims’ whose only sin is to be born on the wrong side of the tracks” from?

      Who describes researching “the personalities of the long-term unemployed as ‘unethical’”?

      Who tells them that “linking benefit dependency to personality must be nonsense because personality is a ‘capitalist construct”?

      Unless their parents are unemployed “liberal” lefty sociology graduates?!

      • Ben Hastings

        “Probably an inherited .. trait”?? Oh boy – now we’re into eugenics.

        • Mr B J Mann

          You can’t have it both ways.

          Either they are trained to believe in psychobabble by the “liberal” left.

          Or they inherit a condition they couldn’t describe in said psychobabble.

          Or perhaps you think that, say, four different kids brought up in the same family can “learn” four entirely different personalities from the same parents, rather than inherit a different mix of genes from their siblings.

          I suppose, also, that you think that, for example, different breeds of dogs just happen to all be taught the same “personality” characteristics by their owners?!?!

          Placid or “aggressive”, obedient or “rule-breaking”, and sociable or “anti-social tendencies — what he calls the ‘employment–resistant personality profile” or really keen working dogs.

          I suppose the different “personalities” of dogs and cats are learned, rather than inherited, traits too?!

        • Mr B J Mann

          Oh boy – what an amazing leap!

          But it’s YOU who seems to be interested in it!!!

          Obsessed, even, from your totally unwarranted and inexplicable reaction!!!!!!!!

  • ArthurPendragon

    Ever since the 1960’s the Tories have been saying British products are second rate, British workers are lazy, they have long tea breaks (something introduced by Churchill) and so on. All the Metropolitan elite, and old labour have become Tories. Bring back the Liberal Radical Charles Bradlaugh. On TV we see confirmation of the stereotype. Anyone who has attended a Job Centre (thanks to Blair) gets demoralised. If the Queen had to attend, they would de-skill her to picking up litter or cleaning toilets. The system has always been a failure because unlike our Victorian counterparts no one except the Germans respects skills. Modern politics is about being seen to do something rather than achieving anything. When Labour does attempt to solve employment problems it subsidises, and fictionalises.

    I suppose we all need an enemy. If we do not pick on Muslims there are those on the dole. There is literally no support for business and national infrastructure other than capacity building. Any geographer knows capacity will not create jobs only novel/new connections between nodes will. Throwing millions into South Wales will not help Wales or the Iron industry. Only by linking it to new places will.

    We suffer from a deficit of intelligence among the political class. It not surprising because most could not get a job in the real world.

  • Ben Hastings

    The original research may be valid – the Spectator’s conclusions are not. This is nothing to do with “liberal” left politics. Nor is it much to do with benefit claimants. You can’t claim that there is a high proportion of criminal tendency among benefit claimants and then extrapolate that to cover all (or even a majority) of claimants. The research also fails to cover tax fraud among the well-off, which would be a very interesting corollary. Nor can you claim any link between personality and unemployment.

    One could be forgiven for suspecting that The Spectator doesn’t understand statistical analysis terribly well.

    • Man

      Are you thick?

      “You can’t claim that there is a high proportion of criminal tendency among benefit claimants and then extrapolate that to cover all (or even a majority) of claimants.”
      This wasn’t claimed.

      “The research also fails to cover tax fraud among the well-off, which would be a very interesting corollary.”
      This has nothing to do with his research whatsoever, in any case I’m sure you’d find tax fraud is much smaller than you’ve convinced yourself it is.

      “Nor can you claim any link between personality and unemployment.”
      You can and the book does, not only that it proves it.

      “One could be forgiven for suspecting that The Spectator doesn’t understand statistical analysis terribly well.”
      I don’t think you understand much of anything terribly well.

      • Ben Hastings

        As soon as you insult people with whom you disagree, you have lost the argument.

        • Man

          Not really, you’re just using that as a convenient way to get out of actually addressing the points.

          • Ben Hastings

            Had you refrained from being insulting, we could have had a constructive discussion of the points. I would address the points concerned, but I don’t think it’s worth conversing with someone whose first resort is to insult since it highlights how bankrupt their argument is.

          • Mr B J Mann

            This article starts off describing the fawning attitude of the “liberal” media and intelligentsia towards those that suffered under “McCarthyism”. It then goes on to discuss their hypocrisy when it comes to things they disagree with.

            The examples used were, again, Napoleon Chagnon, “essentially blacklisted by the people who control the anthropology industry” and now Dr Adam Perkins, a lecturer in the neurobiology of personality who, like Chagnon “is a social scientist whose research findings pose a direct challenge to one of the central planks of left-wing ideology”.

            Of whom he says: “Over the past five years, he has accumulated a mass of evidence about the personalities of welfare claimants and concluded that individuals with aggressive, rule-breaking and anti-social tendencies — what he calls the ‘employment–resistant personality profile’ — are over-represented among benefit recipients. He also found that their children are likely to share those traits”.

            He goes on to say that “A senior editor of Nature…. regards scientific research into the personalities of the long-term unemployed as ‘unethical’, and a sociology professor…. personality is a ‘capitalist construct’”.

            Just that should be enough to flag up serious problems in academia, but he went on to report: “Colleagues… warned him off publication, worried about being associated with such a heretic; and a powerful American professor…. lobbied for him to be banned from the conference circuit”.

            The penultimate paragraph reveals that: “Perkins says that the link between personality, employability and welfare dependency has been known about for years by academics — ‘It’s old hat, really’ — but until now it’s only been discussed behind closed doors. ‘It’s fear of the political-correctness brigade that has stopped my colleagues going public

            So everything to do with “liberal” left politics in general and “liberal” left academic politics in particular.

            Also plenty to do with benefit claimants, though no claims that it applies to all of them, or even all long term unemployed.

            Where is the “claim that there is a high proportion of criminal tendency among benefit claimants”

            Never mind an extrapolation “to cover all (or even a majority) of claimants”.

            And as it’s a study on (presumably not well off) welfare claimants, why would it “cover tax fraud among the well-off”, even if it would be a very interesting corollary (surely that is already covered by studies on psychopathy/sociopathy – which the “liberal” left don’t like anyway!

            As for: “Nor can you claim any link between personality and unemployment” – he’s just claimed a five year study links them?!?!

            So, basically, your initial post is a misrepresentation of, and a slur on, the researcher and the writer.

            And yet you have the cheek to post:

            “As soon as you insult people with whom you disagree, you have lost the argument.”


            “Had you refrained from being insulting, we could have had a constructive discussion…. I don’t think it’s worth conversing with someone whose first resort is to insult since it highlights how bankrupt their argument is.”

          • Ben Hastings

            Wrong. £5 please.

            As for the rest, did you actually read what you posted? Strip out all the hearsay, the polemics and the eugenics and what are you left with?

          • Mr B J Mann

            Proof that you were wrong!

          • Mr B J Mann

            Oh BOY!

            The guy who wrote:

            “As soon as you insult people with whom you disagree, you have lost the argument.”


            “Had you refrained from being insulting….. I don’t think it’s worth conversing with someone whose first resort is to insult since it highlights how bankrupt their argument is.”

            Accuses me of eugenics for the second time!

          • Ben Hastings

            I don’t think you’re doing much thinking about what I wrote. The eugenics I point out are in the original article. If you then echo those by stating that heredity rather than environment are responsible for criminal tendencies, then, yes, I do accuse you – and with evidence.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Oh BOY, OH BOY!

            The guy who wrote:

            “As soon as you insult people with whom you disagree, you have lost the argument.”


            “Had you refrained from being insulting….. I don’t think it’s worth conversing with someone whose first resort is to insult since it highlights how bankrupt their argument is.”

            CONTINUES to accuse me of eugenics for the for the umpteenth time!!!!!!!

          • gunnerbear

            What are you left with – simple really – the Left don’t like evidence that some people really are unemployable because they are s**t-houses who don’t want to work.

          • Ben Hastings

            No – that was never really in doubt. What you are left with is that the right wing consider that the unemployed are all benefit cheats and, because of their DNA, likely to be criminals. Hey ho – that’s what the Daily Express and Daily Mail have been saying for years.

            As I’ve said before, the research into the same traits among the tax-dodgers of the very rich would be an interesting corollary. But it wouldn’t fit with the ring-wing agenda.

          • Mr B J Mann

            You are clearly lost and looking for your end of the psychiatrist’s couch!

            Which bit of “over represented” do you struggle with?!

          • Kalifornia Kook

            Not DNA. This is environmental (upbringing), not genetic. You’re putting words in the author’s mouth that were not intended. People can be trained to believe they deserve something for just being alive – that they don’t have to contribute to society in a positive way. We don’t fed the bears and the manatees because they may become dependent, but the same people don’t see the irony in providing welfare to the lazy and irresponsible.

          • Mr B J Mann

            So parasites are made and not born?!

          • Guncriminal .

            There’s no corollary because taxes avoiders aren’t claiming other people’s money, but rather holding onto their own.

          • Mr B J Mann

            So you can see, the dead-wood for the trees!

            So how come you’ve allowed yourself to be suckered by “liberal” scam “statistics” and sob story emotive blackmail shroudwaving on road transport?

            But can’t see that it actually does apply to rail road transport?!

          • gunnerbear

            You’ve totally lost me…..

          • Mr B J Mann

            No surprises there then!

          • gunnerbear

            Yep…the controversy is up there with Climategate when ‘researchers’ like Jones demanded that research they didn’t like should be suppressed. From memory Jones even suggested re-defining what peer-reviewed should mean as a way of stopping publication of some research.

          • Guncriminal .

            Because if the correct answer isn’t presented in a polite and respectful manner, it doesn’t count as correct, right?

    • The problem is not per se the analysis of the scientist, but the refusal of purportedly scientific institutions to do their job and either confirm or refute research done using the scientific method. Tell the truth and do your job seem to be too much for Nature to handle. That’s a scandal in its own right no matter whether the research is correct or not. The Spectator’s grasp of statistics is, in comparison, an irrelevancy.

  • Mr B J Mann

    The blog review mentioned elsewhere notes that you can breed mice to voluntarily run in a wheel in ten generations, but wonders if a 100 years of welfareism “and evident to some extent from 1870”, could have an effect on humans

    However, for the humans under discussion, a generation is closer to ten years, rather than thirty.

    And don’t forget that until about 1930 (yes 19, not 18!), girls could marry at 12 in the UK!

    • “And don’t forget that until about 1930 (yes 19, not 18!), girls could marry at 12 in the UK!”

      That isn’t true.

      The age of consent in the UK was raised to 16 in 1885.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Sorry, you’re wrong, there is no link between the two.

        The age of consent laws were to protect young girls from pr0stitution and white slavery.

        And don’t forget in the past there was no r-ape in marriage (again, this was nothing to do with allowing domestic v!olence to women as most people would think today, the laws you refer to would make agreed marital s-x r-pe!).

        The marriage ages were:

        The Age of Marriage Act 1929 increased the age of marriage to sixteen. It was passed in response to a campaign by the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship.[24]
        Until this point, at common law and by canon law a person who had
        attained the legal age of puberty could contract a valid marriage. A
        marriage contracted by persons either of whom was under the legal age of
        puberty was voidable.
        The legal age of puberty was fourteen years for males and twelve years
        for females. This section amended the law so that a marriage contracted
        by persons either of whom was under the age of sixteen years was void.[25]

  • Clear Thinker

    In the Canada’s as Queen Victoria used to refer to us, even when our unemployment was at its’ lowest, somewhere around 5.8 percent, what I know as a common truth is that even if you put a gun to the heads of the welfarite or fake disabled, they would never take a job. Some one owes them something, they never got a break, that teacher should not have failed them on their English test for spelling the word ‘cat’ as kattt. In my work, healthcare, I see the same type of person all of the time. Government housing, government drugs, government welfare, lots of cell phones, big screen TV’s, and they always have Indian cigarettes, dope, and booze. Frankly, I must admit that I don’t understand the economics of being a welfare queen. But they have it figured out, so I must be the moron!

  • Mr B J Mann

    Amusingly, on the sponsored links above the comments on another Speccie article are not one, but two, links to this article:

    21 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds. Did Yours Make The List?</b)

    Read more:

    The other link, to the same article, for some reason is entitled:

    These Dog Breeds Are Smarter Than Most People

    Perhaps because they have realised what most humans haven’t:

    That you can breed intelligence, character and personality!

  • James Miller

    I’ve been suffering from major depression for 15 years, and it wasn’t until 3 years ago that I applied for disability. I’m mentally unable to keep a job for reasons that don’t involve being aggressive or antisocial. Drive is not there, motivation is not there, focus, and attention span is also not there. I’m not even capable of doing a thorough enough job at mopping a floor to keep a job as a janitor for example. If I could just go to the doctor and get a shot, and just not wake up that would be fine with me, and better for society as a whole so they don’t have to pay for the existence of useless people.

    • Ludwig Van

      But your problem is surely not one shared by the vast majority of the unemployed or disability pension recipients.

    • Scradje

      Don’t give up James. You write well, for one thing. Doubtless you have other talents too.

    • Jack

      There’s no such thing as useless people. Our society is geared to invent ‘uses’ that have no bearing on human survival or real happiness – I mean, do we need 1000 different types of toilet roll? It’s work for work’s sake, in other words – so don’t ever feel like you have no value – it’s all meaningless anyway. And as if to prove it, I’ve read this article and posted this comment while at work!

      • billyoblivion

        > There’s no such thing as useless people.

        Yes, there are.

        > I mean, do we need 1000 different types of toilet roll?

        Yes, we do.

        First off people have different diets and differing…sensitivities in that region which leads to different requirements.

        Secondly having many brands with many different factories making them creates resiliency–if the one factory serving your area burned down why you’d be up the creek without a paddle now wouldn’t you?

        Having 4 or 5 different manufacturers means that if one goes down for some reason the other 4 will have *some* spare capacity to make up the slack.

        And finally having many different brands allows people the freedom to pick that which fits the mix of their requirements and budget. I can afford whatever paper I wish (within reason), so we get the stuff we *like* best. OTOH, when I was younger and poorer we made do with what we can afford.

        So yeah, we need “1000 different types of toilet roll” and 37 brands of cornflakes and an entire aisle dedicated to various deodorants and anti-perspirants, 200 different car manufacturers making 10 or 20 models each.

        Yeah, it’s not as efficient as it could be, but experimentation and competition make things better.

        That’s what happens when you give people freedom. They make choices. Choices you may not like, but it’s not for you to decide. That’s why it’s called “freedom”.

        • mickey667

          “That’s why it’s called “freedom””

          Capitalism, That is why they call it *capitalism*.

          • billyoblivion

            Same thing.

          • billyoblivion

            Same thing.

            If you have freedom you’ll have capitalism.

            If you don’t have freedom you don’t have capitalism.

          • mickey667

            Set out what you believe freedom is. What do you think as a concept it can be defined as? I;m intrigued by your confusion

          • billyoblivion

            There is no confusion.

            Capitalism is private individuals, either single, or in co-operation (companies/corporations) choosing how to allocate their assets (capital) to achieve their goals. It is people making their own choices and living with the consequences, but limited to the economic realm.

            Freedom is people making choices about how to live their lives unencumbered by state (force) restrictions, not limited to the economic realm.

            Once you start using the thuggery of the state to limit peoples choice (as opposed to just setting and enforcing basic “don’t steal/rape/murder” and “drive on the $SIDE side of the road) you start to restrict people and remove freedoms. Just as when the government starts to regulate business you move away from Capitalism.

    • mypipsranout

      You’re not a dead weight and you’re not here on this planet to be productive for the capitalist class. All life has equal right to be here and to share the resources that belong to all. Don’t let a system set up by people who violently stole these resources and walled off the land from all other life make you feel useless because you can’t further their excessive decadence by your labour. If they don’t want taxes to pay for welfare, fine, they can return their stolen land and resources to the commons and we’ll work it and share the fruits of that labour with those who can’t. Or they can keep their unearned, unjustified, immoral and unprecedented wealth and suck it up that people earning less than them pay tax towards a welfare state. You are not defined by the labour you perform within a violent resource controlled economy, but by who you are and how you treat others.

      • Harry Pond

        I’d place a large bet that says you work in the education business.

    • Pitying yourself and contemplating suicide is pretty pathetic. You should snap of it and go to work like the rest of us do. did you think everybody enjoyed their work? they don’t. They do it because they have to. Do you think my grandfather wanted to march on the German lines at the Battle of the Somme? NO – he didn’t. He did it because he thought his duty required it of him. Stop pitying yourself and do something positive and that obviously isn’t doing away with yourself. YOU have a better future if you have the guts to take it on.

    • andyrwebman

      I suspect a satirist at work here!

  • Alex Douglas

    If this man really feels that he is being neglected by ‘the academic establishment’, please let him know that I am more than happy to debate the causes of unemployment with him in any academic forum he likes. I’ll read his book. He can read the chapters in mine that mention unemployment and its causes:

    • Anyone who has worked with people from what might be called less salubrious backgrounds will be able to tell you that most of the people genuinely try hard to work and support themselves. It is a degenerate minority who actively seek out and exploit benefits as a way of life. They CERTAINLY do exist, but since most ordinary less privileged people don’t act like this, and they don’t, it is a serious error to assume that there is a cause and effect relationship between being born on the wrong side of the tracks and obstructive chosen welfare exploitation. Not only is it false, it is an insult to the people who try so hard to make ends meet. Family members of mine who are in the medical profession regularly remark on the extreme efforts some poor patients make to keep their families. Some of these are women without qualifications who work several cleaning jobs.

  • Novus

    The “House of Un-American Activities” sounds like a postmodern brothel.

    • Frank

      Very good!

    • Todd Unctious

      Licquor in the front, poker in the back.

  • Brenda Turner

    I am a 62 year old Canadian lady now in England. At the age of 17, by odd circumstances, I took a job with bare qualifications on data entry, and met a group and class of people I had never met before.

    I was astounded that they openly discussed their plans to complete this short period of work so that they could qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, and, while receiving those, would become pregnant so that on the termination of their insurance benefits they would then qualify for mother’s allowance, their next way of gaining support without working. Given the attitudes of those mothers, and what their children would hear over the years about their mothers …. um …. career plans, how likely is that they would plan to achieve more …?

    All I could think was to repeat to myself over and over: stay in school, stay in school ….

    • mickey667

      In 1971?

      You had family allowance then so didn’t need to work to receive it. And there was nigh on full employment. You’ve got your story about 15 to 20 yrs out of date.

      • GnosticBrian

        I thin k that your memory may be playing you false.

        20th January 1972: “There were angry demonstrations in the House of Commons when the jobless total was confirmed as 1,023,583” – source, BBC. Unemployment was rising rapidly throughout 1971.

        “It has been said that full employment was the central objective of government economic policy from 1945 up to at least the late 1960s”. Source:

        • Todd Unctious

          Tories put unemployment up from 4% to 5.8% of the workforce between 1970 and 1972. Adding 350,000 to the dole queues in 20 months.

          • GnosticBrian

            Tell that to Mickey667 who believes that there was full employment in 1971.

      • The amount of in work and out of work benefits available in 1971 was VASTLY less than it is now. You are talking nonsense.

        • mickey667

          Yes, that is what i was talking about.

  • davesmith001

    Ummm…social workers are not part of the progressive left?

  • StevieWelles

    I suppose the question one should ask here is, “so what?” Understanding the source of their fecklessness doesn’t make them any less deserving of support. I suppose some will think just that and I invite them to envision a world in which your rewards, punishments, support or opportunity are distributed based on your genetic predispositions. Have fun with that.

    • EndlessIke

      Is there no amount of fecklessness that reduces one’s deserving of support?

      • StevieWelles

        Not if we’re blaming it on genetic predisposition. The implication is that they literally cannot do otherwise, in which case I’d say they’re all the more deserving.

    • davidofkent

      ‘Understanding the source of their fecklessness doesn’t make them any less deserving of support.’ I can agree with that. However the sort of support and help they need is not the ‘dishing out of benefits’ sort of help. They need to be helped to become self-sufficient by getting up in the morning and going to work.

      • StevieWelles

        If they are aggressive, rule-breaking and have anti-social tendencies, do we really want them in the workplace? I don’t want to work with such people.

        • nancoise

          They could always go into politics, I suppose.

      • Andrew Cole

        Totally agree. There is far too much pandering to the ‘its not their fault’ for any number of problems in this country.

        What should be focused on rather than making up excuses if providing opportunities.

        There are jobs out there but they can’t get them? Ask Why?
        1 – Many need experience/qualifications they don’t possess. If so would offering the opportunity to gain experience/qualifications help them?

        2 – If they aren’t able to do those jobs or qualifications why can’t they do the lower paid jobs? They have applied but they never get responses. Why is this?

        3 – They have listed with agencies but they only ever give them 1 day a week work. Why is that?

        4 – They refuse to work – FORCE THEM TO WORK

        At the end of the day all the government and its organisations can do is facilitate an environment where opportunities can be offered. If people refuse to work should they then be allowed not to?

        It would take a lot though to get that sorted because we have had 20 years of excuses made for people not working. It isn’t all the unemployed’s fault in fact most of it isn’t but employment agencies need investigating and regulating for a start.

        I think instead of Sanctions the government should do deals to offer employment to people and then sanction. People have to start to get off their ***** and if jobs can be offered then there is no excuse to be laid.

    • Sorry – fecklessness in an adult is a vice. Children with vices we try to rehabilitate; adults who have them are incorrigible villains and need to be deterred.

  • Overrepresented by how much? Seems like such an important figure would have been included in the article.

  • Tim Ryan

    “personality is a capitalist construct”

    true; but so, too, is the welfare state!

  • mickey667

    “Over the past five years, he has accumulated a mass of evidence about the personalities of welfare claimants and concluded that individuals with aggressive, rule-breaking and anti-social tendencies — what he calls the ‘employment–resistant personality profile’ — are over-represented among benefit recipients. He also found that their children are likely to share those traits, which helps explain why poverty has a tendency to be passed down from one generation to the next.”

    So when the mines and factories all got shut down in the 80s and unemployment went through the roof in the North sticking people on welfare, the reason they received welfare was because of their personality, not the factory shutting down?

    Got it.

    • Your description of the North is specious. I live in the north and there is a vibrant economy if you are talented,hard working and energetic. It was indeed a shock to many when uncompetitive heavy industries collapsed. I don’t underestimate the difficulties since I have seen them come onto people I know. But it is not true that everyone just stopped working. Huge numbers went out and found new jobs. Were they all as well paid as the previous industrial jobs? No – they weren’t, but thousands of people once employed in ship building in Newcastle where I live, are now employed in the oil industry, structural steel erection and heavy engineering here in Britain and abroad. They are making very good money indeed. The energetic and determined get on; the others don’t.

      I was amazed to hear on the radio a fork lift driver at a now closed down steel works say that he had been paid £42,000 a year!!! A FORK LIFT DRIVER ON 42 GRAND!!! The average salary at that Welsh steel works was £50,000. No wonder the damned thing shut down. There is no way at all that such manual roles can be worth that kind of money, ESPECIALLY in the context of a world wide steel market.

      • mickey667

        I was discussing then 80s as a moment. By Toby’s logic that was due to personality.

        • No – you missed the point. People in the eighties went out and got new jobs even up here. This city is totally re-invigorated and prosperous. Is it prosperous for the idle scoundrels? No. They prefer the dole to honest effort. Five thousand foreigners came here last year to this city alone and found work. Oddly enough, I could take you to see several people I know personally who haven’t worked in decades.

          • Andrew Cole

            Times change matey. There have always been those who won’t work. There have never been as many Yosser Hughes as there are now just desperate for any kind of job.

  • Dav

    Young trying to make Eugenics fashionable again? Didn’t end well last time.

    • andyrwebman

      So – Hitler’s mob have conclusively disproved that any form of Eugenics, ever, must be awful?

      Interesting how you can cover all the possible variants of that with one example.

  • Doctor Crackles

    These problems are all covered by the orthodox Christian belief in the generational consequences of sin as stated in second commandment. King David said: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” But Paul says where sin abounds then grace all the more, so there is hope in Jesus Christ. This same Jesus whom the left ceaselessly mock and pillory. These ideological fanatics wish to keep people bound in prisons of hopelessness. However, right-minded men have been to quick to judge and not heeded words spoken by John Newton, “but for the grace of God go I”. So, we should be careful not to condemn men without any hope of reprieve, for Christ died for the vilest members of humanity.

    • davidofkent

      Although I am sure you mean well, your phrase ‘These ideological fanatics wish to keep people bound in prisons of hopelessness’ does rather seem to describe the Roman Catholic Church rather well.

      • Doctor Crackles

        Somewhat trite response, but I’m not surprised. The mere mention of Christianity or Jesus Christ on this board presses buttons.

        David, this is not a Catholic nation, so please reflect on your comment. If you speak from personal experience of this church then I can only say that God-fearing men of this island have long eschewed Papal tyranny for true freedom in Christ Jesus.

        My comment is aimed at our bewilderment when confronted with the failings of our fellows. There was a time when we were able to look through the prism of Christian teaching and we were all the better for it. There was hope that wretched humanity could be changed. You should reflect on what caused a man like John Newton to pen the words of the great hymn Amazing Grace. What would you do with such a man today?

  • rolandfleming

    Presumably it’s just a correlational study anyway, which could equally well be spun as “Look what being out of work does to your mind”.

    • The_greyhound

      Or “look how conformist and biddable being in work makes you”.

      • rolandfleming

        haha, indeed!

  • The_greyhound

    I’m old enough to remember a working class community where there was, for all practical purposes, full employment. Today’s layabouts didn’t inherit their attitudes from their thrifty, industrious grandparents. They picked them up from somewhere : the collapse (or destruction) of the industrial economy was the necessary backdrop – today there are few jobs left for people with little beyond some limited manual skills. And it’s very difficult to blame a Briton who refuses to demean themselves by competing with a pathetically eager and cheap migrant for a poorly paid rubbish job. The whingeing, overpaid, unpatriotic middle classes should stop blaming other people for the mess they have made of our society.

    • This is a lie. Hundreds of thousands of people enter the UK every year to work in manual jobs on farms, in factories, meat processing plant and other unskilled occupations. They flock from eastern and central Europe, Africa and other places and take up roles which are readily available if tough work and low pay. I’m not talking about illegal scam pay either, but forty hour minimum wage employment. The fact that we have a shortage of workers for these roles while large numbers sit on the ‘nash’ as some call it, gives the lie to your foolish post.

      • The Patriarchy

        What is a lie?

        You are a vapouring niiny who doesn’t like the truth.

        • I’ll indulge you in spite of your despicable abusive garbage. THE LIE is the statement that there are no jobs for unskilled people. I gave clear reasons why it was a lie,and if you were not retarded and probably drunk, you would have been able to follow the logic of my argument easily. Happy now? If not, just pour another drink and send yourself even further into moronic imbecility.

        • Todd Unctious

          Ninny is a corruption of innocent. Niiny however…..?

    • Andrew Cole

      There aren’t as many layabouts as you think. Many are just left behind. Their voices are gone. They have no energy left to say they want to work and no motivation to apply for any job or agency because they get no replies from applications and the agencies only offer Brits work here and there, a day a week just so they can rebuff the suggestion they don’t give work to Brits.

      Big Business wanted the workforce from Europe. They had no scruples in the methods they used to get rid of the British workforce they already had and Labour covered up the cracks by making benefits fill the gap. Hush money.

      I daresay the Tories are in denial as well although I fail to see how they could turn it around now. The damage is done.

      It really annoys me when someone like you says things like ‘Britons refuse to demean themselves by competing for a poorly paid rubbish job’. Tell me how do they compete for jobs they cannot access. How do they compete for jobs they’ve already been pushed out of?

      Do you think that British workforce all decided in the space of 2 years between 2004/6 that those jobs were beneath them and they all quit?

      Wake up and ask yourself. Whys did a British workforce turn into a Portuguese workforce then into a Polish/Latvian/Lithuanian workforce in the space of 2 years?

      Then ask yourself what will happen each time a cheaper workforce becomes available? The NWM is a base but the deductions that the workers are prepared to accept goes up each time. The NWM is very easy to hide behind when you can claim back rents, uniform costs, transport costs, admin costs with authorities seemingly not wanting to rock the money racket.

      So yes there is a problem with the attitude of a few but most are just in despair because they are called Lazy Brits, the media and the public agree yet they cannot get the crappiest of crap jobs because employers do not want Brits working for them because they might not comply with their every demand.

      It is back breaking work in the factories but used to be a good crowd and it was all British. Was hard hard work but the ‘Lazy Brits who don’t want these jobs’ WERE DOING these jobs. They did not just decide they were suddenly above them yet you believe they did.

      • The_greyhound

        What is your point?

        I have already said that the catastrophic loss of manufacturing and the importation of foreigners is at the root of the problem.

        Do you really need to ramble on that self dramatizing virtue signalling fashion?

        • Andrew Cole

          My point is simply that the people to blame for most of the entitlement problem is those who continually told them they were entitled because that view is now entrenched within them.

          Everything else you said I agree with.

  • mypipsranout

    So we’ll just ignore the numerous extensive studies (JRF & Centre for Welfare Reform to name two) that prove there is no such thing as a culture of worklessness with generations of the same family out of work. Or that most working age benefits are paid to those in work, or that of those paid out to healthy out of work, working age claimants, there is no evidence of long-term unemployed and instead a cycle of low pay no pay exists. We’ll also ignore that by Toby Young’s own admittance, he is antisocial. But I guess when you’re an antisocial toff, you get paid to spew up text about subjects you know nothing about.

    • davidofkent

      Or we’ll just ignore you. That’s a difficult choice.

    • newname

      Your comment is far too reasonable for this forum. You’re doing what the article says – going against the received wisdom here. Davidofkent is typical of the standard of responses such comments usually get, with its well thought out arguments. (I’m fairly new to this sarcasm thing – was that OK?)

    • JJD

      The central thesis was about a link between low employability and certain undesirable personality traits. Why are you dodging the central issue?

    • Fiets Bel

      There are groups of people in the Netherlands where unemployment is more prevalent than other groups and which continues (or even gets worse) in the same group a generation later, as can be seen here:

    • andyrwebman

      They all need to go into the melting pot together – to be used to inspire more research.

      Often what looks like a different conclusion is down to a slightly different question being asked. Other times there are flaws in the data methodology.

      What would be really telling would be to look very closely at the large amounts of data claimed for this report.

  • WTF

    Its the entitlement culture brain washed into kids by liberals that’s the problem.

    • Andrew Cole

      Damn I just ranted out 1000 words and you’ve said it in 13.

      • WTF

        You’re welcome, usually I rant too long anyway ! (waiting to get the responses from the usual libtard suspects).

      • Todd Unctious

        Brevity in delivery is an art mastered by those of us with a broad education. Ranting is the preserve of the tongue tied and I’ll informed.

        • Andrew Cole

          I don’t know about that. Farage gets so much into his short speeches and don’t get me wrong I love listen to Rees-Mogg’s eloguent poetic speeches but where the former packs the punches into his speech Rees-Mogg uses 1000 words to highlight a point that a sentence would have covered.

          • Todd Unctious

            You prove my point for me. Rees-Mogg is an intellectual midget.

          • Andrew Cole

            Rees Mogg is far from an intellectual midget. Very clever man, never makes a mistake but then doesn’t take many risks. I love listening to him but I would bet half the country think “snobby w****r” as many would need to keep reaching for the dictionary to understand what he is on about.

            Rees Mogg’s speeches are intended for the commons as his target audience. Farage’s speeches are intended for all levels of the public as the audience. There is a point where you have to start speaking in a language that any numpty will understand. Dumbing down? Maybe but he should consider that the numpties vote as well.

    • Crenando

      lol a reactionary baby wants to “go back to how things used to be”

  • Malcolm Stevas

    Sorry to hear about Dr Perkins’s being cast into outer darkness, but not surprised. It’s what self-styled “progressives” and Leftists do best: practicing savage intolerance toward those who oppose them or even disagree with PC nostrums.
    It’s also a pity to see Toby Young misusing the word “liberal” in the same way Americans do, by taking it to mean “progressive Left” or “Socialist” or something. It leads to confusion.

  • Sue Ward

    Occupational Psychologists make huge amounts of money telling employers which personality types suit particular careers or positions in the hierarchy. Surely therefore it takes no great leap to imagine that a propensity to be unemployable is also linked to certain personality traits? Another case of the person who points out that a lefty Emperor has no clothes getting lynched.

    • Andrew Cole

      Indeed. If you are on the autistic spectrum like someone with Aspergers however high functioning you are no longer any use to the world because every job these days includes the words ‘excellent communication skills’ which makes things very hard.

      Even adverts for accountants these days require ‘excellent communication skills’. So much for David Cameron and his autism bill.

      Where are those jobs that used to be perfect. On your own in the basement of a company where they keep their archives or drawings. Not have to converse with many people at all.

      • Dave Cockayne

        I have my suspicions that quite a lot of the increase in diagnosis of autism is down to this societal shift where everyone must have soft skills, be a team player and a good fit for the group. These requirements do basically shut autistic people out of the workplace.

        • Andrew Cole

          These requirements shut people out of lots of things and always have done. The problem is that at the same time as high functioning autism has been understood that the world including business has gone communication and image crazy.

          Just at the time when it should be easier to help people with ASD the world made it much much harder to.

          One good thing is the internet though. I can speak quite confidently on the internet whereas face to face with a stranger I would just clam up. I can also utilise the internet to work from home and on my own so no need really for me to communicate with anyone.

      • andyrwebman

        For someone like that, a systems programmer’s job would be perfect. Head down in low level data.

    • Anthony Cavanagh

      Occupational Psychologists make huge amounts of money conning employers. maybe they should go out and get a real job

  • ‘The basic liberal narrative is that there’s no connection between the
    individual qualities of unemployed people and their unemployment,’

    As Young says, anyone who has worked in a variety of public sector roles or even in business employing people knows full well that this narrative is completely false. One of my sons set up a small business in 2010 and now employs twelve people. He went to extraordinary lengths to help a person he thought a potentially talented young man into work. The lad was living in a YMCA and as soon as he was employed, he was given notice to leave his accommodation at the YMCA. He reported that he would have to leave the employment since he had no means to get a flat and had fallen out so badly with his family that he would have nowhere to go. My son then went the extra mile and paid a deposit for a flat so that the lad could continue in his job, including a month’s rent which was required in advance as the lad seemed keen and it just seemed the right thing to help him……

    However, it wasn’t long before the new employee began exhibiting pretty undesirable traits, coming late to work after dope smoking sessions and acting irascibly with his colleagues in the office. Time after time he was given advisory management and was sacked and taken back twice. My son showed immense patience with this character, and gave him firm guidance and targets with the offer of a pay rise if he could meet them, but in the end his conduct was so bad, and had such a bad effect on his colleagues that he was finally and irrevocably fired. I’ve known numbers of people like this. Whatever you try to do for them, they are systematically incapable of being a reliable employee.

    • Cobbett

      Yeah…you just can’t help anybody these days….ungrateful so-and-so’s.

    • JJD

      Yeah – this is absolutely common knowledge, as you and Toby say. Even the liberals and the left know it, they just don’t enjoy admitting it.

    • Crenando

      “I’ve known numbers of people like this.” Wow that’s nice science, very methodological.

      • Oh – sorry – did I present my comment as a behavioural study? I wrote it a while ago and must have forgotten that I claimed I’d followed the scientific method….

        I’m sixty-five. I have a long experience of working with the public in an advisory role. I think I am probably entitled after a forty-five year career to say I’ve met a number of people who were temperamentally impossible to help into reliable work habits.

  • Delhi Spearman.

    ‘Aggressive, rule-breaking and anti-social’. People like that occur in all strata of society, and depending on the cards you are dealt in terms of birth, education, income you could end up winning a VC, become a multi millionaire or becoming a despot ruling over millions of people. And as for the name Napoleon Chagnon, well, words fail me. Not tonight, Josephine.

  • Cobbett

    Who gives a sh*t?

  • tykegirl

    Don’t liberal attack dogs immediately shut down anybody who dares to venture an opinion about anything which detracts from their own brain-numbing dogma?

    • veryvexed

      No he is saying this is science which it is not, it is opinion with a few misused statistics thrown in
      agenda based research.

    • veryvexed

      No he is saying this is science which it is not, it is opinion with a few misused statistics thrown in
      agenda based research.

  • red2black

    If there’s an economically acceptable level of five or six out of every hundred workers unemployed at any time, what’s all the fuss about?

    • Andrew Cole

      Because that 5 or 6 is the official figure. Then you have many more that are still hidden on other benefits, others that are in reality unemployed but aren’t included because they are now on another scheme etc. Has always been the same with all governments.

      There are loads of schemes and training and suchlike they put people on that take you off the unemployed list when you are still in reality unemployed. Some of these schemes are good because they are helping your chances. Others are just a rebadge because they dont know what to do with you.

      Some are bad because the claimant is only on the scheme because they have no choice or they will lose their benefit. Once they have completed that scheme they are back on the unemployed list but start a fresh year before they risk sanctions again. Vicious circle.

      May as well just give up on the latter and say heres a bag and some grabbers. you want your dole for the rest of your life, then pick the litter up.

      • red2black

        If there’s a hard core of long-term unemployed, it would be interesting to know how many they are in number, and what constitutes long-term.
        Are people who can’t work because of ill-health and other circumstances included in this? The total welfare bill is currently about 15% of total annual government spending.

        • Andrew Cole

          people who can’t work due to ill health is not included and that is also the easiest way to avoid having to work.

          This is why it is so hard to deal with this issue because when you start trying to sort the valid claims from the blaggers you are in very sensitive territory.

          How many people are off work with depression, stress and other such illnesses. How many of these are real and how many are not?

          A very diffcult subject and very hard to prove either way.

          • red2black

            The questions you ask don’t just apply to the underclass (part of the working class) but to people from all circumstances.
            I agree with you about the difficulties of identification of who is genuine and who isn’t, but as a percentage of the working population, I’d guess the number of long-term unemployed isn’t that significant (?).

          • Andrew Cole

            I thought I was implying that people should be asking how much money is lost in state occupations from stress, depression etc.

            One of my friends was earning 60k as a head of IT within one of the emergency services.

            That position is a manager, managing is stressful. He was off work for 9 months on full pay and then another year on partial pay before he returned.

            How can you be paid sick leave for stress when you were the one that applied to undertake a stressful job for considerable renumeration to be able to handle the stress???

            If you are sick then fine. If you are not it needs investigating. The old sick note culture that used to be laughed about is thriving at all levels and the left use the disabled to attack any attempts to address the issue.

            Yes some people who genuinely are sick will have a case against bad decisions that are made. There will always be some badly thought out plans, or mistakes that are made. You can never eradicate that. The left however do not want to tackle the problem on the grounds that they use to attack a policy. They do not fight to improve a policy so that it doesn’t affect the needy. They use those to just attack any plan as ‘targetting a demographic’ in order to shout the motions down.

            Disabled people in particular should start to question Labour politicians as to why they sensationalise problems a policy has rather than try to help improve that policy so that it can actually do what it is meant to do.

          • red2black

            Presumably a GP signed your friend off work? I don’t know what would have happened to him if he’d been working for a private company. Stress and depression seem to be categories that cover a vast range of problems that affect many peoples’ lives. I do know what it’s like, along with other people at work, to be subjected to management bullying, which thankfully the Union, along with an Executive, were able to put a stop to.

          • Andrew Cole

            No doubt he did get a doctor’s certificate. I was using it as an example. There is no doubt there are many people on disability that can work though. The fact that policy needs amending when it is penalising people who do need the benefit does not mean that Labour or campaign groups should slam the policy as a whole. They should stop using the headline problem to attack the whole policy and campaign for the policy to be amended so that it is working properly.

            Socialists are a strange bunch. They seem to promote themselves as people who want to change people’s lives but then actively seek to keep things exactly the same as they are.

          • red2black

            There seem to be plenty of cases of people. quite rightly, being pulled up by investigators for exploiting the benefits system and ending up in court as a result.

          • Andrew Cole

            Tip of the iceberg though.

          • red2black

            It probably is, but what do you want? Whoever’s in government, it’s always a problem.

          • Andrew Cole

            I agree. Hard to tackle anything when the left is not interested in anything other than the status quo.

          • Todd Unctious

            Whatever you want….

          • andyrwebman

            I haven’t seen many of these. Could you post a link to any? I suppose few newspapers are going to report “government plan does what it’s meant to do”

          • red2black

            Contrasting views:
            The second one reckons the press only report the most serious cases.

          • Todd Unctious

            What a trite little comment. Exposing your prejudices. Who on Earth ever refers to any of their fellow men as an “underclass”. Who are you? Goebbels?

          • red2black

            People like Andrew Cole refers to his fellow men as an underclass. As I said, they are part of the working class, however someone else chooses to describe them.

          • SocratesWept

            The defining characteristic of the working class is the ‘working’ bit. Existing on welfare is ‘welfare class’. They are very different states, and are in many ways on ‘opposite sides’.

          • red2black

            Is it? There have always been unemployed people. Unemployed middle class people remain middle class. Placing unemployed people, whatever their social status, on opposite sides, smacks of divide and rule, as does calling them the underclass.

    • Fiets Bel

      You have to see which people are considered ‘workers’ (I think people who are excluded are children, the disabled, old people, chronically ill people etc etc). Also, not all people who are considered ‘workers’, work full-time and/or can support themselves and their dependants fully (look at all the people who work and get some sort of benefits/aid). The whole benefits system is based on a low percentage of unemployed people and a certain number of people who don’t contribute (for whatever reason). If that balance changes, there’s less people making money and more people wanting/needing free money, so either the receivers will have to do with less, or the workers will have to pay more taxes.

      You also need to consider other costs that need to be payed for by taxpayers such as health care, infrastructure, costs for law enforcement, justice, criminals etc etc.

      • red2black

        Most people have to go to work to earn a living. What you say sounds reasonable, so why are the least well off the target of so much criticism? I watched a programme about Greece last night which pointed out that it was the poorest who had their social welfare payments cut, which left Greece with the biggest divide between rich and poor in Europe. Strange how the wealthiest are doing just fine.

        • andyrwebman

          I understand Greece has major issues with its tax collection.

          We’ve set a top rate of tax at 45% in this country. There are clearly gains to be made by making sure everyone who should pay, does pay – and we need to distinguish between that strategy and the less valid one of bumping up rates beyond this.

          Have to feel sorry for the Greeks – they got appalling value for money from their debt. Just shows infrastructure spending isn’t enough – you need to invest in something that becomes a money tree.

          • red2black

            Chasing money (unpaid taxes) probably costs so much that a point is reached where it’s not worth it. The programme about Greece also pointed out that the wealthiest had moved a lot of their assets abroad. I don’t know enough about Greece to say whether all they have to offer is tourism, but I doubt the interests of the wealthiest are the same as Greece’s.

  • Andrew Cole

    Tories think every claimant is a scrounger. Labour think every claimant has an X-Factor sob story and needs to be loved.

    Reality is a small number are scroungers, a small number need the love and the rest are scrabbling around for jobs that are only advertised in the name of equal opportunities without ever being open to the applicants and given no help (under both governments) other than a 5 minute check up on what you’ve written in your daily diary and the threat hanging over you of sanctions.

    You then have the left hindering any attempt to help people be more attractive to employers.

    I left school, got a YTS position within a decent firm at £35 a week as an account clerk. Older accounts clerks were earning £200 a week back then so the left see that as slave labour. I saw that as Wow Money. I had never had £35 a week in my hand before that. Parents didn’t hand out money like they do now. After 1 year the YTS was finished and I became a ‘commercial trainee’ in teh company and my pay went to £70 a week and I felt soo rich. After 4 years in that company I was on £14k a year. That was a very good wage back then.

    It isn’t the young people’s fault that they would turn their noses up at YTS or a similar scheme. £35 back then would be like £125 a week now I would think. They won’t work for that because they are constantly told it is slave labour.

    Bring this stuff back and hammer into kids the value of money. Earn it because you won’t be given it. You leave school and you can take a position like YTS and earn your way up.

    What has changed in a generation is that young people don’t understand the value of money now. Their pocket money is high, They have all the gadgets we could never dream of and they have the Nike Airs when they are 8, the designer Timberlands when they are 10 and a wardrobe full of designer clobber.

    Start teaching kids the value of money and stop pandering to all these excuses of slave labour etc. If a company is abusing a work experience scheme then tackle them. If people cant see that they can’t wait being subsidised by the state while they wait around for their dream job or hope to win the X factor then stuff them. Make them work. Needs tough action not just tough words.

    Politicians need to stop tip toeing on eggshells around the subject and being fearful of the campaigners that will find fault with all government policy and just get things done. You cannot continually try to tackle problems by swerving around any barriers people put up. Sometimes you have to knock those barriers down and stop pandering to these protest groups.

    Want a job and can’t get one. Take one of these options. Refuse. Sanction. Easy. It is not slave labour to gain work experience and it may well show the company you next apply to after the work experience that you aren’t just a lazy sod applying for the sake of it.

    Sorry rambled there. Most of the fault is with the constant apologists who have created this problem by convincing everybody that they are above this kind of work, above that kind of wage and that everybody deserves more.

    • An excellent comment. You are right – the biggest problem facing the young is their own perception of life’s unfairness. It kind of always has been, but *now* they find an entire ideology is telling them “you are right!”

    • Very well said. It is great to see such common sense on the subject. I am constantly amazed that Guardian types rave savagely about the wickedness of long term unemployed people being told to report to Tesco or Poundland to get something to put on their otherwise empty CV. ‘Slave Labour’? I don’t think so. They are receiving long term unemployment pay. Months and months of that all free from the taxpayer.

      • Hertslass

        Unless they can get pregnant. Knew about daughter of former friend who stuck two whole days working before she decided to stop. Next thing she is pregnant and asking her father (furniture removal man, worked hard) for money for her hair – £50.

        Ran up bill on catalogue purchases that her boyfriend was supposed to pay.

        Her mother was a former drug addict who hadn’t worked either. What’s the betting for the child?

    • Fiets Bel

      Thank you for sharing!

    • andyrwebman

      No, your point is well made. We’ve given far too many people an opinion of themselves that’s simply too high, that they’re too good for certain jobs.

  • Sue Smith

    Trumbo “the tortured martyr”? I don’t think so. He was ultimately a misguided and dangerous Lefty who poorly understood the entirely justifiable American antipathy to communism. What in the world were these idiots thinking, as Stalin was cleansing the USSR of dissidents and sending them to the salt mines of Siberia. As the famous joke goes..”Ever heard the joke about the dissident Soviet composer…his favourite key was A Salt Minor”.

  • JJD

    Good article, Toby. Poor guy. Sounds like he’s got some sense, God help him.

  • Liberanos

    I suggest that Mr Young’s plea for freedom to publish comment which offends the establishment, would be more potent if those very restrictions weren’t practised by the Spectator itself… particularly in relation to islamic savagery and bigotry.

    • Maureen Fisher

      At least they don’t shut all the comments down immediately as do the DT and Graun.

    • Crenando

      “islamic savagery” lol nice dogwhistle

      • Liberanos

        Looking around the world it’s totally inescapable, is it not?

  • Jenny Wren

    “….concluded that individuals with aggressive, rule-breaking and anti-social tendencies — what he calls the ‘employment–resistant personality profile’ — are over-represented among benefit recipients. He also found that their children are likely to share those traits, which helps explain why poverty has a tendency to be passed down from one generation to the next………..It runs counter to the anti-capitalist narrative that portrays the ever-expanding underclass as ‘victims’ whose only sin is to be born on the wrong side of the tracks………..” Christ, didn’t you used to run a school or something?

    • Ipsmick

      Sounds to me like he’s describing Dave & Gideon.

  • StringyJack

    Yet more evidence of the censorial nature of modern academics. No deviation from leftist orthodox opinion is tolerated in any faculty, not just anthropology. Free speech is under constant attack in our universities these days.

    • WTF

      I was watching a short TV segment with Dr. Phil being interviewed last night over the entitlement culture and it was both hilarious and sick. This presenter is on American TV talking about problems people have but this one took the biscuit.

      There was a 30 year old wannabee rock star who had burned through $1.5 million of his parents retirement savings trying to be a rock star. He claimed to have had over 500 women but his career was a failure and his parents were dumb to have ever given him that money. The point of the discussion was as Dr. Phil put it, is this entitlement culture that too many kids feel today and not just wannabee rock stars.

      Right now in Washington the left are starting a program to pay ex criminals not to offend again. I believe we saw a bit of this with young offenders in the UK but it never works as they just take the money and still re-offend. Meanwhile, those who are borderline offenders now feel able to offend as its a win win if they get caught. What the left fail to understand is they are blatantly discriminating against those who do obey the law. Its no different with benefits claimants who fiddle the system as unless there’s a real penalty they’ll do it again. Its the same with drive by drug shootists in Chicago using illegal guns as the penalties are ludicrously feeble, and it certainly isn’t any different with special treatment for Islamic offenders as we’ve seen over the past 20 years.

      As Dr Phil clearly pointed out unless there are real serious consequences for your bad behavior or criminal actions, nothing will change. This isn’t rocket science into human behavior this is common sense learned from the school of hard knocks over generations.

      The left and their dogma are a catalyst to these ‘cancers’ of our time whether the entitlement culture, nobody can lose an egg and spoon race at infants school, criminals are victims and worst of all the excusing of alien cultural behavior at Rotherham or Cologne. All common sense discussion on any social or criminal problem will be shut down by these social control freaks and society is now disintegrating in front of our eyes. This has to end to save what we had before its all gone !

      • Crenando

        “society is now disintegrating in front of our eyes” Fascist propaganda is being voted up by mindless fools.

    • Sue Jones

      Or it may be that his thesis is rubbish

    • Crenando

      “Free speech is under constant attack in our universities these days.” Says the conservative reactionary.

  • WTF

    Lets face it, the left (or todays liberals) shut down or try to shut down any debate on any subject they have a vested interest in especially if it doesn’t follow their twisted narrative.

    Welfare benefits has been one they’ve lied over and tried to cover up for decades. Immigration costs are obscured and attempts are even made to try and show it benefits us. The same is true with multiculturalism & diversity where they both promote it and castigate us with names like racist & bigot if we protest. The main diversity it gave us was 10 years of gang rape in Rotherham. Now their preferred subject and MO is the compassion card they’re playing over migrants masquerading as refugees.

    If there’s one certainty in life its the left will get us to pay for their moral high ground and its all based on flagrant lies, insults, and vicious name calling. A few definitions –

    Liberal (1960) = Tree Hugger whilst a Liberal (2015) = Fascist Control Freak

    Progressive = Extreme version of Liberal (2015)
    Liberal for their facts = Wishful thinking and Liberal for spin = Irrational Self belief

    • Crenando

      “The same is true with multiculturalism & diversity where they both promote it and castigate us with names like racist & bigot if we protest.” Aw, an outdated reactionary baby is offended by reality. Do you need a safe space where no one ever points our your laughable delusions?

  • Tom Pain

    ‘Aggressive, rule-breaking and anti-social’….sounds like our very own Mr Young.

  • Tom Pain

    Remind me, what qualifications does Toby Young have?

    • Todd Unctious

      The son of a peer and a BBC producer. Those are what you need in a crony capitalist world of sycophants and nepotism.

  • ronnat

    The child of a mother who drank during pregnancy and so grew up with lower IQ and behavioural difficulties is probably on benefits. Labelling them as “aggressive, rule-breaking and anti-social” maybe accurate but what does it gain? They will still need costly care even if they don’t appear grateful for it

    • Fiets Bel

      It’s important to assess any situation, discuss it out in the open, so policy can be changed to hopefully improve the situation. Look at how many Western European countries’ media have lied/obscured facts about certain groups of immigrants and their overrepresentation in crime, unemployment, disability, antisocial behaviour etc. Exactly because something is considered not-pc, it needs to be said. If problems are recognised early on, appropriate action can be taken instead of letting issues like this fester for decades, costing the taxpayers billions and a lot of misery.

      • Noris Walker

        Exactly, bottom line this type of behavior needs to be publicly shunned and ostracized not the books and writers talking about it. It’s not immoral to hurt people’s feelings, and a few hypothetical outliers shouldn’t make us give up on the truth. I’m sick of people confusing, or intentionally confusing, a discussion about the macro with references to a micro. It’s mostly rhetorical and moral/political signalling that has no bearing on the overall conclusion. It seems to be more and more common with younger people schooled in critical theory with no real life experience, to busy trying to find a contradiction, no matter how insignificant or obscure, than trying to solve a problm.

        • veryvexed

          You are talking about a take it or leave it society a centaur state which is a soft totalitarian state. Our working environment have been rewound in recent decades we have been de-industrialised our working rights have been diminished and our sense of worth smashed, this may not affect you and you may believe that other people should just accept it, but people behaviour reflects the environment around them and simply blaming them for responding to worsening conditions is blind.

        • veryvexed

          You are talking about a take it or leave it society a centaur state which is a soft totalitarian state. Our working environment have been rewound in recent decades we have been de-industrialised our working rights have been diminished and our sense of worth smashed, this may not affect you and you may believe that other people should just accept it, but people behaviour reflects the environment around them and simply blaming them for responding to worsening conditions is blind.

  • Fiets Bel

    I don’t understand how people can’t seem to fathom that certain personality traits/skills give you better chances to be successful than certain other traits. There’s a reason why the habitually unemployed are so (I am not talking about people with disabilities or other health conditions). If they weren’t lazy, if they were ambitious, if they were hard-working, willing to start at the bottom for little money, were willing to relocate for a job, planned ahead (especially when it comes to having children), were willing to apply for 10 jobs a day instead of 2 a month and if they would apply for jobs that they are actually qualified for, they would not be long-term unemployed. Look at all the migrant workers who come here legally to pick mushrooms, work in construction or work as waiters? These vacancies could easily have been filled by (uneducated) Britons if they had shown up to apply, looked decent and acted respectful and polite.

    There is a reason certain people will never become doctors, professional athletes, business owners, good parents, teachers, designers etc. Not everyone has the same cognitive abilities and not everyone has the character traits needed to become successful (wether it’s in academia, business, as a parent etc).

  • CEO Daffodil

    Regarding “aggressive, rule-breaking and anti-social” – violent crime has been falling in the UK (and across the 1st world) for years, so whatever is happening to reduce crime, it’s working.
    Sure his research should be published without the editors getting prissy about the consequences of what other people will think, but I don’t see what use governments can make of this data.
    We can’t just end welfare payments for these people, that’ll add the fuel of mental illness onto the fire.

    • Noris Walker

      You make far reaching conclusions. First this article said nothing about crime, you’ve connected that yourself. Based off the faulty presupposition that unemployment beneficiaries being subsidized for lack of employment brings the crime rates down the taxpayer must continue to subsidize the chronically unemployed (There’s other words for this: blackmail, extortion, and ransom). Then you come to the far reaching conclusion that all of this, if not continued, will increase mental illness in our communities. I would say people thinking like you are increasing the mental illness, or at least hindering a much needed conversation about the complexities of the subject.

    • Google for Unum scandal, that’ll give you some idea.

  • Noris Walker

    The leftists also don’t like the implications that behavior is genetic. They don’t like genetics, never have. So much so the Soviets all but banned any type of genetic studies resulting in Chernobyl being even more of a catastrophe than it could have been. Along with genetics there will be a racial dimension that everyone in this country is deathly afraid of discussing. Ah, the fruits of liberal democracy: self censorship and bureaucratic stagnation. 1984? More like Brave New World.

    • Sue Jones

      I’ve no problem with genetic explanations, any geneticist worth his academic salt will tell you that we inherit potential, rather than concrete traits. Furthermore, most geneticists conceded long ago that environment and experience also play a part in shaping people’s characters to some degree, too.

      • Sue Jones

        And I’m a progressive, btw

    • Roy Tindle

      You are confusing genetics with eugenics.

    • veryvexed

      It might be argued that the perceived genetic change is a leap forward in evolution. The non acceptance of exploitation and a strengthening of a sense of injustice in a progressively more unjust environment. But no those who after generations of de-industrialisation and lack of decent work prospects are labelled deviant which is a statement based on political bias. He fails to look at work as a socially organised and controlled organism and its effects on it participants. This is agenda based science and that is not scientific, it cherry picks facts or what seem to be facts a squashes they to fit a desired outcome, it is think tank logic.

    • veryvexed

      It might be argued that the perceived genetic change is a leap forward in evolution. The non acceptance of exploitation and a strengthening of a sense of injustice in a progressively more unjust environment. But no those who after generations of de-industrialisation and lack of decent work prospects are labelled deviant which is a statement based on political bias. He fails to look at work as a socially organised and controlled organism and its effects on it participants. This is agenda based science and that is not scientific, it cherry picks facts or what seem to be facts a squashes they to fit a desired outcome, it is think tank logic.

  • Truth

    Wow I’m finding myself hating this country so often these days. How can we even survive as a civilisation if these fools get to dictate everything?

  • James

    Most poor adults chose to be poor.

    • Sue Jones

      Don’t talk absolute b*llocks. Noone would choose to be poor

      • James

        No need for bad language. I would explain my comment to you but its unlikely you have the capacity to open your mind so I will just leave you to it. Have a good day

        • Tim Nuttall

          Go ahead, explain

  • Anthony Cavanagh

    Stop whining toby channel 4 and 5 are full of programmes where you can get to hate on the poor and unemployed.

  • Sue Jones

    The objections to Perkins’ book are not solely from “leftie liberals”. They are from anyone who saw it for what it is – eugenics in a ball gown. It’s not the same people claiming benefit every year. There are very few people that claim dole all of their lives, as claimed. How about people who plan their children whilst in work, assuming their employment is secure, then lose their job? Or have an accident and work and end up disabled? Or become ill and disabled?

    Furthermore, Perkins does not disentangle the adverse consequences of poverty on personality, nor does he disentangle bad luck from “personality types”, or the impacts of political decision-making, choosing instead to invent a new personality disorder rather than confronting confounding variables. Like Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve, Perkins’s work is pseudoscience, and his declarations are offensive to those people who thought the dark side of eugenics was left in the black shadow of Nazism.

    Someone should introduce Perkins to the is/ought distinction, too. Regardless of how you perceive or define characteristics of social groups, it’s a different matter to devalue and dehumanise those groups, and prescribe discrimination as a “solution” as Perkins does. People’s worth as a human being is not defined by ethnicity, gender, ability/disability and whether or not they work.

    • andyrwebman

      Unlike you, I don’t find any suggestion of Eugenics abhorrent.

      For example – if there is genetic component to intelligence, or even good character, and if furthermore the conditions of our society lead to a higher birth rate amongst the ones with poor values of these characteristics, then the consequence is likely to be dysgenic.

      Few academics have addressed this issue – unsurprisingly, given the horrified reaction to the merest mention of Eugenics. Yet if we admit that we evolved from ape like creatures because the intelligent ones had more offspring and passed on their genes, then the possibility exists that a society with perverse incentives could send us the other way into the “idiocracy scenario”

      This is why it’s intellectually lazy for you to shout “look- Eugenics!!” as if the merest idea of it were unthinkable. I don’t support the lazy use of poor science and ill proved genetic correlations, but at the same time I deplore the intellectual straight jacket that the anti eugenics crowd force upon us.

      • Sue Jones

        There there isn’t genetic component to good character, and intelligence sin’t something you have, it is something you DO. Most people have the capacity to learn, not everyone chooses to .

        The “horrified” reaction to eugenics is perfectly understandable since Hitler took eugenic policy to its terrible logical conclusion. That’s why we formulated human rights after WW2, to ensure pseudoscientific eugenics, genocide and fascism don’t happen again.

        You need to read up on the is/ought distinction and the naturalistic fallacy, too, regarding your misapplication of Darwinism to society, which Darwin himself didn’t endorse. Few academics have addressed this issue because eugenic explanations are invariably pseudoscientific. Take Perkins’s work, he doesn’t even attempt to isolate confounding variables, as scientists would, choosing instead to invent a personality disorder that exists nowhere on clinical assessments of personality disorders anywhere.

        Eugenics is unthinkable, some of us are able to learn from history, and that is not “intellectually lazy”. Whose forcing a strait jacket on you? Last time I looked we were engaged in discussion. The “anti eugenics crowd”? Who are they, some genetically different group that you feel are inferior. Eugenics is founded on authoritarian and hierarchical thinking and tends to arise in societies that endorse and attempt to justify wide socioeconomic inequalities.

        As for “intellectually “lazy”, that’s something noone could ever accuse me of –

      • Crenando

        Get lost, you worthless ape. You just failed the game theoretic meta-prisoner’s dilemma. No one cares about your useless dithering moral cowardice.

        “could send us the other way into the “idiocracy scenario”” Blah blah pseudoscience fffaaaarrrrrttttt

        “I deplore the intellectual straight jacket that the anti eugenics crowd force upon us.” lol you’re a waste of humanity.

  • Sue Jones

    Perkins’ rhetoric is designed to have us believe there would be no poor if the welfare state didn’t somehow “create” them. If the Right must insist on peddling the myth of meritocracy, then surely they must also concede that whilst such a system has some beneficiaries, it also creates situations of insolvency and poverty for others. Neoliberalism is founded, after all. on competitive individualism.

    Inequality is a fundamental element of the same meritocracy script that neoliberals so often pull from the top pockets of their bespoke suits. It’s the big contradiction in the smug, vehement meritocrat’s competitive individualism narrative. This is why the welfare state came into being, after all – because when we allow such competitive economic dogmas to manifest, there are always winners and losers. It’s hardly “fair”, therefore, to leave the casualties of competition facing destitution and starvation, with a hefty, cruel and patronising barrage of calculated psychopolicical scapegoating, politically-directed cultural blamestorming, and a coercive, pathologising and punitive behaviourist approach to the casualities of inbuilt, systemic, inevitable and pre-designated
    sentences of economic exclusion and poverty.

    • andyrwebman

      You might try breaking up your last few sentences into smaller and more bit sized pieces. It takes some reading.

      – “a hefty, cruel and patronising barrage of calculated psychopolicical scapegoating,” might not be too much to grasp, neither is “politically-directed cultural blamestorming”

      However “coercive, pathologising and punitive behaviourist approach to the
      casualities of inbuilt, systemic, inevitable and pre-designated sentences of economic exclusion and poverty.”?

      You really have taken pretentiousness and deliberate gobbledegook to a new level with this set of responses – I don’t know if you were having a competition with yourself to see how many left wing cliches you could fit into one paragraph, but that’s quite a few.

      But the real reason you should be called out is because you’re being DELIBERATELY unclear in order to stifle debate. I’m not against the use of a rich vocabulary, but it has to be in the service of understanding.

      • ohforheavensake

        That’s as maybe: but the fact remains that Perkins’ analysis is based on false data.

        • andyrwebman

          I’m fine with replies like yours. This is what we need to do – examine the data without recourse to rage.

          Although the link doesn’t seem to work?

          • ohforheavensake

            And Perkins’ data is fatally flawed. So much so, that it invalidates Toby’s argument.

          • andyrwebman

            Please provide a link to a decent critique of the data.

          • ohforheavensake

            Just have. It’s the link above. Perkins’ data covers in work benefits, which kind of invalidates his whole argument.

            …. Ah. Sorry. I didn’t manage to copy the whole URL. My apologies. Here’s the link-


          • andyrwebman

            Tried to follow your link, it says “sorry but nothing exists here”. You seem to have an @ symbol in the url and some trailing dots – an issue with browser interpretation perhaps?

      • Nah, she always writes like that 🙂

  • I don’t think it’s been judged to be, ah, ‘off-limits’ as Young would have us believe, I think it’s been refused because it’s transparent nonsense, written only to serve the interests of corporate and political masters who wish to divide, to create social division, in order to rule. How sad for Perkins his work has arrived so late in the day. A decade or so earlier and perhaps we might have heard, “Arise, Sir Adam”, as I believe we have with certain other academics willing to reach any conclusion the government wants them to on absolutely no evidential basis whatsoever.

    • andyrwebman

      Do you base this on a review of the report and the methods used to collect data?

      • No, not on any single review, rather I’m making an observation based upon the multiple adverse reviews then available (which seem to be increasing as time goes by). Them, and what I’ve seen from other supposed academics over the years regarding illness and unemployment. The PACE trial, for example, enjoyed a period of respectability for a time, though that time must surely soon be ending. Will the biopsychosocial model be far behind and will Unum, the DWP, its ministers both present and past of all parties, senior civil servants too, the WCA and so Atos, Maximus and Capita, all sink with it? One hopes so 🙂 Was there anything else? Sorry I was so longing in coming back to you, I couldn’t find this page for a while.

  • veryvexed

    Just smacks of bad science or rather bad conclusions and assumptions. I have only read reviews but there is no analysis of what work means now and how that has changed, how work opportunities have diminished and become less advantageous at the lower end of the spectrum over the last 30 or so years. These all seem to be skated over work is just good and resistance to work is deviant, this just is not good enough and stinks of agenda lead research. I am not surprised it has met with derision. Studying rain and then saying it is proof that god cries is nuts.

    • andyrwebman

      Have you read the report? Have you found flaws with the methodology?

      Without this, your last sentence is hugely assumption laden.

      • veryvexed

        Shall I repeat myself for you? I have only read the reviews both here and the telegraph and on his website , all pro . My comments are not based on the data which is apparently quite old and built from small samples (33 families of 66 in the Sheffield study) . My comment is based on the quite obvious assumptions that are clear in the conclusions that are in the various articles there is an assumption all work is the same and all work is good. I would love to read it but £20 ? No way. My comment is based on the lack of any historical context this is not a + b = the answer type ‘science’ there is a huge chunk of opinion in the drawing together of data and context this is not math, it lacks social history and needs it. May be if it were a collaboration with a social anthropologist who could have shone a much needed light on the setting of these assertions. Elsewhere there is plenty of criticism from the scientific community on this book. Just google and it’s there look for JRF and others. The assumptions I would say he makes are things like, employability what is it and has that changed in the past 30 years or not? Is the UK now only manufacturing one third of what it did thirty years ago? And might this not bare some relevance on how some people look at work today? All thing that seem not to even occur to the writer. This is a statement in support of the centaur state where you either fit it or be left to rot. It smacks of middle-class superiority and tribalism.
        It blames the unemployed for the failings beyond their control. Thatcher accepted a huge rise in unemployment as a result of her policy decisions and work like this seeks to turn the blame on to those affected by markets they have no chance of influencing. Context Context Context. If you can’t understand why someone might become belligerent when they are denied decent worthwhile employment that is secure and reasonably rewarded then you lack understanding and empathy and count you blessings or try to redraw these people as ‘other’ or sub-human and guess what we know where that road leads..

  • UncertainTrumpet

    So, in conclusion, Young is defending construction of an argument that those on benefits are genetically different from other people?!

    The consequences that follow are inevitable of course. Welfare is bad, get rid of welfare!!

    We’ve been here before with this sort of quackery in 1930s Germany when they were measuring peoples’ skulls to decide who were the best Aryans, haven’t we?

    Oh dear.

    • andyrwebman

      What reasoning you possess.

      The author suggests that one approach has problems – therefore he must be suggesting that we jump immediately to the extreme other end of the political spectrum.

      No room for compromise seems possible with you, no suggestion of balance seems to have occurred to you.

      0 to Godwin in the time it took to write a highly reactionary post.

  • ohforheavensake

    I’ve got interested in this chap: at the moment he’s on Twitter, having a hard time defending himself against people who’re pointing out his research is flawed.

    However, Toby, you’re missing something. His research, bad as it is, was published by Palgrave, which is one of the biggest academic publishers in the market: and he has a place at a Russell Group university. That’s hardly being shut down, is it?

    • Crenando

      Conservatives always have a victim complex.

      • I think conservatives actually have something like a heightened level of unconscious cognitive bias. Cognitive bias are listed in depth at wikipedia and include hundreds of ways the mind doesn’t think rationally because it’s pursuing self interest first. the results often include a victim complex, as you suggest, but it involves more than that and is actually demonstrated with lots of things like increased discounting of the experiences of others, heightened future discounting, etc.

  • Sue Jones

    It’s well documented that the very worst REAL personality disorder – psychopathy – is to be found in significant disproportionately higher concentrations amongst those who run society, and hold positions of power. That’s been long-established by research. Furthermore, psychopaths do far more damage that people claiming meagre amounts of welfare who are “antisocial” could ever do.

    One famous psychopath called Adolf even managed to persuade an entire nation that the social groups he hated the most – disabled people, political dissidents, socialists, communists, poor people, gay people, the Roma and the Jews – were all genetically inferior to the rest of the nation, and were “antisocial” or “workshy”, and so these perceived and labelled “inferiors” were either killed by lethal injection, (disabled and ill people, their families were given a death certificate with “pneumonia” as the cause of their death) or placed in labor camps to “cure” them. Shortly after it was found that gassing sick and disabled Germans was cheaper than the injections, the gas chambers were used to “cleanse” Germany of the other groups, to maintain racial “hygiene” and to preserve “good” genes. This was the terrible but only logical conclusion of the eugenics movement that had arose in many nations besides Germany, including in the UK and US. We formulated human rights, with the UK contributing hugely to this international response to fascism and genocide. Churchill, amongst others was at the forefront of those wanting to ensure that the Holocaust and other WW 2 atroctities never happened again. Eugenics became taboo, it hid behind Hitler’s shadow. Until now

  • Ches A

    Dr Adam Perkins and Toby Young are just displaying their biases rather than telling ‘truth’. If benefits create worklessness what has been the effect of Corporate welfare and the large welfare benefits doled out to the rich. Renaming a welfare benefit does not change what is it after all what are MP’s ‘expenses’ if not benefits paid to those who clearly do not need the money or in most cases deserve it. Are not the subsidies paid to MP’s second homes just housing benefit renamed ?.
    Toby Young and Dr Perkins decline to look at ALL benefit recipients just the poor and attempt to pathologize and demonise poverty something the wealthy have been doing for centuries.
    Dr Perkins should not be teaching in a UK university because what is teaching is prejudice not science eugenics is not taught in UK universities because we know it is racism dressed up as science.
    Rather than have his views outlawed our Conservative Government has embraced these ideas and is implementing policies removing benefits from the vulnerable and the poorest members of our society.
    The only benefit from people like Perkins publishing his rubbish is we now can link our government’s destruction of our welfare state to an ideology. People will stop believing what the Conservatives are doing is a result of ignorance or stupidity, they actually believe Perkin’s rubbish

    • rtb61

      How about this renaming of welfare benefits, “Theft of the right of subsistence existence payments”, by what right does society steal the right of individuals to a subsistence existence the right to live off nature. To steal that right and force starvation or threat of termination should the individual attempt to force their right of a subsistence existence. Capitalism is slavery and make no mistake.