Do we have the press we deserve?

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3 Responses

  1. Like all journalists, you've cherry picked the bit of Thatcher's interview. Let's quote it in full, shall we?

    I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand”I have a problem, it is the Government's job to cope with it!” or”I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!” “I am homeless, the Government must house me!” and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then also to help look after our neighbour and life is a reciprocal business and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations, because there is no such thing as an entitlement unless someone has first met an obligation and it is, I think, one of the tragedies in which many of the benefits we give, which were meant to reassure people that if they were sick or ill there was a safety net and there was help, that many of the benefits which were meant to help people who were unfortunate—” It is all right. We joined together and we have these insurance schemes to look after it” . That was the objective, but somehow there are some people who have been manipulating the system and so some of those help and benefits that were meant to say to people:”All right, if you cannot get a job, you shall have a basic standard of living!” but when people come and say:”But what is the point of working? I can get as much on the dole!” You say:”Look” It is not from the dole. It is your neighbour who is supplying it and if you can earn your own living then really you have a duty to do it and you will feel very much better!”

    Are you saying you disagree with that? Are you saying that people should be able to just live on the dole, to expect government to sort their lives out, rather than trying to fix themselves?

  2. Thanks for your comment Joseph.

    If I may correct your opening statement, I am not a journalist. I *was* a journalist – a point made in my post.

    You ask a lot of questions. They're quite confrontational, aren't they?

    I'm not going to answer them.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  3. On reflection, and because a couple of people contacted me to say they thought my reaction to Joseph Takagi's comment might put people off leaving comments in future, I have decided to leave a more considered response.

    Thanks for taking the time to read the post, Joseph.

    You're quite right, I selected the part of the quote that best illustrated the point I was trying to make. I don't think there's anything uniquely journalistic about doing that though.

    One could argue that the extract I highlighted (which is the most frequently quoted part of that interview) was given so much credence, by the media and others, that it almost took on a life of its own.

    Others have sought to blame Margaret Thatcher for all the ills that have befallen the UK over the last couple of decades. That wasn't my intention and I think it would be stretching things to take that meaning from my original post.

    To deal with your questions, no I don't think that people should be allowed to opt out of being productive members of society while the state (ie taxpayers) picks up the tab.

    By the same token I don't agree with everything that Margaret Thatcher said in that interview, and I believe that much of it was cleverly crafted political spin intended to disguise an agenda which was centred around a libertarian ideology that ultimately does not serve the needs of society as a whole.