I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Has the bugger read Mere Anarchy?

Two years ago I wrote a book called Mere Anarchy. Britain in 2016 when the bailiffs really have well and truly arrived at the door. How does a Government make an immediate 20% cut in spending without making themselves unelectable for ever and ever amen. The research soon made the options such a hypothetical Government might have at its disposal. There is a big four. Welfare. Pensions. Health and Education. Anyone chopping lumps out of the NHS or schools or old age pensions would indeed be unelectable for ever and ever amen. But Welfare? Maybe not so. Maybe a full on attack on the spongers and wasters of tabloidland might actually play pretty well, particularly with a bunch of revved up red tops acting as cheerleaders. So that was the tale to tell. The Government ends all benefits with immediate effect. No more dole or sick pay of housing benefit. No more magic money to appear from the cash machine every fortnight. Instead there is a network of dormitories and soup kitchens. The book is my effort of wargaming the thing through. Would they keep the lid on? Could they keep the lid on?

For the last two years the thing keeps coming true piece by piece. And now all of a sudden our gallant Old Etonian leader is punting out the idea of no more housing benefit for the under 25s. Well, as any self respecting football commentator would say …. Woof!

Dave is working on the assumption that any under 25 claiming housing benefit on their flat will have the option of heading back home to mummy and daddy once the rug is pulled from under their Nike shod feet. Most probably have. But what of the others? Is this the moment that the government makes the big move to dorms and soup kitchens? Maybe. The big problem is that many can see where he is coming from. Let’s check out two 24 year olds. Bill is doing OK. He works as a joiner and has been going steady with Tina, his long term girl friend, for five years. They want to get a place of their own and get married and have kids and live happily ever after. The trouble is that even when they pool their earnings they can only just scrape a mortgage by the skin of their teeth and even if they pull it off there isn’t a chance in hell that one of them could give up work to start a family. Not ever in all probability. The same maths will apply if they want to rent a place. So the only realistic option is to carry on living with mum and dad.  Bob on the other hand doesn’t work and has never worked. Neither has his long term girlfriend Nina. They are both hacked off with living at home with their parents and so they assess their options. It isn’t hard for them to find the right road to follow. Nina needs to get herself pregnant a.s.a.p. A baby will mean lots of lovely housing points and a fast track up the list to a tenancy of her own where all rent and rates are covered by the ever generous tax payer. The message is pretty clear when it comes to income maximisation. One, there is no way in a million years that Bob and Nina want to let on that they are a couple. That would be a disaster. Similarly the whole plan would be pretty well scuppered in either of them got a job. So long as she plays the single card and is with child, then the gravy train is all ready to roll. From there on in the message is crystal clear. Stay single and keep knocking out the kids and the cash will flow.

To get anything like the same standard of living, Bob and Nina would both have to find themselves jobs paying at least £30,000 a year each. Aye right. So can we really blame the Bob and Ninas out there for making the smart choice? They get the message we all give them clearly enough. Stay single, don’t work, have lots of kids = loads of different benefits and a free house. Get married and work all hours god sends = being stretched to breaking point by a mortgage and no chance of starting a family any time soon.

Sadly it is hard not to conclude that the baby faced man from Eton might just have a point and my god won’t his pals from the redtops just love help him to make it.


  1. Someone nominated Mere Anarchy for possible consideration as a finalist on ; however, the club only allows books that are published in print to be considered as finalists. Are there any copies available in paperback or print of any kind? Thanks.