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Updated on April 18, 2012


The Internet has much to commend it and it has certainly revolutionised communications. As with all things there are pluses and minuses as the human condition takes hold of the vehicle now provided for it to apparently use as it wishes whatever subject may be available.

One thing I have to confess that irritates me is to find my e-mail boxes stuffed with jokes and homilies that people who know me think I will find interesting, humorous or informative. Mostly I find them boring, lacking real humour and usually as worthwhile or as trustworthy as a tabloid newspaper.

That being said, it is no excuse to throw the baby out with the bathwater so to speak. Indeed over the past couple of weeks, via this route, I have received two thought provoking pieces from opposite sides of the world and from differing levels of public position but both of which are ,in my opinion worthy of considerable thought, different though they maybe from each other. The sources named were "a British soldier" and the Prime Minister of Australia, an interesting lady called Julia Gillard if memory serves me correctly, as Australian politics do not feature large on my interest files.

The United Kingdom Benefits Escalation.

The UK is currently suffering from large scale unemployment. A key element of this is that as fewer are in work, so less funds go into the Treasury coffers to be redistributed to maintain and improve the very fabric of society. Implicit also is that as less money goes in, more goes out to provide Benefits for those out of work. Now, I have no intention here to debate the rights and wrongs in detail of the Benefit system as there are so many factors involved and so many different aspects to view the whole matter from.

However, on one singular point the "soldier" posed a very reasonable question regarding criteria for receiving Benefits in certain situations.He advised us that as a serving soldier, he is subject to random urine tests to maintain his position in the Army. He sees no problem with that at all. However, he muses that if he has to pass such a random test to continue his occupation and thus pay taxes on what he earns, is it not reasonable to have like criteria employed to those receiving State Benefits? He asks quite fairly if those receiving Benefit should not have such tests to receive and sustain their right to them. The simple reason are that the tests he undergoes are to check if he has drugs in his body. If he has, he is not fit to maintain his occupation, thus is it not reasonable for those on Benefit found to have drugs in their system, to forfeit in whole or in part their right to State Financial Support.

His logic is fair and reasonable, but there are factors outside the simplistic equation which would be seizes upon by others to show that in the long run the cost to Government and Society would in fact, escalate by such an action. Again, I am not about to become embroiled in that debate. My purpose here is to report this thinking from our soldier and the fact that he has considerable support from ordinary people who become increasingly frustrated as more and more, both indigenous and immigrant people continue to receive more and more from those lessening ever in employment.

Clearly, there will come a point when the coffers begin to dry up ever quickly, but Governments seem unable or unwilling to grasp the nettle. Readers here will know my own opinion that it is high time that a full debate on whether to decriminalise drugs was invoked and if the Governments are unwilling to put their names to it, then a Referendum should be held. Those who pay should have a say in how the money they contribute is distributed for sure.


Politicians under pressure are far from shy of appealing to what they consider will be favourable to the voters. Julia Gillard, the first woman Prime Minister of this erstwhile penal colony for the British, is no exception. She came to the office in the usual cloak and dagger machinations common to such affairs and thus it is no great surprise that she is on guard against similar tactics being employed against her. First rule of politics is that your bitterest enemies are to be found in your own party, not the opposition. Interesting but not the main thrust of her inclusion on the Hub here.

Ms Gillard has apparently addressed the matter of Diversity in Australia, having given the matter much thought. Well perhaps as much thought as a headline editor for a Murdoch tabloid ! The leader of a Country that once held a controversial "White Australia Policy" and invited English, non convicts to emigrate for £10 a head, has an interesting ,if simplistic, take on how those living in Australia, or those considering living there in the future should go about their lives. Quite simply, Julia, who I believe comes of Welsh stock, has not only a vision but an actuality for living Australian. In short this means you adopt all the accepted mores of the Australian society now in place and whatever your race, colour or creed you eschew those in favour of things Australian.

Now at first sight that seems very reasonable and of course that is exactly what Ms Gillard wants, that is to say, note the sound bite but do not examine it too closely. Clearly there will be those, and not only in Australia who will think this a splendid idea and cite the great ethnic problems in the UK that are now manifested here or bubbling just under the surface due to too lax restrictions on immigration past, present and very likely , future. It is a vote winner for sure, so let us see who is the first UK politician to put something similar forward ! I THINK YOU WILL WAIT A VERY LONG TIME FOR THAT ! Most constituencies in tight seats here have substantial ethnic communities. However, again if the public at large were consulted they would , overall support the stance as middle of the road, white, British born citizens, to say nothing of the far right ethnic obsessed streams that now are worming their way into constituencies with a high level of immigrants. Gordon Brown came to rue his call for "British Jobs for British Workers", time will tell if Ms Gillard does the same


The two elements of this Hub clearly indicate to me how seemingly reasonable, even logical pronouncements, can lead to confusion and even disruption in Societies, whether made by accident or by design. Who, at first reading would not fully sympathise with the Soldier and surely also, Ms Gillard is only voicing the hopes ,fears, and aspirations of her citizens.

It is only when one takes pause and steps back a little that one may realise what tricky paths these are and where they may lead to. For UK and Australia, one could substitute many other countries including certainly the USA and find similar situations that would apparently be fixed by the application of simple logic and thought. The trouble, as ever, is that the devil is in the detail. As there is no detail here then others would supply it and who knows where the paths could then lead.

This writer, unlike those quoted, offers no solutions, just poses the arguments and waits for those wiser by far to plot the courses we will all then follow.


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