Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"Charity is a cold grey loveless thing..."

Well said Clem.  Remember there is a difference between rich people doling out charity to please their fancy or conscience and working people showing solidarity to others with their widow's mites.

UPDATE: its been pointed out this this quote is a mis-attribution. It was actually said by Attlee's biographer Frances Beckett summarising his views. This is the quote I think he was referring to - it still all makes sense to me.

 “In a civilised community, although it may be composed of self-reliant individuals, there will be some persons who will be unable at some period of their lives to look after themselves, and the question of what is to happen to them may be solved in three ways – they may be neglected, they may be cared for by the organised community as of right, or they may be left to the goodwill of individuals in the community. The first way is intolerable, and as for the third: Charity is only possible without loss of dignity between equals. A right established by law, such as that to an old age pension, is less galling than an allowance made by a rich man to a poor one, dependent on his view of the recipient’s character, and terminable at his caprice.”- The Social Worker 1920

8 comments:

Bill Ellson said...

Words are those of Francis Beckett in 1999. An erroneous wikipedia edit in 2008 (since removed) attributed them to Attlee.

John Gray said...

I think you are right Bill. Thanks for pointing it out. The danger of wikipedia.

I think this is the real quote that Frances Beckett summarised in his biography of Attlee “In a civilised community, although it may be composed of self-reliant individuals, there will be some persons who will be unable at some period of their lives to look after themselves, and the question of what is to happen to them may be solved in three ways – they may be neglected, they may be cared for by the organised community as of right, or they may be left to the goodwill of individuals in the community. The first way is intolerable, and as for the third: Charity is only possible without loss of dignity between equals. A right established by law, such as that to an old age pension, is less galling than an allowance made by a rich man to a poor one, dependent on his view of the recipient’s character, and terminable at his caprice.”- The Social Worker 1920

Bill Ellson said...

Nearly, that is two separate quotes from Attlee's 1920 book The Social Worker. The first from page 30, linked by the words "The first way is intolerable, and as for the third:" to the second from p75.

I think the linking words are Beckett's, but I do not have his book to hand to check.

The Social Worker is not light reading, but it is worth making the effort to see where Clement Attlee was coming from. Full searchable text can be found at:
https://archive.org/details/socialworker00attliala

Ian Dixon said...

The sentiment expressed in the quote is absolutely correct though.
The full thing seems to say it but in a longer way.

Sad that it is almost 100 years after that was written and people are still relying on charity rather than an income that they can live on

Anonymous said...

"Pay his taxes gladly" Ha Ha Ha....

Tell that to Red Ken!

How much more taxes to the Socialist want?. High earners are pay 40% or 50% tax, even after paying tax, the money can't be passed onto the next generation, as that gets taxed at 40%. If you spend the money, you get taxed 20% VAT. If you buy petrol to get to work, you pay 80p per litre in fuel duty. You get yourself a drink to relax, you pay duty.

The UK has become up-side down place. We are all slaves to the 'serf' who live off the state. Have no respect for their neighbours, who like screaming baby chicks, simply say we want MORE MORE MORE....

The poor get £400k luxury homes in the Olympic park, whilst the rest of us get no help, even though we work and pay our taxes, like good little mugs. Yes, we must build multi-million pounds homes for the poor to live in rich Zone 1 Boroughs.... whilst for the rest of us know, we cannot ever live there....

Labour fritter away money silly things like £100million on luxury office blocks for Newham council and £40million to wealthy football clubs to move to the Olympic Park. Labour have no respect for other people's money.

The super-rich do not pay taxes. The UK's rich move off-shore to avoid tax. The Russians move-in to London pay £30,000 fee per year, not to pay any UK tax on their global earnings. Whilst Joe Shmuck who earns £100,000 pays £40-50k tax, the Russian billionaire pays £30k!

The small business owner who employs several people, whose business is struggling and making a loss, gets no help from the state. The tosser who does not go out to work, gets cash for doing nothing.....

Attlee was a moron, who got Britain addicted to benefits. We have a pension crisis, because it was set up incorrectly.

Anonymous said...

Here is an article in Private Eye about offshore tax:

http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=in_the_back&issue=1382

John Gray said...

very true Ian

John Gray said...

Crickey anon - you beginning to sound almost socialist!!!!!

Yes, let us tax the super rich and redistribute wealth.

You forget of course about tax relief and that most state benefits go to people who are in work to supplement poverty pay employers.

I have 2 brother-in-laws who are both self employed sole traders. They both work hard and have good incomes but pay very little tax at all thanks to tax relief and allowances (and their book-keepers). I don't begrudge them this, the same way I don't mind paying taxes, because I don't want to live in some gangster state.

Attlee was a decorated war hero who risked his life for his country. I doubt you have ever done anything for anyone.

Anyway, I think I will call you cowardly red anon from now on