Saturday 18 June 2011

The #PhilipDavies Trend Paints A Sad Picture Of Modern Britain

At time of writing, the #PhilipDavies Twitter trend is self-righteously rumbling on, with many broadcasting how "shocked" - "shocked", no less - they still are at our esteemed mascot's parliamentary contribution on Friday.

They would probably be less so if they had some understanding of what he actually said. For example, here's what appears to be the most popular retweet.

As others have mentioned, that bears no relation to the idea which was floated, nor what will eventually be recorded in Hansard. At all (emphases mine).

"If those people who consider it is being a hindrance to them, and in my view that's some of the most vulnerable people in society, if they feel that for a short period of time, taking a lower rate of pay to help them get on their first rung of the jobs ladder, if they judge that that is a good thing, I don't see why we should be standing in their way."
Nothing there makes any passing resemblance to Davies believing "that people with disabilities should accept less than the min wage". He does, however, repeatedly talk of offering choice to those who find themselves in that situation. In his hypothetical scenario, they could embrace it, or reject it, but there is no implication that they would be forced to do either.

As such, the #PhilipDavies trend appears to be populated with many people for whom comprehension of the English language is proving difficult. Not a great reflection on our education system, really.

An alternative view is that they are well aware of the words used, but find it impossible to understand the concept of a politician advocating self-determination to anyone. After all, isn't the state the sole arbiter of how we live our lives these days? MPs pass laws and dictate; not relax them and allow choice for the proletariat, eh?

Again, it's crushing to think that there are so many who cannot possibly envisage a scenario whereby the public are allowed, by their government, to make their own decisions on matters which affect their own lives. As if the very idea is now merely history.

There may or may not be a debate to be had over what our Phil was suggesting, but those who can't understand plain English - or who fail to imagine why the public should ever have a right to self-determination - are the most poorly qualified to engage in it.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Your blog mascot has taking a bit of a totally undeserved kicking this week, has he not?

WitteringsfromWitney said...

The misrepresentation of what PD said by those with a vested interest speaks volumes DP.

I also noticed, courtesy of MW's place, that on N'night Esler repeatedly interruped PD whilst giving the Talking Head 'free reign', again something which speaks volumes.

But then the lefties are only looking out for the clients, they don't have vested intere......... Oh!

Dick Puddlecote said...

MW: Indeed. But then, I suppose they don't understand his way of doing things. A common trait among a population who have forgotten what liberty is about and instead delegate their choices to the state.

WfW: Haven't watched it yet but can imagine.

subrosa said...

What about doing away with the Minimum Wage altogether? Let the bloke who's been doing the work of a senior executive see how much he's worth.

Actually what PD says is far too sensible for many to understand.

JuliaM said...

Some of the people driving this can comprehend plain English very well. They just choose, for political reasons, not to...

James Higham said...

Very simple correlation - for work of a certain productivity, there needs to be a certain pay. For less productivity in the same field, less pay.

Anonymous said...

Davies was being even more sophisticated than that.
He was actually suggesting that, if the disabled were allowed to start working for a lower amount, that would give the opportunity (currently denied them) to demonstrate just what they CAN do, rather than an employer being worried about what they CAN'T do.
Once demonstrated, the employer would then be able to evaluate their contribution properly and bring them into alignment with the rest of the workforce.
By doing that, Davies would have helped break the log-jam which prevents so many disbaled ever getting the chance to work.
But it is that same log-jam which keeps all the strident so-called campaigners in their own jobs, so they don't really want a solution.
Keep battling, Philip, we need more of your creative common-sense, whatever unwarranted slings and arrows are thrown your way.

Trooper Thompson said...

I've got to say, if Newsnight is anything to go by, PD's response to the furore has been to lie in a foetal position and allow himself to be kicked. He should have attacked the minimum wage with sound economics and accused his accusers of being the real callous ones.

Longrider said...

Not a great reflection on our education system, really.

No, but not exactly unexpected, though.

Anonymous said...

James Higham wrote...

"Very simple correlation - for work of a certain productivity, there needs to be a certain pay. For less productivity in the same field, less pay."

So a 50+ manual worker should get less money than a 16/17/18/ whatever year old in the same job?
Heh, I'm only 44 and I can't keep up with the work rate of youngsters, should I get less money?

Gotta be honest Dick, I can't agree on this subject (especially as my wife is disabled).
I don't buy into the "just asking questions"/"some people have mentioned" gambit. I believe he has revealed his real values and I personally find them distasteful.

But hey-ho, it would be boring if we all agreed all the time.

Anonymous said...


Bald headed John.

Trooper Thompson said...

@ Anon,

"I believe he has revealed his real values and I personally find them distasteful."

Do you believe that economic reality should play a part in government policy?

Does whether a policy actually works matter to you, or should it be judged solely on the intention?

Anonymous said...

Gavin Esler's interview with Philip Davies surprised me in view of the balanced and intelligent way he conducts Dateline on News24 on Saturday lunchtimes. It was clear what PD was reasonably arguing but it was also clear that an emotional misinterpretation of it - perhaps already current - was what would stick in the public mind. Very sad. I hope that Philip Davies will be encouraged rather than dishearted by the phoney indignation he has received.

Anonymous said...


Do you believe that economic reality should play a part in government policy?

WRT the min wage I believe it already has.
The fact is that without this legislation there would be thousands of employers paying a pittance, because basically capitalists are greedy and also they have a duty to maximise profits of shareholders etc.

I am a social libertarian, but not an economic one because it is an impossible ideal.

Trooper Thompson said...


we're talking about minimum wage laws, which don't exist in many countries and didn't exist here prior to 1998 or thereabouts, so it's hardly a case on an impossible ideal.

Besides, minimum wage laws cause unemployment. That is a fact, and if you support such laws, then many of the low-waged workers whose interests you claim to uphold end up with no job, and thus in a worse position than before, living on benefits, so what your 'social libertarianism' leads to is endemic unemployment, state intervention and an increase in poverty.

In what way are you a libertarian? Justify yourself!

Dick Puddlecote said...

BHJ: True that we can't agree all the time, but most will do I s'pose. :)

On the 50 year old and younger guys factor, there is far more at play in the labour market than that. An older worker brings with them experience and knowledge, a younger person has only brawn (mostly) in your scenario. Productivity and value to the employer can be measured in gazillions of ways.

On the point Davies raised, I think it's again far too easy to paint it as some push to get a lower working wage for minorities. In the areas which you and I agree on, he argues solely for freedom of choice. I don't see why this issue should be viewed differently. He's a libertarian Tory, it's hard to see past that in anything he says (including CCTV albeit from a counter-intuitive standpoint).

Dick Puddlecote said...

Anon @ 17:07: We didn't see slave wages in the UK prior to the NMW, and Germany get by fine without one, so IMHO that's a red herring.

Conversely, minimum wage legislation in NZ for example, has been linked with youth unemployment (they have dabbled and not dabbled at different times), just as it has in many other countries where it has been tried (including the UK).

If we're so eager to see the less well off paid a decent wage, we should be prepared to pay for it in welfare top-ups rather than private businesses being forced by law to ease our consciences for us. The simplistic answer of a NMW only has the potential to curtail jobs, never to create them.

Put yourself in the shoes of an employer. You have two candidates. One a worker of 25 with experience, the other an 18 year old who will require training up with no guarantee (under the HRA) that you will be able to ensure he stay until you recoup the value of his training). Who would you employ?

SadButMadLad said...

@Anon 16:12

"So a 50+ manual worker should get less money than a 16/17/18/ whatever year old in the same job?"

Depends on the job. Sometimes a 50+ manual workers is better than a 16yr old because they have been done the job for years. If it's purely down to lifting weights then a fit 25yr old might be better than an unfit 50yr old, but not all the time. The business will know this from the individual worker's productivity levels and the employee will be paid accordingly (eg. piece work rates).

Don't forget that disabled people get a lot of benefits and they are supported by family and the state. So the wage they get is on top of this and they don't need the wage to pay for all their outgoings.

Will it mean that employers will offer lower and lower wages? No, that's silly. People will not take such jobs so the employer will not get any workers. Pay levels are not something which goes down, they generally go up as businesses try and get the best workers for the task at hand.

Ford famously paid twice the going rate for his workers because he wanted to keep them from leaving and also to keep them happy. Because his workers were twice as productive he could still sell his model T for $300 compared to the $800 they initially sold for.

Shinar's Basket Case said...

Crippled Son, who is a spaz and wheelchair bound, says he'd be quite happy to start out at less than the MW if it meant an employer giving him a chance, just a chance, to prove himself.

Its not so much about money but self worth.