Monday, 5 December 2011

The welfare state: why we need a "Jerusalem for all"

This appeal to the inclusiveness of the British welfare state harks back to the post-war period. It is offered at a time when moves are afoot in Britain to make it a mandatory requirement for chemotherapy or radiotherapy patients to have to report for job interviews. As a part-time personal carer for someone with cancer myself, I am so shocked beyond belief that I really don't know what to say. Anyway, the speaker in the video is so eloquent I don't think I could add much.

All I'll say then is that the idea of appealing to a "Jerusalem for all", which acknowledges Britain's fine past welfare legacy, indeed comparable to Australia's at that time in many respects, can, I believe, be clearly distinguished from comparisons of any continuity between, say, the Scandinavian welfare state, and Nazi policy. I would have quoted Roger Griffin to this effect, but he did not give me permission to cite his reaction on this blog, so I'll refer interested readers instead to something else I've come across. Check out page 266 of the following book, which refers to British historian of science, Paul Weindling (Weindling basically argues that Nazi eugenics were different from the very outset from the Scandinavian program).

Indeed, it is fascinating how in the present British context there is such critical awareness of the odious legacy of Nazi "Sonderbehandlung" (check out the comments thread of the post I've linked to here if you're curious).

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