Daily Mail columnist A.N. Wilson on the Philpott family

The Daily Mail has shocked many with its attempts to politicise the tragedy of the Philpott children, whose benefit-claiming father was convicted of their manslaughter by arson yesterday.

If you thought the front-page splash was bad, you should flick to page 14 and read columnist A.N. Wilson’s views on people that live in social housing. With the apparent exception of pensioners, Wilson reckons council estates are inhabited by “moral degenerates” just like the Philpotts:

“Philpott happened to live in Derby, but versions of the Philpott family can be found in any town in Britain.”

“Whole blocks of flats, whole tenement buildings are filled with drug-taking benefit fraudsters, scroungers and people on the make.”

Wilson’s diatribe is the exemplar of comment which invokes the moral agency of “scroungers” while also claiming that the worst cases emerging from poor areas are an inevitable consequence of the welfare state:

“Those six children, burnt to a cinder for nothing, were, in a way, the children of those benevolent human beings who, all those years ago, created our state benefits system.”

“What the Philpott trial showed was the pervasiveness of evil caused by benefit dependency.”

Even Ann Widdecombe — who visited the Philpott house while filming a documentary — has resisted the temptation to generalise in this way, never even mentioning the tragedy in her column for the Express.

  1. Alison Macauley says:

    I should sue you all for defamation of character, I was brought up on a council estate , my father worked all his life, 7 days a week, and at 74 yrs old and just celebrated 50 yrs being married to the same women, my mother who brought up 6 children, who now all work, we all went to school everyday. Never been inside a police station , Let alone been arrested , not one of their 6 children ever took drugs , nor have any of their grandchildren 13 in total, 3 of their children work for the NhS for years, as did my mother befor retiring, I insist statement be retracted and an apology given to my parents and family immediately to avoid myself and my family having to take any actions regarding your derogatory words.

  2. Ric Euteneuer says:

    Er, Alison, you should be aiming your ire at the Daily Mail, not Politicalscrapbook.net. Read the article and you’ll see who the villain really is.

  3. AN Wilson has nothing to contribute to this or any other debate except a vague (but bigoted!) English Protestantism. Obviously, this is now a sinking ship and Wilson is well-qualified to leave it. Cannot Wilson remove the forest from his own eye before scapegoating the underclass ? Why doesn’t he denounce wickedness among the rich, for example the vulture fund capitalists who prey on the world’s poorest ?

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