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Benefits Street:
A Snapshot of the British Underclass

2,236 words

benefitsstreet2 [1]Benefits Street is a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the day-to-day lives of the residents of James Turner Street in Birmingham, England, 95% of whom are unemployed and claiming benefits. It is a compelling snapshot of the underclass that is growing in every city in the Western world. 

The street lies in the Soho Ward of Birmingham, which is 79.4% non-white although as the program focuses most of its attention of the lives of the tiny white British minority you could be forgiven for thinking that James Turner Street is just another white working class estate. It is not.[1]

The main character in the program is “White Dee” a fat, chain-smoking, foul-mouthed single mother with two mulatto children, sired by two different black fathers, who are needless to say completely absent from their children’s lives. She presents herself as the community leader and problem solver of the street, and through her we are introduced to the other denizens of the street. The first is Danny, a young white father of 3 children, who since the age of 12 has accumulated 80 convictions. The documentary follows Danny as he repeatedly breaches his anti-social behavior order and goes on shoplifting sprees in the city center until finally being arrested and sent back to prison for breaching his parole terms. His punishment, however, is merely a slap on the wrist, and in a few days he is released and un-deterred continues his life of crime.

The next white neighbor is “Fungi” a recovering drug addict, who is a pitiful and comical wreck of a man. He says he is in the process of rebuilding his life but can be found most mornings dossing in the street necking back multiple cans of hard cider. His drug “treatment” consists of taking regular doses of methadone, which is just a legal substitute for heroin. The community leader White Dee has taken him under her wing, washing his filthy clothes, managing his money and even giving him odd jobs to do around her house to keep him out of trouble even though she admits he is completely feckless and incapable of doing even the most menial tasks. He is presented throughout the documentary as a gentle soul pining after his children who he has lost through drink and drugs, yet as the series progresses it is revealed that even the gentle Fungi has a violent side when he matter-of-factly admits that he was imprisoned for 3 years for armed robbery.

The final white neighbors are Mark and Kelly, a young unmarried couple with two children, who are struggling to adapt to a new way of life after their benefits were drastically cut when it was discovered that they were claiming fraudulently, a trifling issue compared to the string of criminal convictions most of the other residents have. Mark is a lazy man-child who has never held down a real job in his life. He is pressured by the benefits agency and his partner Kelly to get a job and reluctantly attends a jobs workshop. At the workshop Mark is revealed to be barely literate, with no skills, qualifications, or work experience. Judging by his overall manner it seems clear that Mark suffers from a mild mental retardation, which under ideal conditions would render him unsuitable for most jobs and in a context where he must compete with highly motivated university graduates and immigrants for the lowest rung of jobs one can’t help feel that he has a point when he states that all his effort is simply an exercise in futility.[2] He finally does get a “job” which involves going door-to-door soliciting donations for a diabetes charity. He does not receive a salary but is told he will get paid a commission for each donation received. The state has, in short, turned him into a professional panhandler, begging for money under the guise of working for charity.

By focusing on the white minority, the producers of Benefits Street are careful to divert attention from the clear racial aspect of welfare dependency. They provide an example of one undeserving foul mouthed black woman named “Black Dee,” whose own criminal record, unlike those of the white characters, is glossed over.[3] To deflect charges of racism the program gives the viewer three counter-examples of sympathetic black men and women striving to improve their lot and come off benefits. “Snoopy,” a warm-hearted ex-con who goes door to door selling food and household items for 50 pence each; “S.B.,” a single mother of 2 who has recently moved to the street to get away from her abusive partner and dreams of being a model, but is humble enough to settle for part-time work at a takeaway; and Caitlin, White Dee’s mulatto teenage daughter, who disapproves of her mother’s benefits lifestyle and is shown taking work experience at a local gym in order to better herself and become a gym instructor.

The overall thrust of the series therefore fits the ongoing narrative pushed by anti-whites in which the white working class are portrayed as entitled scroungers deserving only of contempt. White women are partly redeemed in the eyes of the program only if they have spawned a brood of mulatto children. White Dee regularly asserts her moral superiority over the rest of the white residents refusing to condemn the immigrants moving into her neighborhood and self-righteously proclaims that she does not see color. In one episode, White Dee is shown watching Margaret Thatcher’s funeral on television and sneering at the lack of black people in attendance. She may be a fat scrounger living off the state, but in her mind she is better than those racists. You know, those racists who actually work for a living and whose taxes subsidize her lifestyle. The program makers completely omit to mention in the series that the morally right-on White Dee was convicted for stealing £13,000 from Birmingham City Council to fund her black lover’s crack cocaine habit. Money that was supposed to be used to support vulnerable tenants.[4]

The dysfunctional white men, on the other hand, show their hostility to Romanian gypsies who have just moved into the street. These Gypsies, of course, do not conform to stereotype of being scroungers and thieves. Instead they are willing to work but just don’t have “the right papers,” so are reduced to making a living riffling through their neighbors’ trash in order to collect scrap metal. The program makers make it clear that Britons have nothing to fear from hard-working Romanian Gypsies, who since January 1st of this year are all legally entitled to live and work in Britain.

The racial narrative presented in the program is one is where racial tensions are entirely the product of a contemptible minority of white losers. Non-whites are nobly striving to improve their lot and would happily integrate seamlessly with whites if only given half a chance. In reality Britain today is a racial tinderbox seething with animosity which exploded in 2011 into race riots that swept across the country. The area around James Turner Street saw the most violent rioting of all, in which three Asian men were killed defending their property from black rioters.[5] It has also been discovered by print media that one of the residents, Black Dee is on bail for a racially aggravated incident committed in James Turner Street. However, since she is black, this would send out the wrong message about the true nature of race relations in this country, so the producers have edited out all mention of this crime in the program.[6]

The black menace could not be entirely edited out of the series, as in one of the episodes some hopelessly naive old white woman, the kind you would expect to be a chairwoman of the local Women’s Institute, tries in vain to encourage the residents to improve their street by entering it into the Britain in Bloom competition. As the judges are on walkabout in James Turner Street evaluating the handful of homes who bothered to put out a potted plant they are suddenly attacked by a crazed hammer-wielding black man who in an obviously unscripted appearance doesn’t take kindly to outsiders filming on “his” streets and proceeds to smash to pieces the documentary makers video equipment.

The show has been a spectacular success for Channel 4, making it the most watched program on the channel since 2012. Fueled by media frenzy and word of mouth, by the third episode the number of viewers climbed to 5.2 million, which represents 21.5% of all TV viewers in the UK.[7]

The left are characteristically outraged that a program like this was ever allowed to air at all. A program highlighting the brutal reality of a growing underclass fueled by indiscriminate welfare benefits might put certain dangerous ideas into the minds of the great unwashed masses. Better that such issues are brushed under the carpet. Accordingly, they have petitioned for the program to be banned: at the time of writing over 59,000 people have signed this petition for censorship.[8]

The conservatives, on the other hand, see that this is further proof of the need to get tough on the scroungers and further eliminate welfare benefits in order to expose them to the harsh discipline of the free market in the expectation that drug-addled wrecks like Fungi and retards like Mark will be able to seamlessly transition into a job and not go postal when they go to the cash point and find that all their “bennies” have been stopped.

Yet it was the conservative embrace of the “free market” which is largely responsible for this benefits culture in the first place, as it was free trade which decimated the manufacturing industry that the working class depended upon for a living wage. James Turner Street was once a prosperous working class neighborhood, where the residents were gainfully employed at General Electrics, which used to employ thousands. Since its closure seven years ago the nature of the street rapidly shifted from owner occupiers to “temporary” state-assisted housing.[9] At the same time, the government’s de-facto open border policy has resulted in a massive flood of immigrants who have driven down wages and pushed the white British out of traditional working-class occupations. Those jobs that do exist are so low paid that people cannot live on them and must be supported through government subsidies known as working families tax credits.

Benefits Street further shows the viewer that the supposedly tough measures imposed by the Conservative Party in order to put long term welfare dependents into work are a complete failure. Mark and Kelly had their welfare benefits cut because of their fraudulent claims, and they visibly start to struggle. Mark’s panhandling for charity yields the family no money because he is a useless salesman. Social Workers increasingly concerned about the welfare of their children refer them to a local food bank where they are given free food for the sake of the children. This subsidy-in-kind means that Mark and Kelly can once again afford to live in the style that they are accustomed to before they were found cheating on their benefits. Their children quite literally become their meal ticket.

The dysfunctional residents are quite able when it comes to making babies, and no effort is made by the authorities to stop them having children. James Turner Street is full of them: most of them non-white. These children are the emotional bargaining chips that the adults use in dealing with the authorities. Threats of eviction, benefits cuts, and termination of utilities come to naught, as to carry through with these threats would harm the children. However, on James Turner Street these children grow up fast, and even the most harmless-looking children are shown in the series to be capable of vicious brutality against one another.

Benefits Street invites the viewer to scream indignation at your television screen but offers no solutions. There are no solutions offered, because the only genuine solutions involve wholesale rejection of the two sacred cows which govern all policy in Britain: the free market and equality. In order to dissolve these welfare ghettos, the British government would need to do the following.

  1. Re-industrialize the British economy, which can only be done by economic protectionism, raising tariff barriers and putting an end to the hollowing out of the manufacturing base through globalization.
  2. End immigration and deport those immigrants already here.
  3. Institute a scheme of universal social credits so that a basic income is given to every citizen regardless of their employment status and thereby remove the benefits trap.
  4. Put measures in place to reduce the numbers of children born to the underclass and thereby reverse the dysgenic trends that create generation after generation of these feckless and unemployable people who cannot function in society without massive handouts from the state.

The British government will, of course, never implement these suggestions, as the anti-white ruling class is only interested in profiting from the destruction of the white natives of the British Isles.


1. These statistics are based on the 2011 census, which under-estimates the non-white population as it is unable to take into account the massive numbers of illegal immigrants who for obvious reasons would not want to report their presence to the authorities.

2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2545571/The-truth-Benefits-Street-Scroungers-Mark-Thomas-grandparents.html [2] — Mark’s parents insist that they both Mark and Kelly have learning difficulties and that they met at Selly Oak Trust School which describes itself as a “specialist” establishment for “unique students with special educational needs.”

3. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2535138/Star-controversial-Channel-4-series-Benefits-Street-police-bail-following-drugs-raid-home.html [3]

4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2536208/Truth-White-Dee-Channel-4s-Benefits-Street-stole-cash-poor-fund-lovers-crack-habit.html [4]

5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-14474501 [5]

6. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2535138/Star-controversial-Channel-4-series-Benefits-Street-police-bail-following-drugs-raid-home.html [3]

7. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2543261/Benefits-Streets-parade-scroungers-drug-addicts-Channel-4-highest-ratings-2012.html [6]

8. http://www.change.org/en-GB [7]

9. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2537414/Think-Benefits-Street-makes-shocking-TV-Try-living-A-worrying-dispatch-respectable-street-thats-making-headlines-week.html [8]