The Daily Telegraph has an Agony Uncle column written by Graham Norton, "TV presenter and comedian". Some of it is online.
One question posed to Mr Norton in the newspaper edition is all about three siblings who each have inherited £100,000. One of the siblings has agreed with the solicitor that his share not be passed to him for the time being, so that that sibling and wife can continue claiming all available state benefits. The person posing the question makes a good point:
To me all this is wrong and a simple case of fraud, but I am not sure I could report them, as at the end of the day, they are family
Mr Norton says that this problem is none of the questioner’s business, and even asks whether the questioner is jealous of the brother’s freeloading existence. If not, he opines, the questioner should reaffirm his own immediate family love and move on, ignoring the issue.
So there we have it, in a nutshell. A well-paid ‘TV presenter and comedian’ says that abuse of public money is no business of someone who becomes aware of it.
Think about what is happening here. The freeloading relative is (on the face of it) deliberately breaking the democratically agreed rules for getting state benefits, which have it that to be ‘enitled’ to benefits you must be disadvantaged. No longer disadvantaged thanks to that happy inheritance, the brother begins his improper manoeuvering to keep the state benefits flowing.
The cheating sibling is robbing his relatives, Mr Norton and the rest of us as surely as if he had picked our pockets. We are working and paying taxes into a shared pot in good faith for purpose A – he is purloining some of that money simply to be idle. Worse – as the taxes raked in by the government are not enough to pay for the cheating sibling’s lifestyle, the state has to borrow from our children to pay for it. So they are being cheated too.
You might even make the case that by not reporting this abuse the questioner is in effect harming the cheating brother by letting his decadent banal behaviour continue for longer than it should. What is the moral case for letting someone continue cheating? Aren’t you then implicated in that cheating yourself?
This is another example of the sickening decay in personal responsibility as illustrated in Gosport:
The British people and their leaders have outsourced their safety and their very morality to people paid by the taxpayer who will take out a pole to measure six inches of water before deciding whether or not it’s safe to help a vulnerable fellow-citizen in distress. Then decide not to.
When you see something difficult happening – even if it directly affects you – when in doubt do nothing. It’s none of your business.
So eternal shame on Graham Norton and indeed the Daily Telegraph for publishing such a stupidly immoral reply. It’s just not funny.