The "dependency culture" is under fire and also under question as the UK Government's Bill on welfare reform and benefits caps faces increasingly strong opposition from those who claim large families may be made homeless.
The arguments are becoming polarised between claims to do with inter-generational reliance on free state support for everything and the objections of politicians and tax payers that people can claim more money than a lot of men and women are able to earn in order to support, at tax-payers' expense, their many children in large homes often in prime locations. It is good that these issues, a dissatisfied undercurrent for years, are being discussed openly now.
For me the issue is not so much about what is called, unfortunately, "social scrounging" but is about personal responsibility, and this goes to the heart of each of us whether we are benefits claimants or wealthy tax exiles. The matter would be simplified (and also complicated, perhaps, but in a good and challenging way) if everyone were able to understand that our choices make us what we are and where we are; that we and only we can help ourselves to change and move on; and that we have no right to expect anyone else to save us. That sounds hard, I know, and I am not suggesting that there should be no help for those in real need - of course there should - but it should be a last resort and not an automatic right.
Because the dependency culture has been allowed to become so endemic in parts of British society, irresponsibility has become endemic also; it is shocking, literally, to hear of a family with 24 children living in a large house in the centre of London but contributing nothing to the situation they have created. Helping them to their independence of need and thence personal freedom will hurt and it will take time to shift ingrained attitudes and assumptions, but it must and will be done for their sake. Remember, this applies to many of us, not just those under scrutiny in British politics today.