Life at the Bottom

Not, you will be glad to hear, Peter Mandelson's life story, but a book by Theodore Dalrymple, pen name of a doctor, now retired and emigrated in disgust, who used to work in a large hospital and prison in Birmingham. Working as both a doctor and a shrink, he spent a big slice of is life observing the underclass in its misery, violence and general revoltingness.

From the baby-machine mothers with their black eyes and council flats, to the rat-faced petty criminals who impregnate, terrorise and abandon them, he has built up a depressing but revealing picture of the causes of the formation of the British underclass. Best read in small chunks as to read the whole thing in one go is profoundly depressing.

Having previously taught at a British university, I would agree with him about the overeducated fools who insist on the purity of their ideology and damn the consequences (largely because their status allows them to avoid the consequences).


Book Reviewer
Thanks for the reccomendation: This chap looks like the author ARRSERS should all be reading, judging by the strong undertone detectable on this forum (ie the ongoing and apparently irreversible decline of the UK as a society).

But as you say - depressing stuff.

As an expat Brit pining for pretty pubs, quiet bookshops and the glorious countryside, I think I'll stick to Jerome K. Jerome.
He's a provocative and insightful writer with a good eye for the absurdities of modern British life. He is also an entertaining public speaker (on the basis of seeing him in the flesh on two occasions). A lot of his analysis of what is wrong, including his other work, is right on the money.

On the other hand, he has always struck me as a social and cultural snob whose contempt for working and lower middle class culture goes far beyond benefits dependency, political correctness and 'uman rights mongering.

I'm not entirely sure that many ARRSERs would enjoy Mr Dalrymple's Britain any more than the one they live in now.

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