Theresa May has appointed a ‘minister for loneliness’ as ‘part of the legacy of the murdered Labour MP Jo Cox’. Tracey Crouch, already Minister for Sport and Civil Society, will lead the Government’s work in tackling a problem believed to affect 9million in Britain. Mrs May said she wished to ‘shine a light’ on loneliness’, which for ‘far too many people . . . is the sad reality of modern life’.

This certainly seems to be the case, as the National Association of Funeral Directors warns that the breakdown of family ties has led to a growing number of paupers’ funerals, held when a person dies with no known relatives. Figures from Royal London Insurance show an increase of 12 per cent over five years at a cost to councils of £4million in 2015-2016.


One would hope that Ms Crouch’s role in taking care of ‘civil society’ will contribute to her understanding of the problem of loneliness, a problem which is part of the human condition but which becomes more acute with age and infirmity. Hopefully, too, she will acknowledge the role governments could play in helping couples to stay together, rather than incentivising break-up through the tax and benefits system, and driving as many mothers into paid work as possible, thereby increasing family tensions. This is not to mention the official policy of successive governments in prematurely sexualising children and teaching them to regard having children as some sort of (rectifiable) mistake, instead of teaching them about the value of chastity before marriage, commitment and family life.

Let us hope that this will not be yet another tokenistic appointment, meant to show that the Government ‘cares’ while telling the public that the problem is their fault. Ordinary people do have a responsibility to their elders, but they need the government’s help rather than policies that treat the nation as a motley collection of individuals, not joined-up families. Let us hope also that the Minister for Loneliness will manage to reduce loneliness rather than increase it, or in future we will be looking at nine million paupers’ funerals.

73 COMMENTS

  1. There is a school of thought in the so-called “social services” that once someone is 18, they should be left to their own devices and if they keep making mistakes, parents and other responsible adults in the family (grannies, aunties etc) should just walk away.

    Until it is acknowledged that we are born with ties and duties to other family members (of all ages), and are not just “islands”, genuine progress is unlikely.

    • My understanding has always been that we’re all responsible for ourselves. And when I§ can no longer look after myself, I hope I’ve got the courage to off myself rather than linger on for reasons that remain obscure.

      • If I hadn’t noticed it before , I certainly have now , you are very much a “glass half empty person ” aren’t you ? .
        The family was and still is , the finest social service system that there is . In common with several other well tried and tested institutions , it has been replaced by an impersonal and hopelessly inefficient government department . Just another socialist aberration inflicted upon us !

        • If you like your family it is. Not everybody has the same experience with their families. However it doesn’t imply that we think the Government should intervene.

          • That’s why the wider family is important, Nockian – if you don’t get on with your parents or siblings, you might with grannies, aunts, second cousins etc. I believe the use of the term “nuclear family” was the start of a slippery slope towards atomising us into individuals, like poor Barry, above.

          • I don’t have any so it’s totally moot. Those I know I detest. I am an individual thanks, so ‘atomisation’ suits me perfectly.

        • My family is my parents, as everyone else is dead. Oh, and two sets of uncles and aunts who are off the list because they are thick and they voted to Leave, which does not commend themselves to me. While I’m loyal to my parents, they’re old and the chances of them falling off the twig fairly soon are quite high. In life, in my career, and in so many other things, I’m always happier when it’s me who has the final responsibility, so that suits me quite well. And I’m not alone in this view, incidentally.

          • If you are not talking to aunts and uncles who voted leave, then why do you come on this website to talk to us? Most of us did that too.

            I did notice the Barry Chuckle thing. Not seen him for a while. My younger son used to be a fan. Certainly more watchable than “Barry” Obama.

          • Because here I can control my exposure to conversations and most commentators here can actually structure an argument.

          • Ok. So what you meant was “because they are thick and because they voted to leave”.

            This is not an exercise in correcting your English which was fine, but an attempt to ensure that you weren’t saying “they voted Leave because they are thick”. Which is of course something that very many university educated but not very bright people would say.

            You know though I had an auntie. Well actually she was my mum’s auntie so quite a bit older than me. She wasn’t the family genius, but sometimes going round to see her was like an oasis of peace. I have no idea who she voted for later on in life, or even if she voted at all. It’s not always necessary to argue, or even discuss, politics with your relatives. Take round some Chucklevision DVDs.

            Who am I to talk though? I both enjoy any time that I can get alone, and have a very close relative who is so desperate to argue politics that she will start off the conversation with something that she knows you agree on, and then when she has lulled you in to a false sense of security will go on the attack with something that she “knows that you are wrong on.” Chucklevision DVDs wouldn’t work there!!!!

      • Barry Guevara – you appear to wear your politics on your sleeve. Barry from Barack, and Guevara from Che?

        Leaving that on one side, you do seem a most lonely and alienated soul, perhaps adopted or abandoned in some way. I will pray for you.

        • No, it’s an in joke. The picture is a t-shirt of Barry Chuckle dressed as Che Guevera because it amuses me.

        • I’ve blocked Barry G for my own peace of mind, but his descriptions of his (genuine or manufactured – who knows?) existential crises portrayed quite a schizoid personality to me.

    • We aren’t born with ties and duties to our families. If we love them, if they are a value to us, then we will do our best to hold onto that value. Duty means valueless obligation-in other words altruistic sacrifice.

      • Yes we are, that’s the whole point, as our families have ties and duties towards us (and towards every newborn family member). Age might reduce the level of care we need, but does not remove it.

        Also, just because we have to do something doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy it, or feel that it gives us a purpose, or feel bound to do it. Your concept of duty seems a bit different to that of a social conservative 🙂

        • I have no duty towards anybody nor they to me. If they want to help out that’s fine and dandy but I don’t expect them to under any circumstance. If I want to help them out then that’s on my ticket and I had better be clear I’m doing it for the right reasons-not duty.

  2. Another example of governments creating the problem the claiming to have the solution , who’s behind the push for working mothers ? Who’s behind the break up of the traditional family ? Just saying .

  3. I’d be suspicious of this, especially since the bureau’s title isn’t positive but begs people define themselves as losers and failures in order to apply.

    • I thought that too. Normally the many ministries are defined by a positive title. So under normal Marxist newspeak it should be titled Ministry of Togetherness. And to follow the other Orwellian ministries it should then pursue actions opposite of its title (eg. Ministry of Love= Torture, Ministry of Truth= spreads lies).

      I guess this time the Political Class does not want us to parody it. But as someone else has pointed out on here, it will ensure it has its own protected client base by ensuring people remain lonely.

      • “…[I]t will ensure it has its own protected client base by ensuring people remain lonely….”

        AKA The Pournellian Nightmare, derived from Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracies, which boils down to “Cynical nest-featherers eventually drive out idealists dedicated to the original mission.”

        Except that, in THIS instance, being that it is governmental, one would be well within bounds to question whether there would ever be any idealism involved.

  4. Of course it will make a difference. She (it is bound to be a she) will get a cabinet salary, official car (not for getting hands dirty by visiting lonely people), a string of cabinet secretaries, odds and sods civil servants and feel good about themselves. The Sainted St Jo of the Church of Remain will be honoured at the alter of Political Correctness.
    Now we just need some mugs to pay for it.

    • Absolutely. Loneliness cannot be cured by any government agency. This is just an excuse for more state interference and another raft of jobs at taxpayers’ expense for the otherwise unemployable.

      Whatever the outcome, this new ministry is bound to be self-perpetuating. In a few years’ time, when the next survey purports to tell us how many “lonely” people there are (supply your own definition – the government certainly will) the numbers will have gone either up or down. If they have gone up, that will spur a demand by the ministry for yet more resources to tackle another “growing crisis”. If the numbers have gone down, that will prove that the ministry is a success and its work needs to be reinforced with more resources to ensure that its good work is not wasted. Whether there is even the remotest connection between the numbers and the activities of the ministry will not be explored or discussed. It will just be taken as self-evident.

      We know how this racket works. Next step will no doubt be a new degree course in combatting loneliness, designed to provide a slew of experts to fill all the top posts in the ministry.

  5. Yes there is an issue with loneliness but an entire ministry to deal with it? This is beyond parody! Even the ministry of silly walks had more purpose.

    A ministry is the top position it’s the pinnacle of the importance a government can place on an issue, below that there are departments and directorates which is where this might have been more properly placed.

    But yet again it’s an example of the Tories following Labour and adopting their policies, always a follower and never a leader.
    This is why I will vote Labour at the next election if May is still in charge. I’ll get Labour anyway if May is PM, maybe not at the same speed, but never the less Labour. One of the greatest disappointments on Camerons election was the fact that not only did he fail to roll any of BLiars excesses back, he actually took them further !
    So vote Tory get Labour, vote Labour and get Labour, when there is no difference between the parties then democracy is as meaningful as it was in the old Soviet Union, which is where we appear to be heading.

  6. The epitome of dependency on government for everything and government’s dependency on being seen to intervene for every perceived misfortune, public or private. Personified by May who so desperately wants to be loved, especially by her political enemies, and not to be seen as “nasty” by association with anything remotely conservative. Her whole political career can be viewed in that vein. Instead of Mrs Thatcher’s iron and contempt for socialism we have May’s soggy blancmange and apparent need to embrace it, both by hiring its unelected champions and publicly condemning those who ought to be her party’s natural allies.

    Way to go, Mrs May. Success is guaranteed. It won’t be yours though.

  7. The question should be that the new post should have been given to another MP thereby reducing the numbers who have to survive without a ministerial supplement to their salary, this of course could lead to the forming of another committee to investigate loneliness and that would also bring more MPs out of the cold and into supplementary earnings.
    Are there any left who survive on basic pay and seemingly unlimited expenses.
    Tracey Crouch is just being greedy, having three posts under her jurisdiction none of which have any value anymore than the Minister for snow had.

    • In my own post I was projecting somewhat but you can rest assured that said post will expand to require its dedicated cabinet minister. Paul Parmenter’s post puts it much better than I could.

  8. ‘I am from the government and I am here to help’. Yeah, right …

    The state is not your friend and this is nothing but another seat on the gravy train.

    • Funny how May always appears to find oddly named jobs for women MPs of the Sapphic persuasion.
      Perhaps theirs’ is a peculiarly expensive lifestyle.

  9. ‘ Minister for Loneliness ‘Oh for God’s sake !
    Are we so dependant upon the government for every part
    of life. What happened to the stiff upper lip and people leading their own lives.
    Governments should try to run countries instead of running the lives of
    those within countries. Hugging the electorate and wanting to be our friends.
    I blame Tony Blair for making politics so personal and touchy feely and after
    Diana died, we lost the plot.

      • I am certain that is politically incorrect but I can’t for the life of me think how. I am sure Jeremy will soon tell me.

    • Yes, the feeling of an urge to vomit comes upon me as I read about yet another tax payer funded intervention by the state that someone considers as a good idea. I for one wish the Government would leave me alone. They are the greatest creator of misery and we should all be a lot better off if they left us all the hell alone to live our lives as we wish.

          • And yet, when you have a heart attack or a stroke, you’ll be wishing that the NHS was there for you.

          • Fine, but social conservatism has no well developed philosophy. It’s as much a guess at what feels right than anything consistent. Therefore, that we happen to agree is of no interest to me, I regard it in the same way as coincidence. Libertarians and even some lefties find themselves agreeing with me from time to time, but the same applies. All of them are Mystics.

    • The Archbishop of York invented the post of Archdeacon of Cheerful Giving. It was created for somebody he didn’t know what to do with.

    • Please don’t worry. This nonsense will go the way of so many other pieces of nonsense. A year or two and then it will quietly disappear. in the meanwhile lonely people.. will go on being lonely

  10. I’m afraid that the fact that this new ministerial position is in any way linked to Jo Cox makes me want to run a mile. In addition, I’m appalled that anyone can be conceited enough to take on this post. How exactly does Ms Crouch think she is sufficiently qualified or gifted to be able to ‘cure’ something which is only avoidable if human beings avoid loving anyone but themselves? Mind you, if narcissism is the answer to loneliness, then Ms Crouch will make an excellent role model.

      • In a proper democracy, we would not need a Minister for Men or a Minster for women or any such idiocy. However, it seems that we are stuck with identity politics – at least for this current time – and, in this epoch of identity politics, one needs to be part of a state-recognised collective in order to get anything done!

        • Agreed, we need less government – not more, but men & boys are now truly suffering because of political policies & no one in government seems to care (Other than Philip Davies – at least he appears to be the only one putting his head above the parapet)

          • Philip Davies is a wonderful MP. I keep telling a friend how lucky he is to have him as his constituency MP in the hope that he will spread this good news.

            But he is not in the government.

            No chance of May giving him a job.

    • Perhaps if successive governments had paid more attention to men’s health and less attention to finding ways of killing them, male life expectancy might have equalled that of females, and there would be far fewer lonely old women in care homes dependent on either the taxpayer or their dwindling life savings to pay for their declining years.

  11. Unfortunately we are all a motley collection of individuals, whether in families or out of them. It isn’t for the state to decide whether or not someone should remain an individual, that’s a matter of personal choice. The decision to choose to become married should be made based on a broad understanding of the potential downside as well as the benefits. It isn’t for everybody, we are not all the same and can’t be treated as such, (even if the majority choose family life, rebellion always arrives from disaffected minorities). It’s entirely possible to be born into a married family get married have children and still end up alone. A married partner can pass on early, so can a child, and children these days move away to look for work, and leave their parents behind. It’s often a case of others choices rather than our own.

  12. One needs to look at the reasons behind this loneliness, and one obvious reason is the younger generations moving away from their homes due to work and careers.
    This loneliness is one of the by-products of the ‘social mobility’ which everyone seems to advocate. My parents’ generation families all lived close to each other, I could visit most of my aunts and uncles within a penny bus ride. Now, smaller families are far more widespread and don’t find it so easy to visit their parents, or indeed other members of the family, on a regular basis.
    But it is hard to see what the government can do about it, there are already plenty of existing organisations trying to help.
    We can both still drive and can get out to visit our daughters and more distant friends. But once neither of us can drive, we will be entirely reliant on them coming to visit us. We will also become reliant on supermarkets delivering our food as, whilst we could get there and back, we wouldn’t be able to carry our purchases from the bus stop to our home.
    Similarly, we would probably find it difficult to church on a Sunday, although I believe that the church has some voluntary scheme to collect older parishioners.
    Transport seems to be the crux of the matter; whist our bus passes help financially, it doesn’t really solve the problem as the buses don’t go where we would like to go at appropriate times.
    One elderly widow along our road whose own children have emigrated now has two “Honorary grandchildren” who I believe that she once babysat and who now pop-in a couple of times a week on their way home from school and apparently enjoy a chat with an adult outside the family. Perhaps this is something that could be encouraged.

  13. I like people, I like company, I like to be alone to reflect, friends and relatives who know this about me, real friends can sit in silence in comfort with the company of each other – content in silence.

    However, no man is an island and without good friends and family – any man or woman is lacking.

    Loneliness is a scourge for some, more especially if you are not happy in your own skin, and then there is ageing, slowly people lose their friends and kin – and getting on in life, you need company.

    I don’t pretend to be an expert but a few things strike me about Britain and elsewhere.

    Consider, the contrast with Spain, China and Britain where in the former the older parts of the family are still greatly respected, loved and honoured and as a functioning part of the greater family. Contrast to Britain where the cult of youf seems to pervade and to a large extent this type of famial respect and veneration has very sadly disappeared.

    NO government however well meaning can make a difference.

    Reality, what can also be observed and experienced – here in Britain the one institution which has trashed the family, facilitated, encouraged division through enforced policy and enacting discriminatory laws to favour the alien at the expense of the indigenous – multiculturalism.
    Critical theory – (read about it) is Cultural Marxism, it has so deconstructed what was once a pretty peacefully coexisting society. Mass immigration, the other ill, depresses wages and causes economic uncertainty, printing money and leaving interest rates at rock bottom forced an asset bubble which was the very last thing the country needed, and the rest of the lies GDP in positive, ‘inflation falling’ – my foot.

    I laugh at a government which is responsible for making people worry and fret. yes um, isn’t it a policy of the wonks of cultural Marxism to keep the people fearful, troubled and off balance, separated, lonely?

    And now insouciantly, outrageously avers, “never mind we’re here to make you all better now”.

    Right, ‘beware the Greeks bearing gifts’.

    • Printing money is a function of the destruction of absolute standards as the bedrock of society.

      In this case, the gold standard.

      Once absolute standards are ditched, everything is ditched.

  14. 97% of men dies in vocational jobs, we also have an obesity epidemic but lets worry about loneliness.
    I wonder how much of this money is going to go to whom based on their sex and race; it seems we have more important priorities like people dying…

  15. Why are we lonely?
    We have become a narcissistic society obsessed with self, we have no children and have destroyed the family and even the very basis of pair bonding beyond casual one night stands.
    Job done, move on.

  16. We don’t need a minister for loneliness. What we need is more volunteering and the kind of Christian attitudes which motivate it.

    I am a volunteer for a day club for the elderly, held in a church hall. Our clients spend 4/5 hours doing various activities like keep fit ( sung along to a CD medley of Max Bygraves or Cliff Richard), dominoes, scrabble and art class. There are sometimes visiting small musical groups and singers and occasional slide shows.

    They get a two-course meal, nothing fancy but really good quality, and as much coffee, tea and biscuits as they can swallow. Once in a while there is an outing to the sea side with fish and chips.

    All for a tenner including car transport from their homes, or £8 without. They love it. Many of them live for Mondays and Thursdays.

    All the workers are volunteers except the cook.

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