Monday, April 22, 2013

What a lot of lefty whining

I was pointed at this post by a Facebook contact, who described it as "a thoughtful article about poverty & inequality". I disagree.

I think it is load of old-left hard-left whining that not only have they lost the arguments, they've lost the war. Of course, being Glasgow, there is also a whole load of unjustifiable Scottish exceptionalism - how the Scots are so much better than the evil English (Tory, baby-eating, bankster) bastards.

But let's start this fisk at the end, shall we?

David Donnison was for five years chair of the Supplementary Benefits Commission (abolished by Margaret Thatcher) which had a general responsibility for our means-test social benefits.

Ah, an organisation so essential that neither the populist Blair nor the socialist Brown brought it back. Okay, so as we can start from a position "Maggie snatched my comfortable sinecure", we can see the thought that is likely to go in to the rest of this.

The Westminster government and the media have renamed them 'welfare', a word reeking with an American accent of contempt for those who receive these payments.

Is it? Really? More contemptuous than "social security benefits"? Oh, okay ...

The Westminster government and their friends in the media try to shape those changes by contrasting 'strivers' with 'shirkers', and constantly repeating that many families 'in which no-one has worked for generations' are 'trapped on benefits' – a myth for which I have been unable to find any supporting evidence.

I don't, somehow, think you've looked very hard. There are certainly families near me in Scotland that are on their 2nd generation of benefit recipients. And I've not looked at all. There is also an appalling attitude I've seen on behalf of some of the families of my son's friends that even attending school isn't really important. That merely coming of age will be sufficient because somebody else will provide you with the income you clearly deserve.

Now the disgusting George Osborne has seized on the case of Mick Philpott – the man given a life sentence for the appalling manslaughter of six children – to suggest that his crime is the kind of thing that happens when we hand out over-generous social benefits to immoral people.
Did he? According to Sky, Osborne was asked:
Are the Philpotts vile products of welfare UK?

He replied:
There’s a question about the welfare state, and taxpayers who pay, subsidising lifestyles like that.

So, actually, no he didn't. He didn't suggest any causal link between the Welfare State and the murder - his comment would have applied, just as relevantly or not, if Philpott had been in the news for any reason. Say, as a lottery winner, or because of his appearance on some god-awful morning tv schedule filler.

We heard from the lone mother who got her children to school, ran for a bus, and reached the job centre just in time for her appointment – only to be told that, according to their computer, she was a few minutes late, and would therefore lose her benefits. Her appeal, if she made one, would be heard in a few months' time.

Okay - what's this actually a problem with? The UK public service ethos - proverbially capable neither of civility nor of service? Crap computer systems? Piss-poor organisation on the part of the 'lone mother'. (Ed notes: so, is 'single mother' now one of these discriminatory terms we are banned from using?) Easier just to blame it on those evil bastard Tories rather than actually working out what the problem was.

Another mother took a bus for seven miles to renew her benefit payments, and was told to go home for a document she had not been asked for – the 14-mile trip costing her the price of her children's supper. 

How many times has she renewed her benefit? Where was this bus? How much was it? Of course, as we've gone away from handing benefits over in cash at the Job Centre, how was she going to pay for the kiddies' supper even if she had her benefits renewed?

And, frankly, where is Dad? Why can't she get a job? Etc, etc. This sort of anecdata isn't sufficient to make an argument.

And there was the frail, elderly lady who can just manage to look after herself at home with the help of her son who comes to stay for a night or two each week. She has been told that she will have to move to a one-bedroom flat because she will not be entitled to her present housing benefit for a home with two bedrooms. And there are no one-bedroom flats available in her neighbourhood.

Yet the council has a statutory duty to house her. And to provide her, free of charge, with personal care. And, of course, she will only have to move if the housing benefit reduction means she can no longer afford her current house. And the lack of one-bedroom flats? Clearly the fault of these evil Tory bastards who've been running the local councils in Scotland for far too long.

If we are to have governments in Westminster who see poverty not as a problem but as a solution – driving people into work of whatever kinds and at whatever wages may be available.

Do I hear the refrain "Can work, won't work"? Hmm, but the magic jobs tree exists in the same place as the magic money tree - in fantasy land. Every private sector job needs to pay its way. And every public sector job needs to be supported by at least two private sector jobs at the same sort of level.

There's more of it. But it is just lefty whining. They'll cripple the ability of the private sector to make any money and then strike, march and even riot about our inability to pay for what they consider necessary public services.

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