Monday, October 11, 2010

The Undeserving Poor?

So, it's all the fault of the poor that they're poor - they shouldn't have so many children that the state is forced to support. At least, that's the view of our government, as expressed by one of its Tory ministers. Good see this self-proclaimed 'progressive' government peddling such enlightened perspectives on poverty. Why not go the whole hog and introduce laws restricting the number of children you are allowed to have, based upon income? If they have too many, retrospective abortions could be applied by the government, with the most recently born being gassed in an 'incubator'. But seriously, I do find it extraordinary that a government which claims that it wants to roll back 'big government' in order to 'empower' the ordinary citizen should be attempting to tell citizens how many children they can have. Talk about the 'nanny state'. Of course, such pronouncements ignore the fact that one of the reasons the 'lower orders' have so many children is that it is the only way they can legitimately claim sufficient benefits to be able to live on.

Obviously, the Tories would tell you, that just shows how the benefits system encourages people not to work for a living. Which ignores the fact that the only alternative for most of those claiming extensive benefits are low-paid casual work, which offers no job security or prospect of a living wage. Indeed, one could argue that it is unscrupulous employers who are exploiting the benefits system, in order to get away with exploiting a work force who would otherwise fall below the breadline if they had to rely solely upon their meagre wages. Not that they're in any way ashamed, after all, aren't they just taking advantage of the UK's 'flexible labour market'? (Something which was as enthusiastically embraced by New Labour as it was the Tories). Getting back to the original point, (sort of), we really shouldn't be surprised by the Tories' enthusiastic misrepresentation of the facts. I can't deny that I rather admired David Cameron's bare faced nerve in trying to rewrite even the history of the past couple of years in his recent conference speech. According to him, the economic crisis was entirely the result of the previous Labour government's economic mismanagement. No mention of the role of the banks in precipitating the crisis, or the fact that the the government had been forced to spend billions baling them out. The self same banks which this government still refuses to regulate. Still, why let the facts get in the way of a good soundbite, as Nick Robinson might say.



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