Friday, 24 June 2011

'Nasty Party' Vs 'Irresponsible Party'...

Tom Clark (leader writer for the Guardian) on the awful unfairness of having to cut your cloth according to your situation….
No one believes you can raise a child decently on £3 a day, and yet the House of Commons today passed a law that will impose that hardship on youngsters across much of the south of England.
This prospect flows from a crude £26,000 cap being applied to all of a family's annual benefits, which will bite hard wherever households are large and rents are high.
There's a clue there to the solutions, then...
The rhetorical logic is ensuring that benefits should never exceed typical pay, and this line has been parroted in the Sun. But there is no real logic, since the whole argument rests on wilful misunderstanding.
Oh, really?
For one thing, the policy deliberately confuses average individual pay with family income. Only a truly nasty party would want to visit the sins of the fathers and mothers it deems to have too many children on the children themselves.
What's 'truly nasty' is expecting everyone to give in and open their own wallets (thus depriving their own children) when these families wave their children in front of themselves like some ghastly human shield.

When are people going to realise that 'no consequences' isn't the answer?
… for large families renting privately, there will be pain across great swaths of London and the south-east. The economist and active Liberal Democrat Tim Leunig has crunched the numbers for a couple with four children paying typical rent in Tolworth, an area branded "the scrag end of Kingston Borough" by London's Evening Standard. Even assuming the youngest children share a room, after footing their rent, council tax and basic utilities out of their capped £26,000, that family would be left with less than £3 per person per day.
Then move. It really is that simple.
No one can defend this position and yet, bizarrely, no mainstream politician is willing attack it.
Because they know that it's suicide.
Meanwhile, Labour knows the cap is crazy but doesn't regard this as a fight to pick.
There you go - even Labour have wised up! Doesn't that tell you something?
Many a concerned Lib Dem stayed silent, crossing fingers and trusting that the legion problems can be ironed out well away from the floor of the Commons.
Oh, they'll grandstand, I'm sure. But they know the reality just as well as Labour.
A week after the archbishop of Canterbury warned that the distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor was creeping back into our discourse, the whip hand in the debate over benefits is held by Vicky Pollard. While caricatures of welfare dependents reign unchallenged, pressing practical questions about how poor people can make ends meet are ducked.
Heh! It's always amusing when the dear old 'Grauniad' turns to the unimpeachable office of the archdruid, isn't it?
Instead of a failure to speak truth unto power, we have a failure on the part of power to speak the truth about this unwearable cap.
No, they have spoken the truth. You just prefer to stop up your ears...

13 comments:

English Viking said...

If a man does not work, then he shall not eat.

2 Thessalonians 3 v 10

Dead simple.

Mr Grumpy said...

I do love the lordly reference to "the scrag end of Kingston". True, Tolworth is less than glamorous and clearly not the kind of place where an egalitarian like Mr Clark would dream of living (it probably doesn't even have a Waitrose, for goodness sake!). It is, however, 31 minutes from Waterloo, and as such full of industrious people struggling to afford accommodation at a sensible distance from their work. Plus those people's children. Does Mr Clark spare a thought for the pain inflicted on these people by a housing market overheated by the handouts which their taxes fund?

Mr Grumpy said...

More on Tolworth: my research reveals that 4-bedroom houses there start at around £400k. To afford the mortgage out of a take-home income of £26,000, you'd have to give up eating, never mind basic utilities.

So in fact Mr Clark does distinguish between the deserving and the undeserving - it's just that in his book you become deserving by not working.

allcoppedout said...

I suspect you miss the real economic arguments Julia, though the nerks at the Groan always need your dissuading shotgun.
Work is so marginally related to pay these days there is no point in urging it. You probably do more work entertaining us here than I get out of one class in three over a module.

allcoppedout said...

The housing bubble has been created by giving banks money Mr Grumpy and their greed to make money make money through speculation instead of work has produced the current situation. The 'wonderful' Chinese Politburo has an even more fantastic model - they have 64 million unoccupied apartments (including 12 ghost cities) 'boosting' their GDP whilst families live almost 'hot-bunking' as in submarines.

Anonymous said...

I can not afford to live in Kingston.
Why should I pay for others to do so?

"Does Mr Clark spare a thought for the pain inflicted on these people by a housing market overheated by the handouts which their taxes fund?"
Very funny. I think the chances of that are zero.

allcoppedout said...

Most of us, anon, are still living in houses built where the jobs used to be, almost in a diagonal from Glasgow to London (admittedly double dog-legged). I wonder how many Manchester salaries it takes to keep an immigrant dole-blodger with 6 kids in Kingston?

Anonymous said...

"allcoppedout said...

Most of us, anon, are still living in houses built where the jobs used to be, almost in a diagonal from Glasgow to London (admittedly double dog-legged). I wonder how many Manchester salaries it takes to keep an immigrant dole-blodger with 6 kids in Kingston?"
Good question. Of course one way of improving things in places with empty houses would be to fill the houses with pro single mums and give the savings to the local council to reduce local bussiness rates or squander as the locals prefer

Anonymous said...

Well, since the Guardian is losing money hand over fist and is only propped up by the arch example of capaitalism that is the Auto Trader mag, he'll have something else to worry about soon.

So maybe he's getting his whining in early.

BTW Anyone else catch Deborah Orr's whine in there about what a sh1thole her home manor of Lambeth has become ? Balm to the soul.

Charles said...

I've known Tom since he was at uni with me (I was the token Tory in a class of 12, 4 of whom went on to work for the last Labour government).

Lovely man, kind and generous to a fault.

Doesn't stop him being dead wrong though!

ReefKnot said...

Expecting the taxpayer to fund your kids is a bit like going into a pub and expecting everybody there to buy your beer.

JuliaM said...

"..(it probably doesn't even have a Waitrose, for goodness sake!"

Why, it's hardly even civilisation at all!

"The 'wonderful' Chinese Politburo has an even more fantastic model - they have 64 million unoccupied apartments (including 12 ghost cities) 'boosting' their GDP whilst families live almost 'hot-bunking' as in submarines."

Hmmm, what's that verse from the Bible about 'building your house on sand'? Sums up this situation to a t.

"I can not afford to live in Kingston.

Why should I pay for others to do so?"


Spot on.

"BTW Anyone else catch Deborah Orr's whine in there about what a sh1thole her home manor of Lambeth has become ? Balm to the soul."

Oh, yes! And yet, curiously, she seemed unable to pin any blame, despite flailing around wildly with it.

I bet when she played 'Pin the Tail on the Donkey' as a child, they didn't even need to blindfold her...

Rob said...

Lambeth has become a shithole?