Why Cameron is wrong and Labour should say so

June 25, 2012 2:30 pm

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I read David Cameron’s morally repugnant ideas on welfare ‘reform’ this morning with disgust. I immediately decided to pen an article ranting about how his priority should be closing tax loopholes for big business and his rich mates, deriding the scapegoating of those on benefits, highlighting overlooked facts such as that only 1 in 8 housing benefit claimants are out of work and slamming policy made on the back of a fag packet to appease po-faced backbenchers and right wing rags.

Then I figured lots of very clever people would probably already be in the process of writing those articles, so I thought I’d just tell you my story instead.

I grew up in Whiston near Liverpool as the eldest of five children to parents who for a long time didn’t work, through no fault of their own. We lived in a succession of council houses – some not so bad, some pretty awful. Rather than the flat screen TVs and holidays abroad three times a year that the Daily Express seem to think we had, I remember getting bullied at school because my coat had holes in it. My mum couldn’t afford to buy us all new clothes every year, we had to make do. I spent all year collecting two pence pieces to use in those amazing slot machines for our annual holiday in Blackpool. (I’m not going to lie, I was an expert. I always left with more 2p’s than when I arrived!)

When I was forced to leave home at the age of 18, I was lucky enough to find a job making stationery folders on a production line in a factory and later on I worked on the checkouts at Tesco and so I didn’t have to claim housing benefit or any other sort of welfare. However I know many people who had no other choice. These people were not scroungers sponging off the state, but often young people who were forced to leave home because of their sexuality, or because of violence, or simply because their parents couldn’t afford to look after them.

It was tough for me in a part time job on the minimum wage with bills to pay, I can’t even imagine how tough it would have been in my situation with kids on top. I managed to get a better job, then another and then another and work my way out of poverty, but it isn’t so easy for everyone.

For the millionaire Prime Minister – who has never suffered a day’s hardship in his life – to label such people as scroungers and benefit cheats sickens me to my core. The Labour Party should not be afraid to come out and say that this is wrong. Yes work should pay and it should never be the case that people have a financial incentive not to get a job, but we tackle this by ending poverty wages and clamping down on soaring rents in the private rented sector, not by removing benefits from some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised people in our society. So much for compassionate conservatism.

  • Jeremy_Preece

    Kevin

    This is an open and honest post, and is spot on.

    I have been employed, Slef employed, operated as a limited company and have periods of unemployment. I met a lot of unemployed and from what I saw they fell into the categories of

    1. Poeple who had worked hard but lost their job through no fault of their own.

    2. People who were deperately trying to get back into work

    3. People who had tried again and again to get into work and got nothing but rejection until they came fo a point of feeling weary and depressed.

    What I never saw was anyone who really wanted to be unemployed. The only hting that all of those people I met seemed to want would have been to have been given a real proper job. Like you I hate the policies of this government and the destruction of people’s way of life. 

    Cameron is the master of distraction, and so rather than look at the economic mess he has caused and the lives his policies have ruined, he wants to point the finger at ordinary people who have not had the luck that someone of his background has had.  

    Cameron has not got a clue what it is like, and worse, he chooses not to know.

  • hp

    Really, how big a fool does Cameron have to be to think that this was a good idea?
    You just have to wonder whether he came up with this on his own, or it came out of some sort of policy committee.
    Yes, the govt. needs to cut spending back to what we can afford, and the welfare bill is very large, but THIS? 

    • treborc1

       Then tell us what?

      • hp

        I would cap public sector pensions at 1 x Average National Wage.
        Yes, that includes MPs.

        Also, end winter fuel allowance for all those homes that we are paying to be properly insulated.  That is £3bn on its own.

        • treborc

          I can see the MP’s disagreeing with you.

          • hp

            Yes.  Lack of leadership there, I think.
            But just think:  if the nation becomes richer, their pensions will increase.  A good incentive there.

  • Losange

    What Labour says will be dependent on the results of polls and surveys. If it looks like there’s more votes supporting ideas like this than there are opposing them I bet the Labour Party will include such proposals, or even more merciless proposals, in its own manifesto before the next general election.

    • Mario Dunn

      I certainly hope that Labour’s manifesto is one that is supported by the public. It really does help if you want to win elections.

      • Losange

        I wouldn’t want Labour to win if to win it had to unhome hundreds of thousands of under 25s. 

        • johnp Reid

          neither would i, but at the same time when i was homelss in 1992 and labour lost an aelection it should have won ,excpet the public still hadn’t forgotten the self inflicted wounds we gave ourselves years earlier, I recall tony benn Living in his mansion saying that labour losing in 1992 was A moral victory as at least it was socialist, And there was me starving freeezing and been felt it was better that labour was concerned with ‘save the whale’ and foreign aid, than fighting for hte working class. so although Mario may feel that the public have in some cases little sympathy for those on welfare, at the same time, us just being snobbish to genuine reasons to cut welfare ,could as pointed out, put us out of power for years again.

          • Chilbaldi

            the question here is do we have a vision that can mould the public’s views on welfare to something that we’d all feel comfortable with? Rather than just thinking along current Daily Mail trends.

          • johnp Reid

            i don’t think even under Blair labour cared what the daily mail felt ,the day after the 97 election

          • AlanGiles

            Come off it. Blair won on 2nd May 1997. Who was the first guest through the door on Monday 5th May? – Mrs Thatcher.
            At that time Jim callaghan was still alive, but plainly it would not have gone dopwn so well with the press if he had been invited.

            Everything New Labour did was done with one eye cocked in the direction of news International and Associated Newspapers

          • johnp Reid

            the Daily mail isn’t a News international paper,and who was it who put Blair inpower lots of ex tory voters who only came over to laobur when labour admitted it was wrong on lots of things.

      • robertcp

        You should vote Tory if you agree with Cameron’s idiotic views.  Some of us want to vote for intelligent and compassionate policies.  We might lose but at least voters will have a choice.  Democracy is a total waste of time if all the parties want to inflict Thatcherite nonsense on the country.

        Incidentally, in a sane world I would be on the centre-right of the Labour Party.

  • Mario Dunn

    All very Python/cardboard box like but don’t forget the public by and large support initiatives that reduce social security benefits. Five million people claim HB – count ‘em five million. Some people live in  multi-million pound properties in Central London for nothing! Absurd and plain wrong.

    Rather than just have a knee jerk opposition to this it is far better for Labour to say what it would do to cut down on the welfare bill. And I don’t just mean  macro economic policy stuff but ideas that the public will support.

    Otherwise we are doomed to another period in opposition – doomed I tell ‘ye

    • Losange

      Question: How to cut the welfare bill?

      Answer: Get as many people into jobs which pay living wages which enable them to support themselves!

      If you blindly cut welfare without getting the people who depend on benefit into jobs with enough hours and high enough wages to enable them to earn enough money to fend for themselves you simply create a greater evil – unimaginable suffering. The public do support welfare reform in the sense that they want to see people pulling their weight, as well as they can, when they can but not made to suffer, or be made homeless, or left starving, or made absolutely destitute.

      Cameron gets away with stunts like this because the public is largely ignorant or the facts. The picture he paints is that people make choices in respect as to whether they work or live on benefits. This is a lie. For many on benefits there is no choice, no employer willing or able to offer them work. To cut housing benefit to all claimants who are under a certain age, or unemployed for so long, or have so many children, including genuine claimants who are doing everything possible to secure a job, won’t help matters at all because the men and women punished by such measures will not be able to do anything beyond what they are already doing to help themselves. All that will happen is that more and more people will be driven into homelessness and poverty. It is amazing that any serious politician could say something as stupid as Cameron did today when the country is still in recession, millions are looking for work,  fifty people are competing for every job, and when the number of people struggling to exist in part-time work, because no full-time work is available, has reached historically record levels. 

      Labour must inform the public of the truth.

      The British public are a decent sort who will reject the Conservatives once they finally understand what is really going on.What a wretch David Cameron has turned out to be.

    • Losange

      Question: How to cut the welfare bill?

      Answer: Get as many people into jobs which pay living wages which enable them to support themselves!

      If you blindly cut welfare without getting the people who depend on benefit into jobs with enough hours and high enough wages to enable them to earn enough money to fend for themselves you simply create a greater evil – unimaginable suffering. The public do support welfare reform in the sense that they want to see people pulling their weight, as well as they can, when they can but not made to suffer, or be made homeless, or left starving, or made absolutely destitute.

      Cameron gets away with stunts like this because the public is largely ignorant or the facts. The picture he paints is that people make choices in respect as to whether they work or live on benefits. This is a lie. For many on benefits there is no choice, no employer willing or able to offer them work. To cut housing benefit to all claimants who are under a certain age, or unemployed for so long, or have so many children, including genuine claimants who are doing everything possible to secure a job, won’t help matters at all because the men and women punished by such measures will not be able to do anything beyond what they are already doing to help themselves. All that will happen is that more and more people will be driven into homelessness and poverty. It is amazing that any serious politician could say something as stupid as Cameron did today when the country is still in recession, millions are looking for work,  fifty people are competing for every job, and when the number of people struggling to exist in part-time work, because no full-time work is available, has reached historically record levels. 

      Labour must inform the public of the truth.

      The British public are a decent sort who will reject the Conservatives once they finally understand what is really going on.What a wretch David Cameron has turned out to be.

      • Jeremy_Preece

        Spot on!
        The only bit I question is over the opinion of the public, since there is a massive problem with speaking without being drowned out by the media with other agendas.

        I would also point out that unemployment can come to anyone at anytime. If you are over 45 then your chances of getting out of it reduce drastically with each year.

        One great feature of unemployment is that if it does happen to you, you never know how long it will last and so there is never a light at the end of the tunnel. All those who speak of “I  would get on my bike until I found work” are people who have not got a clue and never been in the situation themselves.

        I believe that people should work if offered proper jobs that they are capable of doing. I also believe that those who are sick cannot work and should be given benefits without hassle. However, when there are no jobs, or many people going after the same job, then you cannot expect unemployed people to find work.

        Losange – your assessment of Cameron is right.

         

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/QDMFX65KM5STSAFHAC4FOLFTO4 fran

      OMG it’s a personal testimony and you’re so dismissive.Hope you don’t work in a Benefits Office. Anyway the HB thing is always only partially reported with few in the press or the political elite willing to point a finger at irresponsible landlords who set unreasonable rent levels. After all – it is the landlords and not the tenants who are the recipients of HB. The truth is the welfare system isn’t fit for purpose – it provides an inadequate safety net for many of the working poor who struggle with minimum wage income but also crucially with increasing job insecurity, underemployment and casualisation of the workforce.  While we have austerity, a depressed job market and economic stagnation its well nigh impossible to scapegoat a whole group. Many hard working, honest, aspirational people are only one step away from being “claimants”  and can be precipitated into welfare almost overnight. So the dividing line between claimant and non-claimant is very porous and meanwhile the most vulnerable claimants – the disabled, those with learning needs etc.,get unjustifiably caught up in all this scapegoating. I don’t think the political elite want  to talk about the working poor  because it doesn’t make good headlines to atttack people who are trying to do the right thing but still can’t make ends meet. In truth, much of our welfare bill is an expensive and useless remedy for poor working conditions and pitiful renumeration.

      • Dave Postles

         … and then RBS/NatWest cock up their pay checks, so that some people can’t pay their mortgages or rent.  So, that’s where the economies and ‘efficiencies’ were made at RBS: in having no effective backup system for their IT infrastructure?

      • http://twitter.com/mistyblulabour dave stone

        “I don’t think the political elite want  to talk about the working poor  ”

        Spot on. Nothing discredits the current system more than the fact that there are people who work very hard yet still can’t survive without benefits.

        This is a private sector failure where the market doesn’t deliver and it blows the Tories and New Labour clean out of the water.

        • JC

          On the contrary. Politicians prefer the working poor to those who chose not to work as the benefits are sufficient  for them. Benefits should be a safety net for those in short term difficulty not an opportunity to have a better lifestyle than the poor. 

          As someone on a low wage (just moved up from NMW), I am not impressed with the idea that I have to pay NI and income tax (15% of my wage in total) to pay for someone to have a better standard of living than I can afford. There is something wrong when people are more supportive of not restricting benefits to £25k than of reducing taxes to the working poor. I have seen it on this forum many times, but we should be making it easier to work than to claim benefits.

          As an illustration, I have seen many young people start work at a factory, only to decide not to come back the following day as it “doesn’t suit them”. These factories have vacancies which are eventually filled by Lithuanians, Poles, Czech etc as the locals can chose not to take them.

          Surely this is not what we are campaigning for?

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/QDMFX65KM5STSAFHAC4FOLFTO4 fran

            But you’re missing the point entirely. Everybody prefers people to be in work including the people in work. That’s not the point. The point is that even with people’s best effort and contribution through hard work they cannot make ends meet and have to be topped up by the benefits system. This is what is creating a breadline Britain – a low wage economy that fails to reward hard working people with a living wage. But it never fails to reward those at the top who often don’t work as hard and contribute little to the country but talk a good game and are well connected.  Of course we should take the working poor out of tax as much as is possible but campaign for a living wage for all in work and don’t let divisive politicians and media scapegoat certain groups.

          • treborc

             Funny where are these factories name them so i perhaps can go and take a look, you people tell us about jobs which are available then name them.

    • Newham Sue

      Sorry, belated reply as off line for most of today. Losange has made most of the points I’d have made.  Although I totally agree that, as ‘The Today Programme’ concurred, most folk would like to see a reduction in the level of money spent in total on benefits (and yes this does include a large number of Labour supporters) the point folk are missing is that the way Labour supporters would like to see this happen involves the government recognising their responsibilities to help generate employment opportunities for the bulk of the population and lowering the numbers claiming by providing them with fairly paid jobs. What we don’t want is to see people getting arbitrarily kicked (25, where have they plucked that number from??) when they’re down.

    • treborc

      We already have a Tory party they are back, the problem is the labour party now knows if labour does not offer something different , then sadly why vote Labour, the Tories are cutting and cutting well, just telling people we will do the same, why bother voting labour, you may as well vote for the best at cutting the Tories.

      I would have thought you would have seen this and gone over to Cameron’s lot.

  • Simon

    Work is the best way out of poverty only if it rewards people adequately: a temporary sixteen hour a week part-time job, with a very long commute, is no use whatsoever to man or beast. 

  • AlanGiles

    Kevin, I agree with your article totally.

    Sadly the idea of Flat screen TV and all the rubbish the Daily Express spews out is unlikely to be corrected by Liam Byrne, who did nothing to try to stop this sort of welfare-claimant-bashing when Purnell was putting Freud through Parliament. It suited Labour’s purpose, just as Byrne’s alleged disagreement with 25% of the Coalitions welfare bill does now.

    We can never forget it was a desperate Gordon Brown who allowed James Purnell to do that, even though by the time Purnell was getting it through the HoC, freud had already decamped to the Tories. Even then, Purnell did nothing to  reduce the severity of the bill.

    I have no doubt cameron and co would have persued the Freud reforms, but their job would have been harder, having to start from the beginning. Of course these post 2015 Conservative aspirations have been made more feasible by the implementation of Freud by both governments.

    The only way for Labour to be credible on welfare is to get a more credible welfare minister than Byrne – who can believe anything this oppportunist says?.

  • Mike Homfray

    I thought the comment about ‘people returning to their childhood rooms’ to save money was instructive. Cameron clearly can’t conceive of living in a small property where rooms are shared and where the parents can’t subsidise their adult kids any longer. What exactly would happen if they could not return to the parental home or find work? Exactly how muck knowledge does Cameron have of how many ordinary people live? Or is life so cocooned on Planet Posh that he really doesn’t know?

    • john p Reid

      Mike weren’t you at Universtiy getting a free education under the tories in the 80’s saying how good this was, it’s not cam’s fault if he as posh, alot of working class people who see others on welfare and also some others unfortunatley homeless, what about the genuine working class  ho pay for others to get tat sort of education and then criticises cam for trying to do something I’m not saying cameron is right but just becuase he’s posh doesn’t mean he doesn’t appeal to some of the working class, this sort of middle class people pretending to be working calss and then telling the real working calss that the designer left are on their side is political suicide.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

        John: I got a full grant at University and had to ask for a bursary in my third year because my dad was too sick to work. Under the current regime I would have had to leave.
        I think Cameron is fearfully out of touch and he says things which show this to be the case all too regularly. He’s not the only one – what about Maude and the jerry can in the garage? 

        • Chilbaldi

          or you could have gone part time, or done the full time degree while holding down one or two jobs as I know many students do.

          • HuH

            I didn’t know you could do that – just convert a full-time degree into a part-time degree or whatever. Can you do that with degrees in medicine? Or physics? Wow! Fancy being able to qualify as a medical doctor part-time! Sign me up!

          • Bill Lockhart

             I think most sociology degrees could probably be achieved by suitably diligent part-time study.

          • Kraken

            I reckon Philosophy, Politics and Economics degrees should simply be included in membership packs given to citizens who choose to join a political party.

        • Bill Lockhart

           ” Under the current regime I would have had to leave.”
          False.
          The hypocrisy of  Labour Party members whining about Labour’s tuition fees is simply hilarious.

  • http://twitter.com/jayuux jason green

    As more and more of this type of class warfare is waged against the poor, vulnerable and unsuspecting, the greater the social deficit an incoming Labour government will face. Do the silent Labour leadership and, to some extent, Labour movement not see this?

  • Pingback: David Cameron on cutting welfare benefits: Politics live blog | Politics News and Discussion

  • Jeff

    I wouldnt hold your breath waiting for something passionate and constructive from Ed Milliband on this. If our citizens can be coerced into slave labour, disabled people found to be fit and healthy for work; without so much as a mumour of discontent from Ed, then a few thousand homeless under 25s is hardly gonna get him touring the TV studios is it?

    This silence is a dangerous game Ed.

    Once you’ve done your focus groups and research from the marginals maybe you could tell us where you sit on all this right-wing shit coming our way.

  • Jeff

    I wouldnt hold your breath waiting for something passionate and constructive from Ed Milliband on this. If our citizens can be coerced into slave labour, disabled people found to be fit and healthy for work; without so much as a mumour of discontent from Ed, then a few thousand homeless under 25s is hardly gonna get him touring the TV studios is it?

    This silence is a dangerous game Ed.

    Once you’ve done your focus groups and research from the marginals maybe you could tell us where you sit on all this right-wing shit coming our way.

  • http://twitter.com/shibleylondon Shibs

    Excellent article, Kevin.
    Superbly written, with a very clear message to core Labour values.
    Exactly the sort of stuff I like to read on @LabourList. 

  • Bill Lockhart

    ” parents who for a long time didn’t work, through no fault of their own.”

    Who’s fault was it, then?

    “When I was forced to leave home at the age of 18,”

    Forced by whom?

    “I can’t even imagine how tough it would have been in my situation with kids on top.”

    Having  “kids”  is not compulsory.

    “For the millionaire Prime Minister – who has never suffered a day’s hardship in his life”

    He and his wife lost a son. Perhaps you mean financial hardship. Your lack of empathy makes you sound like the cartoon Tories you love to hate.

    So much for compassionate socialism.

    • Ho

      Lots of people on Merseyside are unemployed through no fault of their own. It’s an area with high and enduring structural unemployment where it is harder to re-enter the workforce .
      Plenty of young people are unable to remain in the parental home after 18.I used to work in a housing advice centre and we cane across plenty.
      And while kids may not be compulsory, people do end up having them. If you put them into care that would, financially cost a lot more.
      As for ‘hardship’ the term has explicit financial meaning as well you know.

      Nothing as odd as a Tory who spends half the day writing bitter little posts on a Labour site.

      • Bill Lockhart

        I’ll take no lessons in “compassion” from someone who advocates sterilisation as a precondition for education for poor Indian women whilst bleating about the intolerable hardships suffered by the fecund Merseyside underclass.

        • HuH

          David Cameron is planning to legislate to sterilise Indian women?!

          • Bill Lockhart

            Cameron isn’t as extreme as that. Homfray is.

          • HuH

            Starving children born into in over large families that Cameron disapproves of by cutting benefits paid to such families is pretty extreme in my book. Or “evil” as my seventy year old mother would say before swearing never to vote Tory again while she draws breath.

      • John Dore

        You say that its no fault of the people of Merseyside but I disagree with you. Liverpool has struggled along unable to develop a new economy that provides enough jobs and it and we need to talk about why. IMHO it has issues:

        1 an ingrained social reliance on benefits.
        2 an inability to attract investment that leads to long term employment.
        3 cultural issues that prevent entrepreneurialism. 

        Their is no comparison between Liverpool and say Manchester or Leeds, both of which are prospering by comparison, albeit in a bad economy.

    • AlanGiles

      People like Cameron and you obviously have no idea of what life can be like. “Is there honey still for tea?” probably sums up Cameron’s easy life as the son of a millionaire, but a lot of kids have to leave home early, because their family circumstances are such that their families are not in a position to support them. Also, some have to leave because of physical abuse in one form or another by (usually) the father.

      Some people don’t have parents, as they might well have died, or one parent has left the family home and the other becomes ill.

      It is not unknown for a parent to bully their offspring because the parent disapproves of his lifestyle.

      As for “having kids is not compulsory” – true, but it is hardly the fault of the “kid” if things go wrong in one way or another.

      While it is true Mr & Mrs Cameron very sadly lost a child, this doesn’t seem to have  in any way softened his outlook to others, and just like Duncan-Smith, Grayling, Purnell and the twisting and turning (and gurning) Byrne, giving the less fortunate a good kicking is still the answer – it is always their fault, just as over 2 million unemployed, a stagnant economy and failed policies is nothing to do with the right wing word jugglers.

      • johnp Reid

        the first half the commennts on here were intereting and didn’t attract the usual trolling,

    • AlanGiles

      People like Cameron and you obviously have no idea of what life can be like. “Is there honey still for tea?” probably sums up Cameron’s easy life as the son of a millionaire, but a lot of kids have to leave home early, because their family circumstances are such that their families are not in a position to support them. Also, some have to leave because of physical abuse in one form or another by (usually) the father.

      Some people don’t have parents, as they might well have died, or one parent has left the family home and the other becomes ill.

      It is not unknown for a parent to bully their offspring because the parent disapproves of his lifestyle.

      As for “having kids is not compulsory” – true, but it is hardly the fault of the “kid” if things go wrong in one way or another.

      While it is true Mr & Mrs Cameron very sadly lost a child, this doesn’t seem to have  in any way softened his outlook to others, and just like Duncan-Smith, Grayling, Purnell and the twisting and turning (and gurning) Byrne, giving the less fortunate a good kicking is still the answer – it is always their fault, just as over 2 million unemployed, a stagnant economy and failed policies is nothing to do with the right wing word jugglers.

    • Luther

      I for one do not believe that children should be forced to suffer for the sins of the parents. The welfare of children, whoever they belong to, however they got born, should be the only thing that matters. To deliberately set out to engineer harm to children simply because their parents had them on benefits is contemptible beyond belief.

      As are you Mr. Lockhart. 

      But you are a carpet chewing idiot hardly responsible for your own actions whereas David Cameron as a member of the Oxbridge educated, privileged elite, who does know exactly what he is saying and where it will lead, is a disgrace and should be held fully accountable for his cold-heartedness and cruelty.

      Birth control by threat of poverty and destitution.

      I never thought to hear such a thing spoken of on these shores.

      • JC

        If having been educated at Oxbridge should exclude you from politics, there will be a lot of vacancies. Similarly a (relatively) privileged background. It’s almost a requirement these days for politicians in all parties.

    • Dave Postles

      The young people at Centrepoint (in London and the ‘provinces’) have a year or two in residence, then they have to make their way in the world in other accommodation.  The impact of this ‘policy’ could be quite serious.  

      • AlanGiles

        I think the problem is people like Bill here, and ignorant politicians like Cameron and Byrne who have never lived in the real world anyway, don’t realise that the world has changed in the past 30/40 years and in many ways things are now worse than they were some years ago.
         
        I was bought up by my grandparents, and by the time I was in my teens my grandad was suffering from a number of illnesses and my granny had to look after him. Grandad had to survive on a half pension.

        There is no way that they could have supported me. Luckilly for me in the 50s/60s we did have more or less full employment, and after leaving school at 15 I was never out of work – I was never made redundant (though I came close to it in 1973 when Ted Heath introduced the 3 day week, but thats another story). Anyway, it never happened.

        In Britain 2012 many people are on part-time contracts, and these are often temporary(or “no contract” as my neighbour is with the supermarket that thinks every little helps). There is hardly such a thing as a secure job (even servicemen and police officers face redundancy these days), social  housing has been decimated by both Conservative and Labour governments, even those still in education are at the whims of that faceitous Kenneth-Williams wanabee Gove.

        50 years ago employment prospects were much better – if you did lose a job every local newspaper would have columns of them, and it would have been possible to leave one job on Friday and start a new one on Monday. I don’t think that situation will ever pertain again, and the likes olf Cameron (and Byrne) need to take this on board – many temporary jobs are for a week – not 5 years as our insecure politicians jobs are, and on low wages the uinfortunate 24 year old can’t even charge his food to “expenses”

    • Dave Postles

       I wonder how many soldiers under the age of 25 are on the streets, having served their tours of duty?

      • Winston_from_the_Ministry

        None of the ones who chose to continue in the army.

        • AlanGiles

          Some have to leave the services due to physical or emotional illness (PTSD etc), so they cannot “chose to stay” in the army

          • Winston_from_the_Ministry

            Absolutely.

            But my point stands.

            @Dave I assume you’re hinting at “redundancies”. If they did not have the option to stay in the army, they could not choose to.

          • Dave Postles

             Not only redundancies.  What proportion of people sign up for the minimum term of 4 years (6 years for the youngest)?  Do they sign up with the forces because of the difficulty of employment?  Do they expect that through the forces they might enhance their skills base over the three years to increase their chances of employment?  Do they find that the employment situation is just as difficult when they are demobbed?  During their three years, do they suffer – as Alan indicates – from traumatic conditions? 

          • Winston_from_the_Ministry

            All choices.

          • Thanatos

            Cutting your own throat is also a choice, in your terms, and one I hope you might consider making in the immediate  future.

          • Kraken

            Soldiers do choose to enter the armed forces and risk their lives in battle. As a country we can choose to reward them for that service or sh*t on them which is what often happens. Kindness or cruelty ARE choices in a general sense that people make all the time. In David Cameron’s case latter choice is rapidly becoming more like a default position.

          • Winston_from_the_Ministry

            I agree that we do not do nearly enough for those leaving our armed forces. The destruction of the military hospital system was particularly outrageous.

        • Dave Postles

          I’ll let you reconsider your comment.

    • LaurenceB

      ‘Having “kids” is not compulsory.’

      Nor is being a c*nt.

      So why are you one day in and day out?

  • LaurenceB

    The truth of the matter is that a desperate Cameron was trailing his coat in order to appease stroppy right-wingers in his OWN party. Pretty much none of what he was talking about was feasible. Even Daily Mail readers were repulsed. For example The Daily Mail had an online poll which showed  87%:13% AGAINST ending housing benefit for the under-25s. Only two years as Prime Minister and Cameron is already looking like a fish out of water. To make that ridiculous speech yesterday he really must be utterly desperate.

  • johnp Reid

    Kevin, i was in the same situation as you, and  agree, But it’s the view that laobr just wants people to sponge off the state that even working people who ahve’nt had to struggle but have grafted non the less, feel ,there’s a something for nothing society, and that these sort of gimmicks by cameron appeal t swing votes, alright elections aren’t won or lost on a key issues of welfare reform but if the public can even see the possiblity of cutitng money as long as it doens’t result in lots of  the public homeless agian they’d go for it, As such it’s important that we show not only the tories are wrong hre ,but don’t give them enough ammunition to win on other polices like  education reform or our lack of ideas dealing with the deficit.

    • AlanGiles

      The problem is thatLabour, while in office, and until Byrne’s recent half-hearted volte-face did NOTHING to try to correct the false assumptions of the Daily Express and other tabloids – indeed they encouraged it. There is one of my major problems – it is very unpleasant to hear expenses fiddlers like Byrne and Purnell getting holier-than-thou about other people. Glass houses and all that.

      Yes you will always get benefit claimants who play the system, just as you will always get ex-ministers fiddling and being hypocritical, but the public need to be reminded how low the basic rate of JSA is, and few people in their right mind would CHOOSE to live on such small amounts. We need to explain that there are over 2 million people unemployed, and, at a time when able bodies people cannot find work, especially after they reach middle-age, that it is NOT the time to try to force the sick and disabled into work – even if such a stance were morally justified (which I happen to think it is not).

      Sometimes a political party has to lead rather than follow public opinion. I don’t think labour can ever do that with any credibility while Bhyrne remains in post.

      • johnp Reid

        Apart from the last paragraph, can’t fault it

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  • Kev4PM

    STRONGLY AGREE

  • ThePurpleBooker

    *sigh*

    • HuH

      Was that a sigh of pleasure, pain or resignation?

  • PaulHalsall

    I am “old” Labour, and still in many ways Catholic. People on government benefits should look for work, but the people who take decisions in the economy also have a responsibility to help create economic conditions that allow people to find work, and find work where they live. [Part of the social disaster in the US is that people move so often there is nothing like the family support network that still exists in many parts of northern England and Scotland].

    Today’s attack by Cameron on the unemployed *at a time when his government is actively pursuing policies which its own projections show will increase unemployment* is scandalous.

    More than that – what gets me is that supposedly Cameron and his ilk  want to limit abortion. Now I am opposed to abortion, but I don’t see that making it illegal will stop it. Good sex education (inlcuding contraceptive methods), teaching people self respect, and being willing to support all women who have children seems to me to be the only way to limit abortions. 

    But I can imagine no single better way to increase child poverty and promote abortion than stopping child benefit (still a near universal benefit in the UK even after Tory attacks) for any more than three children. 
    As someone wrote in the Guardian today: “More durable than radiation, the stink of Tory lingers over Britain like the fallout from some ghastly biological experiment from a recess of history.”

  • Newham Sue

    Having slept on this one, I’ve come back to this article feeling a wider point needs to be made.

    At the moment, it would seem as though our government are doing a lot of prodding. Last week Grant Shapps was all abuzz trying to find out what we thought about his new, improved right-to-buy schemes, the idea of criminalising folk who sublet their council flats and whether council tenants on £60k salaries should pay higher rents. This week it’s Cam  and his welfare multi-point plan.

    Now, it may or may not be the case that benefit cuts for under 25s will be wheeled out, but I can’t help feeling that at the moment we’re being relentlessly tested to see what we do and don’t find acceptable. A number of us probably did feel that offering the unemployed the chance to volunteer while on the dole was a good thing – an opportunity help hard-up charities and community projects that might otherwise not have happened, while giving the unemployed the chance to pick up skills and get a stake in their communities. This idealism was rewarded with Workfare – which as we all now know is just a chance for supermarkets and backstreet security companies to get their hands on free labour to perform unskilled jobs (probably at the expense of existing jobs). 

    Who knows what evil changes to social policy will follow the last couple of weeks of announcements but one thing is clear, it’s up to us as Labour supporters, both in our communities and any groups we are members of to keep saying no, protesting at every opportunity, exposing the lies and prejudice on which such schemes are based and most importantly coming up with alternatives that will galvanise public support and protect the weakest members of society.

    • Bill Lockhart

       ” the idea of criminalising folk who sublet their council flats and
      whether council tenants on £60k salaries should pay higher rents.”

      Both excellent ideas. A tenant of  public social housing who, by definition, does not need that housing because they are able fraudulently to sublet it should indeed be subject to criminal penalties

      • Newham Sue

        Slightly hypocritical, though, don’t you think to criminalise folk for temporarily taking their flats out of circulation, when it’s apparently okay to permanently remove them from circulation by selling them off. Who are the bigger criminals here?

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZPXYLRVP4XOIGGDJWAL6HUO7U4 David

          Hi Sue,

          Can you explain in a little more detail the circumstances where you see it is acceptable to sublet a flat, given to you by the council specifically to alleviate your suffering, to someone else on some other set of terms and criteria as you see fit?

          I will be honest and admit I am struggling to see your side of the argument on this one.

      • HuH

        Laughable distracting nonsense. Did you hear anything about BUILDING more social housing? Of course not! Simply threatening to punish various minorities is an activity with diminishing returns. The tactic is failing now.

  • David Dee

    Oooh dear, leave Cameron alone. He is under pressure. There is a rumour alleging that he forgot his wife yesterday and went to bed with another entrepreneur but as it was  a male it took him longer to notice !!

    Don’t you smell the panic and fear ???

    • Dozy Beaky Mick And Titch

      Zabadak!

  • Huh

    If you strip away David Cameron’s veneer of Etonian and Oxbridge privilege, acerbic air of haughtiness and disdain, and metropolitan urbanity what have you got?

    Alf Garnett!

    Cameron for all the advantages that were purchased for him by his family is an unsubtle, crude and unintelligent individual – a person that has to be drip-fed ideas by other because he has no capacity for original thought himself. Like Garnett our current Prime Minister is fundamentally an ignorant and nasty piece of work as his recent speech on welfare concretely demonstrated.    

    • Daniel Speight

       In defense of Alf, he had far more character than Cameron.

  • Kraken

    Even the Sun opposes Cameron as far as his proposed welfare cuts are concerned:

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/sun_says/4392279/The-Sun-says-Cut-back-back-kids.html

    Even for Murdoch’s Sun there are limits.

    Personally I think it is fantastic that Cameron has said these things in public because even if he becomes shy and never repeats this atrocious garbage in public again the electorate has now seen his true face and been given a glimpse of some of the brutalities that await if this brutal, dishonest, incompetent and desperately out of touch creep is given a second term.

    If the public had seen Cameron’s real face like this before the last general election he would never have become Prime Minister. His re-toxification of the Tory Party like this is a gift!

    • James

      This is true. Cameron didn’t become Prime Minister because people though he was a “compassionate Conservative” not because he promised to throw hundreds of thousands of under 25s out on the street. The things he talked about in his speech must be repeated, constantly, so that when the next election comes around the people of this country can see that Cameron is a near psychopath. I bet he’ll go all coy and quiet now and claim that all he wanted to do was to spark a “debate” (like Carolyn Flint in respect to her “not actively seeking work, no council house” debacle) about welfare but the things he talked about were specific outlines as per what a Tory government would do if given its head.

      The programme of atrocity that Cameron outlined must NEVER be forgotten.

      He must not be allowed to sanitise or disassociate himself from this stink. 

      • treborc

         He must not be allowed to sanitise or disassociate himself from this stink.

        That’s why they have PR people and Spin doctors, by the time of the next election the left will be saying ah yes Tony Blair in drag.

  • Daniel Speight

    Time for reruns. About time Yosser Hughes was back. Did we all forget that quickly?

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