Railing about the state of welfare
To paraphrase Spartacus: I'm Iain Duncan-Smith!…(Blimey)
For several months in the early 80s, yes, I was on benefits. We all were back then. Having had two glorious years in a decent job, working 14 hour days in the hope of getting on, it all came crashing down.
A period bouncing around on the benefit safety net was followed by 18 months driving a van while looking for more suitable opportunities. That's how the system is meant to work, and, like IDS, I remain thankful for it. But how dare he say he could live on £53 if he had to?
The infantile, leftard petition that IDS should actually be forced to live on £53 a week has gained over 200,000 signatures. Amazing.
The petition that called for the head of Sir David Nicholson who presided over the deaths of at least 1200 patients at MidStaffs was struggling to reach 6,000 last time I looked.
I mean, really. What planet is the left on these days? (Nick Cohen's excellent book, What's Left does actually address this…) Judging by today's Daily Mail front page, Planet Outrage, it would seem.
The Daily Mail's front page is undoubtedly strong stuff, but then, coming the day after the ridiculous IDS petition, and the revelation that the individual who sparked it actually lives on three times the amount in question, it seems the gloves are off at the Mail.
The front page concerned lays the tragic death of the Philpott children, the idiotic plot that would lead to that eventuality, and the creation of the grotesque Mick Philpott himself at the door of the state of welfare, as much as the Welfare State. Suffice to say, meltdown.
Prior to his particular meltdown over this, Owen Jones, the one-man hard-left mouthpiece, had been busy as a bee debating all comers with his rather tired line about rip-off landlords and Costa Coffee jobs in Leicester, or somewhere…all three of them, at just above minimum wage, in response to Coalition welfare reform policy.
Indeed, the ex-con, ex-communist clown Ricky Tomlinson droned through the exact same mantra in The Guardian CiF section. It is a ten-point piece. Feel free to Fisk it at your leisure.
So Tuesday was always going to be one of those days, but the announcement of the Philpott convictions coming minutes after Boy George's gonna, wanna, whatevah speech on tightening up the benefits system at a Morrison’s Distribution Centre in Kent was to make it particularly lively.
Osborne was on the front foot accusing his opponents of peddling “headline-seeking nonsense” and talking "ill-informed rubbish" whilst twiberals across the nation were excitedly adding their names to the IDS penury petition. The bomb then hit when the Philpott verdicts came in, and by the time the Daily Mail had its front page on stone, liberal sensitivities, including many of those on the right, had been shaken to the core.
Apparently even Paolo Di Canio thought it a bit much.
The Sun and Hillsborough were mentioned. Owen Jones of course led the charge. Jon Ronson followed. A friend of his had said they would never write for the Mail again. No great sacrifice I'm guessing. I gave up looking after that.
But this front page is classic Dacre. Behind the use of the tragic Philpott story, and its link to welfare-abuse-gone-mad, there sits the Daily Mail editor, railing against Common Purpose, the Media Standards Trust, Hacked off, and Leveson.
And as ever he has his finger on the pulse. As Brendan O'Neill observes in The Daily Telegraph, despite urban liberal hand-wringing over government welfare policy, most of those on benefits not only do not wish to be there, but would arguably agree with the thrust of the Mail front page.
Like IDS, but evidently not the political class-infested Labour front bench, it would seem a lot of us have been there.
And yes, twiberals, it is possible to feed a family of four on £100 a month.
Jonathan Bracey-Gibbon is a freelance journalist who over the past 15 years has written for The Times, the Financial Times, The Sunday Times and Sunday Express. Follow him on Twitter@Jon_BG
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