Labour’s lust for Benefits Street Britain

For many years Labour prepared the foundations and constructed the architecture of Benefits Street Britain. So cruel was their welfare trap that our country will take decades to recover from it

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Labour's vision for Britain
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Steven George-Hilley
On 23 June 2014 08:12

I am really starting to feel worried for the weird Mr Miliband. His obsessive compulsive policy disorder, the symptoms of which include random public announcements of new disjointed Labour pledges, is reaching unnatural levels. It cannot be healthy to continually declare new policies on a weekly basis, as and when they pop into your head, especially when you lack an election narrative.

I could accuse senior strategist David Axelrod of neglect, but he is in America, so it is time for someone closer to Ed to step in and provide him with the counselling he needs to stop this bizarre behaviour.

Last week, Ed’s policy of the day was a promise to get tough on welfare by ending out-of-work benefits for 100,000 18-to-21-year-olds and replacing them with means-tested payments.

The problem with this policy, as with all current Labour announcements is that it is at total odds with the party’s present election narrative and everything we have heard before. The result of the chaotic Labour campaign malaise is not only mixed messages, but contradictory pledges that confuse voters and pave the way for electoral doom come May 2015.

We are expected suddenly to believe that Ed is on the side of the workers, not the skivers. But this is the same Ed Miliband who is proudly campaigning to repeal the spare room subsidy policy, effectively arguing that those on benefits deserve a free extra bedroom in which to relax and enjoy the luxury of life.

This “benefits with benefits” policy is something totally out of reach for the majority of hardworking people on a shoestring budget and stuck in rented accommodation. It isn’t right and it isn’t fair.

We should also remember that this is the same Ed Miliband who served in the last Labour government which created Britain’s obscene benefits culture. In fact, so fashionable was it under Labour to choose a lifestyle on benefits that we were treated to individuals like Mick Philpott eventually achieving star status for a life of laziness.

Let’s be clear, Ed and his friends were quite happy to drive up the welfare bill and trap thousands of families in a cycle of poverty, so long as they always voted Labour.

For many years they prepared the foundations and constructed the architecture of Benefits Street Britain. So cruel was the Labour welfare trap that our country will take decades to recover from it. As such, it was no surprise when TV’s White Dee proclaimed herself a lifelong Labour supporter, another casualty of an environment constructed by Labour dependency policies.

So what on Earth has made Ed Miliband change his mind about benefits? We all knew he was a big fan of encouraging and defending a luxurious life on the dole.  It was of course the new poll that claimed 78 per cent of voters think the welfare system is unfair, a startling figure for a party now so out of touch with its once supportive working class base.

Of course, it should not have to take an opinion poll to tell you that there is something fundamentally unfair about the current benefits system. The fact that Ed Miliband considered everything in Britain’s bloated welfare scheme to be fine and dandy -- until now -- demonstrates how much the Labour party has aligned itself, its values and its policies with the scroungers instead of the strivers.

For the last few years, Labour’s electoral pitch has been to the freeloaders, the people that sit on the sofa all day, every day, using dole money to pay for cheap alcohol and eating chips. The party has totally ignored the low-paid hardworking majority, who endure a daily grind to pay for Labour’s economic mismanagement and crippling debts which have done so much damage to the country.

The hardworking people of Britain cannot and will not allow a man who is so out of touch with the hardworking majority to seize the keys to Number 10. For the foreseeable future Labour will remain the party of Benefits Street Britain. The party spent many years and a great deal of time proudly building and fostering its obscene welfare-dependency culture, and it is now within this culture where its core voters sit.

Britain cannot afford a party that rewards skipping work instead of staying in work. A party that has spent the last few years defending those that don’t, instead of supporting those that do.

Trapping people in welfare dependency so long as they vote Labour is an incredibly cruel crime, and one of which Ed Miliband is unquestionably guilty.

Steven George-Hilley is a director at the Parliament Street think tank and a Conservative Party activist

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