Coffee House

Why don’t Labour talk about welfare reform?

5 April 2013

Philip Collins is shackled by the epithet ‘Tony Blair’s former speechwriter'; shackled because his columns prove him to be his own man. His latest (£) is a carefully argued critique of the Labour Party’s total lack of a welfare policy, titled ‘Labour Can’t Win If It’s On Mick Philpott’s side’ . The most arresting section is:

‘There is no better illustration of the self-harm of Labour’s position than that it is driving me into the arms of the Tory backbencher Bernard Jenkin. I usually regard Mr Jenkin as the prime specimen of perspective-free hyperbole on Europe and tax cuts. But Mr Jenkin was one of a number of Tories who suggested that child benefit be limited to the first two children; this would save £3.3 billion if it were applied to all recipients.

There are more than 85,000 households that claim for five children (!90 familes claim for ten) and almost a quarter of a million that claim for four. Many working people take the responsible view that, though they would love another child, they cannot afford it. What’s wrong with embodying the same standard in the benefits system?’

Labour’s silence on these matters really is deafening. It does not take genius (nor does it make you callous) to see that the Philpott case, though extreme, raises some questions about how we order society. It raises questions about our acute housing shortage, the policing of our benefits system, the efficiency of our social care services, the competence of the criminal justice system, and our ability to protect vulnerable and impressionable women from monsters like Mick Philpott. And, of course, it raises questions about how such a monster was created and supported. One must not deny Philpott’s personal responsibility for this and other crimes; but I do not believe that such tragic stupidity and malevolence emerged entirely ex nihilo. Most crime has a context that needs to be understood as far as possible, in order to see how particular systems and circumstances might be improved.


Philip Collins recognises that child benefit is one relevant issue here (there are many others). Irrespective of the rarity of large families likes the Philpotts and the Frosts, you can’t avoid discussing the policy, and not necessarily because the benefit should be limited: my colleague Freddy Gray has stated some philosophical reservations to such a limit, and the Economist’s Daniel Knowles lists further practical objections. Beyond the controversy of capping, there is the more immediate matter of how and to whom the benefit is allocated. For instance, £13.40 a week for an additional child is a latte and a cake or two for some affluent parents; for many others it makes the difference; and for many more it makes only part of the difference. A few extra quid a week might make life more comfortable for those in the middle to the bottom, while the most affluent should perhaps forgo their state-funded cafe jaunts. Returning to the Philpott case, would a little more money have stopped Philpott? Almost certainly not; but it might stop somebody else, and at the very least it would make life easier for the most vulnerable and destitute, which could yield social dividends and increase personal happiness. Having increased the value of the benefit for those who need it most, then one might be able to consider the gradation of a cap to curb abuse and excess.

Labour should be at the heart of these and other discussions about welfare. The welfare state is, at least in popular terms, its monument. It is extraordinary that ground is being so readily ceded to the likes of Bernard Jenkin and David Davis, while the government steals a march with a programme that, though well intentioned and required, is far from consistent in all respects (the protection of ‘middle class’ pensioners’ benefits is a case in point).

Part of the reason for Labour’s reticence is, I suspect, that we’re moving towards a position where the universal welfare state is going to be questioned (which is a euphemism for slowly demolished) as a matter of necessity. Some Labour politicians privately concede this, or at least they did. I spoke to several Labour backbenchers in the months after the last election, and they talked of the need to reward those on low to middle incomes who contribute to the welfare system and recalibrate the range of services and support to benefit the more vulnerable (David Lammy wrote an excellent book about these and related matters). This was promising; but the party blinked under Miliband and Balls, safe in the knowledge that the cry of ‘evil Tory cuts’ would sweep it back into power as if it was 1945. In reality, 2015 beckons.

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  • Chatterclass

    They weren’t talking because they are thinking first. Unlike Cameron/ Osborne who make announcements first and then have to backtrack and U-turn.

  • kathleen sweeney

    By abstaining on the bedroom tax,Labour who I have voted all my life have badly let so many people down.I now will take my vote elsewhere.I always had Labour down as the friend of the underclass but I now no its no longer like this.So disappointed

    • JanCosgrove1945

      I agree …. bad form, tell them so, but who else will you vote for that will have anyu chance of making a difference? Fight within. You know, had Labour opposed the bedroom tax as applied to private tenants (as I am for example) then Cameron would not have had this opening. Labour should now say that it not only opposes the BT for council/social tenants but for all tenants. Also it should do as was promised by Gerald Kaufman and get rid of short-hold tenancies where the courts have no leeway when it comes to granting possession. Iniquitous, keeps rents high, encourages landlords not to carry our repairs.

  • andagain

    Labour should be at the heart of these and other discussions about
    welfare. The welfare state is, at least in popular terms, its monument.

    That is probably why they find awkward questions about it to be painful.

  • Daniel Maris

    It’s very silly to criticise universal welfare. Universal welfare is what works well. It is the targeted benefits system that is a mess and causes grief all round.

    The solution to the workshy benefits scrounger is not to dismantle the benefits system but to provide paid work and put in a place a legal duty for adults to support themselves and their families.

    Labour is certainly failing the country in refusing to address the issues. Frank Field is about the only MP on their side who has had the courage to do so. He represents Birkenhead and seems to be popular, even though that is a hugely welfare-dependent area.

    • Andy

      Oh I see, yet another. We can’t discuss nor ‘criticise universal welfare’ because you think that is silly. That is just plain arrogant and absurd, but it also shows you’re a damn fool. We should not only criticise universal welfare we should seek to reform it – radically reform it.

      Philpott’s is a very unusual case, but the general attitude he exemplified is rather more common than you and the Labour Party are prepared to admit. Iain Duncan Smith, who along with Frank Field, is one of the very few politicians who have studied and look at this issue in any depth, deserves support for the changes he is gradually bringing about. Instead the stupid and ignorant Labour Party has opposed any and every change which could transform the lives of the poor.

  • David B

    I have just tried to comment on LabourList on a “bedroom tax” post. It would appear that I am now perminently banded from any post on their sites. I e mailed them to request to know what caused the ban but no reply.

    This appears to be the Labour way now, try and stifle all debate so only their view is heard. It really does make statutory regulation of the press very worrying

    • Andy

      Why are you surprised ? That is what Fascists do.

      • Ytongs

        …..and evironmentalists.

    • Tony Quintus

      Yep, every comment is now “awaiting moderation” and then vanishes without trace, even perfectly valid ones about “Miffed Meachy” “The Rabbit with many Warrens” going to chequers protesting about empty bedrooms when the man has a sizeable property portfolio himself.

  • Barakzai

    Balls on ‘Today’ this morning demonstrated yet again why it is valuable to the Tories that he retains his job as shadow chancellor: beyond the Prescottian hectoring and barroom bluster, there’s no real substance. He admitted that all he wanted was a platform to abuse the government in his usual ‘yaboo sucks’ Commons interjectionist style. When pressed, his own ‘policy’ – drumroll, please – is that Labour will ‘impose’ jobs on the the workshy ‘preferably in the private sector.’ Haha. More of the Humpty-Dumpty Labour approach: ”jobs” will be whatever Balls says they are. And no prizes for guessing how this Potemkin scheme ultimately will be funded, and how quickly it would be dropped (having been declared ‘a resounding success’) after an Labour election victory.

  • JanCosgrove1945

    Labour has. The problem, it seems to me, for many on the right-to-raving-right (a la Jebediah)is that when they did. they wanted to make it BETTER not worse for peeps. Their ideas of doing so may have been cockeyed to some. I ask, what of the sponging UBERCLASS? How much do they leech from those who are poor?

    • Colonel Mustard

      The sponging “uberclass” is best represented by the army of privileged socialists who have pushed themselves into top jobs in NGOs and fake charities – as well as the Labour party and a whole zeitgeist of non-jobs in the public sector mostly concerned with political correctness and coercive ideology. The country is awash with champagne socialists who talk a good fight and have vociferously pursued policies “to make it better” (usually by howling down any attempted alternatives) but which have had disastrous consequences for the whole country. In light of this your characterising the “uberclass” as somehow exclusively tories or representative of tories is a little bit pathetic.

      • JanCosgrove1945

        Which ‘fake charities’ do you have in mind? Name and shame them if you dare, and, use your own name. Have a look at Fair Play for Children, name it, and they’ll sue you. Champagne – yes great stuff, the masses deserve it, share it around. Now Fair Play pushes child protection, CRB, checks – the bane of even some former trots of the ‘spiked’ variety. The sort of uberclass socialists (your def) whom Mr Cameron needed to deal with when he scaled back vetting and barring to ‘common sense’ levels – so the [common sense] law now says that someone who is deemed to be supervised (as defined by guidance not sent out to any LEA, school, charity etc) – their employer (inc if a volunteer) will not be told if the person is barred from working with children.

        Oh, the blow against political correctness that represents. All because Mr C wants people to volunteer in his Big Society and not be put off by nosey politically-correct people asking if they have a conviction and are barred from working with kids. Of course.

        This socialist worked (for free) in the community (on and off benefit) long before he was elected and continues after he was excused by the electorate from more such hard labour. ‘Make it better’ you say ?= set up a charity for kids, work free for 28 years, face to face, fundraising (£1.3 million raised and spent), management etc, floorsweeper …. the little society this crew has blown away all over the country. Seeing kids and families up against it, unlucky to be poor in the midst of affluence and 30-year local Tory Council indifference ( and still wedded to the un/deserving poor mantra by which they demonise so many).

        Your “solutions”? Solutions would make life better, not worse. You choose punishments for those who you select to demonise. It’s a caring word for the professional man who’s lost his job and is finding it so hard to cope … so far anyway. Hey, the large family on benefit – surely if we bring them up well and they succeed, then those kids will mean less need for imported labour. Hadn’t thought of that? [Please note UKIP=bnp@m&s] In fact, it might be a very sound investment – concentrate on those families, Osborne, we’ll need their offspring! Come on Nigel Farrago, play the Patriotic Motherhood Card – now who used to spout that?

        Labour has proposed welfare reform – it simply does not recognise this flim-flam of prejudice against the poor as reform. You really have a cheek when a group of millionaires are receiving tax cuts worth between £1000-£2500 a WEEK whilst the general bod will find himself £1000 or more a year worse off. Be grateful to the LibDems whose lust to have power at any cost allows this coup-by-coalition to inflict the pain you’re happy to see.

        • JanCosgrove1945

          Come on Colonel, which fake charities? Put up or ….

  • 2trueblue

    Liebore have no policies to offer on restructuring the country after 13yrs of their remodeling it. They set out to destroy the fabric of GB and succeeded in a lot of areas. They ‘bought’ their votes in certain areas and whether those who now see that they are paying for others to have a ‘lifestyle choice’ from their efforts and switch is questionable. The next 2yrs will bring different opinions to the fore and the media will play their games, so who knows what will happen in 2015?

  • Andy

    I think some of the comment on this from Labour and fellow passengers has been hysterical and silly. Why is it that these people cannot see the wont of morality in allowing a man like Philpott’s to father 17 children and never do a days work to support them. They ought to understand a lot less and condemn a lot more.

    • JanCosgrove1945

      Did you see the TV prog about large families, where one guy had nine kids, all beautifully raised and aspirational. There are people who raise one child who make a mess of it. And the parents both work. Philpott is not typical of large families where the male parent is on benefit. This flow of self-serving garbage masquerading as informed comment is a real proof of how divorced most of you are from real life, from real decencies, from any understanding of peoples lives. It also reveals a grubbiness of nature, a lack of humanity, and a nasty readiness to use one situation to characterise thousands of decent folk. Shame on you. It is the mark of the bully to pick on the weakest and many of you are no more or less than squalid little bullies. Britain has no need of your kind. But no one else would want you. (Oh Andy, how do you propose to stop “a man like Philpott’s to father 17 children” …. do tell).

      • Andy

        It is you that is divorced from real-life and reality. You try peddling this load of bullshit in the factory canteen, to the people who work, pay their taxes and subsidise the Philpott’s of this world. Your self serving twaddle might be the view in the Salon’s of Islington but it is not in the wider world. Whether you like it or not Philpott’s is a glaring example of all that is wrong with the Welfare State, and let us also face a few facts here. Philpott’s made a name for himself out of it appearing on the Jeremy Kyle Show and on a programme where Widders was tasked with finding him a job. As I recall she did just that, but it didn’t last long.

        All you and the massed ranks of the Fascists want to do is close down any form of debate on Welfare. You carry on, in true Fascist fashion, with the ‘Britain has no need of your kind. But no one else would want you’. We all know what you mean by that. The shame is on people like you. Disgusting.

      • tedthedog

        ,… how do you propose to stop “a man like Philpott to father 17 children”

        Well a few seconds with a sharp scalpel would do the trick quite nicely.

        • JanCosgrove1945

          Maybe a gas chamber or two …. why not go the whole hog. As the Italian said recently “I’m not a racist I’m a fascist”.

          By the way, I worked in the late 60s/early 70s as a Visiting Officer for the Min of SocSec’s Shoreditch Office, my patch being in Hoxton. I had a small team (most of whom were local and knew far more about the area and its families than me), my work was to chase up Liable Relatives (such grammatical liberty), look at grants, follow up the long-term unemployed. Now that area at that time had amongst the very worst poverty in the UK. 1500 cases or so on my patch. Mostly decent folk living/struggling. [It would be interesting to calculate what the benefit levels would be now had they increased by the rate of inflation in each year since…] There were scams – the woman whose ‘friend’ nipped out the door as she got me into the kitchen for a cuppa …. etc.

          I saw rank unprofessional prejudice against an Irish single mum from the Shoreditch Manager of the time, and challenged by giving the woman vouchers for seven pairs of shoes for 7 spotless, bonny, well-behaved kids, all with different dads in the face of an instruction to withdraw the award. He’d ensured she’d never had such a grant and told me why = “Irish bitch”.

          It’s likely that the North London Regional area of MOSS at that time undertook a study into the long-term claimants who avoided getting a job (and there were plenty of powers available without any of the current-day shennanigans, they simply didn’t work then any more than now). Short of taking children into care, no one had or has any sure way of enforcing this without punishing most the children – and we now know a lot more about children in care than we did, hence the realisation that abuse in care was at epidemic levels. [Closed-off communities not properly accountable.]

          The numbers on my patch – probably 7 or 8 out of 1500 (0.5%). The study looked at various alternatives, costed them, and came to the conclusion that in any population, there will be an irreducible segment which will not fall under the curve. That is, in this case, it will cost far more to chase such people in and out of work, or not even in, than simply to accept what I called the ‘drone’ element. That isn’t a give-up, it has to be sound logic. It does not mean inaction, either, because the issue is to break any cycle. Properly-resourced intervention = the way forward.

          What happened to the report? I’m told the powers-that-be were aghast and spiked it because the politicos wouldn’t have had it. Too much invested in ‘un/deserving poor’ as a weapon.

          Now is that radical enough for a proper debate? It’s a question of where to invest finite resources, and where to cut your losses. There is an industry around the poor, SERCOs, ATOSers, etc etc. As the problem remains with us, greater than before, and we’ve continued to be hooked by these Workfare-style solutions to no great effect, isn’t it time to change direction and focus on priorities? For me, as a socialist, the kids are primary, helping secure their futures is the key, and where parents can aid that by getting into a habit of work (not returning to, a wholly different population) then that’s where we should be working.

          Sanctions on the workshy? It didn’t work, it doesn’t work. For some, we have to accept that no boss is going to be interested in coping with such a challenge, however benificent and public-spirited. The law of averages says there will be this irreducible element, and because they have kids and partners we can’t walk away. Even from the likes of Philpott. The tragedy of the loss of his kids must haunt us all – that was nothing whatsoever to do with his benefit status, and everything to do with his mentality – surely a very damaged individual and the system we all live in sucked up to his perversity of nature. Mr Kyle, Widders, they all played his game, for public spectacle and kudos. Shameful. Degrading. And it reinforced his fantasy. Alas, his children are beyond our help, and THAT is where any good socialist, tory, lib dem etc should have concentrated instead of exploiting them, which is what happened.

          • Fat Bloke on Tour


            Brave words to utter in SpeccyLand.
            You know the militant wing of DM bitterness and bile.

            You have to ask the difficult questions:

            How much does JK earn for his modern day bear baiting show?
            How much did Doris Karloff get for her TV series?
            How much did the producers get?

            At the time all MP was missing was an agent.
            To think the horrible SO was at that time getting a gig on the X Factor.

            • JanCosgrove1945

              As for bravery … James Thurber comes to mind:

              Fools rush in
              Where Angels fear to tread
              And all of the Angels
              Are in Heaven
              But few of the fools
              Are Dead

              Also, I come from a long line of asylum seekers – from as far back as 1540 according to to parish records of Tintagel. Married local lasses – who knows their ancestry. Makes one AWKWARD I think.

  • ben1981

    It’s only political correctness that stands in the way of having a serious debate. If we’re not allowed to speak about those genuinely scummy people who are fluent in benefits and have no desire to better themselves, because it may offend those who lean on benefits to get through a period of unemployment, then what hope do we have in tackling this problem.

    • JanCosgrove1945

      And genuinely scummy people whose greed caused the world economy to tip over, no prosecutions for them, nor removal of their benefits (or bonuses often for failure) – and Osborne toddles off to the EU to oppose caps on same. No 1% per annum for them. Which is the scummier?

  • David B

    Labour are trying to stifle the debate because they are afraid they have lost it before it begins. That is why the response to any mention of benefits in the Philpott case and the daft day of “parking space gate”

    • Makroon

      Not to forget “speeding ticket gate”.

      • JanCosgrove1945

        56 mph in 50mph area = poor stuff. Driving round car park missing loads of empty spaces to accidentally go into one clearly reserved for disabled use right next to the store entry … accidentally …. of course.

  • Youbian

    Pensioners paid into the system their whole lives. It is not their fault it is a Ponzi scheme. Feckless families have paid nothing.

    • andagain

      Who voted for this Ponzi scheme?

  • Fat Bloke on Tour


    It is beyond irony that we have a cabinet full of millionaires who have got themselves into the land-owning lark by giving a good / bad / indifferent length to a number of low level aristocratic gals with acres are now calling the shots on the level of welfare the poor, the sick and the unemployed should get.

    Any thoughts on the welfare they will be getting through the SFP scam?

    Just goes to show how we have moved from the politics of dog boiling to the politics of the abbotoir. You know winding up the poor souls in the holding pens to shout abuse at those about to be slaughtered.

    Just when will this all stop?
    This is not just the destruction of the welfare state it is the end of civic life and trust.

    • Paddy

      And a shadow front bench full of millionaires!

      • JanCosgrove1945

        No problem with fellow travellers, champagne is great. Level up not down. SHARE fairly. Look up the word, it may be strange for some of you. It makes economic sense, you dodos. And if some on Labour’s front bench fall short of the ideals we expect them to honour, we’ll deal with that thank you. Oh, as for legislation sprees, just look at the current rate, and the rank incompetence in just about every sphere they mishandle. I should know – child protection, reduced from a 2006 all-party consensus based on Bichard to a nasty cheap and sectarian game – vetting and barring, said Clegg, was proof of Labour’s totalitarian nature – he voted for it and was their spokesman in 2005/6, the unspeakable turd. Now we have a situation where employers will not be told if the person applying is barred from working with kids if the post is to be ‘supervised’. That is the level of moronic thinking that passes for governance with this lot. If someone is barred from working with kids, that means they are barred. Can you support a government that can make so crass an error as we are engulfed with revelation after revelation about abuse? Never mind Philpott, who will be unleashed into kids lives because of this?

    • Colonel Mustard

      It was New Labour that ended civic life and trust when they embarked on their legislation spree, their wars and their displacement of the English- so no lectures on that please.

    • Makroon

      Ha-ha, even fat-bloke can’t think of anything coherant to say. Central Control must be in melt down.

  • sarahsmith232

    everyone knows ideology has zero to with Labour’s refusal to go anywhere near reforming the welfare state. they know that it’s the only thing keeping people voting for them. check what happens to them when people are free to vote as they please in Euro elections etc – Labour is annihilated. the core vote goes either to the BNP, Ukip or they don’t bother voting at all. the Scottish Labour voters go with the SNP when it’s not going to effect their benefit claims. so Labour has nowhere to run with this one. dammed if they do, dammed if they try and appeal to their ‘squeezed middle’ on welfare reform. Ha! good, their absolutely screwed!

  • John Moss

    I don’t believe is fair to remove Child Benefit from families who already receive it beyond the income restriction already imposed. However, for families with two or more children, Child Benefit for the second and subsequent children should remain at £13.40 and not be given for any further children and for families with one or no children, CB should be given for the first and second children only. These changes should begin in April 2014.

    • Andrew Taylor

      Just bring in a limit of two children, to start in nine months time. Any children born before that date will not be affected and will continue to receive Child Allowance as now. Any born after that date would be subject to the two-child cap and would not receive the allowance. The nine month limit will stop a mad rush as local areas suffer minor earthquakes in the hope of beating a twelve month imposition timetable. Then it will be a clear decision of anyone who chooses to have a third child (or more) that they understand that they will not receive any additional state support for that child.

      • alexsandr

        put in a requirement the children live in the UK. Cant produce the kids? no benefit. Kids not at school? no benefit.

      • Andy

        We could go further. Abolish Child Benefit altogether. Give 9 months and 2 weeks notice and then wind the benefit down. And I also agree that it should be a requirement that the child is resident in the UK and in school.

      • Ytongs

        I agree with the priciple but I doubt that in practise that group of society would know what you were talking about until they turned up at “the Social” to claim for their latest child.

  • Hookeslaw

    Its to the state’s (ie its citizen’s) benefit that it provides child benefit. Its good that there are children.

    The level of benefit is perhaps the issue. The left twist the inevitable relative poverty of large families into a political issue by saying that this poverty is someone else’s fault and should not be allowed.
    Pregnancy is not a disease and if people chose to have many children or indeed any children they cannot afford they should accept the consequences. The state out of its own sense of self worth can provide some assistance but it should be limited. And we should accept that and not be ashamed of it.

    The trap is when lefties like Labour start talking of ‘families in poverty’ and making an issue of it as if there is any other option when people add numerous extra mouths to feed.

    • Makroon

      This is the problem with your post and Blackburn’s piece – why should the innocent third, fourth and fifth children be punished for their feckless parents ?
      It is a very hard nut to crack (but Blackburn’s witterings about cake and latte are daft, means testing is the way to a bigger state, more bureaucracy and more fiddling – just tax it !)

    • ewarwoowar

      The idea that poverty is linked to some kind of moral weakness is what is so sickening about the current tone of this debate. If you have money then the chances are you where born in a decent environment, have some education and useful social capital. There are exceptions to this and I wish there where more.

      Please stop suggesting that the poor are poor because they deserve to be because they are bad people. Imagine that you are the fourth child of parents on benefits. Other peoples children will go to private schools and you through no fault of your own will live an even poorer existence because child benefit has been taken away.

      • Vindice

        They don’t deserve it, you’re right. Your mistake is to blame the country and not the parents.

        If you remove responsibility and consequence from human behaviour, you get terrible behaviour.

        The path that you believe leads to utopia is instead a route to societal collapse and totalitarian government.

        • ewarwoowar

          I’m not blaming anyone. That’s the mistake you are making. The inconvenient truth of your argument is that because one person is in your view irresponsible then you are going to punish a completely different person. Your solution is to inflict poverty on an innocent child in order that others see that childs misery and make different choices. I think that view point is an example of behaving irresponsibly precisely because there are no consequences for the people who hold this view or their children.

          • Vindice

            People’s outcomes are largely dependent on the character and circumstance of those closest to them. That is not going to change, however powerful you make the state and however much of other people’s money you reallocate.

            • ewarwoowar

              I do not believe in a socialist utopia! You are having an argument with a straw man. I am suggesting that one of the richest countries in the world should look after its children, who through no fault of their own have been born poor. You are suggesting that they should be left to fend for themselves in order to punish their parents irresponsibility. That system already exists. It’s called the third world.

              So you are suggesting that savers with less than £85000 in savings are actually to blame for the financial crisis? And that if we lived in constant fear of banks going bust like in Russia in the 90’s our economic system would be stronger. I presume you must think that the state shouldn’t have bailed out the banks.

  • Jebediah

    There is a sponging underclass. We all know this. Labour knows this. The people that hate these spongers most are the low waged, and genuine unemployed seeking work who see skivers get more for doing nothing.
    This was not the purpose of the welfare state. But all these people vote (when they vote) for Labour (you don’t vote against your drug dealer). Hence Labour’s confusion; doing the right thing is at war with the practicalities of a bought and paid for client state.

    • darwins beard

      Very very true

    • Russell

      Bought and paid for by those very same low waged workers via their tax, Never forget Brown/Labour doubling the tax for the low pay with the scrapping of the 10% rate!

  • darwins beard

    The whole welfare reform issue is starting to take on the typical left polarisation similar to immigration i.e “lets debate immigration”=racist, “lets talk about welfare”=Dickens style villain and Ed Balls showed this up yesterday perfectly when asked about Osborne’s perfectly reasonable comments

    • Steve R

      Yes, but Labour know that this is an electoral black hole for them, given that Welfare is one of the (too) many sacred cows, and that they are hamstrung, policy-wise, by the intransigence of the Welfare and Union lobbies – the latter of whom have already fired a shot across the party leadership bows regarding the workfare regulations vote of a couple of weeks ago, and as party paymasters are increasingly keen to call the shots on policy.
      All of which explains the intense, almost hysterical, and probably counter-productive (in terms of electorate perception) attempt late yesterday to try and take control of the narrative on the “Osborne is asked a question about Philpott” news item, and re-present it as the usual “evil tories” line-to-take. I wonder if these events this week will mark the point at which Labour threw away the 2015 GE????

      • Russell

        Hopefully they pass the point where they will ever be elected again.

        • JanCosgrove1945

          You said that before ….. remember? Equating a killer with welfare a la Osborne is a low as you can stoop. It’s gutter stuff. You’ll pay the price. Not everyone reads the Mail.

          • Russell

            Not everyone reads the Mirror or listens to the National Socialists (labour) party broadcasts daily portrayed as news.

            Osborne made it quite clear (to people of even average intelligence) that Philpott and the death of his children was a court matter.

            The matter of the taxpayer supporting people like Philpott financially to the tune of £60,000 (tax free) per year, or even £46,000 after the womens earnings have been taken into account is a matter for parliament to discuss, quite rightly.

            labour is in the wrong here, Balls is in the wrong here, and you are in the wrong here. It is labour who are using Philpott to make political gain through their smear department which is in disarray with almost daily smears against the tories. We have seen labour smear department some years ago when Brown utilised its full dirty tricks campaigns.

            • John Reid

              Godwins law in your tenth wod, you lose

              • Russell

                I have never had a wod in my life, I suggest you seek either medical or educational advice.

          • Colonel Mustard

            And not everyone votes Labour or believes their guff – or the guff of foaming Labour zealots sweating emotional blackmail from every pore and turning every debate into a life or death morality play like you.

      • darwins beard

        I hope Labour are seen for what they are, a nuisance who are quick to pick holes in any plan made by the government but offer no solution themselves usually because the unions have not told them what they want done yet.

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