The Apotheosis of New Labourism
The government's latest 'welfare reform' is horrible on an almost mundane level - mundane in the sense that, like most, I wasn't really that surprised by the extent of its abuses of the welfare principle.
The character who does interest me, however, is the man responsible for this policy roll-out, James Purnell.
Purnell is New Labour incarnate. A public schoolboy and Oxford graduate with an emanantly punchable face. He served his time under Blair and now he's ready for the big push. Isn't it interesting how the plans are being rolled out while Brown is taking his "Fuck Me, He's Useless" Roadshow to the Middle East? Seems to me like Purnell is making a little move on Flash Gordon. And what better way to do that than having a go at the poor and disabled? There's always a few votes in that, you know.
As someone who's spent his life in Glasgow, I know a little about Incapacity Benefit (IB). Most people who are on it are quite ill. Some people who are on it are not that ill, but have medical problems. But that's not really the issue is it? The reason these people don't have jobs is that the industries that employed their fathers have gone, replaced by work in fast-food restaurants and call centres.
The government isn't interested in getting these people "back to work" - the cost of re-training all these people would be astronomical. It's interested in the apperance that it's being "tough" on the disabled and the poor. Going by the comments over at the BBC's "Have Your Say" shout-a-thon, it's popular with the people who read the BBC News website, and why shouldn't it be?
Remember, there's always votes in blaming the poor - it's an Iron Law.