David Cameron today continues the strategy of dividing the country between the deserving and the undeserving. It is a disgraceful strategy. He knows it is and so too, in particular do the Liberal Democrats. Most people on benefits are hard working people. If we really want to move away from 'welfare dependency' then we should ensure that people are paid, not simply a minimum wage, but a living wage; a wage that means hard working people won't need to depend on welfare to make ends meet.
The cynical use of the Mick Phillpott case is symptomatic of the lack of ethical judgement by Mr Osborne and others in the Tory party and in the media. Are they really suggesting that Phillpott represents the mind set of those on benefits? Of course they don't, but they want the association nonetheless. It resonates in the news media. It paints a backcloth in which the public make judgements. It confirms the prejudices and misconceptions we have of the benefits system; that it is full of people 'cheating the system'.
Of course the benefits system has people cheating it; just as there are people who cheat in paying taxes. But if we were really trying to weed out the cheats then surely we would approach it in a different way than that adopted by the government. There is little or nothing in the reforms of the benefits system that is specifically directed at cheats. On the contrary, their policies are an indiscriminate attack on all people on benefits. Do they really believe that those cheating the system won't go on finding ways to do so? Cheats are liars, just as those who cheat the tax system are liars.
But it is all part of the Tory strategy of making the poorest pay the most for the financial mess; a mess the poor did not create. On the contrary it is a mess created by greedy bankers, those who took from the system and gave nothing back. They are the real cheats.
Meanwhile, the governments financial strategy is in ruins. As the right wing think tank the Centre for Policy Studies says, Plan A has failed; but the government is bereft of a plan B. They say there is no alternative; no alternative to a strategy that is failing. Yet there are several alternatives that have been put forward. The government is so incompetent, lost in a maze of its own making, still shouting the mantra of cutting the deficit when the deficit is rising and is set to continue to rise; some £600bn will be added to the net debt by the end of this parliament. They have no policy for growth. They are a failed government who have abandoned the economy. They have abandoned the poor; they are floundering around with attacks on the poorest. They give no hope. They are left with their divisive comments.