Leading article

Why can't Ed Miliband accept that Labour voters want welfare reform?

18 May 2013

David Cameron, it has been argued this week, has become detached from the views of Conservative voters on Europe. Amid the noise on the EU referendum, however, comes more evidence that it is Ed Miliband who has the greater problem of detachment from the views of his party’s supporters. While the Labour leader continues to battle on against welfare reform, a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reveals just how far his voters have moved away from the idea of a redistributive welfare system as a force for good.

Miliband’s problem is that he seems to believe he will be facing Mrs Thatcher at the next election. His strategy is built around fighting a Conservative party that is perceived to be harsh on the poor. This was the critique for the late 1980s, when almost half of Labour voters agreed with the notion that people live in need because of social injustice and three quarters wanted benefits to be increased. The reforms Mrs Thatcher made were radical, the disruption huge.

Back then, Miliband’s automatic response to stand up for benefit claimants would have made perfect sense. He would have been tapping into a significant well of feeling that the poor were poor because hard-headed economic reforms had pulled the ground from beneath their feet, and that it was callous to expect the jobless to get on their bikes and look for work outside the industries in which they had been brought up. Such feelings extended well beyond the Labour-voting classes. In 1987 — the year of Thatcher’s third general election victory — two fifths of Conservative voters thought that the government should increase welfare benefits.

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The public, however, has become a good deal more hard-headed on the issue of welfare benefits over the past quarter-century, and this is especially true of Labour voters. Now, a quarter of Labour’s support agree that poverty is the result of social injustice, and only a third want welfare benefits to be increased. Remarkably, almost half agree with the notion that if welfare benefits were cut, it would help people to stand on their own two feet. Perhaps most striking of all is Labour voters’ perceptions of the reasons behind child poverty. A third are minded to blame ‘society’ — and a whacking 63 per cent are more inclined to blame the children’s parents.

These views are changing not because of Tory propaganda but because of what people on council estates see with their own eyes. The welfare state is now fostering the very worklessness it was designed to eradicate. Workers on low pay are well aware that their neighbours on welfare do not face similar constraints. In some parts of Britain’s inner-city estates, parents have watched in horror as their children leave school and sign on to welfare as a lifestyle choice. The fault lies not with the teenagers, but the system. This is more than just a waste of money; it is an unforgiveable waste of human potential.

These are not views you will hear much coming from Labour’s middle class, the metropolitan elite. Among the circles in which Ed himself moves, there still exists a patrician socialism, where the poor are seen from a distance and the state takes on, formalises and enhances the role of traditional charitable structures.

Ed Miliband’s fight against welfare reform does make some political sense. It is a policy likely to win over well-heeled Liberal Democrats offended by their party’s dalliance with the Conservative devil. On virtually every measure of their attitude towards the welfare system, Liberal Democrats are now significantly to the left of Labour voters. Miliband’s problem, though, is that he must hold on to his core voters who, as was seen a fortnight ago, are quite capable of leapfrogging to Nigel Farage’s Ukip. An overgenerous benefits system which encourages worklessness is becoming entwined with mass immigration as a cause of dissent among the working class.

In some ways we are going back to the late 1970s, when a large body of those who had been assumed to be natural Labour voters were poised to switch to the right. Now as then, if the Conservatives could find a way of winning over these potential defectors, they might look forward to two or three election victories. The problem is that, apart from Iain Duncan Smith, so few Tories speak eloquently about welfare reform. The Work and Pensions Secretary has given his party a new tune, but they seem happy to let him do all the whistling. When the Chancellor joins the debate, he does so with a relish that leaves the party open to Mr Miliband’s attacks.

As so often, the Tory party’s problem is that it does not know what it is doing right. The emergence of a welfare class has been one of the most damaging legacies of the last Labour government. The public recognises that, and wants to support Iain Duncan Smith’s reforms on social security. David Cameron has shied away from his own party’s welfare agenda — perhaps for fear of being branded an upper-class enemy of the poor. But if the Prime Minister wishes to retain power after 2015, he must find a convincing way of talking about welfare. Nigel Farage — himself from a privileged background — has succeeded in doing just that.

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  • http://twitter.com/anxiouswarrior1 anxiouswarrior

    no the truth is in the last 3 years their has been a sustained assault by the tories and their billionaire cheerleaders in the right wing press,one of misinformation, lies,vilification against the poor and the sick demonising them as the ones respnsible for moral and financial decline, where in reality it is the square mile, the banks, the rip off utilty companies and the establishment which are and always have been the biggest scroungers and criminals in this country

    • Tom M

      Mmmm. So do you think there is anything wrong with the benefits systems at all then? Or are you one of those that cling to the idea that when-we-have-returned-to-growth-the-benefits-bill-will-reduce-and-all-will-be-well?

      • David Gillon

        Clearly there are many things wrong with the Benefit system, as reported by the ATOS whistleblower just this week. As one of only 60 ‘Mental Health Champions’ employed by ATOS out of around 1200 ‘Health Care Professionals’ he was one of their senior doctors, and is a former Royal Navy officer, so not exactly someone who can be easily dismissed as lacking in probity, yet he quit in disgust at being told to change medical reports contrary to the facts in order to meet the norms determined by ATOS and the DWP – because any ATOS HCP who does not meet those statistical norms (which ATOS and the DWP ministers assure us aren’t targets) will be bollocked and otherwise pressured by their managers until they do meet them, no matter what the true nature of the cases coming through their assessments are.

        The statistics show that we’re spending £90m/year dealing with appeals of ATOS decisions, and that 42% of those are successful, rising to as much as 90%+ when the disabled person has legal support (I notice that the Tribunals Service is currently having to try and recruit additional disabled people to sit as tribunal panel members countrywide). Overall ATOS get one Work Capability Assessment in six wrong. It’s easily demonstrated that a WCA is safety critical due to the documented suicides that have followed on from incorrect assessments denying disabled people the benefits they needed to survive, yet nothing is been done to fix this, in fact the WCA criteria have just been made significantly more stringent in a way which flies in the face of medical reality. I’ve actually done quality assurance work on safety critical systems. If one of our sub-contractors were getting a failure rate of 1 in 6 wrong, we wouldn’t have dismissed it as ‘only 1 in 6’ as DWP Minister Mark Hoban did earlier this week, we would have considered it an utter disaster and taken charge of the sub-contractor’s quality department until it had been put right, assuming we didn’t take the contract off them outright.

  • David Gillon

    ‘what people on council estates see with their own eyes’

    That would be the daily denigration of unemployed and disabled people in the media, and at the behest of the DWP under IDS, as welfare frauds, fakes, scroungers and skivers? Denigration that has just forced the Office of National Statistics to take him to task for outright fabrication of claims against unemployed and disabled people yet again? The truth, from DWP’s own figures, is that disability benefit fraud runs around 0.5%, the lowest of any benefit (and compare that to the 30% or so of MPs caught up in the expenses scandal), but you won’t find that in any headline, instead it’s ‘70% fit for work!’ or whichever variation IDS and his SPADs have come up with this week, while the Work Capability Assessment, operated by his willing minions at ATOS becomes ever tougher and more cynically twisted (c.f. yesterday’s whistle-blowing by a senior ATOS doctor).

    Miliband does need to change how he and the party are handling welfare, because Labour is failing to challenge the systematic demonisation of those in need of the Welfare State’s support, and that is handing control of the debate to IDS and his hatchet men. The reality of that failure for disabled people like me, whether working or not, is open attacks in the media, and spiralling disability hate crime rates as we are attacked in the street simply for daring to be disabled in public. Makes you proud to be British, doesn’t it!

    • sarahsmith232

      don’t believe for a second that attacks on the disabled have become commonplace due to the media’s reporting on welfare reform, so straight off you make your post ridiculous.
      also, this posting seems more like something a member of Miliband’s inner team would make. it’s too Westminster bubble, ‘in’ speak.
      also, the systematic demonization? would that be a bit like the way that every time anyone brought up the issue of immigration Labour would retaliate with the racist/xenophobe/bigot/retard accusation at any and every opportunity?
      the Left in this country is a joke.

      • Anita Bellows

        It is not a question of belief. This very serious study shows how the coverage of disability has become more and more negative over the years, and how the number of disability hate crimes is on the rise: http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_214917_en.pdf
        Certainly it can be called systematic demonisation of disabled people by some newspapers

        • sarahsmith232

          do you really think the Left doesn’t get upto the exact same game? skewering facts and demonising anyone that doesn’t agree with them?
          read the Guardian sometime, they never stop.

          • Anita Bellows

            Disabled people do not care whether it is the right or the left doing so. Ultimately, they are the ones paying the price of this disinformation

          • David Gillon

            Exactly how is having three grown men abusing me in the street for the crime of being disabled, and therefore in their minds ‘a faking scrounger’ ‘the Left … skewering facts’. It’s not about politics (or at least it shouldn’t be), it’s about hate, and if you refuse to accept the reality we face, in effect telling me that I and many of my friends are lying and that these attacks never happened, because that’s more convenient to your own personal political preferences, then are you part of the solution, or part of the problem?

          • mightymark

            Whataboutery of a high (i.e. low) order!

      • David Gillon

        You don’t believe me so I make my post ridiculous? Well, I can’t help it if you deny the reality faced by disabled people because of your cosy rose-tinted view of how the country looks after us poor vulnerable crips, but I’m forced to face that reality every time I consider leaving the house. What stories were on the news last night? In the papers this morning? Is the risk of going out greater than the need?

        The truth is I’m into double figures with open attacks on my for my disability (including one physical assault), and as a well-built white middle-class male, living in a reasonable area and who is able to defend himself in spite of disability, I probably experience far less than other disabled people. If the media reporting of welfare reform has nothing to do with why I am attacked, then why was I abused in the street by a gang of complete strangers yelling “This is the DWP, we know where you live, we know you’re faking’? Who taught them to use those words? Who branded disabled people as overwhelmingly fakes and scroungers? And these weren’t teenage yobs up some dark alley, they were middle-aged men on the high street in the middle of the day. Nor am I by any means the only one of my disabled friends to be abused in similar terms, with the reports of attacks coming in from one side of the country to the other. And many of these attacks have been directed at women who are unable to defend themselves due to their disability. It’s no longer unusual to hear ‘I just don’t go out anymore, its not worth the risk’.

        The Scope surveys on disability hate crime show that there is an unambiguous rise in the rate of attacks on disabled people, figures echoed by the Police, Probation and CPS, though unfortunately not matched by an increase in the rate of convictions. Academic analysis of media articles shows a clear switch to negative portrayals of disability by the media. The Select Committee on Work and Pensions have repeatedly reminded DWP ministers that the way they are presenting statistics is leading to irresponsible reporting and have this week announced they will be summoning a DWP minister to discuss active mis-use of statistics (after IDS and McVey claimed there was a rush by disabled people to claim DLA before it became unavailable to working age people with the introduction of the harsher PIP when in fact there was a fall of 6000 in the numbers of working age people claiming). That session will be preceded by a closed session of the Committee in which the UK Statistics Agency will brief them on the abuse.

        And by the way, your use of the word ‘retard’ on a disability subject is equivalent to using the N-word in a race discussion, please bear this in mind when engaging with disabled people.

  • Anita Bellows

    The argument would work if under a Tory government the total number of Incapacity claims had not rocketed from 1.5 million in 1988/1989 to close to 2.6 million in 1996/97 when Labour came to power, in order to hide the unemployment figures. It is very popular to blame Labour for this, but it does not stand to scrutiny. It was the Thatcher government who parked unemployed people on disability benefits.

    • http://twitter.com/mr_ceebs mr_ceebs

      During the late 80’s “do you think your doctor would sign you onto the sick” was something that you were regularly asked by Jobcenter staff.

    • sarahsmith232

      just made the same point, hadn’t read your post. but it’s right, they both got upto this

      • Anita Bellows

        Well the Tories got up to it a lot more, and the subsequent government was left to clear the mess. Which brought us Atos

  • http://twitter.com/EdHart6 Ed Hart

    This is the refrain that comes back to ring loudly in the author’s ear. Ask the public anything about anything and the on or off switch, not surprisingly, goes on and off. It’s meaningless. A lack of foresight, understanding, wisdom and symmetry means that very often people take up a contrarian position until it is their turn. Then they want all those things they were prepared to deny others. It’s the ‘irate middle aged woman in the post office syndrome’. She resents recipients of Child Benefit, yet wants, nay, demands, that those beneficiaries contribute so she can have a decent pension in her retirement. It’s a form of idiocy whipped up by the press and political opportunists, it’s not a suitable subject for a political campaign.

    From the 1980s to-date, we’ve carried an unemployment total that has run from a high of 4m under Margaret Thatcher to a low of 1m under Blair/Brown. We’re now up to 2.52m and the same rubbish is still being trotted out. Different governments have done little to attack the core issue: the glaring disparity between the number of jobs created and the applicant count. A coherent plan to deal with the structural weaknesses in our economy might go some way to addressing this. Look at the ONS data from 1979 to-date and stop talking nonsense. You cannot chide people for failing to get jobs that don’t exist.

    • sarahsmith232

      this is all v suspicious, why are all the posts by all you Lefties?
      but the above stat’, 1million under Labour, is rubbish. Labour got up to what the Tories had been at before – shift the people that aren’t working into a different category then claim that there’s really nothing to think about, ’cause look, we’ve got the stat’s to prove it, unemployed only blah, blah.
      it’s not that people are refusing to take jobs that aren’t there it’s that the jobs are not well paid or high status enough. give people ample opportunity to avoid having to work on a check out with over-generous benefits and they’d need to be brain dead not to take it.
      but fast forward a few years and they’re getting into bad states. the’re depressed and frustrated and then it’s the drink to relieve that. this has to stop

      • http://twitter.com/EdHart6 Ed Hart

        I’m only talking about published figures not the massaged ones. They are bad enough. You’re still missing the point, though, where are the jobs? As for the supermarkets, they are increasingly employing part-timers because it’s cheaper etc. There is a bit of a disjuncture here between wishful thinking on your part and reality. I’ve got an idea, nip up to the local supermarket and find out. Then there’s the matter of the rentier class who are extorting money out the system via rents. The show goes on. I’m no flag-waver for Labour – they are as good useless, too.

        • Tom M

          Well yes I agree we can’t complain if the jobs don’t exist but why don’t they exist? Why can’t we build ships, make steel and make cars (British cars that is) and have such like large industries?
          Not too dificult to work out, the poor management and union lunacy of the 60s and 70s did for all these mass employers of labour. The governments weighed in regularly by upping tax levels to pay for all our modern state trappings that could only be afforded in lucky years.

          The Germans seen the problem and upped their game and occupied the top end of these markets. We didn’t because we couldn’t. And we still can’t. Our jobs went elsewhere.

          When that catastrophic collapse of a building happened in Bangladesh all these do-gooders appeared demanding that the workers get the same pays rates as we do I laughed. They don’t get it. The reason you can buy a car or flat screen tele is precisely because the company that sold you those things has a lower cost base. If they paid the same rates you couldn’t afford these things.

          • http://twitter.com/EdHart6 Ed Hart

            The Germans have a different set-up. For a start, their trade unions, which we set up under the Control Commission, are small in number, large in membership and not riven with stupid demarcation disputes. What’s more they aren’t seen as pariahs but as collaborators in the industrial process (i.e. they have representation within companies). Also, the Germans aren’t just dependent on rentier models like the PLC to the same extent that we are. They are lots of corporations, partnerships, small companies, family firms, co-ops etc. We could have done what the Germans did, we chose instead to shut everything down and offshore it. Also, the reason that France and Germany got over the difficulties of transition was by generous government subsidies.

            The Bangladesh argument is circular. If you don’t increase the wages, you don’t increase demand in these places. So they move in an endless whirl of impoverishment, where everyone but the owner lives at subsistence levels. This is good news for the Veblen sector but little else. Two pence on the price of a garment is negligible here but important there. The fundamental justification for this enforced impoverishment comes down to who gets to control and maximise capital. They want that 2p.

          • Tom M

            Sounds like you agree with me about why our industries went elsewhere then. On the subject of unions, I’m quite well acquainted with German industrial practices, I’ve met several representatives of various German unions who participate in the running of their company. Totally different to anything I’ve come across in the UK. They always struck me as wishing the best for the company as opposed to the UK unions who demand more for the workers irrespective of the company’s position. The German union representatives certainly have a worker oriented outlook but they seem to be well aware that the company had to function to pay their wages. By comparison could you imagine Len McClusky in a board meeting?

            On Bangladesh, you increase the wages paid by acompany being able to sell more things people want. Simple supply and demand. You don’t increase demand by paying people more, that just causes inflation. That’s simple socialism.

          • David Gillon

            From where I was standing the ‘do-gooders’ (and you say that like doing good was something bad), popped up and demanded not that Bangladeshi textile workers got UK rates of pay, but that they went to work in safe buildings for the appropriate rate of pay in the Bangladeshi economy. Could you explain exactly what is unreasonable about asking for that?

            (BTW I used to work in a UK office building for a leading UK-based multinational, when a large lump of concrete fell from the ceiling – fortunately in an unoccupied area – it took management 3 hours to decide to a) tell us, b) evacuate and c) call in a structural engineer, so don’t imagine for a moment that combination of structural collapse and management negligence couldn’t happen here).

            There is actually a balancing process in the export of jobs to lower cost economies, we’re been seeing for the past couple of years that it is starting to become cheaper to repatriate aerospace sub-contracting into Western countries as 3rd World wages plus transport costs start to become less competitive with 1st world wages alone. Over time that process will replicate itself into lower overhead industries.

        • David Gillon

          “As for the supermarkets, they are increasingly employing part-timers because it’s cheaper etc.”

          There’s something very disturbing about zero hours contracts. But even better for the supermarkets, they don’t even need to advertise the job when they can now get someone on workfare for free. They get the job done, JCP get to take someone off the unemployment figures (I saw a suggestion this week that workfare may bring the unemployment figures down by as much as 5%), IDS gets to brag how workfare is working, and so what if some poor bloody statistic has to work for less than a third of the minimum wage for a couple of months (unless they’re a disabled statistic in which case they’re working for less than half minimum wage potentially indefinitely – obviously IDS listened to the repulsive Philip Davies MP when he proposed the minimum wage shouldn’t apply to disabled people, even if the House didn’t).

      • David Gillon

        There’s an article on Labour benefit policies and you find it suspicious that ‘Lefties’ (a label you wield like it was somehow toxic) have an opinion on it? As a disability rights activist (subtly different from a ‘Leftie’, I’ll generally have a look at any benefits article I see mentioned on my twitter feed, facebook or anywhere else on the web, and, depending on the contents, I’ll likely pass it on as something potentially worth a look. I imagine most of the people who have similar interests will think the same. Wouldn’t it have been more noteworthy if ‘Lefties’ didn’t have an opinion on Labour benefit policy?

  • thiswayup

    “The problem is that, apart from Iain Duncan Smith, so few Tories speak eloquently about welfare reform.”

    By speaking “eloquently” do you mean being caught out, several times, completely misusing statistics to misinform the public? Being reprimanded by the ONS and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and the Work and Pensions Committee for making announcements unsubsanttiated by the actual facts?

    Telling the public the Benefit Cap had led to thousands getting a job – shown to be incorrect by Jonathan Portes of the NIESR, who used to work at the DWP.

    Insinuating that thousands of people had “rushed” to apply for DLA before it was abolished and replaced by the much more stringent PIP – not supported by the statistics. Claiming 800,000 people had ended their claim rather than be subjected to the new “functional assessment” for ESA, proving they were in fact malingerers, scared of being found out – when the actual statistics show 94% simply got better after treatment before the assessment was due and returned to work, or previous activity and many of the rest had died. Claiming that he was working with charities on the design and implementation of PIP, many of whom deny ever having been contacted. Claiming that 500 of the interested organisations in response to the Public Consultation on the abolition of DLA were in favour, when FOI requests showed 97% were opposed. Claiming that 75% of those on Incapacity Benefit were in fact fit for work, by combining the figures of those found fit to work with those placed in the WRAG (ie NOT fit for work at the present time) when the assessments have been shown to be totally manipulated and over 40% have the decision overturned at appeal. Claiming that no one would become homeless as a result of all the benefit changes, despite rocketing homelessness figures and when eviction notices have already been issued in at least one London borough in the trial area.

    Some may call it elogquence. Some may call it propaganda.

  • http://twitter.com/Richievilla Rick Meister

    If you look at the actual facts you will see that the last Labour government spent less on welfare per annum (compared to GDP) than the last Tory government. The average annual real terms growth in the welfare bill was the lowest in the noughties of any decade since the formation of the welfare state. At the end of the Labour government there were well over half a million less people claiming out of work benefits than when they came to power. On Incapacity Benefit (where our spending compared to GDP has, as is the case with unemployment related spending, been much lower than the EU and OECD averages) real terms spending increased by £7.43bn pa under the Tories, but decreased by £2.94bn under Labour. The claimant count went up by 1.32m under the Tories but decreased by 33,000 under Labour. Under Labour, the number of Housing Benefit claimants fell by 200,000 but increased under the Tories by 1.3m. In the 13 years under Labour real terms spending on Housing Benefit increased by £5.5bn pa, but in the last 13 years of the Tory government it increased by £10bn pa. While Labour’s record on welfare is hardly perfect, the hypocrisy coming from Tory supporters is staggering. The main reason for the increase in welfare spending is the ageing population with the 65+ group now taking 65% of the total benefits bill and over half the total welfare bill.

  • sarahsmith232

    the Tories need to be v.v.v careful here. pre the last election they couldn’t have made it any more obvious that when they get into power they were going to start slashing as soon as they got in.
    so this was overwhelmingly popular, polling shows the benefit cap is one of the most popular policies ever, people across all sections of society were desperate for something to be done. so you’d presume then, that this would have been an enormous vote winner for them. dead wrong, I think.
    did a bit of helping out at the last election, so welfare being a big thing on the doorstep I was constantly getting feedback. it not only didn’t do them any favours I think this may have done it’s bit to stop them getting a majority. everyone was angry about how much was being doled out . . . . aside from what it was they were getting. which they thought was only fair and just. everyone wanted an end brought to it, but just not for them. it meant that everyone got that their free whatever – bus pass, child’s swimming lessons, child benefit, reduced this, free that was going to go. so they voted Labour to keep it. Tories need to be careful they don’t make the same mistake again.

  • sarahsmith232

    ok, just got to the end and have read every post. what gives? something v not right here. never, ever do you get post after post by the Left on this site, and interestingly, ALL really v well informed Left-wingers.
    something v fishy going on here. would some of Miliband’s little helpers have been told to post as much Leftie gump as they can manage to spew out to counter the article?
    what’s going on?

    • thiswayup

      “What gives?” Surprised at people actually posting “very well informed” comments on the Spectator? Must be Lefties? Must be a Labour conspiracy!! Oh dear. Is that because the usual standard of Rightie comments on here are usually so lamentably ignorant?
      Perhaps it’s just people with minds of their own, who pay attention to what is happening behind the media propaganda, and check facts for themselves, instead of just swallowing gobbets of inaccurate opinion pieces, posing as journalism, whole.
      In my experience, “Lefties” AND non-indoctrinated people are furious with Milliband – for not speaking out in defence of the social security system and confronting the Coalition lies each and every time they appear. It’s amazing how many people who attack “welfare” are themselves in receipt of child benefit, child tax credits, working tax credits, top up housing benefit in work or pensioner benefits like winter fuel allowance – yet still see themselves as not on benefits and want them cut. The propaganda tells us we have the most generous benefit system practically anywhere in the world. According to the OECD it is not. If the people questioned knew that unemployment benefit was £71 a week, and was among the lowest in the developed world, do you really think they would say that was too generous? Especially if they were going to lose their job next week? By the way, Leftie is a really immature and irritating epithet. Today’s Labour Party from Blair onwards is nowhere near the Left, but shares neoliberal economic ideology. Liam Byrne is effectively a Tory in a red tie.

      • David Gillon

        Generous? Ha! As someone even DWP and ATOS accept is unfit to work due to disability (and my specialist told me last month he just can’t see a way back into the workforce for me), my eligibility for benefits is precisely zero! I’ve had my year’s worth of Contributory ESA (£94/week – a token recognition of the extra costs of disability over the £71 of JSA) but not having had the required miracle cure within 12 months* time-limiting has kicked in and I’ve now exhasted cESA (no matter 23 years of NI contributions). I’m not eligible for Income-Related ESA, so all the government will do for me is pay my NI stamp, but to be eligible for that I have to submit myself to the potential of _unlimited_ disability workfare.

        * Labour is almost as bad, they would time-limit ESA at 24 months – my disability has been getting slowly worse for 25 years, no miracle cure can reasonably be expected, never mind within 12 or 24 months, and that is a very, very common reality for disabled people, no matter Esther McVey (the Minister Against Disabled People) whining ‘they get better’. The entire structure of ESA is based on a concept of disability that doesn’t reflect reality.

      • Roger Edwards

        Like your comments-and information. Sometimes though we have to deal with ditzy blondes- I wonder if that’s being racist?

    • David Gillon

      If you think I support Miliband you’re very, very wrong, and while I do generally vote Labour it is under protest at having no better choice!

  • James

    Next the Libs will be asking for capital punishment to be reintroduced.

  • clare62

    Bedroom tax?


    What Milliband and Labour will not see is the fact that the native working class of Britain are in truth the last ones to want the immigrant invasion by those such as Miliband’s father . Why would they wish to compete for every job or home with millions of people they never wanted here or an ever increasing ageing population of immigrants they now have to support ?

  • alabenn

    Labour are doomed, no one can save them, the white working class hate them almost as much as miners hate Thatcher, the early immigrants from the West Indies hate the new immigrants mainly Muslims because Labour imported them causing their wages to suffer just as much as the rest.
    Now the Muslims are having the temerity to set up what are insular little parties that Labour cannot control.
    Now the country is in effect broke, they cannot even bribe them to vote their way because they shafted the economy as well as the people.


    As the disaffected white native working class awake to the fact that Nolonger Labour care nothing for them and they now have an option other than LibCon it`s possible Labour may regret their obsessive championing of immigrants over indigenous native .

  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    Why can’t Ed Miliband accept that Labour voters want welfare reform?

    One can only hope it’s because the ” soup kitchen” model of welfare provision is not the kind of reform that will do good to any one really is it?

  • http://twitter.com/Georgenecs GeorgeMcF

    Politicians Who Would have guessed They have all become detached from the views and Opinions of Voters the fact that Most of the Labour Party appear to have beecom Victims of The Tory Led Coalitions Propaganda particularly the personal views and opinions of Ian Duncan Smith who is known to Use Manipulated Statisics as well as stigmatise the Unemployed and Disabled, the real goal of the Coalition Government is it appears to Shift the Debt Burden From The Bankers and Politicians who created the situation To The Poorest and Punish them Further with Bedroom Tax and a whole host of benefits Cuts to pay there own Inflated Salaries and maintain the Catch 22 Benefits System to keep the Poor in there place as the number of Unemployed Goes Up, There is a solution Launched by Francesca Martinez’s WOW Campaign the Signatures that are placed on WOWPetition.com to Call on the Government to Perform a Cumulative Impact Assessment of Welfare Reform and an End to The Governments War On Welfare, Please Support by Reading then Signing.com or Here epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43154WOWPetition Thank You.

  • Roy

    Time and time again politicians misread the mind of the electorate. They should above all things stick to the truth. People generally understand when they are in hard times, and can withstand hard decision making when all are in the same boat and all are pulling together. When they know that Jack down the road has never worked for the last ten years, the family across the road have ten children and no one in the house earns a farthing to help bring home the bacon. The bravest of individuals can’t help but feel a trifle disappointed in the one sided welfare system that encourages the sponges and the bone idle to continue without any effort to try and mobilise themselves. Then of course the idlers are further increased with the import of the bearded ones. This increase in splashes of the Orient could be OK but not at the expense of the tax payer. The illustrious leadership seem not to grasp the underlying fair mindedness of a huge proportion of the population. But they must be treated with more respect and much more common sense in the intrusion of big government in the affairs of dishing out cash to ones who don’t deserve it, and misguided policy that throws truck loads of it through the Channel Tunnel.

  • Roger Edwards

    From what I can make out, it make’s no odds whatever political party holds the reins, they’re all for screwing the working class (including, especially, those that no longer have work). Since Thatcher we have had nothing but the murderous policies of the ruling class, Blair, Cameron and Milliband, being the staunchest of allies initiating and instigating the impoverishment of this country’s finest and noblest asset – the working class.

    The media has been instrumental in applying the principle off the ruling elite – Divide and Conquer! The media has been hugely successful in dividing not only the employed against the unemployed but the employed against the employed. Even New Labour is talking about “the middle class”.

    We now have some workers (employee’s) getting a few pence above minimum wage – this for chrissake is the new middle class! Whatever happened to the TUC and the solidarity struggle for a living wage? The protection of jobs?

    Whatever happened to the old labour philosophy and the protection of the health and welfare system? The enhancement of the education system, especially the hiigher education of our our youngsters? The other public services?

    Why is there no effort coming from New Labour to extricate this country from military interventions (WARS) in the middle – east, north africa – and even central asia? Or for that matter the “special relationship” with the USA? These military adventures are costing much more than the bank bail-out’s.

    This country has a debt of more than £1.3 TRILLION. It has not been caused by the unemployed, the elderly, the infirm or any other section of society, except for maybe the bankers and the unjustified and illegal military interventions, sanctioned by polititians of all colours!

    Unfortunately for the electorate, it makes no difference which political party rules, as long as Thatcherism is endemic in New Labour then a large number of traditional labour supporter’s will stay away from the ballot box. This of course mean’s that thatcherism will live on.

  • baz

    I can’t afford sky sports and yet my taxes are handed to benefits claimants who use the money to get sky sports. The system is rotten to the core.

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