George 'Gideon' Osborne makes me really angry. If ever we needed a reminder of how nasty the Tories were in the 1980s and 1990s he is its epitome. It now seems like a crime to have worked in the public sector or ever been on the dole.
Does anyone think this heir to millions would last 5 minutes in a low wage job, yet alone the years of slog he expects from everyone else. As Chris Dillow puts it, the hypocrisy of the man is breathtaking - of all the people to criticise someone getting something for nothing, he is the worst example. There are FIVE, yes FIVE million people in this country who work for less than £6.75 an hour - that's just £13,000 a year!!!
The tabloids focus relentlessly on benefit scroungers and find the ripest candidate of layabout families they can. Nobody, I repeat nobody wants to be on benefits. If it is a 'lifestyle choice' it is because it is a 'hobsons' choice. Who can blame people being on benefit when to work makes their subsistence existence no better financially. The problem is not benefits being too high - all benefits do is allow you to exist - it just about covers your rent and provides £7 a day for everything else if you are lucky - hardly luxury - try living on that for long. Most on benefit end up in debt - it is a miserable existence. The real problem is that wages do not pay any more than benefits.
I have more sympathy for the single mother struggling to pay the rent failing to declare a boyfriend who lives with her so she can claim a few grand, than millionnaires who pay less tax than their cleaners because they are so good at tax dodging. Yet no-one targets them. No tabloid leads on the front page with tax cheats, only 'benefit cheats'. All the right-wing press ignore the fact that benefit fraud and error is much lower than unclaimed benefit or tax avoidance by the wealthy.
If we really wanted to get people off benefit, the wealthiest 10% who have millions plus in assets and earn in excess of £20 an hour and £40,000 a year have got to start paying a living wage around £7.50 an hour, or £15,000 a year (and we need to sort out wage taxes so no-one on this low wage pays tax). If we don't do that, we cannot complain when people choose to sit on their arse rather than effectively be slaves eking out a miserable existence to fund the ruling classes yachts. Cut benefits and see crime rise. In the end, until the Tory classes can see past the mistakes of the Victorians in classifying people in this way, they will be the losers along with the rest of us as society descends into a nasty maelstrom of crime and decline. We will all be the losers but only the ruling classes will be to blame.