Thursday 28 April 2011

Spinning DWP and the wedding

What is going on in DWP ? Yet another selective release of data on welfare claimants. This time its not the fat and drug addicted singled out but those claiming sickness benefits.

We are told that significant numbers of claims have been turned down and indeed many people have withdrawn from the process. So the image of thousands of wicked and indolent people trying to buck the system is built up. 

The fact that some of those that have withdrawn from claims may have been put off by the convoluted and increasingly intimidating process is left unexplained. For example, we know that people with mental health problems are a group that has particular difficulty in claiming benefits. But never mind that. 

Coupled with the highly distasteful publication of data on obesity and drug-drink addiction, closely followed by speeches on same subject by Chris Grayling MP and the PM ( no coincidence there surely? )this is looking like a pattern. 

We have been here before. Blame the unemployed for their own misfortunes. They are scroungers. Or fraudsters. Or morally corrupt people on drugs and drink. Or worst.

Never mind the laws of economics which show that in a recession there are less jobs. Let's argue that all those fat drunk people need to do is get off the sofa and get themselves into Job Centre Plus where hundreds of tempting jobs are on offer with their name on them. Of course employers are only too delighted to take on all comers, whatever their work history.

 Now I'm not niave; I realise there are elections ahead and it is always tempting to pander to base predujdice in such circumstances , but perhaps I'm old fashioned and think our elected representatives have a leadership duty.

Anyway I'm glad to say the building enthusiasm for The Wedding has knocked this bit of news of the airwaves.  I went up to join the crowds outside the Abbey and then at the Palace. And even bought a William and Kate commemorative Union Jack! Now adorning the front door. And I can take it off tomorrow to the Street party I'm going to at my brothers in Richmond.


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