So, we’re all in this together, David Cameron, are we?
That phrase must be on page 1 of the Conservative dictionary – Cameron used it in 2008, then to his party faithful.
Fast forward, to the 2009 Tory Conference, and the then shadow chancellor George Osborne clings to the same phrase:
“The shadow chancellor also outlined plans to target Whitehall costs and axe child trust funds for the better off. He told the Tory conference “we’re all in this together” and said that the measures would save £7bn a year.”
Since 2008, things have moved on, changes to the welfare state are now falling like leaves in Autumn. Seems that some of us really have been more in it than others:
The detail is published in a report on implementing changes to the Lords expenses system. It says 326 members who replied to a survey claim the “overnight subsistence allowance”. Of those 167 own accommodation in London and 113 own their properties outright – making them mortgage-free.
None of the peers were breaking the rules, which until recently did not specify which property was a “main home”.
The findings come as the government has outlined plans to pay peers a flat rate of £300 a day to attend the House of Lords.
The regime, due to take effect in October, compares with a current maximum daily limit of £334.
And ‘we’ have somehow or other given permission to our brand new Coalition Government to spend £18,000 on topping up the wine cellar since the election. Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham revealed that Government Hospitality, which manages the cellar, had spent £17,698 on new stock since May 6 – bringing the total value to £864,000 – though he insisted the standard practice of buying wines young saved money for the taxpayer.
That’s all right then! We’re saving money after all.
Iain Duncan Smith is now doing a Norman Tebbitt, twenty years after he first came out with his abusive phrase ‘On Yer Bike’. Perhaps it’s something to do with being the MP for Chingford! I am finding it very difficult to understand what kind of mentality you need to be able to consider forcing longterm unemployed people from their secure tenancies to another part of the country, in order to create a more flexible workforce. It’s only people living in council housing, though, that will be ‘encouraged’ to be flexible. Not the unemployed living in mortgaged property, of course. The proposed scheme would allow them to go to the top of the housing list in another area rather than lose their right to a home if they moved. That will be enormously welcomed by the people who are already on the housing waiting list in the area they are moved to!
Call me a cynic, but if there’s already a housing waiting list in the ‘new area’, that waiting list is going to get longer, so how long is that list likely to keep the new arrivals waiting? It’s a non-starter. Or am I missing something?
And IDS mentioned people living in East London who couldn’t at present work in West London. It would be too much of a risk for them. What planet do you live on, IDS? I used to live in East London, and while living there, I worked in West London. I didn’t need to get on my bike either. I got on the bus and tube! There and back each day. Since then, transport in London has changed dramatically – for the better. It shows how out of touch you are, IDS, with the world. Why not provide those needing to travel from East London to West London in the interests of gainful employment with a little bit of ‘transport-support-funding’? Better than uprooting them, from their family, friends and their existing support network. But you would possibly know little of the consequences of that vicious uprooting. It wouldn’t need to happen to you, would it, Ian Duncan Smith? You are protected and secure.
If ‘sink estates’ exist, Iain Duncan Smith would do better to create employment by improving those sink estates, and the life chances of the people living in them. Are ‘tons of elderly people’ (!! where did that one come from??) only allowed to live in a house with a spare bedroom if they live in a mortgaged property?
That reminds me: which of our esteemed political parties was responsible for the abolition, in effect, of much council housing in the first place? Which political party was in power when the Right-To-Buy scheme was introduced, thus depleting the existing stock even further? Which political party did Shirley Porter represent, when she used council funds to rig the vote, and moved council tenants out of marginal wards in Westminster to make space for owner-occupiers, presumed to be Tory voters. Did she ever pay back the £37million she owed to Westminster Council?
Social cleansing and/or engineering is unacceptable. Or has Shirley Porter smuggled her way back into the country, with the promise of a new job?
Count me out, Coalition Government. I’m not in this with you at all.
I can’t resist editing this to add Outside Left’s Wonky wheels on Iain Duncan Smith’s ‘bike-lite’.