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Friday, 5 April 2013

Osborne links Philpott case to benefit reform


Chancellor George Osborne

Consider carefully what Osborne said. "....subsidising lifestyles like that".
How will Osborne, or anyone else for that matter, differentiate between Philpott and his family from Derby, and the Smith family of the same size living in Warrington? Is there an assumption that any family with more than a specified number of children, are automatically scroungers living on welfare benefits? Osborne is on very thin ice when seeking to make political capital out of this case. It was not the "welfare state" that was responsible for this crime, nor was it the Philpott "family" collectively. It was Mick Philpott and two accomplices who carried out this appalling act. Specifically describing Philpott, Judge Mrs Justice Thirlwall commented, "You are a disturbingly dangerous man. Your guiding principle is what Mick Philpott wants, Mick Philpott gets. You have no moral compass."
Osborne’s comments tar all families with the same brush and moreover generate the impression that all people within the welfare system, are of the same basic nature. Osborne's remarks are, along with the evil headlines and “story” peddled by the Daily Mail, designed to create divisions within society and generate hatred between those who are within the welfare system and those who believe that they are not. I choose those words intentionally, because many of the comments supporting Osborne and the Daily Mail, as contained in this article, and in other media demonstrate a growing hostility towards claimants. Paradoxically of course, many of the people making such comments are themselves, within the welfare system, receiving support in the form of tax credits, child allowance, or any of the other allowances that a proper welfare system should and does provide. Do they consider themselves as part of the problem? Somehow I doubt it because politicians and media have been manifestly successful in deliberately generating divisions between people by constantly appealing to prejudices with anti benefit claimant propaganda of the most distorted and vile kind.
The Philpott case has provided ammunition for the assault on the welfare system which the Daily Mail and now Osborne have been swift to use. Making political capital from an event such as this, is grossly cynical and worthy only of contempt for the individuals and media outlets involved.