Radio Four’s three hour special ‘The State of Welfare’ was very disappointing. I hoped that the BBC would redeem its journalistic reputation by basing the programme on solid research, rigorous interviewing techniques, and a range of voices and experience. It would have been the ideal opportunity to establish a factual basis for debate.
This week, when a desperate Spanish woman Amaia Egana committed suicide as her home was about to be repossessed, her outraged neighbours took to the streets, and the Spanish government is now going to change the law to try to prevent a repeat of this tragedy.
As Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith probably has more influence over the lives of the least fortunate members of society than any other person in the country. His decisions have a life-changing impact on poor, sick, and disabled people: the section of society that has least power and influence.
One of the most exasperating things about politics at the moment is the way politicians abuse and twist the language to their own ends. Words lose their true meaning and mutate into what they want them to mean.
Several news stories coincided recently to graphically illustrate the terrible inequalities in our global village.
In London, and in other rich cities around the world, people queued for days to be the first to buy the new Apple iPhone 5. Not everybody was queuing to buy for themselves. Some people (plebs?) were being paid hundreds of pounds to stand in line for days on behalf of other, presumably richer individuals, who had better things to do with their time.
Since the economic crisis, people have become increasingly aware of the unfairness of our current tax system. Tax avoidance by corporations and the super-rich gives the appearance that paying tax is an optional extra, whilst low-paid workers have no choice in the matter.