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Writing in the Observer on 14 October, the paper's chief political correspondent Andrew Rawnsley presented readers with a composite of the speeches given by the leaders of the three main parties at their recent conferences. It is an amusing swipe at the banalities and dog-whistles of political rhetoric, which you can read here: http://bit.ly/UVtj78 but it is also a reminder of something ugly and delusional which underlies that rhetoric.
The government wants “To set our country back on the path to prosperity that all can share in” and “mend a broken society”, claimed UK Prime Minister David Cameron at the Conservative Party conference on 10 October. Despite national policies inflicting deepening misery on the poorest in society, and promises by his ministers of more of the same, he was seeking to portray his leadership as compassionate and inclusive.
“Money pads the edges of things” says Helen Schlegel, a character in EM Forster's Howards End. And where there is no padding, those edges can be very sharp indeed.
In a speech urging further cuts to welfare, UK Prime Minister David Cameron once again tried to win support by making out that those receiving benefits have too easy a time. He claimed that, of those receiving Disability Living Allowance, “incredibly, half of new claimants never had to provide medical evidence”. This is indeed incredible, in the sense that it should not be believed.