Successive UK governments, and their media allies, have been vigorous in smearing benefit claimants. To achieve this, politicians and their propagandists have played on popular stereotypes, stoking up prejudice against ‘scroungers’ while lavishly rewarding members of their own class at taxpayers’ expense. Savi Hensman looks at the reality behind the rhetoric, especially in relation to assessment.
You once described yourself as “the quiet man”. It didn't quite work for you at the time, which is a pity, because quietness implies a capacity for reflection, listening and, in the words of our Quaker 'Advices and Queries', for finding space to “consider it possible you may be mistaken”. These are not qualities which are much in evidence among our noisier politicians.
Since early this morning there has been a furious battle to establish proper fact and true value in the argument over the government's proposed welfare benefit cap. As I write (17:30, 23 January 2012) it has just won the first vote in the House of Lords, but the arguments have been going the other way.