It is unfair that jobless benefits have risen far faster than salaries, claimed UK welfare secretary Iain Duncan Smith. But his efforts to justify a further onslaught on the living standards of unemployed people are unconvincing.
"The problem with the truth is that it’s complicated. Lies are simple, they can be altered to fit any audience, they can be sensational without any boring honest bits to dilute the story. Honesty doesn’t make headlines. That’s the problem with the Welfare Reform Bill..."
The excellent Joint Public Issues Team shared jointly by the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and the Baptist Union of Great Britain has produced a very good guide to why a generic benefit cap is a bad idea for people living at the sharp end of austerity.
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.