Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's Not to Like?

I've just be on Stephen Nolan's Northern Ireland phone in show, alongside a Sinn Fein MLA debating Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reforms. As you might expect, the encounter generated more heat than light as the MLA refused to accept that the reforms were anything other than Tory ideology. It no doubt suits his agenda to think that, but when Douglas Alexander welcomes parts of it and Nick Clegg introduces it, I think this goes way beyond party ideology.

My main point was that 95% of people listening would support attempts to bring in meaningful reforms, and in particular efforts to get the long term unemployed into work. The Sinn Fein MLA said he didn't think there was anyone who was voluntarily unemployed and that it was a myth to think anyone stayed on benefits for the sake of it. He clearly lives in a very different world to the rest of us. I don't pretend for a minute that it is anything other than a minor per centage who abuse the system and won't take a job, but it is the job of government to ensure that the rest of us don't have to pay for them if they repeatedly refuse an offer of a job. They have responsibilities as well as rights.

As IDS said, "choosing not to work, if you can work, is no longer an option". What's not to like about that sentence. I'd hope that it can get approval from right across the political spectrum. Except Sinn Fein, of course.


DespairingLiberal said...

Alexander and Clegg are proving over and over again that they share the same ideology as the Tory right, so calling on them to claim there is consensus is just nonsense.

Jabba the Cat said...

Sinn Fein has for many years been a terrorist organisation firmly rooted in Marxist ideology. Additionally, most of its members have used the British welfare system to fund their insurrection against the British state so they will, by definition, oppose any attempts at reform. Best ignore Sinn Fein and just get on with the welfare reforms.

Anonymous said...

Just heard James O'Brian on LBC say "what happens to the children?"I would suggest vouchers for food and clothes - no cash to spend on luxuries.

Tim said...

Oh you Tories make me laugh!

So people 'choose not to work'? That's a useful ploy for blaming people, isn't it?

Remind me again how the figures add up? There are under half a million vacancies, yet at least 5 million people are out of work. So even if these vacancies were in all the right places, that's still 4 and a half million people with no job to go to. 10 does not go into 1, no matter how much wiggling you do.

These reforms are not just about punishing and humiliating people - they are about blaming people too.

Anonymous said...

Iain: isn't politics supposed to be about ideology?

And why would you expect, want even, anyone from that foul party that has specialised in violence to get its way, to agree with you?

The problem is that with everyone fighting over the centre/middle way/ground we have in effect one party politics with no electoral choice.

Nobody is questioning the middle (I prefer, muddle) way, just how best to carry it out.

The centre has shifted Left so we have a supposed Conservative Party mostly behind Socialism.

The dialogue should not be how best to reform the welfare State, but should we have one?

No One said...

IDS did himself no favours on the today programme this morning by exposing his less than impressive grasp of the impact of foreign workers on the jobs market

his parting shot of saying plenty of jobs have been created but they have not been taken by brits but rather foreigners and blaming the out of work brits for this showed the worst kind of prejudice and lack of understanding

YES the benefits system needs sorting out, what we dont need is spin when its obvious the worst abusers with large numbers of children are likely to feel no pain AND far too many rich public school boys commenting who know little of the world they comment upon


so not joined up and failing to take on board genuine critical review

the conservative party by even blocking critical review within its own ranks is beginning to look unworthy of support

Anonymous said...

Tim - Don't forget we had 10 years of Labour rule and the jobless didn't fall. No good making excuses for people who have been jobless for 2 or 3 generations!

Penfold said...

If memory serves me right the IRA leadership were all on the dole during the troubles and dared the Job Centre staff to sign them orff.
Indeed, not content with the dole and blowing the country to pieces they also chose to accept every benefit and hand-out that was available.
Such public spirited action was not of course limited to the IRA, it's various splinters and the opposition were also in on the scam.
Sinn Fien is just continuing the dependancy, as one would expect.
Drugs or welfare, it's all the same, build dependancy and extract "loyalty" from your supplicants.
I say nows the time to sell N.I. to the Republic for a huge sum of money, which they will have to sponge orff the EU, and we can attempt to recoup some of our investment, whilst screwing the EU. There's a certain air of stuff orff in the whole deal..........

Plainly Speaking said...

You'll never get anything other than a 'spend, spend, spend' mentality from a Sinn Fein member ... especially when it's British government spending. It seems they've left behind a war waged with bombs and bullets only to stage economic war instead, that is, to extract every penny from the UK exchequer it can, to shore up their notion of the ever expanding state with public jobs for their core voters. IDS, a Catholic, is just the man to burst their bubble.

And what's good for the UK tax payer, applies equally, in their view, to EU coffers. Only yesterday, we had the news that the Sinn Fein run Department of Agriculture in the devolved assembly, managed to spend £3 million of EU funding on bureaucracy in order to distribute £2.5 million to actual projects!

And when it comes to private sector jobs, the very thing that will take welfare claimants out of poverty, Sinn Fein's master plan for all the agencies 'involved' in job creation, makes mention only of 'statutory agencies, unions, employers and educationalists', which is to say, in their vision of economic nirvana, there's no place for private capital and entrepreneurs.

The irony of all this is that the mythical day of Irish unity is long grassed ever further away as voters in the near bankrupt Irish Republic are repulsed by the thought of embracing the 'six counties' with its heavily subsidised soviet sized economy.

Lady Finchley said...

I would hasten to add that both Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland have benefited from the British Government's lax benefit policy.

I have family in Northern Ireland and know for a fact that many Unionists who can work are on Incapacity Benefit which in the past has been used as a sop by the British Government - you would be shocked if you knew just how many.

Welfare Reform cannot come fast enough and I only hope that there is also real help for the unemployed who really do want to work. I know from my own experience that the skilled unemployed who do not need lessons in how to write a CV or how to dress are left pretty much high and dry. God forbid you should be in your 40's and you are really on your own.

Anonymous said...

Who gives a four letter word what Sinn Fein Think?

Unknown said...

Sinn Fein oppose anything British except money. They shot RUC, murdered soldiers, blew up town centres but never once did they hit the unemployment benefit offices.

Their Sinn Fein Advice Centres are universities on how to screw the welfare system for every penny.

If you want to know every loophole, every way round, every wrangle and every story you've got to tell to maximise your take speak to a worker in a Sinn Fein advice centre.

Sure they oppose it - they've spent a lifetime abusing the system and now they can see the gravy train has hit the buffers. Will be harder to hold down a job and claim benefit under IDS reforms - Sinn Fein know this and don't like it.

IDS is onto something keep it up

Houdini said...

The Sinn Fein MLA said he didn't think there was anyone who was voluntarily unemployed and that it was a myth to think anyone stayed on benefits for the sake of it.

Having worked extensively with the security forces in NI in the 80's, I'd be bound to say that an IRA supporter would say that. Then, and even now, they will take the money, much like their MP's do without taking the workload on and being involved in the actual process.

Mind you...Sinn Fein....

Houdini said...

Tim said...

Oh you Tories make me laugh!

So people 'choose not to work'? That's a useful ploy for blaming people, isn't it?

Cretins like you make me chuckle, conveniently ignoring the millions of migrants and the like working in the UK.

IF we take your simplistic and puerile rant at face value, then there would be 4.5 million job vacancies and full employment, but there isn't is there?

Kateyo said...

There are some very good and talented people in Sinn Fein, but they have always been a party of the left, many are well intentioned good people,they aren't all ex terrorists.
Infact both the nationalist parties here are on the left.

Maybe next time you will get one of the better talents within the party to parley with who could lay their strategy out for you a bit better.

Tim said...

Oh sorry, I didn't realise that this is one of those blogs where it's OK to call people names.

Stuart Winton said...

About 15 years ago, when I couldn't find my preferred employment I took a job as a taxi driver instead of claiming benefits, and I didn't go out smashing windows because I felt hard done by, despite this being poorly paid casual work (even for hired taxi drivers the minimum wage etc doesn't apply).

There are thousands of people on benefits - perhaps literally millions - who could do such a job but choose not to, so I'm certainly less sympathetic towards many benefit claimants than I was thirty years ago.