Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wizard Osborne heals the sick and keeps people younger for longer

After the Budget speech or other important government announcements, there's always an irritating period of spin and Chinese whispers during which it's impossibly hard to nail down what the changes really mean. That applies a million times over today following the Bullingdon Boys' gleeful torching of civilisation as we know it. But, just to be getting on with, a couple of things leap out -

1) The removal of 'contributory Employment and Support Allowance' (ie. incapacity benefit) after someone has claimed for one year. Now, if Osborne thinks he can legislate to limit sickness or certain forms of disability to a duration of one-year, perhaps he can also put his powers of sorcery to further use by legislating to reduce the UK's annual rate of rainfall. Alternatively, he's just sacrificed any credibility this government ever had as a "progressive" administration, by decoupling the eligibility for lifeline benefits from people's true needs.

2) The limiting of housing benefit for single people under the age of 35. Discrimination against people on the basis of their youth always carries the suspicion of injustice, but if it's going to be justified at all it surely has to be restricted to a very narrow age range in which overwhelming numbers can objectively be seen to fall into a special category, ie. full-time education or training. As the BBC puts it, everyone up to the age of 35 has suddenly become a student in Osborne's eyes.


  1. Brilliantly put James. I'm still laughing at the assumption that Gideon is some sort of witch.

    The trouble with, as you call them, the Bullingdon Boys being in charge of this sort of thing is that they have no idea what it is like to be poor and sick, or to be chucked out by your partner and be homeless and jobless.

    For them this is unimagineable. It would be like you or I imagining what it would be like if your grandfather turned out to be an alien and ate your brother.

    In a situation where one of them was chucked ou, they'd simply go to the club, or the Dorchester until they could send down their man to get the place in the country opened up.

    What on earth is to become of us with this kind of madness at the top. It's about as well thought out as most of the other rubbish to which they have subjected us.

  2. Tris, nothing the Tories do would surprise me anymore, but what I couldn't get over today was Clegg and co cheering to the rafters everything Osborne said. It's astonishing how quickly the two coalition parties have become indistinguishable from each other - except perhaps on the Lib Dem backbenches, which is where the one glimmer of hope lies. But it is only the faintest glimmer.

  3. I'm hoping for some floor crossing before long James. I suspect that some Lib-Dems dread going back to their constituencies at the weekend. I'm confident something will happen soon.

    I agree with you about Clegg. And I used to like him too! It reminds me of the ending of Animal Farm, where the animals looked from pig to man and from man to pig...... you know the bit!