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The despatch box

We're you thinking what the Conservatives were thinking? Did you believe the Lib Dems were the real alternative? Is Labour moving forward not back? This blog will focus on all things political. It will be irritating, agitating and maybe just maybe it will get you thinking.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Real issues that matter

I sometimes wonder how many hours have been spent discussing and re-discussing the leadership election. While this is very important the world continues to turn. Only today it has been announced that the number of people our of work and claimining benefits has increased for the sixth month in a row.

This is before the supposed Civil Service reductions promised by Gordon Brown, which have mysteriously failed to materialise.

Party commentators say they want to engage with real people. Well here is an issue that real people care about. I'm not sure the same can be said about the leadership contest.


  • At Wednesday, August 17, 2005 7:34:00 pm, Blogger Mark O'Brien said…

    What is so devastating is the massive number of people who are 'economically inactive': that figure is at around 9 million, higher than it ever has been, and it's down to the vast numbers of people who are claiming incapacity benefit (I'm not being an evil son of a bitch - most claimants are found in areas of high unemployment and claim because of medical complaints that aren't easily diagnosed; they government just tries to get people on the benefit, because it's not considered part of the official unemployment statistics); then there is the unnecessarily large number of students in colleges and universities not working; and a lot of people forced into early retirement.

    Of course, I don't oppose people who claim 'benefits' (the most inappropriate word!). None of us should be opposed to the people who live on unemployment benefit. Because it's when discussing issues like this that conservatives start to scale new heights of evilness and nastiness. What we must oppose is not the people, but the State system which lets people fall into the spiral of dependency and which patronises millions of individuals and families who could thrive given half the chance.

    Those are the terms that we have to set on the debate on welfare.


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