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It’s as if they’re having a competition.
After Liam Fox, the disgraced former Defence Secretary with nothing at all to gain from his outburst, made a fool of himself by making a series of outrageous demands about government spending (the BBC website picks out “We need to begin a systematic dismantling of universal benefits and turning them into tax cuts”), Iain Duncan Smith stepped into the breach to “dismiss” the Archbishop of Canterbury’s warning – despite its firm basis in fact – that benefit changes will drive more children into poverty.
Clearly the man this blog refuses to call anything but Smith is getting worried that he might fail to retain Vox Political‘s coveted Monster of the Year award in the face of such strong competition – don’t forget Theresa May weighed in with a plan to strip everyone in this country of their hard-won human rights – that he felt it necessary to step up.
We’ll put the rabid Fox down first. Vox correspondent Big Bill called it right when he said Fox was already damaged goods.
“He can be sent out to air these ideas without any further potential loss to the party,” Bill wrote.
“If Cameron started airing them or Osborne, there’d potentially be loss to their status, I imagine Tory thinking has it, and they’re too valuable to waste but Fox is already a political phantom, no more than the fading echo of a career mournfully walking abroad at Westminster.
“If more opprobrium’s heaped on his head, well, then, the party’s learned those ideas won’t fly and no loss to anyone. If by any chance they start to be taken seriously then these ideas will indeed be taken up by Osborne and Cameron.”
Judging from the comedy Prime Minister’s response, the ideas didn’t fly at all and in fact went down like the R101.
But let’s not waste the opportunity to pour scorn on Cameron’s comments. Having already fallen foul of the facts in the past, he simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to show that he hasn’t learnt anything and loves the taste of his own shoes.
“There is one piece of advice I won’t take. That’s the piece of advice saying ‘You ought to cut the National Health Service budget’,” said the PM, past the foot he’d just wedged in his mouth.
How quick he was to forget that Andrew Dilnot, head of the UK Statistics Authority, wrote to caution the government that its claims of increased spending on the health service, year on year, during every year of the current Parliament, were inaccurate. Mr Dilnot stated that the figures show a real-terms cut in expenditure between the 2009-10 tax year when Labour was in power, and 2011-12.
Camoron has never acknowledged this fact, even though it comes from an authoritative source. Maybe he’s no longer capable of listening to anything but the voices in his head.
He continued, saying it was “absolutely right that we have got a plan to get on top of our deficit”. Nice one, Call-Me-Dave. It is indeed, absolutely correct that you have a plan to get on top of the deficit. It’s also absolutely right that your plan does not work; will never work; will in fact make the deficit worse. It’s a plan to give you an excuse to shrink the state.
In that sense, Cameron’s difference of opinion with Fox is a sham. Perhaps he’s using Fox’s words to make his own scheming seem less objectionable.
Too bad. After nearly three years of this red-faced buffoon we can all see through him like a fishnet negligee.
And now, let’s turn to another Tory who won’t listen to anything but the voices in his head – Iain Pretentious Smith.
He has responded to calls from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, along with no less than 43 other Anglican Bishops, to reconsider benefit changes that will push an estimated 200,000 children into poverty. These are figures from The Children’s Society, which is a charity that deals with issues affecting deprived children every single day of its existence and should therefore, reasonably, know.
The letter states that the decision to increase financial support for families by no more than one per cent per year for the next three years, regardless of the rate of inflation, “will have a deeply disproportionate impact on families with children, pushing 200,000 children into poverty. A third of all households will be affected by the Bill, but nearly nine out of 10 families with children will be hit.
“These are children and families from all walks of life. The Children’s Society calculates that a single parent with two children, working on an average wage as a nurse would lose £424 a year by 2015. A couple with three children and one earner, on an average wage as a corporal in the British Army, would lose £552 a year by 2015.
“However, the change will hit the poorest the hardest. About 60 per cent of the savings from the uprating cap will come from the poorest third of households. Only three per cent will come from the wealthiest third.”
Only three per cent from the wealthiest households? It seems we’ve discovered why this plan is so attractive to the Party of the Rich.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby – who has yet to be enthroned – added: “As a civilised society, we have a duty to support those among us who are vulnerable and in need. When times are hard, that duty should be felt more than ever, not disappear or diminish.
“It is essential that we have a welfare system that responds to need and recognises the rising costs of food, fuel and housing.” (Labour Party – and especially Liam Byrne – please note).
It was pleasing to see these words from the new Archbishop, who is clearly unafraid to enter political debates, despite the undue flack received by the former Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams. The Church should speak up to protect those in society whose voice is not strong.
Of course Smith – a Catholic whose behaviour should have had him excommunicated from his own faith – was having none of it.
“I don’t agree that the way to get children out of poverty is to simply keep transferring more and more money to keep them out of work,” he said, possibly revealing a little more than he intended. It seems Mr Smith thinks that, rather than receiving benefits to support them, poor children should be sent out to work. Is he advocating a return to the despicable conditions of the 19th century, in which children were sent up chimneys to clean them?
Don’t put it past him – look what else he had to say!
He said this: “We are doing the right thing in bringing in the benefit cap. For the first time ever, people on low and average earnings will realise at last that those on benefits will not be able to be paid more in taxes than they themselves earn.”
Exactly. Those on low and average earnings will realise that, if they get the sack, they will not be able to cover their current outgoings, meagre though they may be.
The intention behind the benefit cap is – as Vox Political has stated in the past – to silence those on the lowest wages from seeking any improvement in their pay and conditions, and even stop them from complaining if their bosses decide to cut those things.
It is a wholesale – and despicable – betrayal of the vast majority of the British people.
Don’t you forget it.
*He might as well be saying that; it’s what his statements indicate.
Reblogged this on kickingthecat.
Big Bill said:
Thanks for the quotes. I’d suggest material for your next blog is here http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/linda-kaucher/what-was-real-purpose-of-david-camerons-visit-to-india It’s horrifying stuff.
Claire Scarlet Honey Peach said:
IDS said that he listens to advice but doesn’t always take it: I wish someone would ask if he EVER takes it, that would say a lot!
Joe Bauwens said:
I believe he takes the advice he gets from the mad woman who claims various human failings are caused by demonic posetion.
Chris Tandy said:
I had a similar thought; he visits three witches who ceremonially spit on newts and pour dog-piss over his head, whilst chanting “DungCan., DungCan”, then turn him upside down to allow Drunk n’ Stiff to stare in an obsidian mirror over a water-well. The visions he sees give him all he information he needs to know about penalising the poor; the three witches have a good laugh after he has gone, he leaving in a malodorous vapour-trail of dog-widdle and newt remnant….
Phil The Folk said:
I want to know if Michael Meacher has had his meeting with IDS yet and what the outcome was? Hopefully he beat he around the head with his case studies!
IDS’ boasts of Christianity have about as much substance as the bogus degrees and diplomas listed on his C.V.
Coincidentally (???), Smith’s slave labour philosophy is far closer to the dictum of Satanist Aleister Crowley:
“The slaves shall serve” (Crowley’s “Book of the Law”)
Reading Laurie Penny’s blog article on Terry Pratchett left me wondering.
Penny writes of Pratchett’s recent book tour, during which he was taken ill, that “It’s made him wonder if he should slow down … but he enjoys life on the road too much to give it up.”
What is curious about this is that during the 1990s, it was impossible to get to see Pratchett on tour, because he was, according to his publishers at the time, a VERY QUIET MAN, who was almost phobic of the social bustle.
Last year, an aquaintance of mine in her early 60s died from the same aggressive, early onset form of alzheimers disease that Pratchett suffers from. This lady had always been quiet, shy and retiring, yet over the several years when she suffered from dementia, she became increasingly gregarious and outspoken. Even attention-seeking.
Now in our public life we have the spectacle of a FORMERLY QUIET MAN, who rants offat the slightest provocation (indeed Smith-baiting seems to be fast becoming a medea sport).
He rants on and on, contradicting himself and defying all logic, in declaring that, ‘for god’s sake, Cate was paid JSA’ to slave in Poundland.
And when confronted by Owen Jones over the deaths of Karen Sherlock and others, he disrespectfully waves it aside.
Yet politicians and psychopaths both, are past masters at faking the empathy and emotions they don’t necessarily feel.
So WHAT CAN be ailing this formerly quiet man who has developed a,big communication disorder, and for whom simple decorum and common sense seem now to have become a forgotten language?
It is seriously beginning to look as if the plight of SirTerry Pratchett may hold clues.