Vital benefits to be cut while MPs’ salaries soar

Next week on Radio 4 one of the programmes will be a debate on whether satire has harmed politics. I honestly don’t think so, though I do believe that the cynicism about politicians and the political process, which has meant fewer and fewer people are turning out at elections to vote has been promoted by some comedians. The real cause of this alienation isn’t comments by Billy Connolly or Russell Brand such as ‘Don’t vote, you’ll only encourage them’, but simply the sheer venality and cupidity of the politicians themselves. The British public were angry and disgusted just before the last election by the expenses scandal. The revelations that MPs were massively claiming expenses for even the most trivial personal items was particularly bitter at a time when many people were seeing their own salaries and welfare benefits frozen or cut. Osborne’s plans to cut welfare benefits even further, while MPs have been voted a massive pay rise, will do even more to embitter and alienate people. At least Richard Nixon, whose name has become a byword for political corruption, had the self-awareness to realise that his actions would put the idealistic young off politics, and that he deserved to give those kids an apology. The party leaders, including Cameron, are clearly aware of this as well. Yet Osborne believes he can blithely get away with reducing the poor even further into the most desperate, grinding poverty, with no repercussions to the image of politicians and the political process in this country. This shows the smugness, complacency and sheer arrogant dismissal of his victims and their opinions at the heart of this man and the administration of which he is a part. And as a result, far more people will turn their backs on politicians and vote with their feet at elections. He and the other politicos willing to accept their massive pay rise while others are having to face starvation and fuel poverty are doing far more damage to politics than ‘Spitting Image’ or ‘The New Stateman’ ever did.

Mike Sivier's blog

George Osborne wants billions of pounds cut from the UK’s social security budget, at the same time he and his fellow MPs take an enormous, undeserved pay boost.

Osborne, who spent 50 minutes patting himself on the back for restoring the economy to growth with his austerity cuts – even though they had nothing whatsoever to do with what little improvement there has been, said he wanted to push people on benefits further into poverty in order to meet deficit reduction targets.

“You are going to have to find billions of pounds more in welfare savings if you want to reduce the deficit, eliminate the deficit and get our debt falling,” he told the Treasury Committee.

A BBC News report tried to suggest that if the Conservative Party wins the next election, welfare (that’s the Tory word for social security) may be cut to protect spending on public services.


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