Posts Tagged ‘Andreas Whittam Smith’

Ten Good Reasons to Vote Labour Next Election

November 10, 2014

Mike over at Vox Political posted this meme as a reminder why people should vote Labour in his reply to a commenter on his latest post about the nastiness, stupidity and clumsiness of the Tories:


As for Andreas Whittam Smith’s comments in the Independent on the Tories, I think Whittam Smith during his long career was chairman of the British Board of Film Classification. He therefore has more than his fair share of experience in seeing things which are nasty, stupid and clumsy. The Conservatives can therefore be proud that they can take their place amongst the kind of nasty things that had Mary Whitehouse clamouring to have them banned, such as great cinema classics like Driller Killer, or the complete oeuvre of Ken Russell. Unfortunately, in the cinema you are at least free to walk out and demand your money back if the film disgusts you that much. No such luck with this nasty, stupid and absolutely inept government.

Andreas Whittam Smith on the Tories: ‘Nasty, Stupid and Clumsy’

November 10, 2014

Mike over at Vox Political has an article on the Independent’s Andreas Whittam Smith’s description of the Tory party as ‘nasty, stupid and clumsy’, for their policies which penalise and impoverish the poor, the sick and the disabled. Smith notes that, contrary to their propaganda, the conditionality imposed by them on welfare payments does not help them into work. The barriers that prevent people from finding and holding a job are those of opportunities, lack of skills or training, illness and childcare problems.

Mike goes on to discuss how these issues are further expanded and explored in a report compiled by scholars at Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Stirling, discussed on Alan Wylie’s A Working Class Man blog. This also describes how working people have been forced further into poverty by the Tories’ welfare reforms. It also concludes that the conditionality of the Tories’ welfare system does not tackle the problems people really face finding and getting into work.

Furthermore, in order to make work pay, the Tories are going to remove further welfare benefits, including from those in work, thus making both working people and the unemployed worse off.

Mike’s article begins:

Independent luminary Andreas Whittam Smith reckons the Conservative Party in its current form is both nasty and stupid – and also clumsy, if his latest article is to be believed.

Nasty because of its aggressive behaviour – such as the decision to withdraw support for rescue operations that save thousands of migrants from drowning as they attempt to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

Or because of benefit assessment policies that mean people living with progressive and degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease and rheumatoid arthritis are being subjected to what a group of charities describes as “upsetting and unnecessary” examinations to see whether they will recover enough to look for work in the future – a pointless exercise because their conditions are flagged up from the start as progressive and degenerative; they’re never going to get better.

Or because, after the Resolution Foundation found that one-in-five employees (4.9 million people) earned less than the living wage, George Osborne is promising that if the Conservative Party wins next year’s general election, then most welfare payments that the working poor rely on – including child benefit, tax credits, jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit and income support – will be frozen in April 2016 for two years. They are currently rising by 1 per cent a year. He will make the working poor poorer.

This is all very Hobbsian. Thomas Hobbes was the 17th century philosopher, who believed that people were basically violent, predatory and rapacious, and if led to their own devices, society would degenerate into ‘the war of each against all’. He therefore championed a strong monarchy, or other central authority, to preserve peace, and the citizens’ lives and property. It’s been said that the American, and particularly the Neo-Con, view of society is essentially a Hobbesian one of cut-throat competition. It was Hobbes, who said that ‘in the state of nature the life of man is poor, nasty, brutish and short’. This succinctly describes the Tory vision for British society, and they have been very successful in putting into practice. For most working people, their lives are poorer, nastier, and their treatment more brutal, and their lives shorter every day the Conservatives are in power.

Mike’s article can be read at: