‘Red Ed’s’ war on the poor…..
Today, Ed Miliband is going to give a speech on the ‘take what you can’ culture. Now, of course, we have to wait until the speech is given to pass final judgement but I think its fair to see the signs in the Observer were not encouraging. Let’s look at the pace notes.
If it’s true that Miliband is going to compare people cheating on benefits with unscrupulous bankers then it’s a sure sign he has lost all sense of proportion. Benefit fraud counts for a fraction of the economic damage done by the collapse of the finance sector and the mind-boggling mega money that any banker, or trader etc costs the economy if they commit fraud. This is always the way with this issue though – genuine benefit fraud exists that needs to be stopped but its significance and cost is always blown well out of proportion to its actual size.
It says it all about Miliband, desperate to give his ailing leadership some kind of the focus, that he has sunk this low. It is thus unsurprising also that he should add in a commitment to ‘out-Coalition’ the Coalition:
Miliband will use Monday’s speech to claim that in government his party would pursue a more radical reform of the welfare state than the coalition, while also tackling the City’s bonus culture.
It’s hard to see how you could get much more radical this side of abolition. No reform Miliband will propose can be any good. Why? Because he is coming at it from the same fundamentally, and anti-poor, standpoint that the Coalition is. The problem with the welfare state is the ‘cheats’, the feckless poor, who ‘could work but choose not too’ but that’s logically silly given the relatively small costs of fraud. Its actually totally true that more is lost due to error – so, why is a radical shake-up of the bureaucratic administration of the welfare system never a top priority of concerned politicians like Miliband?
Not enough opinion poll points or ‘hard-man’ kudos credits from The Sun one would imagine. Seriously though, we all know Miliband’s leadership is on the rocks but this is the lowest of the low – its crass and disgusting opportunism, another example of why those who really want to see value-driven Labour politics need to work to rid the Party of this leadership.
***Anybody under any illusions about the intent of ‘Red Eds’ war on the poor should read this piece where Liam Byrne spells out the details***