Some may have seen the heralded new star of Labour speaking on Monday. 16 year-old Rory Weal comes from a broken home, the house he grew up in was repossessed and it was only thanks to the welfare state that he wasn’t on the street knifing people with guns in gangs. I may have used some poetic license there but basically his family run out of cash and thanks to the welfare state they weren’t on the street.
However today the Daily Mail did a bit of an exposé on the kid and whilst he clearly had help from the welfare state in times of trouble he’s not exactly as bad off as he made out.
His dad was a millionaire and he grew up in a house worth over a million pounds. His dad lost the lot and his parents split up. He was pulled out of his posh private school because they couldn’t afford it any more. Luckily he got accepted to a grammar school, which Labour are actually opposed to but obviously that is only ideologically and when push comes to shove parents and students believe that they’ll probably get a better education there than they would at a local comprehensive so ideology out the window when it’s so close to home.
He now lives in a nice house in the suburbs with his mum and eight year-old sister. Not exactly on the bread line. Look I know the welfare state is for all – even the upper and middle classes if they fall on bad times. That is one of the great things about the welfare state that it is there for all as and when they ever need it. My problem is he made himself out to be someone that he wasn’t. He made himself out to be someone on the very bottom rung of society financially but he wasn’t. If he is the face of the welfare state then I think it is fair to say that it is false advertising.
Surely Labour would have done their background checks and known all this but you’d guess they didn’t otherwise they would never have let him speak. I just saw a tweet as I was typing this from @_gaylussite saying, ‘Rory Weal owes far more to free market capitalism and Baroness Thatcher than he does to Labour and the welfare state.’ and that is true. He got the start in life due to his dads business and the free market. Does he not think that is more important than a bit of help when he skirted near bad waters?
I know personally how the welfare state can essentially keep a roof over a families head. I have been there myself. So I will never knock the welfare state but really is this young man the right face for Labour to hang their hat on with regards to the welfare state? I’d say no and this has turned out to be a very bad move by the party.
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