Ah ‘hard working families’ – they are the important ones. Hard working single people, fuck them. Stay at home parents, fuck them. People that work but don’t put in a full shift, fuck them. Unemployed people, fuck them. You get my drift. It is a buzz term that has taken off and indeed has got to a point where even Labour don’t seem to want to represent anyone who don’t fulfil the hard working families criteria.
Speaking in The Guardian, Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves says that Labour are not the party for people on benefits. ‘We are not the party of people on benefits. We don’t want to be seen, and we’re not, the party to represent those who are out of work, Labour are a party of working people, formed for and by working people.’
This seems to me to be exactly the issue that Labour are facing at the moment. They don’t know exactly who and what they stand for. They believe that the country wants a stronger stance against immigration and a tougher stance on benefit scroungers. This is all trumped up by the media who are fuelling this rhetoric in this country and both the written and broadcast media are to blame.
The facts are that immigration is good for the country and those who abuse the benefit system pale into insignificance compared to those who rely on it for a variety of very legitimate reasons. People shouldn’t be chastised or pilloried for being on benefits. To say that a party doesn’t represent those people is not a great place to be.
Labour want to win an election (well, who doesn’t?) but they seem to have a plan of winning the election by putting their stall in whatever place they believe will get the most votes. If that means attacking the benefit system then seemingly so be it. Isn’t that where the Tories want to stand? Isn’t it middle England who apparently look down on those on benefits whilst shopping at Waitrose and cooking on or in an aga? (what is an aga?) Polling though seems to indicate that there is a movement against those on benefits and that means that if you are pro-benefits then there might be votes to be lost.
18 months ago Reeves announced that Labour would be tougher than the Tories when it came to cutting the benefits bill. Wow. ‘It is not an either/or question. We would be tougher [than the Conservatives]. If they don’t take it [the offer of a job] they will forfeit their benefit. But there will also be the opportunities there under a Labour government.’
She speaks about reducing the amount of food banks, which is something I think we all want to see, but only because we want to see the need for them reduce and end entirely. She blames the rise of food banks on the benefit system and delays and the tightening of sanctions against those who abuse the system/get trapped in the system. That isn’t an unfair point but she argues that she’ll be even tougher on benefits and cutting the welfare bill. Which is it? It can’t be both…
Either Labour are the party who’ll be tough on welfare or they’ll be the party who understands the importance of the benefits system. You can’t have fingers in both pies and give a different version of events depending on which section of the electorate that you want to talk to that day.
The truth is Labour should win this election outright but they aren’t going to do so. Ed Miliband is an issue as is Ed Balls. People don’t trust them on the economy and that is always a big issue when it comes to elections but whilst the economy is turning around and growing, the benefits of that are only just starting to filter through.
Many people aren’t feeling the benefits at all and they are the people that need a helping hand and not condemnation for the situation that they find themselves in. The cutting of council budgets is hitting hard and that should be a key issue this election but it is being shunned for reasons that I can’t really fathom.
If though your whole pitch is geared for ‘hard working families’ and the grey vote then you might struggle to get over the 325 MP threshold. If Labour went down the line of old Labour and made this election more of an ideological battle then they would arguably be in a better position than they are right now. The Green Party have long be seen as the home of disaffected Lib Dem voters but they are really ‘Old Labour’ in all but name and they will appeal to old school socialists.
I know exactly what the Lib Dems stand for. I know what the Tories stand for. I know what UKIP stand for. I even know what the Green’s stand for but I don’t know exactly what or who Labour stand for. It seems to be different depending on what vote they are courting that day and that is no way to run a campaign let alone a country.
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