Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

Why do men of God mistake handouts for compassion?


The bishops in the House of Lords have proven how confused they are by defeating the Government again yesterday over the long due Welfare Reform Bill, ably devised by Iain Duncan Smith. The Bill will eventually be returned to the House of Commons where the Government has promised the amendments will be overturned.

Paying someone, who is perfectly capable of work, £60,000 to sit at home and do nothing is not right. The Government has proposed legislation to bring in a benefits cap of £26,000, which because this is tax free, is equivalent to a salary of £35,000. If I was in charge, the benefit cap would be far lower. Let’s be frank here: being on benefits should not be a pleasant experience. It should be a worse life than having a job so one is motivated to get back into work as soon as possible and save us all billions of pounds a year. The bishops should realise that handouts which provide a comfortable living for a family which many hard working families cannot afford is not compassionate: it is exactly what drives despair for the people trapped in dependency and ruins an economy for the rest of us. 
Unemployment is going up for the British indigenous population but is going down for economic migrants to this country. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, called it the ‘Pret a Manger phenomenon’ after he noticed how there were hardly any ‘native’ Londoners serving him in Pret a Manager shops. I have seen this myself and can report I have never been served by anybody other than a chirpy polite hard-working foreigner. 
The wider point Boris was making is the private jobs are there but British people don’t want to take them.
Therefore, we have to make it much harder for the indigenous population and the newly identified 370,000 immigrants to want to collect state handouts. 
As a nation, we also need to get more accustomed to moving to where the work is. It’s what my parents did in the 1980s and what I did in the early 2000s when I moved to Ipswich. There is terrible mindset in some towns which means people are born, grow up and expect to find work for life in the same town. What century do they think we live in – the 18th?
The Government, of course, is pleased with the defeat it has suffered in the Lords. The public are full square behind them and the Labour Party know they are on a hiding to nothing if they oppose the very sensible benefits caps proposal. The Government will win the day, using the Parliament Act to force through the legislation if necessary. And because of the ‘noise’ created by the Upper House the public will actually notice the policy being brought into effect. The Conservatives (we all know Wally does not like the policy) will then be duly rewarded at the ballot box.

UPDATE: Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, backs the Government on Welfare Reform in this brilliantly written article:


Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

2 thoughts on “Why do men of God mistake handouts for compassion?

  1. Interestingly George Carey, the former Archbishop from an ordinary background, disagrees with today's clerics because he sees the massive debt bequeathed by Labour as evil – not the common sense welfare reforms it has caused.

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