It was interesting to read this article by the Independent online which highlights the discrepancy between what voters think are the statistics on welfare and benefits and the reality. The piece brought to mind two conversations I overheard this week on the subject of the budget. One was at a family funeral when I heard a member of my family talking about how the Government have to crack down on benefit scroungers. I did have some sympathy; the said family member is a farmer who will be up by 5am facing a long working day and all the frustrations of decreasing prices and cut throat supermarkets making every day life a struggle for survival. Meanwhile the media spawns articles and documentaries featuring families,usually obese and gobby, with at least thirteen kids none of which express any intention of ever getting a job, living in a luxury house, claiming £80, 000 in benefits, surrounded by flat screen TVs and play stations! I guess at some point the commentator will intone, "this is life in benefits Britain"; it really is calculated to incite outrage at a time when money is short and people are suffering. The other conversation was between Mr M and a shop manager (I was trying on a swimsuit) which was quite amusing as they started discussing the budget and Mr M is as left as they come while this woman was decrying everything from the new living wage, which she felt would force her out of business, to benefits claimants, immigrants and "foreign doctors" who speak with an accent.
So given the outcome of the General Election, perhaps it was unsurprising to hear Harriet Harman first jumping on the welfare bandwagon and saying Labour would back tax credit cuts. Maybe it was equally predictable that she would retract this after an outcry from party members. I feel Harman is entirely motivated by expediency rather than conviction, I have no sympathy whatsoever and no wonder Labour are in the shit! I just don't know whether to be depressed or just to react with bemusement as I did when overhearing the two conversations above.
In general things don't really look great, but at least the summer holidays have started for me- we go back mid August before anyone starts to rant about lazy teachers- and also our younger son has just found out he has done very well in his first year exams. That will do for my feel good factor for now.