...see what your opponents are saying. On a Sunday morning rather than turning to Andrew Rawnsley or Will Hutton to reinforce your prejudices, perhaps you should have a look at what most people are reading. Never a bad philosophy, but this morning more apt than ever.
Over in the News of the World the well connected and respected Fraser Nelson lets rip on the Welfare State. "No civilised country should rely on immigrants to do the work, while paying its own people to claim dole in council estates" Mr Nelson writes.
Today's op-ed is based on a report by the Centre for Social Justice (Iain Duncan Smith's deceptively titled outfit) which called for £100 Billion worth of spending cuts.
It is a familiar right-wing populist assault on single mothers. Here's what he says:
A girl who does 30 hours hard graft on the minimum wage has a disposable income of just £61 a week.
With one child on benefits, she gets a house and £131 a week. With two kids: £186 a week. Three: £236 a week. This is more than a receptionist, lab technician or post office worker. With five kids it’s £22,000 a year—the average wage. It’s a no-brainer. Do you slog your guts out for a low-pay, low-prestige job? Or take the easier route and start breeding?
And to top it off there's one more selectively chosen fact:
Since Labour came to power MOST new UK jobs have been filled by workers born outside of Europe.
There's no doubt this stuff resonates. Added to the rhetoric from Gordon Brown and many Trade Unions about 'British jobs for British workers', it all contributes to a fertile atmosphere for a backlash against progressive values.
Posted on Bevan Foundation blog on March 8th 2009