So, no more Mr Nice Guy then. David Cameron’s Britain looks set to become an unforgiving kind of place. Welcome immigrants – but only the right kind of immigrants and not too many of them. And lets stop wasting tax on wasters – drug addicts, alcoholics, and the overweight – so they get off benefits and into work. I think it is time to invoke Michael Moore’s brilliantly wicked People’s Prayer (No, of course not that Michael Moore…I mean the author of Stupid White Men).
Heavenly Father, we pray that all white leaders … who believe black people have it good these days be risen from their sleep tomorrow morning with their skin as black as a stretch limo so that they may enjoy the riches and reap the bountiful fruits of being black in America [or, for that matter, not-so-Great Britain].
Michael Moore goes on to observe how politicians can drop their prejudices when the facts of their family life change – to give just one example, Dick Cheney stopped most of his anti-gay rhetoric when his daughter came out of the closet.
I am not forgetting Mr Cameron has had his own family sorrows which no-one would have wished on him. But maybe a day or two in the skin of someone poor, needy or otherwise afflicted (a single parent, a recovering alcoholic, an unemployed school leaver perhaps?) would be an educational experience for the Old Etonian.
As an astute PR man, Cameron combines self-righteous rhetoric with sensible observations: it’s not in the best interests of people suffering addiction to be ‘left to die’ on welfare support. It makes much more sense to provide help and support towards a more fulfilling and productive life. But the new Tory populism increasingly portrays welfare as wasteful indulgence and presents social need (whatever the causes) as scrounging. It is a peculiarly narrow view of life that sees alcoholism as a lifestyle choice.
Labour’s nanny state has been replaced by the Tory’s censorious school prefect. There is more than a hint of punishment about many of the cuts the coalition are making to welfare support. Quite apart from the morality, it doesn’t make practical sense to cut benefits without making sure there are jobs to go to.
I don’t suppose I was the only one who did not believe Chris Grayling’s confident claim on C4 news tonight that they will be able to help people off incapacity benefit and into work. At a time when there are five applicants for every job vacancy?
Stupid White Men are not confined to the other side of the Atlantic.
1 comment April 21st, 2011