Tag Archives: Conservative Party

George Osborne’s Welfare Cuts: A Necessary Step

There are plenty of opportunities out there to get some form of qualifications and work your way up towards an average salary which is able to support a small family. Not only is having a job beneficial to the economy, but it also creates a positive atmosphere in a particular community and in the nation as a whole.

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the welfare state is proof of god

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During his Party Conference speech on the 8th of October George Osborne has proclaimed that the Government will press ahead with plans to cut £10 billion from the welfare budget by 2016-17 on top of the £18 billion cuts already under way. Osborne has secured the agreement of Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, something he said would be necessary in order to avoid additional cuts in other Whitehall departments. The announcement, made in Osborne’s speech to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, will set the Tories on collision with their Liberal Democrat coalition partners.

Nick Clegg told his party’s conference last month that he would not allow “wild suggestions” of a £10 billion cut in welfare, while Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said, “We simply will not allow the books to be balanced in a way that hits the poorest hardest.”

The rhetoric by George Osborne will undoubtedly create new tensions between the political right and left, between the supporters of cuts and the supporters of spending to kick start the economy. It is perhaps too easy to claim that George Osborne is taking a typical Conservative means to end the deficit – cut the funding to the poorest while the rich are left unscathed. I am going to lay down all my cards on the table and truthfully say that I am personally not a fan of the Conservatives. In fact I am a member of the Green Party therefore in theory I should despise any policies put forward by the Tories. However, George Osborne and his team are onto something with their idea on cutting the welfare budget and in this article I will explain why.

When I immigrated to Britain in 2001 from Russia, I was surprised to learn that thousands of people in this country are able to be unemployed yet still live fairly comfortably. In Russia, if a citizen does not have a job, chances are he may end up on the streets. Even as a young child back then I was proud that a country like Britain looks after their citizens who were unlucky enough to be jobless. But as I grew older I realised an uncomfortable truth, that many of these jobless citizens chose to be unemployed and made the jobseekers benefits their life choice. As I studied the whole purpose of the welfare system, I learned that benefits were meant to be a safety net for the society rather than something people jump on in order to escape employment and watch Jeremy Kyle instead. It angered me that some people choose to live their whole life on welfare benefits and I began supporting the Conservative Party for a number of years.

Yet even now, as a centre-left individual, I believe that there should be cuts to the welfare budget. Having watched a programme recently on a council estate in Blackburn and having heard some young people on the programme claim that they are on benefits “because it’s just easier than getting up early every morning” I thought it was time for the government to take some measures.

George Osborne put forward an idea that families who have children for the sake of receiving child benefits will also feel the full wrath of the welfare cuts. Once again, I have to agree that this is a necessary action to take.  In my short lifetime, I have lived in some poor areas and I was saddened to see poor families having children for the sake of having more cash rather than because they genuinely wanted to create a family. Not only am I a believer that it is wrong to bring children into this world if you are not able to financially support them, but I am also a believer that bringing up children without fully understanding the responsibilities it will entail to bring these children up properly will create a nasty vicious circle. This circle goes round as follows: a financially poor mother has a child, the father of the child is long gone, the mother is unable (or does not want to) bring her child up properly, the child grows up with no respect towards society and his country and thus also takes the life of a benefit scrounger and/or a criminal.

Ultimately it is important to change the culture of Britain. Irrespective of my leftward-leaning ideology, I am happy to announce my belief that some citizens of this country must stop relying on Jobseeker’s Allowance and child benefit to get through life. There are plenty of opportunities out there to get some form of qualifications and work your way up towards an average salary which is able to support a small family. Not only is having a job beneficial to the economy, but it also creates a positive atmosphere in a particular community and in the nation as a whole.

Having said all of that, I undoubtedly understand that the current economic situation in Britain is dire and the rate of unemployment is high. Of course citizens who genuinely cannot find a job must receive benefits in order to support themselves while they search for employment. Nevertheless, there are far too many people who see benefits as “free money” rather than a safety net, and against all odds, I am therefore supporting the policies by George Osborne to cut the welfare budget.

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Photo credit: Bettysnake

The Leveson Inquiry & Tony Blair’s Dignity

Behind the LOL’s, BSKYB bid and phone hacking, what has the Leveson Inquiry disclosed to the public about the way Prime Ministers wish to communicate with their citizens?

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Tony Blair at the Leveson Inquiry

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[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hilst ongoing, the Leveson Inquiry can conflate a multitude of issues within its broad terms of reference. One issue of great significance is the assessment of any patterns of behaviour that were antithetical to open, fair and transparent decision-making. This therefore requires the evaluation of relationships between press and politicians in the past few decades and to assist with this topic, Tony Blair gave evidence to module 3 of the Inquiry earlier in the month. There remain many reasons why one may be at variance with Blair’s substance and style of government. Some of these could include the processes his media management operation enacted, especially towards the end of his premiership. After his testimony he was predictably dismissed and criticised by his detractors in the press. They presented him with a charge sheet that suggested he and the party acted without dignity, were part of a conscious deception, created artificial news through leaks and briefings, damaged opponents, perverted facts, bullied, fed the media a desperate diet of anti-news and precipitated the nadir of trust between the public and newspaper reporting.

Yet was New Labour’s communication strategy inappropriate when the media can be considered the significant factor in determining a governments tone, presentation and possibly even electoral success? New Labour had a frightening context to consider with when they began in 1994. Neil Kinnock believed that “for the Labour Party, all trails trace back to the media.” The 1992 election campaign saw memorable, personal attacks on Kinnock. Lord McAlpine, Conservative Party treasurer, wrote that the heroes of the 1992 campaign were Sir David English, Sir Nicholas Lloyd, Kelvin MacKenzie and other editors of the grander Tory Press. In 1992, the Conservative Party was supported by Rupert Murdoch’s three News International papers as well as Sir Nicholas Lloyd’s Daily Express and Conrad Black’s Daily Telegraph. When the Today newspaper decided to support the Conservatives, News International had gifted the Conservative Party with a combined circulation of over 10 million, with the Conservatives securing 70% of circulation to the Labour Party’s 27%. The influence of these newspapers on the outcome of the election remains widely contested. What is hardly contestable was, that when Tony Blair took over the leadership in 1994, Labour had to contend with a culture in which the electorate were not just being “lied to, they were systematically denied the facts on which they might have been able to form a sensible judgement,” as made clear by Ian Aitkin. This accounts for New Labour’s media policy that commentators have claimed constituted a project of malevolent self presentation but those who were part of it maintain it was just the creation of a ‘permanent campaign’.

Whether the party acted proportionally is still questioned; there still remains no substantial evidence that policy concessions, amendments or a “Faustian pact” were offered to any media proprietors. I believe they reacted with equal and opposite force to that exerted on it previously and they did this in order to neutralise negative and inaccurate reporting.

Blair was not ashamed when the inquiry came to the party’s media policy. He gave a testimony that commanded and captivated. It was a demonstration of why the modernisation of the Labour brand secured electoral success – it was presided over by a “great actor manager.” The extravagant fake hands were salient and the offensive, confident self-belief striking. It was also a testimony that not merely defended but was an unapologetic doctrine supporting realpolitik.

Blair’s evidence rekindles memories of an historic era that the current political parties need not replicate with as much virulence as New Labour did. Interaction and obsession with the press (in particular those that have lowered the tone and quality of British press) to the extent seen in the past is no longer as beneficial for politicians, the media or the public. Those at Westminster and in the press share the dubious honour of maintaining the lowest levels of public trust between all professions across the country. Yet Westminster may soon be hand delivered recommendations that could “eradicate the cancer” in the British media. This is even more likely as Lord Justice Leveson is keen to make a lasting change that transcends the current media panic and the excitability of media historians. If the recommendations are robust then the realpolitik in this age will be to grant them Royal Assent as soon as possible. There is an opportunity to begin a definitive alteration in the relative power of press and parliament, in favour of the latter.