Government by tabloid

January 7, 2009 at 9:15 am | Posted in British Politics, New Labour | 2 Comments

Yesterday, Polly Toynbee dismissed David Cameron’s new tax proposals as “part populism, part poison”. If that’s so, then I hope she’ll react with similar disgust to Hazel Blears’ latest belch of blame-the-poor prattle:

Hit-squads will make early-morning calls to make sure parents are out of bed to get their kids ready for school before heading out to look for work.

They will even turn up with rubber gloves to get families to clean up filthy homes. Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said: “In a recession, there’s no space for freeloaders.

We need a more muscular approach to ways the state intervenes into deliberately-unemployed people’s lives. Young people are often capable of much more than signing on the dole like their parents.”

Let us be clear; these aren’t serious proposals. They’re nowhere to be found in the welfare white paper and would never be adopted in the lifetime of this Parliament. Just leaving questions of privacy and dignity aside (for the poor apparently deserve neither), Blears knew from the moment she spat these words that there is simply no money available for her army of ‘hit squads’, nor is there ever likely to be in the future. In a month from now, I’d be surprised if even Blears will remember giving this interview.

But this stuff apparently counts as a positive headline for a government driven by the impulse to ‘get tough’ on the weak, and so they have no qualms about helping make the terminally unemployed objects of national opprobrium. All because the tory media is so ignorant of working class life that it thinks this TV drama is actually a documentary.

What you have here isn’t government by grown-ups, but the say-anything sneer of a frightened schoolkid who’s trying to please the playground bully.

At this stage, I’m not sure the Labour Party even wants my vote.


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  1. […] have to pause for a moment and ask; is this a policy or a headline? For example, when Hazel Blears announced that ‘hit squads’ armed with rubber gloves would be banging on parents’ doors to […]

  2. […] the truth. We haven’t forgotten 42 day detention, ID cards, Yarl’s Wood or the ‘hit squads‘ of supernannies who were meant to sort out our ‘feckless ‘unemployed. We […]

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