January 2014

Benefit to whom?

The welfare state isn't working

1950's Ladywood, posh cars then as now!1950's Ladywood, posh cars then as now!

After this post in which we see that Gisela Stuart, Labour MP for Edgbaston wants local government, to be self financing, we have an upsurge of interest in the lives of inner city people with the Channel-4 programme, Benefits Street. Now it's a funny thing that James Turner Street, the location for the documentary, is a short walk from the Northern edge of Stuart's constituency, which would have a small number of streets in a similar state. However, Edgbaston also has huge numbers of large houses in sought after locations plus a business community. And, of course, it's from these that the money would come to make Edgbaston viable. In this respect Edgbaston is typical not only of Birmingham but most large cities too. By contrast Winson Green has little chance of being viable as it now stands. We would imagine this is why C4 selected it for their programme. In that respect it's ideal; crack that nut if you can! This general distribution of a small number of problem streets across a city means that the pressure for change like financial independence would work.

This brings us to the Department of Work and Pensions and their Universal Credit scheme.


2014, a new year but old propoganda

Will this year mark a watershed in tolerance for old myths?

Do you want ice with that? Do you want ice with that?
So after years of singing the praises of the EU, traditionally seen as the cure of all evils, the Labour party finally gets the message. While in the interests of honest reporting the Guardian puts these pearls of wisdom on the front page! Mind you, I suppose we should have seen it coming. When in between 'saving' the world banking system and selling off the UK gold reserves for a low price Gordon Brown came out with the helpful remark, 'British jobs for British workers'. And it has been downhill ever since. The very idea that there might be votes in this for the Labour party is hypocrisy of the worst sort. We may only assume that Labour took their cue from David Cameron who has yet again shown poor leadership on the same subject.

What is interesting is that many of the comments in the Guardian from readers make it plain that they are not keen on the latest influx of migrants from Romania and Bulgaria. Quite how far this goes remains to be seen but it's not very PC is it? It looks like an increasing number of people have lost their fear and reverence of the EU and having seen the light are now ready to criticise it.