Dear George Osborne, I Am Not A Sociopath

Dear George,

I would like to address your comments that have been in the national media today, Thursday 4th April.

When asked whether Mick Philpott, the now-notorious killer of six of his seventeen children, behaved in the way that he did as a result of the benefits system in the UK, you replied:

“It’s right we ask questions as a Government, a society and as taxpayers, why we are subsidising lifestyles like these.”
Now I am not the Government, so cannot ask the question ‘as the Government’, but as a member of society and as a taxpayer, I can ask the following questions myself, and seek to offer the following reassurances that I am not a sociopath.

Firstly, while we’re making sweeping assessments about what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ and what ‘should’ and ‘should not’ be funded from taxpayers money, let’s have a glance around.

As a member of society and as a tax payer, why am I funding lifestyles like, say, Iain Duncan Smith claiming £39 on a breakfast, while I queue in a food bank for an hour in the freezing cold to collect a can of chopped tomatoes, some pasta, and some haricot beans? Why does 20% of my salary go towards these gross excesses, when I cannot afford to feed myself?

How about Sir Peter Vigger’s £1,165 ‘floating pond feature’ for his duck pond? Or for £41,000 of furniture for the Care Services Minister, Phil Hope’s small London flat?

Why, as a taxpayer and as a member of society, am I paying for second and third homes, for soundproofing of bedrooms of MPs daughters, for Laura Ashley curtains for other people, when I have no curtains myself?

Why, as a taxpayer and as a member of society, am I paying for prisoners to have Playstations and to paint their walls in pretty colours, when I have had to cancel my own TV license because I cannot afford the bill?

You talk about excesses and abuses (and to my knowledge no Member of Parliament has murdered his or her children), but to read the Judges speech at Mick Philpotts sentencing today shows a deep, dark insight into the life of a man for whom money may have been a motivating factor, but not the only one. A man obsessed with his young mistress, a man to whom the idea of ‘heroically’ saving his children from a house fire that he started himself. This is not the behaviour of an ordinary man, and should not be used as an example to castigate us all. If you use benefits as a factor, you may as well use his hair colour, or the first initial of his name, for all the relevance it has to his mindset.

You ask why the taxpayers and members of society should be funding this level of depravity, of self-obsession, of injustice – and I ask you, Mr Osborne, to look around you. I ask you to get your own House in order before you start to point fingers at every single mother in the land who claims £20.30 a week in Child Benefit, with your implication, your dividing and ruling tactic, that welfare claimants are scroungers, and hard-working people should be terrified of them all.

Receiving £20.30 a week in Child Benefit does not drive one to fantasise about murder and deception.

I do not doubt that it is true that Mick Philpott would not have been able to sustain his lifestyle without the financial support of the welfare state.

In the same way, your own colleagues, Members of Parliament, would not be able to sustain their own lifestyles without the support of the very same taxpayers. Why do you seem to forget that the ‘squeezed middle’ provide for those at the top, as well as those at the bottom, while freezing and starving themselves?

In your accusation of ‘lifestyles like these’, you are judging every single mother that claims £20.30 per week in Child Benefit, or those who earn so little that they claim Housing Benefit – 80% of new claimants of Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance are in work, for your information.

By using the most extreme example as a justification for castigating and bastardising the welfare state, you undermine your own argument and moreover, undermine every single decent, honest person that is in the unfortunate position of having to declare every penny that moves through their bank accounts in order to claim Housing Benefit, or Child Benefit, or any other benefit.

I took the BBC Class Calculator test yesterday, twice. The first time, I answered it as to my current circumstances. I work full time, on minimum wage. I am a single parent to a three year old boy, who attends a nursery while I work. His childcare fees are partly covered by the Childcare element of Working Tax Credits, and I currently receive £20.30 a week in Child Benefit. I rent my home, and currently do not receive any Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit.

I am currently in the lowest social class, that the BBC Class Calculator defines as ‘precariat’.

I also answered it as though I had travelled back in time two years, to my £27,000 a year job and no childcare fees. Under those circumstances, I was the Technical Middle Class.

It is fair to say, then, that I have seen both sides of the coin. And that I am not a sociopath. This hasn’t been assessed by a medical professional, but I am self-assured enough to know that I do not fantasise about burning down my house or murdering my child. Such qualities do not manifest themselves in any decent character, with ones giros, benefit payments, welfare, or handouts.

I understand that the welfare system in this country is in desperate need of reform, and that it is no longer fit for the purpose it was intended. I do not support the hyperbolic public petition for Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 per week, because I honestly don’t think that he is open-minded enough to learn anything from it.

However, I would like you to take five minutes to get inside the head of a real life benefit claimant, and understand that life on the downward slope, freezing, starving, and applying for jobs every single day, is a much more typical example of ‘what the Government, taxpayer and society are subsidising’ than the Mick Philpotts of this world.

I suggest you visit the link below, and type the words ‘Hunger Hurts’ into the search bar.

Yours, without hysterics and hyperbole,

Ms Jack Monroe

http://www.agirlcalledjack.com

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Categories: Blog

47 Comments »

  1. I do see your point, Jack – not least because of the whole narrative around what used to be called “benefits” but is now labelled as the far more emotive “welfare”. But I do think that Osborn wasn’t really talking about people like you and me, but about people with no boundaries, far too many children and more than one partner. At least I hope so.

    • Coerlion, the problem is Oborne using these extreme examples to ‘start a debate’ about benefits has only one intention, to reduce benefits across the board. He might be talking about Philpott, but the impact will be much wider. And that’s leaving aside how distasteful it is to think about whether benefits should go to ‘those sort of people’ (I’m referring to Osborne here, not you) – the implication being that some people are not worth supporting (back to Victorian ideals of the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor) If someone has several children and is on benefits, should we then allow the children to starve? Take them away from their parents? The idea that Philpott is in any way representative of parents on benefits is so utterly ludicrous it’s amazing Osbourne hasn’t been laughed out of office for suggesting so.

      • Justin – I do understand what you’re saying and it’s an old Tory ploy. Last time they were in, it was “unmarried mothers” who were the target of the benefits debate. That attitude was finally their undoing, as I hope their “strivers and skivers” targeting will be their undoing in 2015.

        By then, the damage will have been done. No incoming government will roll back the legislation of the last one – they tend to just graft new policies onto the old. Remember Nick Clegg’s “Great Reform Bill”? Where is that now?

        Exceptions, like Mick Philpotts and the other lady mentioned below, are not isolated. The ignorance implicit in having so many children is … well, let’s just say it’s “old fashioned”. The idea that one’s manhood is demonstrated by the number of children one has, particularly sons, is incredibly out of date. A return to Victorian values indeed. The culture has moved on.

        Now, if we could just get the Churches to agree that no child should be brought into the world to suffer, that we have the means to prevent it and that it is a good thing to use it, we may see a huge reduction in the kind of ignorance that produces 10+ children in any one family.

        Of course, that would require a sea change in society as a whole – the acceptance that teenagers do all kinds of things that their parents disapprove of and that they should be supported in avoiding life changing consequences would be a start.

        In that way, there would not have to be a debate around “should the children be left to starve?”

        What’s not really understood is that welfare is the price we pay for a – comparatively! – low crime rate. When people are starving and destitute, they steal in order to eat. We’re not there yet, but if the Government continues its war on the poor, we will be before you know it.

        Now *that’s* a return to Victorian values. But unfortunately Australia isn’t taking our deported criminals any more. Selfish of them, obviously …

    • So define “far too many children” Coerdelion, is it more than 2, 3 4? And what if someone loses their husband or they divorce, that person cant then find happiness with someone else and have more children? It is always easy to judge when it only affects somebody else.

      • Leara – I’m a divorced mother of three. Brought them up on my own, worked when I could, but childcare even then was expensive, so that wasn’t very often. Frankly, I don’t really object to benefits only being available for up to two children. There are far too many people in the world already and I really don’t see that it’s useful to bring in any more so that they can starve and suffer. I’m a hard liner on this, having seen the consequences of babies born to addicted and selfish parents. No doubt I’ll be be very unpopular for saying this!

      • @Leara they can indeed have more children, but should the state have to pay for them? We could go to the Dickensian extreme of taking away surplus children, but I think most people would agree that would cause more problems than it would solve. We have an awkward predicament; we are in a recession and there is a shortage of jobs so more people are relying on benefits with seemingly no way out of this vicious circle. The Philpotts are among a tiny feckless minority, but because they represent an extreme example, the tabloids have a field day with that story and thus distort the proportion of how many people actually live like this. I am single with no children, I work full time (ergo am a taxpayer) and just about make ends meet – I am a typical example of ‘the squeezed middle’. If I found out I was pregnant tomorrow, do I think I’m in a financial position to bring up a child? Hell no!

        And this is the crux of the matter. Want vs Need. “I want a large family” is absolutely fine, if you’re the one footing the bill.

        I have friends in a similar financial position to me who are married with one child and wondering whether they can realistically afford to have a second child with their combined salaries and career prospects. Given the current outlook, their son is going to be an only child for quite a while. So the view from the squeezed middle is that there is currently a financial incentive to have a large family. More kids, more money.

        My Mum is of the slightly harsh opinion that you should receive full child benefit for the first 2, nothing for the 3rd and if you have a 4th then you lose all child benefits, because if you can afford to bring up 4 children, then you do not need child benefits. Part of me is inclined to agree with her. In this day and age, there should be no ‘accidents’. We have an array of contraceptive options, from condoms to the Pill to the implant to the coil to good old fashioned ‘keeping it in your knickers’. But because I am a namby pamby liberal, I think that this system would only serve to punish children, and whether they are the 1st or 15th child, it is not their fault if they are the product of the small minority of people looking to exploit the benefits system. So I propose the amendment of cash benefits for the first 2 children and a voucher system for any subsequent children. Vouchers can be spent on anything from fruit and veg to school uniforms, because in my utopia, child benefit should indeed should be of benefit to the child.

        You can scoff at my naive middle class-ish-ness, but know this: my grandmother worked all her adult life in a bookmakers in Bermondsey – she and my mum would watch on ‘pay day’ as men would come straight out of the benefits office, cash in hand and go to one of two places – the bookies or the pub. Usually both. They’d eventually go home when they were broke and/or drunk. The wife and kids never saw a penny of that money. I don’t doubt that this still goes on today in some form or other.

      • Well no-one seems to have a problem with lavishing politicians with golden handshakes at early retirement of funding their over the top lifestyles or tax breaks for the already rich (not a lot of whom actually earned all their money, most got a great deal of inheritance to boost them off). Peoples circumstances change. Someone may have started their family, had a good job, had 4 plus children, then tragedy struck and it all fell apart…. what it comes down to is it is NEVER the children’s fault and by punishing the parents you are punishing the children who are completely innocent.

      • Oh I’d say I have a pretty big problem with over inflated salaries and tax breaks for the exceedingly rich. The country’s finances are in dire straits and they’re cutting the top rate of tax for their best chums, while people at the bottom are struggling to keep a roof over their head and feed themselves/their family. A combination of brutal cuts and and lack of investment and stalling the econony, so new jobs aren’t being created, making it ever more difficult for those out of work to find a job. I don’t think ‘screwed’ even covers it. But there is a big difference between the family of 6 who suddenly fell on hard times and the “It’s ok, I don’t need to get a job, I’ll just have a baby and the council will give me a house and benefits.” We need a system that supports the former but cannot be exploited by the latter. I am more than happy for my taxes to be spent taking care of a family who are going through a rough patch (be it redundancy, illness etc) who need financial support until a job comes up. There are a lot of people stuck in that predicament at the moment, or need welfare payments to supplement their wages. I think most rational people would be in support of that (although we’d hope that employers would pay a living wage). But equally, if you have fallen on hard times and perhaps already have 1 or 2 children, is then really the right time to start having more? Should someone else have to pick up the tab just because you want to expand your brood? I’m all for financially supporting children already born (or already on the way), but for those that are still separate sperms and eggs, now really isn’t the time to be uniting them and making more babies.

  2. Yes, a good letter, I think the ministers condemning poor people’s benefitd tend to forget their own extravagant expense claims.

  3. I agree Mr Philpott is a very dis-functional human being indeed.

    I fail, however, to make the quantum leap between his lifestyle and the inference that all others on benefits must be of similar ilk. There are good and bad people on benefits, good and bad people in all other social strata, and good and bad people in Parliament – not divided along party lines!

    Where I do diverge is in my personal view that Ian Duncan-Smith is fundamentally a decent man trying to do the impossible in reforming the benefits system. There will always be winners and losers, but few would disagree that simplification of a horribly complex labyrinth of welfare payments is necessary.

    As for social class pigeonholing, I haven’t a clue where I fit in as a classical music loving bloke who is a part-time postie.

  4. George Osbourne isn’t saying that everyone claiming benefits is a sociopath any more than he is saying everyone with a job is a upstanding law abiding citizen. The Philpot case is an extreme example of how the benefits system can be abused. Instead of being the safety net that was intended when the idea was originally conceived it has become for many their chosen lifestyle. This belief is in many cases being passed from generation to generation.

    The fact that the Philpots lived on a generous welfare allowance is unfortunately relevant to this very tragic story, obviously his hair colour etc. is not. Few middle class working families could afford to parent six children as their resources would be stretched far beyond breaking point by doing so, fathering seventeen children would be inconceivable. The Philpots were unrestricted by such considerations as the current welfare system operates to the contrary, basically the more children you have, the more assistance you receive.

    The Philpot children tragically lost their lives due to the idiocy and recklessness of their parents. These people lacked the intelligence to predict the results of their actions just as the mother of Shannon Mathews was unable to comprehend the moral implications of faking her daughters disappearance.

    • Shannon Mathews and Mick philpott both share a characteristic, they both have sociopathic tendencies. A simple Google search of ‘personality disorders’ will provide you with further knowledge on this subject. Decisions of lifestyle and behaviour are (to a nurotypical/sociotypical individual) driven by healthy desires and aspirations. The natural instinct to ‘protect’ your children is at the centre of ‘most’ parents actions and intentions regardless of whether that person is in receipt of benefits or not. A distinctions should always be made between working benefits. non working benefits, mental health and the cognitive behaviour of an individual who is unemployed for large amounts of their life. The Chancellor failed to do this in his statement, This is telling of the Tory attitude to the poor and their attempt to demonise benefit claimants with no regard to individual circumstances or the Tory front bench attempt to please their back bench MP’s who are driven by even less humanistic forces.

      In the spirit of making sweeping generalisations, i would like to explore the misanthropic, elitist and sociopathic tendencies of the entire Tory party. A mental health paper could be produced on the matter. oh! there already is….

      • Not wishing to be pedantic but you are referring to Karen Mathews, who incidentally is according to the tabloid newspaper that appeared on my search, is the mother of seven children to five fathers, thats one child and one father more than extreme example I came up with in my previous reply, you quite literally couldn’t make it up!
        I agree with your point regarding most parents having good intentions regardless of being in receipt of benefits or not. To be fair to the chancellor it would of been difficulty for him to “cover all bases” in his statement. I would imagine that given the fact that you view the entire Tory party as “haters of humankind” amongst other things its safe to say that you would not of been trying to glean anything positive from his comments!

      • Mick, I don’t view the Tory party as ‘haters of humankind’ at all. I fundamentally disagree with a considerable amount of their policies and principles. But I don’t judge them all together. My Nan is a Tory, and she’s a sweetheart. So are some of my best friends. But that’s by the by – back to your original point, I don’t deny that people who abuse the welfare system exist. In the same way, people abuse expenses, avoid taxes – where there are decent people living within the rules, there will always be people who seek to bend them and push the boundary.

        The Chancellor chooses every word he says very carefully, and his implication that Mick Philpott was typical of the welfare state was a considered and deliberate one.

      • Jack, i was responding to Jaymans post in which he used the word misanthropic, i had to dig the dictionary out for that one! Agreed in the main, i just wonder if Ed balls had made the same comments it would of sparked such controversy?

      • I’d have torn the same strips off anyone that made the comments – my issue here isn’t party political at all, it’s the vulgarity of him using the deaths of six innocent children to capitalise on a political point about welfare.

    • As you say, the Philpotts are an *extreme* example. I have yet to see evidence, outside the type of anecdotal evidence beloved of certain (so-called) newspapers that this the chosen lifestyle of “many.” So George Osbourne is being somewhat disingenuous in his claim. He is clearly inviting us to draw conclusions that are unwarranted by the evidence – and smearing some rather vulnerable people in the process. This government is doing its best to draw us to make moral judgements on those claiming benefits and those in work, in spite of the fact that these are far from mutually exclusive groups.

      • The evidence is plain to see, surely you don’t deny the existence of these people? I don’t need to read the daily mail for or listen to the present government for guidance on this subject, i can simply walk the length of my local high street and i’ll see plenty of evidence. Burying your head in the sand and pretending that the problem doesn’t exist will only serve to further promote this lifestyle to subsequent generations of young adults who have been unfortunate enough to have the likes of the Philpots as role models.

        Any reasonably intelligent person should be able to differentiate between someone who chooses to live on benefits on a permanent basis and someone who genuinely requires assistance. An example would be at one end of the spectrum a single mother with one young child and at the other a single mother who has six children by four different fathers. Lynch me for saying it but the latter is surely taking the pi@@!

      • As long as we have employers paying minimum wage, home landlords charging exorbitant rents for squalid accommodation and an economy based on over inflated house prices that no mortal can afford, then expect working benefits to be a ‘long term’ feature in peoples lives..

        This is why no Tory politician will make this distinction/observation while making damning statements to what they allude to as one ‘benefit’ (see George Osborn’s statement). Our economy is competing against china and India. Mass Poverty, no welfare system, No or little corporate legislation.

        This is the Tory dream and everyone else’s vivid nightmare.

        The Tories are drawing a political road map towards social unrest, mass unemployment/underemployment and decades of poor economic output while masterfully using false logic and social scapegoats to distract from their inability to responsibly govern or protect the country in any way..

        “sorry jack. you can have your blog back lol”

  5. It’s a good letter but I don’t think George Osbourne, whilst I do not agree with all of his comments or his timing, was suggesting that all people who take advantage of the current system.

    Mick Philpott did not claim any benefits of his own – but instead had those of his wife and girlfriend paid into his account. The police knew of the family situation and Mick Philpotts character and yet social services were not involved with those poor children.

    I think the focus should be on the children, the lack of protection afforded to them and how we can ensure that any children in the same situation are protected in the future. Mr and Mrs Philpott were clearly not parent material by any stretch of the imagination.

    The benefits system is there to assist those whose need it. I believe it should be there in the short term not long term – how that it policed is for a person better than I to explain.

  6. Jack, as I`ve mentioned before on here – don`t get me started on this government.
    Assholes really do come in all shapes and sizes!
    X

  7. Ok, fair point BUT .I am ex military, 24 yrs Parachute Regiment and have NEVER had a penny off the state. Where I was brought up , I was surrounded by benefit scroungers who have never worked in their life (and I joined up in 72 as a boy soldier). They STILL sit in my local pub in the same old seats doing the same old things and it pisses me off big time. Now if they want to have a lifestyle like that its up to them I suppose BUT, the irony is, they have a better quality of life than I do. They go on holiday (whats that) and I don’t. They’ve got cars as good as mine and its all because they know what ticks to put in the box when applying for social aid. I HAVEN’T GOT A FKN CLUE cos Ive NEVER been out of work.

  8. A nicely written letter that entirely fails to see the point. Osbourne is not saying that everyone on benefits is a sociopath – no one could reasonably draw that conclusion; rather that many people use the welfare system so as not to have to do anything for themselves, preferring that the state (via the taxpayer) keeps them in the manner to which they have become accustomed. And whilst I agree that MPs thoroughly abuse the system it is a drop in the ocean compared to welfare payments. That by no means justifies the behavior; rather both things need to be addressed.
    I would also ask you directly if the father of the child contributes? If not, why not? The courts (and I have direct experience here) are pretty hard on father’s that don’t contribute to their children). Further, I would posit that absent fathers only exacerbate the problems as does a welfare system that encourages single women to have children and who don’t want the father around.
    None of these problems have simple answers but at least Osbourne is asking the hard questions. What is it that you object to? The question or what the answer might be?

  9. A well written piece and who’s is power should take note. Have you ever thought of running for a seat in parliment? We need more people from ordinary working background parliment not the self opinionated ex-public schools boys that now walk the corridors of power.

    • Very true. The Labour party grew out of the trades unions and even in the 60s the leadership had come up through the ranks before they became MPs. This current lot have never done anything other than private school, elite university and politics. Now *that* return to traditional values I could get behind!

      • Yes the Labour party originated from the trade unions, but they are are about as far as you can get from them now. Ed Miliband (who incidentally i would like to give a wedgey every time i see him) is a millionaire on paper and his brother David has just stepped down as the chairman of a football club! When did Blair, Brown and Prescot do anything for the working man? I believe that there is very little difference between Labour and the Tories and find if difficult to understand how people have so quickly forgotten about the irreparable damage that the last government inflicted upon our country.

      • You’re right, Mick – the last labour party leader to have been fully committed to the Unions was the one who died just before Blair. It’s sad that we now have a “political class” just like we used to before the Labour Party’s establishment in the early 20th century.

  10. This is a really well written and argued article. It is just a shame that those it is intended for won’t bother to read it or act on it. RE IDS living on £53 per week – Michael Portillo did it (swapped lives with a single mother) and it completely changed him so you never know but it is unlikely he will do it.

  11. Osborne’s comments were an absolute disgrace, but I do feel I have to comment on your point about prisoners. Money is put into prisoner’s accounts to pay for their toiletries, and they pay money towards their TV (so they do pay for their TV licence). Additionally if prisoners want a playstation, it has to be bought/brought in to the prison, checked over before it goes to a prisoner. We do not subsidise this as taxpayers.

  12. Unfortunately as far as I can see the Tories have taken the benefit system from one extreme to the other. My concern is that the honest and vulnerable folk, of which there are many, have been caught in the cross hairs of these cuts. These people rely on their benefits to give them a roof over their head, put a sufficient amount of food in their belly and to buy the basic provisions that we all need. I worry about what this is doing to our society and to our children. I worry that people on benefits are all tarred with the same brush, especially by papers like the Daily Mail. I hope the more we all talk about topics like this, on blogs like Jack’s, the more educated we become on these subjects. The more we get to see other people’s points of view and truly understand them. Maybe then we will be more willing we to alter ours, or allow space for grey areas. That is progress in us all, and we have the power to help influence those around us. That’s evolution right there. A wise man once said the strongest, nor the smartest survive. It’s the ones most adaptable to change.

    Sadly the way the benefits system was set up previously meant that people could take advantage of it if they wanted to do so. Some of my family did for decades. They played the system, creating bogus illnesses and injuries that were hard to disprove, and spent alot of their benefit money on drinks, cigarettes, betting and takeaways. They did not work at all, and they were all quite able. I agree that not all people on benefits have done this, but I think enough of them did for it to be quite a problem. It’s a massive beast the benefit system, encompassing a wide range of people including mothers, people with mental health issues (I am one, but at the moment I work full time), people not in work for a variety of reasons and people with physical disabilities and illnesses etc

    Jack, please keep writing so articulately about these issues. We need people like you to stand up and be counted. You’re opinions are always very fair, and to do my part I will always share them on Twitter and LinkedIn etc when I get spare moments.

  13. I agree with everything you say (well), except your pop at prisoners with play stations and TVs, in cells with nice colour schemes. The reason prisoners (many of whom are mentally ill, or very low ability) have these facilities is because, on the whole, they are locked up in their cells for the majority of everyday. If prisons were more constructive places TVs etc would not be necessary.

    • Is the purpose of a prison not to deter a offender from re-offending? This could be done by making it somewhere they don’t want to return to, or maybe I’m just an unimaginative, old fashioned right winger!

  14. Well-written letter.

    I can’t criticise legitimately the motivations of people birthing 17 children they can’t support, ethically it’s no different to having one child you can’t support, so long as the child/children are wanted and cared about, which these clearly weren’t. It’s a slippery slope government telling anyone what to do with their body or life choices! Look at the Chinese situation, where young people are forced into labour-dormitories because the one-child policy has created labour shortages wnich compromise the economy. The well-established and accepted institution of the Catholic Church teaches against contraception/disease-prevention as part of its ‘morality’ for another example- I don’t see the British government challenging that. And frankly if this couple had been self-supporting and murdered their only child for say insurance fraud- they would be no more or less criminal or morally derelict.

    It’s always going to be a legitimate question in a welfare state- why should I pay to raise someone else’s children? Why should I work and not someone else? The answer lies somewhere between compassion and pragmatism. That’s what civilisation is.

    Mr Osborne has also called for pensioners who don’t need their allowances and benefits to donate them back or not claim them;
    that concept applies equally to MPs, PMs, judges, public officials, bishops…even private sector officials whose businesses supply public organisations.

    Lack of wealth should not preclude running for public office in a democracy- but we all know practically there are many people who could easily not claim their salaries, expenses, or not hire people to find the loopholes to bring down their taxes for them.

    Some benefits like universal child benefit have probably had their day in a now equal-sex society, just like policies of say positive discrimination hopefully do: they are expedient at one point but if the society reforms they are no longer necessary or even become unfair.

    Democracy, freedom, is a process. What form that takes is up to the people, and the platforms they establish to create and maintain it.

  15. Jack writes “Why, as a taxpayer and as a member of society, am I paying for prisoners to have Playstations and to paint their walls in pretty colours, when I have had to cancel my own TV license because I cannot afford the bill?”

    4 Weeks later Chris Grayling opines “in the past, we’ve sent the wrong message” (BBC News article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22341867).

    It would appear that Jack’s blog now has a direct causal link to government policy. Got to be an improvement.

  16. So your plan is for unemployed people to work for there benefit money ,that is not going to work because the employer Will terminate all there work force so more people Will be put on jsa and then the employers Will bring them back into work for jsa mone,the only people that Will benefit are the employers getting the same work done for a lesser wage .and of course the govenment .unfair .

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