I agree with The Daily Mail: Name us and shame us!

Mark Littlewood, former darling of the Liberal Democrats and now the director general at the Institute of Economical Affairs (a free market think tank that has as much to do with thoughtfully applied economic theory as a McSalad has to do with healthy eating) has written today in The Daily Mail that he believes that George Osborne should publish the names of every welfare recipient in the country, along with how much money they are receiving, and the duration of the time they are receiving welfare payments. He believes that this would help to reduce the government’s welfare spending budget.

He’s a funny little man this Littlewood, the sort of person who stops donating money to third world children the second the government increases their foreign aid budget. The sort of person who expects a personal thank you from benefit recipients and updates about the steps they are making to improve their lives. A peculiar stance for an ostensibly libertarian chap, but nobody really expects consistency from shills and blatantly provocative media whores; you’d be as well expecting a prostitute dressed as a french maid to know a damn thing about getting stubborn stains out of the carpet.

Mark Littlewood just buys a new carpet.

Mark Littlewood just buys a new carpet.

Outrage, I suppose, is what he intended to create with his poorly-argumented Daily Mail OP. The funny thing is, I find myself agreeing with Littlewood, I think it would be fantastic if such information was made public (don’t worry, it can’t and won’t be, Littlewood’s suggestion is entirely unfeasible). Over 50% of the public are net beneficiaries of the state. Far more people receive benefits than The Daily Mail would have its readership believe. Indeed, a very large proportion of its readership will be on some form of state benefit, whether that be Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Tax Credits, State Pension or a whole host of other named benefits that are available.

If the actual figures were made public, for the first time many people receiving benefits would see that they are part of a massive crowd, a throng if you will, of individuals who have all, for one reason or another, found themselves struggling and requiring assistance. Each and every individual who was publicly named would be experiencing a simmering anger at the way they had been treated in having their personal financial affairs made public, and for the very first time would have a list of potential allies in their hometown – with each potential ally also feeling this simmering anger, and no longer being inhibited by the social expectation to pretend to the outside world that they are not receiving state support. Instantly a crowd of people with not much left to lose (one can’t attempt to “keep up appearances” when one’s financial matters are out on display for all to see) would appear, seemingly out of nowhere.

And this is why the assistance you receive from the state will not be made public. But Littlewood can rest assured that if his idea was implemented and actually came to fruition; a whole bunch of jolly jobseekers would be round his place to personally update him on the steps they are taking to improve their situation.

I wonder if he’d put out cake?


People Should Not Lose Out of Work Benefits for Being Overweight

Jonathan Carr-West of the LGiU think tank has been a busy little thinky-bee lately. His organisation have published a paper extolling the possible public benefit of mandating exercise sessions for benefits claimants who are overweight. The arguments contained within are, according to Carr-West, “intended to stimulate and provoke… [with the hope that] they can lead to a debate”.

Jonathan Carr-West. Twitter: @joncarrwest

Jonathan Carr-West. Twitter: @joncarrwest

The thing is though, there is no debate to be had. It’s a thoroughly stupid and unenforceable idea for a scheme, dreamed up by a bunch of middle class wankers who long ago stopped viewing people on low incomes as being anywhere near capable of having valid ideas, views, thoughts, opinions or plans. We’re scrawping baby chicks who refuse to leave the nest; ugly, flightless, and utterly dependent on regurgitated sustainence spewed down our throats as often as is required to keep us alive – and we’re happier about all this than pigs rolling around in shit. This view is shared by many middle class members of society, regardless of professed political affiliation. This view is so popular that people like Carr-West can make professional names for themselves as guardians of the poor, offering their warped interpretations of so many bits of data to other, even more insulated middle class people, who haven’t a clue about the actual lives of poor people. These patchy, guesswork assessments of poor people; loaded with cognitive bias, become accepted by the majority of middle class people. Once the basic model of the feckless idiot pauper becomes generally accepted by the majority of the middle class, it’s a veritable piece of piss to convince them that the best way to deal with us is to treat us like stubborn, petulant children.

So pervasive is this attitude that intellectual rigour flies right out of the window, and even the most mediocre middle class bore feels quite at home donning the imaginary doctor’s coat and prescribing their invaluable homespun remedies and cures for all the poverty, addiction and illness in the world. I spent ages today, transfixed by the idiots on CiF who were blathering on about what’s to be done with the fatty fatty scruff scruffs; and the appalling lack of evidence offered to back up the sneering proclamations from on high was enough to make me shed a single tear for all those unfortunate children who are never taught to think critically – then grow up to become thick, insufferable twats.

Not like these guys. These guys are cool.

Not like these guys. These guys are cool.

The truth of the matter is that forcing people to exercise for their out of work benefits is just as ridiculous as it sounds. Aside from there being absolutely no medical evidence to suggest that the strategy would work in the long term, the point remains that as long as a person is honouring the agreement they made to actively look for work, they should receive their Jobseekers Allowance and any Housing Benefit and Council Tax Allowance that their active Jobseeker status entitles them to.

If the NHS genuinely can’t deal with the sick people in this country then it is sadly not fit for purpose. No amount of crying about which illnesses cost the most to treat can change this fact. I suggest that all these truly concerned, bleeding heart middle class people go private for healthcare and ease the burden on the people at the bottom who cannot afford to take that action. See, we can all just say things. I came up with that in my bedroom think tank, fuelled only by a delicious can of sugary, branded cola; which also helped immensely with the hangover from yesterday’s heavy drinking. I bet loads of you would like to know whether your taxpayer money paid for it. Well fuck off and stop being so fucking rude before I shit out septuplets just to get a free house off you, because I’m poor aren’t I; and I haven’t got ambition like you, and I want to cripple myself with care commitments until I die so that I can keep taking your money and getting spoken to and about like a piece of shit.

Get real, thinky-bees, and come back when you have something of more substance to offer than the tired, unevidenced recommendation that we simply shepherd strawmen.