Monday, May 3, 2010

The War on the Poor

Tony Judt in his excellent new book "Ill Fares the Land" shows how perverse and amoral our language has become when we talk about how "proud" we are to be taking the "tough choices" involved in imposing welfare cuts on the poorest in society (whilst doing nothing about tax dodgers, non-doms and bonuses for bankers). Just how hard are these choices? As Judt says:
"the poor vote in much smaller numbers than anyone else. So there is little political risk in penalising them. These days, we take pride in being tough enough to inflict pain on others. If an older usage were still in force, whereby being tough consisted of enduring pain rather than imposing it on others, we should perhaps think twice before so callously valuing efficiency over compassion"

So there is nothing hard about proposed Tory cuts to benfits or tax credits. Hard-hearted yes - principled and moral - no.