Force of argument


Sir Richard Tilt, a senior government adviser, has called for welfare reforms to be shelved because of the economic downturn. However, the Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell has rebutted this position, retorting that in his experience, vulnerable people will not be worse off and grateful for the nudge back into work.

In reporting the story, the BBC tries, but fails (as usual), to offer a balanced position. The crucial mistake is in the use of the word ‘force’ to describe welfare reform. Force, in truth, is the government taking taxes from people who work and giving them to people who do not. Whether or not you believe in taking from Peter to pay Paul, there can be no doubt as to who is being forced. Even The Guardian is starting to get it.

As we stand, the government might be right to try the methadone rather than cold turkey approach to welfare reform. However, it is government action that created the underclass that is now trying rehabilitate. Some people have traded their freedom for state support, passing chain and lock to their children while the keys are safely stashed in the pockets of our power-hungry politicians in Westminster.

The lone parent who wants to stay at home and not work is in an unfortunate situation, but they should work simply because other people should not be forced to pay for this preference.