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I’ve had another thought about Boris Johnson’s brave stand for disabled people.

Hopefully you’ve read yesterday’s blog, in which I professed my amazement that Boris and I appear to be on the same side, opposing the government’s proposed change of Disability Living Allowance to – what is it? – the Personal Independence Payment? They wanted to give disabled people the PIP and that’s exactly what’s happened!

Well, last night, this occurred to me:

Suppose you’re the Mayor of London, and are up for re-election this year, but you belong to a political party that has become unpopular with large swathes of your electorate, for… I don’t know… putting VAT up so everything costs more, or trying to cut Housing Benefit (this was defeated in December last year but they’ll probably have another go at it later), or making it harder for disabled people to get extra money to help with the extra expenses their disabilities incur.

You’ve got no influence over any of these policies. The decisions won’t be made by you, and you won’t even get to vote on them.

In that position, wouldn’t you speak out against one of those things – to claw back a bit of credibility with Joe Public?

You’d never have to do anything about it.

Politicians have ‘form’ when it comes to this behaviour. In his book, The Way I See It, Lord Sugar refers to a “classic piece of window-dressing” by “that other brain surgeon George Osborne”.

He writes: “If you’re a politician, you know it will go down well if you say, ‘We are going to look after the poor and hit the rich.’ And one of his little ideas was that he was going to tax private aeroplanes. I say it was window-dressing because there were no details whatsoever on how he was actually going to do it, which clearly demonstrates to me that they hadn’t thought it through, but decided it was a wonderful PR stunt to get the ordinary man on their side…

“As yet there are no details of how this new tax is going to be implemented, and I would guess that it will get brushed under the carpet as a PR stunt that had its use and is now over.”

It occurs to me that “a PR stunt” is exactly the way to describe Boris’s position on DLA.

Just a thought.

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