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Will somebody from the Common Sense wing of the Labour Party please stand for the leadership?
Today The Guardian is reporting that leadership favourite Andy Burnham has decided to pander to big business rather than stand up for the common people.
He said he was prepared to support cuts to social security in order to counter claims that Labour gives scroungers an “easy ride”.
He would do better to counter the claim that all political parties give an easy ride to lazy business bosses who exploit the working classes and hide their massive profits in tax havens – especially as he was making his speech at the HQ of tax avoidance tzars Ernst and Young.
The company, now branded EY, is one of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms that have been helping the Tory Government rewrite tax law to make it possible for big business to use tax havens and avoid paying.
Regarding benefits, the simple fact is that the fraud rate is 0.7 per cent – a miniscule amount. People claiming benefits deserve to have them – especially as they have paid into the relevant fund for their whole lives; the money belongs to those people, not any government – Labour or Tory.
If Burnham really wanted to bring down the amount of benefit claims, he would have been telling businesses to buck up their ideas and start paying the living wage, rather than scrounging the rest of the money their employees need from the government.
He would have been telling landlords to start charging reasonable rents, rather than pushing them up and up and expecting the government to pay what tenants cannot afford in housing benefit.
And he would have been proposing a strategic remodelling of the system to prevent people falling into the kind of difficulties that force them to claim benefits – including a revamp of Health and Safety regulation to ensure that people do not fall prey to long-term illness caused by conditions at work.
Most important of all, he would be pledging to roll back the plan initiated by Margaret Thatcher, Keith Joseph and the rest of them back in the 1970s, to impose poverty and insecurity on the working people.
This Writer doesn’t see him doing any of that.
Will somebody step forward who can actually do the job?
Labour leadership favourite Andy Burnham has indicated he would support further welfare cuts, including government plans for a £23,000 cap on benefits if it has adequate safeguards.
At a speech in London, the shadow health secretary said he wanted to counter the perception his party wants to give “an easy ride” to people who do not want to help themselves.
“Labour does need to win back those people who have that feeling about us,” he told business leaders at the headquarters of EY (previously Ernst & Young) on Friday. He added that the party would not be re-elected unless it showed people it was on the side of those who wanted to “get on” and succeed.
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