I was directed by (I think) Obo the Clown towards Tom Harris' blog (he's a Labour MP for a Glasgow constituency) where he said some, frankly, amazing things on the subject of benefits. Attracting scorn from some of his party colleagues, but a good deal more praise from a wider range of readers. It was Tom who so nonchalantly batted away the message contained in his copy of 1984 that all MPs received as part of a Libertarian Party campaign. I've found it almost impossible to agree with anything he's said in the past, until the other day. Suggestions that he's been taking brave pills whilst his boss has been tucking his trousers into his socks, not getting his makeup done properly, not having a press conference with Obama and addressing a load of wonks bussed into the Capitol Building in DC are pure conjecture.
I for one will be delighted if he keeps it up.
Anyhow, in my rather jokey posting below, a correspondent named 'Andromeda' posted a link and a list of points for consideration my responses are underneath each point:
(a) deprive a single mother of child benefit if she cannot produce a marriage certificate
Marriage is irrelevant, just because you get hitched doesn't mean you're a fit mother or that you're not going to screw the system for what you can get. It isn't a magical cure, people who think it is are living in the 19th Century.
(b) fine the single mother for producing an illegitimate baby, say £1000, if she does not name the father
Irrelevant. I am proof that being brought up by a single parent (although in my case it was my father's death that caused this) does not mean it is going to be a disaster. This is about stopping paying out sums to those who do not deserve it. Why is there this obsession with taking money off people? The State arbitrarily taking cash from people because they do not comply with their moral code is no better than people demanding the State support their lifestyle choices. Stop it.
(c) require her parent(s) to pay this sum if she cannot or will not
See point b above.
(d) fine the father of an illegitimate child a sum of money, say £1000
See point a above. Legitimacy of birth doesn't matter. A bit of paper does not make anyone a model parent.
(e) require the parent(s) of that father to pay this sum if he cannot pay it himself
See point a and point b above.
(f) require that the mother give up the child for adoption before more lives are ruined
Perhaps one of the most odious, repugnant and authoritarian measures I have ever heard.
I'm surprised that point (g) doesn't read: 'require that a single woman undergo a termination in the first instance of becoming pregnant out of marriage, and undergo termination followed by sterilisation in the second instance.'
All these points do is stifle freedom and liberty. I have no problem with people having kids in wedlock, in a stable non-formal relationship, as single parents, in same sex partnerships, whatever. What I do object to is the expectation that I and all the other taxpayers will foot the bill because people have decided to have kids they cannot afford to look after.
I don't have any kids as yet, we have neither the income nor the space to do it, and it will be a cold day in hell before I become beholden to the State to help bring up my kids. My kids, my choice, my responsibility. I do have a dog. Substitute dog for child and the whole thing is shown to be the ridiculous situation it is.
Getting a puppy means that State will provide you with housing and an income. The State will pay for your puppy to be trained, vaccinated and have its healthcare assured. If you are having problems with your puppy, the State will send someone round to assess the situation, and they will tell you it isn't your fault that you can't look after your puppy, which it is your right to have, and will send you on dog walking and tripe making classes. All this will be paid for by the taxpayer.
The message needs to be sent out, if you can't feed them, don't breed them. Benefits have ceased to be a safety net. When I was a kid, receiving State assistance was a situation of great shame, you didn't want to be the kid being given the vouchers for free dinners. Now it is a valid lifestyle choice, and a lifestyle that is funded in such a way that when I look at the deductions on my payslip each month, I am unable to follow the lifestyle I would like.
What do you call a system where one way of life is supported and encouraged to the detriment of all others?