Nothing has changed on the Tory front bench. At Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, David Cameron spoke on behalf of a very beleaguered looking Chancellor who frankly looked as though he was afraid of having to claim benefits himself (by losing his job)! But David Cameron didn't answer the question put to him (six times) by the Leader of the Opposition, and gave the feeling that it was Osborne's responsibility to deal with the issue, and not his.
The following day there was a Parliamentary debate on "The Effect of the Tax Credit Cuts" at which a number of Tory MPs conceded that there was a case to look into for special help for those lower income workers. It took an SNP MP to point out that amounts wrongly paid out by the DWP and HMRC government departments exceeded the bill that would be saved by the proposed Tax Credit reforms (£4.5bn). The government, therefore, is failing to mop up expensive holes in its payments structure - as well as failing to collect taxes properly.
Mahatma Gandhi once said: "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." What sort of nation are we, therefore, developing into?
There is mounting disquiet about those who are struggling due to the 'Welfare' cuts: cuts that affect the sick, the disabled and the working poor. I don't intend to say more specifically about the details of this but instead invite you to read the latest status report, which can be found at this Change Org link.
I'd like instead to talk more about what Gandhi said (his quote, above). What we can impute from his statement is that while proper management of the nation's economy is a priori a necessity, the way we go about things is equally important.
I would suggest that our government is elected first and foremost to look after its citizens in the most balanced way, considering all the nation's needs and not claiming that because it was elected, that party is carrying out a single element of what it was tasked to do. Particularly when only 24% - 1 in 4 - of the nation voted for them (actually 36% of the General Election vote). If the Prime Minister was really implementing a "One Nation" approach (as he says that he is, since 2010), he would be much concerned about the poorest and the disabled. Many of them have died waiting for the economy to improve so that the government might think about improving the lot of that group of people.
Senator (then-US Presidential candidate) Bobby Kennedy said, in 1968 (italics are mine):
Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things....
... the gross national product [GNP] does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.
It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.
(http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/may/24/robert-kennedy-gdp)I propose we have a government of dullards. And they claim we put them there!