Saturday, 19 March 2016

We Must Get Back To First Principles!


Dear Reader,

The rights of man have been discussed at length by many worthies over several centuries, but I will select one whose impact was in the last decades of the 18th century, one Dr. Joseph Priestley. I choose him as I know him somewhat better than others as a polymath of considerable influence at the time, and who for awhile lived and operated in Birmingham, my home town. He even influenced some of America's well-known names, such as Thomas Jefferson, before and after Priestley himself settled in America to live out his last years.

Priestley's fundamental maxim of politics was the need to limit state interference on individual liberty.

Yes, his were different times, but the principles of government have, surely, not changed very much in the time since. However, we are lately witness to disturbing efforts in our own fair country to take away a fundamental right of the disabled, which is their right to at least a reasonable level of subsistence support from the State in the absence of any or little wealth of their own. This is a relatively modern 'right', but a right nevertheless, and I would suggest that any country that wishes to call itself 'civilised' would abide by that right, just as much as it is a right in this country for any person in a vulnerable state.

The government's policy has been taking the form of a slow removal of benefit payments and facilities to help the government to balance the books. This time they got it outlandishly wrong by this very week attempting to take away further support payments to the disabled and giving the proceeds to the well off. That has caused the surprising resignation of a cabinet minister, Ian Duncan Smith, who has hitherto been supporting the policy I am objecting to, and whose department administered the policy.

What - to me -has been so disturbing is that the Chancellor has been insisting this week that he has to keep his fiscal targets on course, completely ignoring the issue that he might be causing undue suffering to those in a vulnerable state. His fiscal policy is what he and his government has chosen to be the path: there are alternatives but of course he would prefer to ignore those.

Please object by signing this petition.

PLEASE NOTE: My next post will be on April 2 next.