It can't have escaped your notice that the political party season is upon us. Namely that it is currently the turn of the Conservative Party.
I am taking a wild stab in the dark to assume that their plans, should they come to fruition, are aimed largely at pensioners or the top earners. Frankly, I cannot see how they are appealing to any other sector of voters.
Scrap benefits for 18 to 25 year olds? Why yes, that sounds like an awesome idea.
Except it isn't. What happens to those that cannot find jobs, however hard they try? The ones who, for whatever reason, are unable to live with their parents? Those that have gone to University to further their education only to discover that even with a decent degree it is still extremely hard to find a job which will cover living expenses and rent in full? For those that were able to go to University, unless their parents own their own home, they no longer have any where to live because of course their parents couldn't afford to keep paying rent on a house larger than what they need. Of course that is assuming that every single person aged 18-25 even has at least one parent alive with whom they have a good relationship.
So that, surely, excludes the younger voters? Except we know that many young people don't vote, apparently, so it surely excludes their parents?
How about instead, making people work 30 hours a week for their £71.70 a week, so £2.39 an hour? Bear in mind that from Tuesday, the national minimum wage goes up to £6.31 per hour. This way, no one gets something for nothing any longer. So, not only is that illegal (note it works out about one-third of the national minimum wage), assuming they still have to attend various signing on appointments and job-searches, when are they meant to fit in attending interviews, should they be given them?
Say there are no jobs for them to go to. Instead they have to attend their job centre EVERY DAY. Sounds reasonable? Who exactly covers the cost of travel expenses. Say it is £3 for a return trip on public transport (some areas it will be a fair bit more, certainly in Bristol it is £4, I imagine in other cities our for those that live in more rural areas it is even more), 5 days a week that is £15-£20 a week taken from their £71.70 just on travel. £50 or thereabouts doesn't sound like much to live on at all, even for a single person. They still need clothes (if you don't turn up to an interview in smart attire, you are sanctioned), they still need to eat, keep utilities running and of course in the digital age, you do actually need to have a broadband connection to apply for jobs, even to apply for benefits.
The more I hear coming out of this conference, the more I fear for the future of my son. It worries me that people like Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron seem to want to return to the days of workhouses, a divided society.
I understand the economy is in dire straits. I know that youth unemployment is over one million. However, I also know that this is at the very least a Europe-wide issue, if not pretty much worldwide. That the vast majority of benefit claimants (of which I am one) do not want to be. Of course there are those few that are more than happy to take handouts even though they are capable of working and yes, despite being a TINY percentage of the overall DWP budget it is an issue that somehow needs addressing but in my opinion, to punish everyone for the actions (or perhaps inaction) of a few seems pretty heartless to me.
I would like to think that come May 2015 someone else will get into power, be able to undo all the damage that the current government will no doubt have caused. However, I fear that somehow no matter who comes into power next time around will not really be that much different and that, in any case, it may well be too late.
I don't have the answers, I don't pretend to have them but I am fairly confident these are not the answers. What about you? Are these plans plausible? Will they work? Or maybe you have a better idea?
I am linking up to Mummy Barrow's Ranty Friday; why not have a look at what other subjects people are ranting about?