Has the writing of Tory welfare policy been outsourced to the Daily Mail?

The Tories announced two new welfare policies this week. The first was their plan to remove benefits from those with drug and alcohol problems or who are obese and who are refusing treatment, while the second, announced today (not for the first time?), seemed to be all out work for the dole for 18-21 year olds.

I was listening to a talk show discussion on the radio yesterday about the first policy, and was struck by how there was a neat divide between those who worked with addicts or in the healthcare sector in general, and those who seemed to me the type of people who think what’s printed in the Daily Mail is the unvarnished truth. The healthcare professionals universally thought it was a ridiculous idea, while the Daily Mail readers thought it was simple common sense. Guess which these policies are designed to appeal to?

There was a Tory MP called Alec Shelbrooke on the programme to speak in favour, and he was basically spouting the hardworking taxpayer funding lifestyles line. When asked what would happen to a person whose benefits were stopped, he declined to give an answer, but it seemed fairly obvious his view was “fuck ’em”.

There’s no doubt policies like this are popular with a sizable chunk of the public who are quite keen on poor-bashing, but I think policies like this should at least be based on some semblance of evidence. Welfare policies should be designed around what works rather than what will make ‘hardworking taxpayers’ give a little less thought to how hard they are being screwed. At the moment, though the Tories seem to be taking their manifesto pledges directly from the Daily Mail. Both these policies seem to be of the traditional ‘nasty party’ variety. From what I was hearing on the radio about the addiction/obesity policy, it just won’t be effective at turning people’s live around, and seems just about being vindictive. On the 18-21 year olds policy, I just think, why not give them a job, rather than making them pick up little for the same as Jobseeker’s Allowance?

UPDATE: Via Twitter, someone sent me this link, which details how the Government already ruled out the drug/alcohol benefit withdrawal policy, giving good reasons why it wouldn’t work, so they are now seeking to go against their own advice.


11 thoughts on “Has the writing of Tory welfare policy been outsourced to the Daily Mail?

  1. Since when did most Tory policy pay any attention to evidence? You could add a large part of New Labour to that as well.

  2. The headline was about the obese and those with drink & drug “problems” The truth is that they are indeed intending to draw all with “potentially treatable” illness. Not – not curable, but treatable. According to the voodoo science behind their WCA and most other policies in this area, ALL illness and disability is treatable. Their chosen big stick with a nail through the end is treatment of all with CBT (the other bastardised child of the same school). So as you say, when benefit is withdrawn from ALL, what happens? There are already bodies in the streets, and behind closed doors.

    1. Yes Florence, this is what I picked up on: 4 separate issues of drink, drugs, obesity, and ANY person who refuses ‘treatment’ for their illness; this has been completely overlooked in all newspaper articles and comments.

      I am in fear since I suffer from an as yet undiagnosable neurological condition that is exactly like M.S., but I get lumped in with CFS/M.E./Fibromyalgia. I’ve already refused a 2 day a week programme ran by my local Rheumatology department and due to that they’ve blocked any further treatment at that unit. I could barely cope with the one hour therapy there given by the psychologist – who was supposed to be helping me deal with new severe symptoms but all he really wanted was to get me onto his ‘research’ programme fed by the 2 day a week programme. I told him that spending mornings in the gym and afternoons in lectures about pain was impossible for me; if I could attend anything 2 days a week I would be able to work. He said his ‘programme’ made people less disabled; I said that his research was skewed since anyone as ill as me couldn’t possibly attend, and would be in a physically dangerous state after just one day.

      This is why I’ve been dreading this idea from the government coming to fruition; they’ve mentioned this idea before. I would have to refuse even if it meant that my income was taken away. There would be many thousands of people like me no doubt.

      1. You’re not alone, I had the same, but they’re now treating me again, with a re-diagnosis of an un-named inflammatory disease. There are published papers showing that GET / CBT for those with RA, neurological conditions, CGS, ME or other fatigue & regionalised pain syndromes is harmful. Even on programmes where the subjects initially reported improvement, which was not supported by the physical measurements, they were doing worse 10 months later compared to the group left to manage their own illness. I can’t speak about your own Rheumy Dept, but I would generally assume anyone setting up a new programme based on this flawed model are setting up a DWP programme as there will be juicy poverty-pimp contracts to be had.

        Linking life-maintaining benefits to the extension of this flawed and disproved theory of treatment is simply barbaric. And Kafka-esque in the extreme.

  3. Any policy aimed at Making people earn their dole – workfare etc MUST pay minimum wage. Firstly, that is the MINIMUM wage. Secondly it undermines the local job economy, for working people. If they are about ‘making work pay’ then they must show these ‘spongers’ how much better off they are in work (of course this fails if you have the worst wage repression on record)

    If they are looking at destroying local economies at the same time as they are slashing how much Central Government contributes to those same economies, we have to say to ourselves, they don’t do these things because they are stupid, they do them because the motives they declare differ from their actual, ideologically driven motives – Why would they want to undermine local economies and encourage centralized commerce, this question becomes all the more loaded when you look at which individuals stand to benefit from such centralization.

    George: agree – they all have the same motives, we need a hundred more Dennis Skinners and Glenda Jacksons – where are the next generation of working class heroes?

    1. …Any policy aimed at Making people earn their dole …

      This is the workhouse ethic that killed 5 million in the 19th Century done by the same set of parties – Tory and Liberals (now called Lib Dems).

      The working class heroes are not inside Labour.

      They are in other parties. See how to get them into government in 2015.

  4. Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    I believe that the link towards the bottom of the blog should be put onto every available blog, journal, facebook, twitter and all other social networks.
    Evidence is needed all the time about the Nasty Party and if if can be put out everywhere then more will share it. Time to take matters into our own hands now!

  5. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    The formulation of welfare policy by the press has effectively been outsourced to the Daily Mail and its ilk for a very long time. One of the books about Tony Blair described how Rupert Murdoch was the invisible extra member at cabinet meetings, with Blair wondering how his policies would go down with the media mogul. And he was bizarrely also hopeful of getting Paul Dacre and the Faily Heil on board.
    As for the assumption that compulsory work and treatment automatically work for everyone, see the comments below by Florence and Sasson Hann. Both these commenters suffer from undiagnosed yet severely debilitating illnesses. They describe and cite medical evidence to show that the medical treatment arranged for them was counterproductive. Sasson Hann in particulat states that for people with their condition, CBT may actually be harmful. Of course, this is unlikely to make much impression with this government, as it requires a basic understanding of medicine beyond the platitudes of the self-help shelves, and won’t appeal to the viciousness of the Sun and Mail-reading LCD.

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