This is a great policy, the thrust of which I have no issue with. It’s a policy I can, and do support, and I suspect there are many, non-traditional Labour voters, who feel similarly. No, my problem isn’t with the policy, it’s with where it’s coming from.
Leaving aside for a moment the fact that this idea has been stolen from the Government, it’s quite incredulous that all of a sudden Ed Miliband, an advocate of a ‘benefits for all Britain’, would start spouting policies at odds with his usual socialist vision, and certainly with that of his left wing union backers.
It’s almost as if he hasn’t read the speech before it was released, and makes me wonder if it isn’t the work of the same spin-doctors who had him pose with The Sun last week, or who concocted the disastrous everyman bacon sandwich eating incident.
So don’t be surprised if the Labour leader starts to choke when he gets to the bit about withdrawing benefits to those who refuse to work or train.
The whole thing makes no logical sense. Currently any government initiative that attempts to get people to do jobs they don’t want to do, or feel are below them, and are backed with threats to remove benefits, has Ed’s trade union mates screaming ‘slavery’, all the way to the High Court.
All I see is a cynical attempt to buy votes, but one which given Ed’s anti-business pro-trade union credentials, makes him look desperate and dishonest. Tony Blair made a political career out of stealing the ideas of his opponents and claiming them as his own, but whatever you thought of the man he was a class act, a Laurence Olivier to Ed Miliband’s Joey Essex . . .
Yes we need to stop paying people to not work, and we desperately need to up-skill UK PLC before it’s too late. There are more than 900,000 18-24s (NEETs) not doing anything productive and we desperately need to alter this state of affairs before it crystalizes permanently.
Policies that force those who aren’t working to train and make themselves into assets rather than liabilities are the answer. But if you believe as I do in these policies you need to back someone who believes the words they are speaking.
This is a good policy, and while it falls short of my demand for a fully-funded, nationally organised universal entitlement to an apprenticeship, it is philosophically part of the answer.
This is too important to be disingenuously kicked around as a political football. Don’t buy it!