Friday, 29 October 2010

Big Mistake

Boris reaches the parts that other Conservatives do not reach. This seems uncontestable, as measured by his victory in the London mayoral election and the wide spread of those votes. Sure, he pisses off some Tories with his inconsistencies and stunts (let alone being a shagger extraordinaire and therefore a cad to his long-suffering wife), but he has an ability that so obviously eluded Cameron at the last election- that of being able to secure a majority from a broad constituency.

One of the things that people like about Boris is that he is not overly political - he jumps in with both feet instead of dilly-dallying on the edge like so many politicians who are terrified of upsetting even a tiny minority.

But he has made a mistake over housing benefit and exacerbated it by using imagery which is just bonkers. With next year's re-election in mind, he has made a fool of himself. Kosovo-style social cleansing, my foot! Doubtless his quick mind hadn't quite approved it for compliance purposes as he started blurting it out, and he will have to retract this in toto, and issue an apology, I'll wager.

Here is the public opinion on the matter:

"...An ICM poll in June asked: "Do you support or oppose imposing a maximum weekly limit of £400 on Housing Benefit." Support was 68% with 23% opposed. Even among Labour voters there was strong support - by 57% to 35%.
A YouGov poll in August asked: "Here are some policies the coalition government have announced in their first hundred days. For each one please say if you oppose or support it?" Among them was: "Putting a limit on housing benefit." 72% expressed support. 17% said they were opposed. Again even among Labour voters there was strong support - by 53% to 35%."

(ConHome, Harry Phibbs)

Boris still sees himself as PM after Cameron, or certainly harbours such ambition. Well, if he makes it, it will be as leader of a party other than the Tories; he cannot have improved his appeal to those outside London with this stunt.


Blue Eyes said...

I don't think he will have endeared himself to those **in** London, except possibly the hard left and the very poor.

Thud said...

I did have some hopes for Boris but the man is an underachieving arse.

Anonymous said...

As I understand he has been chucked out of the family home and is renting a house down the road, perhaps he has a special interest in housing benefits these days?

lilith said...

I think perhaps Boris has peaked.

Philipa said...

I have to disagree with Thud - Boris is so NOT an underachieving arse. Not at all. Boris went to Eton on scholarship, not with George Osborne's Daddy's money, and as Mayor of London hasn't done too bad without Call-Me-Dave's connections. Boris has managed to maintain a journalist presence with being a politician. Not an easy job. Most don't. In fact most journos simply don't make it into politics, certainly not ones as outspoken as Boris.

Boris was a popular and succesful MP. I know this because I canvassed with him and heard the reactions of the people in his constituency. I hope he wins another term as London Mayor.

I don't think he's made a mistake in relation to housing benefit at all. Not at all. The proposed changes to housing benefit are based on the most stupid argument I've ever ever heard. Really dim. But then it;s no surprise that a bunch of Tory toffs who've always lived off Daddy's money and never had to really worry about balancing a chequebook in their lives have come up with half-arsed idealogical financial policies that won't work.

The mistake was in the language he used to convey his point, and I think he's apologised for that. But the point was still good. And I think Ken Clarke agrees with him?

Philipa said...

Idle, I'd be interested to hear your reaction to the proposed amalgamation of our military forces with foreign ones. Here is one ref: but I think changes to themilitary are more widespread than just the navy.

Blue Eyes said...

So Philipa do you think that someone who works less hard than me should be given my money so they can spend more for their housing than I can afford to spend myself?

Or, to put it another way, if I can manage to afford to live in Central London for £220 a week, why should a benefit recipient get up to £290 a week?

And to put it another way, even the Labour party admitted in its manifesto that the system has got totally out of control.

Or to put it another way, why do I fucking bother working?

Blue Eyes said...

And Philipa, nobody is criticising Boris for having gone to Eton. Having said that if he managed to get to Eton on a scholarship and still cannot see the flaw in his position then all that training in how to think clearly went to waste.

idle said...

This is much more like it, a spirited argument on the thread. Thanks, Blue and Pippy.

Instinctively, I think Boris is a conservative and Dave a liberal. But Boris is wrong on this one, and hyperbolically so.

I would barely be happy to share a mistress with a Frenchman. Certainly not a navy.

As someone once said, the only time the French are happy for us Britons to go to war is when the German wehrmacht is sipping pastis and coffee in the Champs Elysees.

Philipa said...

Thanks Idle, I'm afraid I agree with you.

But to continue the debate..

Blue, the argument isn't really confined in the terms you state. All you mention is your reluctance to pay taxes here. So move. After all, where is your argument for paying taxes that go to the EU and overseas aid? Is it benefit claimants or just housing benefits you object to?

The moves the ConDems have proposed for changes to housing benefit (and bear in mind i'm not necesarily opposed to changes or cuts, just stupid ones) don't actually and directly tackle the reasons they are making those changes. Which means they are either liars, stupid, or stupid liars! And given that they target the poor they are callous stupid liars.

Blue Eyes said...

Philipa, I object to the state taking money from me to give to people so that they can enjoy a higher standard of living than I can afford with the money I earn.

My neighbours are entirely subsidised by the state and enjoy:

- the same size and quality of flat as I have
- food, drink, heating and electricity
- a massive big telly
- a shiny modern car

I don't have a massive big telly or a shiny modern car. And I work bloody hard. Tell me which bit of that is "fair"? Tell me which bit of me asking for welfare to be limited to necessities is callous?

I also object to wasteful EU spending and most overseas aid, but that is not the subject of this post. I had not realised that every comment had to include an exhaustive list of things I object to. "My bad" as they say.

Philipa said...

Blue - I can't say I'm over chuffed about it either. And the EU contribution And the Overseas aid. I take your point about the exhastive list but I thought it worth mentioning the other stuff as the ConDems do seem to have an idealogical axe to grind, rather than sensibly dealing with the deficit, as they claim to be doing. So I think it worth clarifying where people are coming from. And I think the ConDems are crap.

You see, they moan about landlords making money from the taxpayer. All well and good - it's a good point and needs addressing. So do they give powers to a fair rent officer (thre always used to be a fair rent officer, where'd they go?) No, they do not. The Tories sold off council houses (something I opposed at the time) and so pushed people into private rented acc. I accept that some of these homes are great but many more are not. So you have people bringing up babies in slums with no heating and paying some wideboy over £600pm for the privelage (see Panorama). Taking money off that single mother won't cause the rent to be any less. It will cause the mother and child to eat less. The ConDems are stupid.

Then you have the situation where I am living in a home I worked for and, due to disability, need to keep through interest payment on a mortgage, which is less than 30% of the cost of private rental. Bt they have cut that benefit IN HALF. So the ConDems are actually CREATING a benefits culture because I would be better off selling my house and blowing the proceeds, or losing the house and the mortage co. getting the money. I could then get AT LEAST 80% of private rent paid, which would cost the tax payer more. It really IS a barmy system - you try, and get next to nowt, you don't and get everything. If you'll pardon the expression, it really is fucking stupid.

Then you have the situation where you keep benefits (and don't have to re-sign on, fill all the forms in etc.) if you work 16 hours but not if you work between 16 and 20. So if people are offered more work they are turning it down. I've heard this in the benefits office. Not because they want to but because they are frightened of having to go through another 6-8 weeks of no money AT ALL whilst the paperwork for a new claim goes through. And they don't have savings to make that an easy thing to not worry about.

You see, the ConDems might say this is wrong and that is wrong but they are not coming up with any real solutions. In fact, they are intending to spend MORE.

Many things need to be addressed, Blue. But not by these bunch of arseholes.

Sorry Idle, I'm not against Tories who can handle money, but these clearly can't.

Philipa said...
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Philipa said...
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Philipa said...

Blimey! My laptop had an emotional moment there. I blame the ConDems.

Seriously tho, it's how these issues are being addressed I object to, not that they are being adressed.

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