Labour just don't seem to be able to drag themselves away from taking a pop at benefit claimants every time the subject comes up. Every time they try to say something about the economy they have to prefix it with 'hard working taxpayer' or 'hard working families' or 'hard day's work', as though those of us unable to work don't deserve a mention (mind you they have yet to go as far as UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom, who proposed removing the franchise from benefit recipients). The feeling of being kicked in the teeth by the party that's supposed to represent us is getting annoyingly repetitive.
First of all today we had Ed himself:
As a basic principle we should aspire to a situation where if you do a hard day’s work you shouldn’t find yourself in poverty. - Ed
After the general *headdesk* moment, our own Latent Existence replied:
.@ You shouldn't find yourself in poverty even if you can't do or find a hard day's work!
You wouldn't think you needed to tell the Labour Party Leader this, but there you go...
Then later on someone pointed out this gem of a party election leaflet from South West Labour:
Notice first off that the obligatory 'hard working families' reference is there in the left-hand column, though in a particular unusual form as it relates it to mobile roaming charges (*headdesk*, *headdesk*, just what were you thinking, Labour? That mobile roaming charges are a major source of anxiety in the homes of the South West?) But the main focus of the page is attacking UKIP, and there's some perfectly fair criticism of UKIP in there, my major quibble being that it weasels out of actually calling them Racist, but then there's that last criticism:
'Ending the requirement for people on benefits to look for work'.
Now this is problematical on multiple levels. Most benefits (Old Age Pension, Child Allowance, DLA/PIP, Tax Credits and so on), aren't Out-of-Work benefits. Even ESA can't compel you to look for work, it can only force disabled people into 'Work Focused Activity', which isn't quite the same thing; only Job Seekers Allowance that I'm aware of actually includes the 'required to look for work' element. Attempts to conflate non-Out-of-Work benefits with Out-of-Work benefits are something we have seen repeatedly from the Tories as a prelude to cuts, so seeing Labour doing it isn't guaranteed to make anyone feel comfortable with where their policy is likely to turn.
And then there's the morality of the statement. I don't know what particular aspect of UKIP policy that line is targetting as UKIP are even better than Labour at hiding what they actually stand for. We're talking about UKIP of course, so it probably isn't pleasant - at one point it was UKIP policy to replace all Out-of-Work benefits with a flat rate equivalent to that paid to under-25s, about £56 a week - even for people in the ESA Support Group. But here is Labour, challenging UKIP on benefits policy, and they are doing that by saying UKIP aren't being hard enough.
Let me repeat that. Labour, challenging the ultra-right UKIP, say that their benefits policy isn't harsh enough. The party that's supposed to stand up for our rights think UKIP are too soft on us.
*headdesk*, *headdesk*, *headdesk* Are you people serious?
There's a reason UKIP are doing so well in the polls. Labour has deliberately created a four year policy gap where they avoided stating the principles they stood for or detailing their policies. Because that way no one, in particular no Mail reader, could take against them. It's the political equivalent of Saddam Hussein's air force deciding the best way to 'win' Operation Desert Storm was to huddle in their bunkers rather than any of that nasty getting out and challenging people stuff (and it worked so well for Saddam). When Labour have been forced into policy declarations, they are so terrified of the Mail vote the only option they can see is to try and be as harsh as the other parties. But of course when faced with a choice between Tory, and faux-Tory Labour, people just pick the real Tories, or worse, UKIP.
Time to wake up and remember what you stand for, Labour.
Before it's too late.