George Osborne’s disgusting, calculating comments on the Philpott case has been picked up all to lovingly by the likes of the Daily Mail and Telegraph as they attempt to make political capital out of a horrific crime committed in one-off circumstances.
The vilification has been swift and purposefully focused on smearing welfare. But anyone who puts two seconds into thinking things through can see it is not just the poor who kill their families because of money.
Equally, even the likes of Anne Widdecombe were quick to point out this man’s murderous actions had nothing to do with the welfare system, but rather everything to do with him being a manipulative individual who never intended to work a day in his life, rather, he chose to exploit the system and his family instead.
Attacking the welfare system for this is senseless. Wherever systems, laws and rules are in place, individuals will attempt to subvert them for their own benefit. Billionaires and millionaires dodge laws and taxes every year for their own benefit – and yet I’ve not seen the Daily Mail preserve quite this degree of outrage for them. (Even though their actions cost the taxman more and cause more harm in the long run.)
The faults of a small number of individuals should never be cause to abandon a system/rule/law which benefits so many more people. Terms like ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’ are meant for situations just like this. To say that because one man commits a heinous act out of his attempt to subvert the system for his own ends should be cause to get rid of said system, cut it back or whatever is as insane as suggesting that because some people dodge taxes we shouldn’t bother taxing them, or, on the flip side, should just implement a 100% tax on all forms of income to prevent people exploiting loopholes at all.
The welfare system benefits millions of people each year. Most of those people are in work, or are retired after a lifetime of work. It allows people like my local Councillor to survive as a single mum, raise her son, go back to school, get a qualification and go out into the world to run a successful business. It has allowed my own family to make it through tough times and come out the other side without having gone destitute in the process.
The welfare state is one of the single greatest achievements in the history of this nation, and I’ll be damned if one man’s criminal act (and I’m not talking about Mr Philpott) let’s it come to an end.