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George Osborne Making Political Capital Out of a Tragedy

05/04/2013 11:05 BST | Updated 04/06/2013 10:12 BST

Someone is trying to exploit the deaths of six children for his own purposes - no I don't mean Mick Philpot - this time it is the Chancellor of the Exchequer who has seen an opportunity in a dreadful tragedy.

George Osborne has asked whether the tax payers should finance the lifestyle of people like Mick Philpot - a man recently convicted of killing six of his children. Taxes and benefits are legitimate areas of debate but Mr Osborne is being dreadfully cynical in invoking this terrible tragedy for his own political purposes.

Of course Mr Osborne - in deliberately conjuring up the image of a now notorious and callous individual is inviting the public to think of all people on benefits in the same light.

It appears Philpot killed his children in an effort to frame his ex-girlfriend who had recently left him - taking away her children. There is a question about why this dreadful man did what he did. Did he want to get back some of his children to claim the benefits that they would attract or was he just out to punish the women who left him?

In any case to argue - as some people have - that the benefits system caused the deaths by motivating this dreadful man to hatch his plan to start a fire is nonsense. Stephen Seddon - an equally dreadful man murdered his parents in order to get his inheritance - I am not aware of anyone calling for a ban on inheritances. I doubt we will hear that from people like Mr Osborne in particular.

Dreadful people do dreadful things - it is the nature of these people that is to blame not the 'system'.

It is enough that Philpot is a hated man - it suits Mr Osborne case to use this man's infamy.

It would be odd if the Chancellor of the Exchequer took a particular interest in the financial affairs of one family - or even the few families that live similar lives. Of course Mr Osborne wants thousands of families to have less money and he does not mind associating them with the callous and greedy Philpot no matter how unfair that is. That six innocent children died seems irrelevant to Mr Osborne. Perhaps like Philpot, Mr Osborne sees only an opportunity in all this.

Again - that tax payer's money is spent on benefits needs to be discussed. The idea of genuinely encouraging capable people back to work could be a positive one - if there are jobs to go to and people can be given the right support to get back their confidence and skills. The problem is when politicians choose to stoke up hatred of whole sections of the community for their own political aims - because this damages our society and it certainly makes nonsense of the idea of us all being in this together. The enmity and resentment will last long after Mr Osborne has taken his generous pension.

Of course thousands of people will have their benefits reduced and will still not be able to get jobs.

Is it that any methods available to Government to get people back into work (or to do anything) are so crude and clumsy that they know that people are bound to suffer and that demonising them is a necessary prerequisite to make it politically acceptable to the voters? After all who cares if some 'welfare scroungers' cannot get jobs but have their benefits cut anyway?

This is the politics of hatred and envy and it is cynical and it's destructive. But Mr Osborne knows he will get some support from some voters and that is good enough for him.