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Is Britain Losing its Morality?

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As ever, I start my mornings scrolling through the daily news online. To accompany my intake I switch on the television and flick on Sky News.

Now, I understand that we are in tough times at the moment - Arab Awakening, Eurozone crisis, domestic spending cuts etc - but rarely have I been as incensed as I have been recently.

Two recent news stories sent my blood pressure soaring. They made me question everything I believe in. It forced me to ponder: are my principles that unique; that much of an alien concept that nobody else could ever possibly concur with them? Am I the only one seeing these stories; the only one willing to speak out against the inequality and injustice currently spreading through this very country like wildfire?

The first story to catch my eye was the announcement of the coalition's new £1bn scheme to try and reduce youth unemployment.

However, as if often the case with this administration, this plan has many flaws and blemishes. Firstly, as an aside, this new scheme looks remarkably similar to Labour's Future Jobs Fund (FJF); a programme described by the Conservatives in their 2010 manifesto as a "failing employment scheme".

Fundamentally, the new scheme will provide a subsidy for companies willing to employ 18 to 24 year-olds. It differs only from the FJF in that it does not include public sector jobs. But it was not the embarrassing U-turn that troubled me; on the contrary, it brought a smile to my face.

What troubled me was the nagging doubt in the back of my mind: how will this new programme be funded? After all, we are supposedly bankrupt right? With our coalition partners incessantly asserting that they will not spend a penny of new money, a few immediate suggestions sprang to mind. A tax on banks perhaps? A wealth tax on the asset-rich? Or maybe even a donation from Cameron himself; it appears he is not short of a few quid! But then reality strikes. As reported in the Financial Times yesterday, the subsidies will be funded through the real-term cuts in family tax credits. It is expected that George Osborne will not be increasing family tax credits in line with inflation; thus enabling the £1bn saved to go towards the new jobs plan.

In other words, it will be low-to-middle income earners having to lose out for the benefit of the economic recovery; not the individuals who caused the catastrophic mess in the first place. If Labour are serious about wanting to regain power in 2015 they will do well to attack this abhorrent decision and provide plausible alternatives that strike a chord with average citizens. Alongside the suggestions outlined above, a tax on bankers' bonuses would surely be the most obvious place to start. Another option, not to be overlooked, would be to fund this jobs scheme with money saved through stopping affluent pensioners receiving winter fuel allowance? Either way, it is morally wrong to keep taking from the least well-off in society; especially when we read almost daily of massive pay rises and bonuses within the higher echelons of the private sector.

The second story angered me in relation to the first one. I stumbled across new research carried out by the Tax Justice Network. They found that tax evasion costs the UK approximately £70bn annually. But where is all the anger? Why are Cameron and Osborne so quiet on this sickening fact? Who knows? All I do know is that it is extremely patronising of Cameron and the Sun to team up and make tackling benefit "scroungers" their biggest priority. Benefit fraud costs the UK £1.5bn a year; a figure dwarfed by that of tax evasion.

If the coalition were serious about reducing the deficit surely they would get their priorities in order; unless, of course, their decisions were in fact ideologically driven as opposed to being driven due to economic necessity. Another example of an ideologically driven agenda comes from last weeks claim from Tory minister Francis Maude that the public sector strike on the 30th will cost the economy £500m. Despite his insistence, the figures he quotes do not add up under close scrutiny. Money gained through not having to pay striking workers has not been included in this figure and childcare costs and lost work is hard to predict as some employees will bring their children to work whilst others will call upon the services of grandparents.

What is clear though is that when combining the stories a clear Tory ideological agenda is unearthed. Cameron calls union members "irresponsible" yet does not offer equivalent condemnation of rich tax dodgers.

Why is this and what does it tell us? Yet what ceases to amaze me is that Britain does not appear as infuriated by this as I am. Flagrant lies, bias towards the wealthy and clear double standards ought to be enough to get tens of millions of us marching on Downing Street; but this scenario has failed to materialise. Instead, the humble great British public remain silent and tacit. Where has our morality gone?