Do you remember those occasions when you were in school when one person or group of people in your class did something stupid and you all got punished for it, despite the fact that it wasn't all of you? It felt really unfair didn't it? Well I'm starting to get flashbacks to that as the government lines up to kick the welfare state in the aftermath of the Philpott case.
What Mick and Mairead Philpott did was both disturbing and stupid. And very few people - even those on the left - are going to be lining up to defend Mick Philpott for using the welfare state to fund his lifestyle. But to watch George Osborne, - aided by the Tories pet newspaper the Daily Mail - use this as an opportunity to try and put down the welfare state, to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the second highest ranking member of the government, use the deaths of six children to justify his poor punishing budget, is both crass and repellent.
There are problems with the welfare system in the UK. Nobody is saying that there are not. There are some people who see it as a meal ticket which saves them from having to do some real work, but they are not the majority. The majority of those on welfare are people who are either temporarily unemployed - and incidentally I didn't see the government doing anything to actually increase the number of available jobs before they started slashing at welfare - or who are for one reason or another (perhaps sickness, perhaps caring for a sick relative) unable to work. Now they, rather than those who are actually responsible, are being forced to pay for the mistakes of those in banking sector
I'm not sure what has prompted the Conservative front bench to adopt such a draconian attitude towards the welfare state. Perhaps it is the relative youth of the PM and his front bench team and a wish to quell some dangerous mumblings from the hard right of the Tory Party. What I do know, is that Cameron and co. have done things- not least to the NHS- that not even Mrs Thatcher in her prime would have dared to do. Since its formation after the Second World War the welfare state has been the backbone of Britain, and only those intent on some form of political suicide would ever dare to tamper with it.
It's also interesting to note the background of those behind the statements. The prime minister attended Eton and Oxford, and Osborne, is the heir to an Irish baronetcy and a massive fortune. Neither of them have the slightest idea of the importance of welfare to the millions of everyday Britons.
The government may believe that what they are doing is what is necessary for the country. But if they have any plans of still being in power after 2015 they need to understand that attacking the welfare state is not a way to win the next election.