Tories even harsher to the unemployed
I’ve been using this blog to moan about the Government’s harsh line on unemployed people, and on benefit claimants more generally, but you can rely on the Conservative Party conference to prove that there’s still clear blue water between Labour and the Opposition.
Chris Grayling, the Conservative spokesperson, seems to believe that the reason we have unemployed people is that they can’t be bothered “to get out of the house and to do something” and that the way to deal with this is to threaten them with taking away their benefits for up to three years.
As unemployment starts to accelerate, Grayling’s speech may not be such clever politics after all. Yes, it will probably go down well with his own Party, but it may not look so good to the electorate: as unemployment starts rising, Conservatives banging on about unemployed people who can’t be bothered to get out of the house are going to revive lots of memories of why people thought they were the nasty party.
If unemployment rises by half a million over the next six months the reason won’t be that they all suddenly became lazy, and floating voters will probably recognise that unemployed people are not the villains in this story – they’re the victims of economic forces they have no control over.
If Grayling isn’t careful he could turn a difficult story for Labour – rising unemployment – into a problem for his own Party: behind the mask, are they as vindictive as ever?