Phew, what a relief! Tory education secretary Nicky Morgan has now said that plans to slash payments to the disabled were only a “suggestion”. Proposals were “still under consultation”, but aimed to make sure “the right people” got help, she added. Well, that’s all right then. Stoking fear amongst some of the most vulnerable people in the land, including those with serious, life-changing illnesses and conditions, only happened because of a suggestion.
Classic Osborne, this is. The tactical genius who wants, more than anything else, to succeed David Cameron as prime minister, presents yet another budget and within a day or so the whole thing unravels. He barely mentioned the proposed cuts in his speech, hoping that they’d just slip through without us noticing. With the power of the media lined up behind him, Osborne thought he would get away with it, but he couldn’t.
They might seem stupid, but Tories are not, well not all of them anyway. They pay people to study the media and the internet and it cannot have escaped their notice that many people are very angry. Even those who profess little interest in politics and don’t lean to one side or the other, do not regard a civilised decent society as one where the very worst off are shafted the most. In their ivory towers and luxury mansions, the people who run this country will have been told by their advisors that they would not get away with attacking the sick and disabled without some of us noticing.
It has been very upsetting to see the reactions of people who have conditions like Parkinsons, who fear for the future without the possibility of their incomes being slashed. People with conditions like Parkinsons need more help, not less. There are things we can do to make their lives more bearable. It costs money, of course it does, but that is a price worth paying, unless you have a heart of stone. Isn’t that right, Mr Osborne?
But fear not. It was only a “suggestion” after all. “We didn’t really mean it. We would only have cut disability benefits if we thought we could get away with it – I mean, if we had not listened to the arguments.”
Osborne and co will row back from the original decision and he will do what he did when he backtracked on cutting tax credits. He will cut somewhere else, like to Universal Credit, and if we are not careful he will get away with it again.