No Money, No Morals ... and No Dad Either EPA Millionaire

Article excerpt

Byline: Suzanne Moore

THE poor may always be with us but the way we describe them changes. Pensioners are acceptably poor because they are old. But then there are the other lot - scroungers, welfare cheats, layabouts and pram-faced girls.

Some have more and more babies just to get money or housing. Some feign all kinds of disabilities just to live off the system, some come from families where no one ever works.

The problem with these people is not just that they have no money, they are now seen as having no morals. This may be true of some - but all of them? Happily, George Osborne sees through all this and is going to come down hard on those who live on benefits as a 'lifestyle choice'. What an intriguing phrase.

I thought 'lifestyle choice' was a kind of Eighties adman's code for aspiration and no one spoke like that any more - but really it's no surprise that I am having Eighties flashbacks, is it? I don't claim to know all of the five million people who live on permanent benefit any more than I know the big tax exiles and overpaid bankers.

But I do know folk who live on incapacity benefit, as some of them are close to me. I am not sure if I would employ them.

Sufferers of mental illness have good and bad days and some people are so fragile they would not get through a job interview.

The idea of piling further pressure on the sick and needy turns my stomach. So I find Osborne's rhetoric just a little scary even though we have Clegg bringing up the rear to moderate it all.

We must apparently think of our grandchildren even if it means hard times now. OK, so I try saying to myself austerity will begat prosperity. And I wonder ... You see, it's not just me who is uncertain about the devastating effects of the cuts. It is not some loony Leftie response to ask whether Osborne is driven more by ideology than economic sense.

Recently, Boris Johnson, several Right-wing economists and the respected Organisation For Economic Co-operation and Development have all warned against too much fiscal belttightening as it may lead us on to further recession.

New figures show that we have just had our worst-ever trade deficit. …