It would be easy to criticise the ideas in David Cameron’s speech on welfare reform as half-baked and impractical. They are both but that is not the main point.
One paragraph is missing from the transcript of the speech he gave in Kent today. This is a reference by Cameron to the way that the last Labour government allegedly ran up ‘a huge income transfer industry that they ran from the Treasury pushing tax credits and benefits around in a bid to try hit the poverty targets they’d set up’. This is marked as ‘political content excised’.
It’s a label that might as well apply to the whole speech, given that it’s a vision of what the welfare system would look like under a Conservative, Liberal Democrat-free government. You don’t have to look very far today to find Lib Dem bloggers calling on Nick Clegg to condemn Cameron’s ideas in the strongest language imaginable’ and Lib Dem think-tanks calling them ‘daft’ and ‘unworkable’.
Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing.
Behind the launch of the troubled families programme by Eric Pickles lies a sorry story of the systematic abuse and distortion of research evidence with an added bit of John Wayne.
Billed as part of ‘counter-attack Sunday’ by the Conservative Home website, the launch was trailed by Pickles in an interview in the Independent. The main point will be to end the ‘it’s not my fault culture’ that has allegedly enabled 120,000 troubled families to avoid taking responsibility for their own lives. Pickles said he would be ‘a little less understanding’ to families ‘fluent in social work’ who are responsible for ‘chaos that costs the country £9 billion every year’.
After The Secret History of Our Streets, I wonder if David Cameron will be quite so keen to namecheck Sir Patrick Abercrombie in future.
As I blogged for Inside Housing earlier today, last night’s brilliant first episode of the series exposed the role of post-war planners in the demolition of the homes around Deptford High Street. Most prominent of all was Abercrombie, the monocle-wearing creator of the County of London Plan who said in a wartime film about the ‘dirty, dismal houses’ of the south London area: ‘You see the trouble is that London grew up without any plan or order. That’s why there are all these bad things and ugly things that we hope to do away with if this plan of ours is carried out.’