I did hear the various proposals of cutting child benefits for high earners and the problems in calculation that it is causing already, despite being merely part of a speech at the party conference, as well as one or two other cut-backs in welfare. I managed to note that a number of Conservatives are uneasy about the whole subject (one always expects cuts to hit other people) and a few ToryBoys getting their .... well, never mind. Let's just say they are drooling over the man some call George Awesome. (You really do have to be a sad person to think that.)
Of course, shouts the latter group excitedly, it is so brave to challenge your own supporters. With respect, I see nothing terribly brave about it as Georgie-Porgie and the Boy-King view the situation. They have done nothing but challenge their supporters ever since the Boy-King has been crowned because they do not like their core supporters. Their inability to win an unlosable election has taught them nothing: they still think that these people have nowhere to go.
In principle, there is nothing wrong with cutting back welfare pay-outs to people who are well-off and, one might argue, that cut-backs have to start somewhere. However, from where I am sitting this looks like cowardice. Sooner or later those public sector unions will have to be tackled and that will be a good deal more painful than having another go at the "well-off". The welfare dependency culture will have to be tackled (possibly that is what Iain Duncan Smith's still rather vaguely known plan is about) and that, too, is going to be painful and difficult. One cannot help feeling that the evil day is being postponed, perhaps till there is a real Conservative government but that seems ever less likely.
What caught my attention this morning is the BBC announcement that Cameron was going to talk about the need for people with "broad shoulders" to take more of the burden and what "fairness" was all about. I am not going to listen to the speech as my days of listening to political speeches are long gone. If someone pays me for it, fine. Otherwise, not on your life.
I do, however, wonder about the concept of "fairness" as defined by politicians. In fact, it is quite apparent to me that once politicians start talking about "fairness" it is time to take to the hills, which is what quite a few people will do, especially those at whose expense this "fairness" is being proposed.
It seems to me that the Boy-King sees the money that is to be distributed in welfare as something that just exists or happens for him and his little friends to play with. He can, therefore, decide whether it is fair to give so much to somebody who earns more and so much to somebody who earns less. It has to be "fair", you see, and "fairness" is something that only people at the to can decide on. If this sounds familiar then so be it.
What neither the Boy-King nor his little friends seem to be able to grasp is that money is earned or made. The people who, he thinks, should bear a greater burden, are already doing so: they are the ones who pay into the pot most of what is in it. It is their money or, rather, our money that the government plays around with and decides to distribute in a "fair" way.
It has been said for some time that there is a kind of an unspoken contract between the vast middle class and the government. The former will contribute the funds that the latter can redistribute but will, in return, get some benefits. If those benefits disappear either because there is not enough money or because it is "unfair" will the vast middle class continue to contribute such a huge amount in tax and leave ever less spending money for itself? Has the Boy-King considered that it would be much fairer to start removing the state from various aspects of our lives, reducing taxes in order that people of all income should be able to run their own affairs, create more wealth and more jobs? No, I don't suppose he has. After all, those ideas are not "fair".