Monday, 21 July 2008

Gratuitous ad hominem: James Purnell

James Purnell is the archetypal New Labour politician. Educated at an exclusive public school, followed by Oxford, a member of Blair's coterie, never done a proper day's work in his life, never likely to. He owes his seat to the usual method of bribing the incumbant with a peerage, and parachuting in Central Office's chosen. He first came to attention through an act of dishonesty, when his image was inserted into a photograph, in order to hide the fact he'd missed an engagement. He is, in short, everything that the Labour Party I grew up around despised.

Now he is fronting the bankrupt government's latest gimmick to crack down on the idle poor, a group of people he has probably only seen from the window of his chauffeur-driven Jag. We learn from a 'leaked' government green paper:

"Unemployed drug addicts who do not own up to their addiction when they seek benefits will be forced to repay the money and could face jail, while jobless people who take drugs will be banned from receiving dole money unless they accept treatment."

No doubt many will applaud, for who cares what happens to such people? However, the way tyranny works is to start with the unpopular people and establish the precedent. Once that's done, you move on to everyone. So, if you want to attack free speech, you go after the raving nazis. If you want everyone carrying compulsory ID, you start with the immigrants. If you want to microchip everyone, you start with the convicts. And in this case, if you want to establish the state's ownership over our lives and bodies, why not start with the unemployed? Why not make them take tests, pry into their private lives, threaten to take away what little they have?

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