please read this - all of it. it's sue bradford on the work of the new welfare working group. here's a brief excerpt:
The provision of welfare is not a business, any more than running the country is not simply a business. On the other hand, the provision of insurance is a business, and the fact that we have businesspeople without a background in social policy, much less experience of living on a benefit, running this working group, makes me fairly apprehensive about the outcome of the current process.
I’ve also seen comment around the theme that ‘Government alone cannot replace the social support that close knit villages once provided.’ This sounds major alarm bells for me. There are many dangers in the concept of going back to the village, including the excuse it provides for the withdrawal of state support, and the propagation of the myth that somehow there was a golden age when people automatically cared for the sole mother and her children, for the sick, the injured, the impaired and the aged.
In fact village and traditional society often meant –and still do mean in many parts of the world – ignorance, contempt for those who are different, ostracism and the simple abandonment of those who don’t have the means to support themselves to a life of poverty, illhealth and an early death. When you hear about the glories of the village and how a return to localism will solve our social ills in relation to the welfare debate, I’d advise extreme caution.
my admiration for this woman continues to grow.