Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Lord Freud’s mistake was believing that the self-esteem of the disabled matters more than that of professional compassionistas

And lo! the land was filled with the sound of outraged wailing as left-liberals – many of whom make a pretty decent living out of compassion-mongering – did gnash their teeth and rend their garments and demand loudly and repeatedly on and on and bloody on that something really must be done!

What a nauseating display of masturbatory self-righteousness.

The welfare reform minister Lord Freud and a member of the audience at a Tory party fringe meeting were thinking out loud about ways to help those disabled people who would like to work, but whose disabilities are such that it wouldn’t be worth an employer paying them the minimum wage. One idea was that they might be paid less than the minimum wage, with the short-fall being made up by increased  benefits.  Worth considering, I’d have thought. Of course, it would rather destroy the whole basis of the minimum wage. But then, it was always a measure designed to make it harder for the certain sections of society - unskilled young people, for instance – to find (legal) work. Mind you, it was never really meant to actually help anyone – the minimum wage was created by educated middle-class left-wingers who already had well-paid jobs in order to demonstrate their humungous levels of sensitivity, kindness and compassion. They are the exactly the same sort of people who’ve been loudest in their condemnation of Lord Freud’s entirely unexceptionable remarks.

True, numerous Tory politicians have joined in the chorus of condemnation – but only because Lord Freud made a political mistake by being drawn into discussing a fresh(ish) political idea on the hoof. That has been strictly verboten since the days when Mrs. Thatcher was in power (the last time Conservative ministers were allowed to discuss radical ideas openly). I doubt if many Tory MPs (I’m excluding the modernisers who have wrecked the party) would have a problem with the kind of proposal Lord Freud and his questioner were kicking around.

Apart from political maladroitness, Lord Freud’s true mistake was to actually want to help the disabled. Right-wingers know instinctively that doing useful work is an invaluable source of self-esteem, and that it’s difficult to think of anything more valuable in life than self-esteem which has been genuinely earned – rather than the unearned variety conferred on people purely because they belong of one of the left’s pet victim groups.

What’s so unattractive about many left-wingers is their tendency to treat the disadvantaged – including the young unemployed (at least, the ones who want to work) and the severely disabled - as so much fuel for their own sense of moral superiority. The effects of their policies on those over whom they shed crocodile tears seems, at best, of secondary importance – or of no importance at all: the only thing that really seems to matter to them is whether or not the policy makes them feel good about themselves. Blisters!

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