Mr Shelbrooke has drafted a Bill that would change the law to allow welfare payments to be made on a new “welfare cash card” whose use could be restricted by the Government.
“Introducing a welfare cash card on which benefits will be paid, claimants will only be able to make priority payments such as food, clothing, energy, travel and housing. The purchase of luxury goods such as cigarettes, alcohol, Sky television and gambling will be prohibited,” Mr Shelbrooke told MPs.
It’s one of those little dividing lines between the more ghastly of the authoritarians and the civilised people.
We do indeed say that there are those who really don’t know what’s best for them. Those significantly mentally deficient for example. Children. The French.
But when we start adding the poor, or the pesantry, or the citizenry in general, to that list of those who should only get what they’re given or allowed to have, then we step over that line from civilisation into that ghastly authoritarianism. You know, the Jonny Porrits of this world who insist that there are just too many damn peasants who won’t do what they’re told. Or this fuckwit of a Tory MP who seems to think that those on benefits are not adults. You know, free people at liberty, free to take whatever liberties they like with the meagre incomes that they have.
Myself, if I ran the Tory Party, I’d chuck him out for even mentioning, let alone proposing, this particular little bill. And anyone who had the temerity to vote for it. Won’t happen of course: for there are these sorts of authoritarians in all of the political parties more’s the pity.