A comment on my last blog was “The party that changes people’s attitudes is the one that often wins elections”. Natalie made a start last Sunday when Andrew Neil asked her about the Citizens’ Income. quite courageous, but Natalie’s could have made life less difficult for herself. Natalie, why do you not use the weapon I have given you? What was wrong with the script in my last blog? It was like watching you defend yourself against an axe-man with your bare hands.
There are a number of points better put together as a coherent whole, when you get an in depth interview, as you will. But first you must get them across as individual ‘bullet points’ in a Carolyn Quinn or Andrew Neil type grilling:
- The Universal Credit is an emaciated version of the CI
- The UC is the intended jewel in the crown of govt policy
- A more generous version of the UC is the principal recommendation of
Dynamic Benefits (2009)
- Dynamic Benefits starts with a thorough exposé of means testing
- Means testing is wrong in principle – It does need abolishing
- IDS IS ABOLISHING MEANS TESTING,
This is what you need t attack on, and keep bringing the discussion back to. It is the government’s strong point.
- The UC is inadequate
- Compulsory work sanctions are barmy with 50 chasing every job
In due course you will be given – or can carve out –opportunities to go on:
- Means testing is exactly like a TAX. So it IS a tax for practical purposes
- Massive on small incomes, insignificant for everybody else
- Dynamic Benefits shows this in graph form
- The logic will inexorably push in the direction of a CI.
- Lady Rhys Williams identified the work disincentive of means testing in 1944
- And proposed a Basic Income then
- Existence of BIEN, CI Trust, Europe wide Basic Income movement, Alaska PDF . . .
The cost question.
If it hasn’t cropped up already, you must introduce and expand on the ‘means testing is (identical to) tax’ theme POINTING OUT T HIS IS WHAT ‘DYNAMIC BENEFITS says, as per my blog on11.4.13. A part time single parent losing benefits as well as having meals and bus fares to find loses a bigger proportion of her/his income than a banker on bonuses. All the Citizens’ Income does is shift this burden upwards. You can give the bare outline – JSA, plus a rent component, and point out that the much trumpeted personal tax allowance gives the top tax bracket far more than the people it is supposed to be helping. See my blog post on 7.12.12 for a full explanation.
But bring it back to the principle. The original ‘Dynamic Benefits’ UC answered the question ‘ how do we make sure workers are not worse off than the unemployed’. The government scheme falls short of that, but the CI incorporates this. The principle is that no one on a low income should lose a higher proportion of their income than those on higher incomes.
Keep bringing dicussion back to the fact that means testing is wrong. Lady Rhys Williams, a member of the Beveridge Commission wrote a minority report recommending a Basic Income in 1944, having identified in advance what Dynamic Benefits now describes in detail. (see blog 7.12.12). Why did Labour abstain on that appalling reversal of a vote on acour decision in favour of claimants? Why are many prominent Labour figures, including Miliband, on the defensive, obviously accepting the thesis that there might be scroungers? Why do large numbers of unaffected people buy this inhuman, preposterous view?
Answer: Iain Duncan Smith is quite right to get rid of means testing, but his plan is both nasty and stupid at a time of high unemployment. The GP believes that the logic will inexorably push in the direction of a CI
I have just read that Natalie is on Question Time tonight. She needs this without more ado.