Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Tory boy, James Purnell, emerges from the shadows and urges re-think on welfare reform!

Since bowing out of front-line parliamentary politics in 2010, declaring that he wanted a private life, Tory boy, James Purnell, the former New Labour MP for the constituency of Stalybridge and Hyde, has emerged from the shadows as a Labour moderniser, spouting on about 'Blue Labour' (not to be confused with the former Labour MP Jacqui Smith's expenses claim for her husband`s porn video) and his favourite subject, welfare reform. He recently told The Guardian that there should be less reliance on dole payments and instead, the guarantee of job placements and access to housing. He also believes that benefits should be more closely linked to the amount people put into the system.

Many will recall that Purnell as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, introduced modern day slavery to Britain, with his work-for-your-dole schemes where the unemployed are forced to undertake menial tasks to retain their unemployment benefit. He also introduced the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which replaced Incapacity Benefit. Under the ESA`s stricter 'Work Capability Assessment', around two thirds of people who claim ESA are found capable of work and refused benefit. Even people who are terminally ill, have been found fit for work.

Yesterday, the Guardian newspaper reported that staff working in Jobcentres and other Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) contactors, have been issued with guidelines by the DWP on how to deal with suicide threats made by claimants as the squeeze on benefits under the Con-Dem (millionaire) government, gathers momentum. A source working within the DWP told the newspaper:
"Absolutely nobody has ever seen this guidance before, leading staff to believe it has been put together ahead of Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance cuts." The employee added:

"We were a bit shocked. Are we preparing ourselves to be like the Samaritans? The fact that we have dealt with the public for so many years without such guidance has made people feel a bit fearful about what`s coming."
Purnell`s expert on welfare reform the former journalist and merchant banker, David Freud, (great grandson of Sigmund Freud the father of psychoanalysis) was ennobled by New Labour for his services to social policy. He's now a government minister in the Con-Dem government advising on welfare reform. Baron Freud of Eastry, believes in more private sector involvement in delivering welfare in order to get single parents, and Incapacity Benefit claimants, off state benefits.

Once tipped as a future Labour Party Prime Minister, Purnell, while in government, was remarkably gaffe-prone. On one occasion he lost his wallet which contained his House of Commons security pass and shortly after, he left his ministerial red box on a train. During the expenses scandal, he was accused by the Daily Telegraph of milking the system of Commons expenses to subsidise his lavish lifestyle and was also found to have claimed the maximum food allowance of £400 per month, while receiving a government minister's salary of £144,000 per annum. This hungry MP, was also found to have avoided capital gains tax on the sale of his London flat and claimed taxpayer funded expenses for advice from an accountant and for fridge magnets.

While Secretary of State at the DWP, Purnell, signed-off a proposal to charge claimants 27% APR for a social fund loan which had been interest free. This disgusting proposal, was never implemented due to cross-party opposition within the House of Commons.

As a politician, Purnell, was something of a failure. As the MP for Stalybridge & Hyde, he inherited from his predecessor Tom Pendry, a majority of over 14,000 when he stood for election in 2001. When he retired as an MP in 2010, his successor, the Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds, was left with a 2,744 majority turning the constituency into a marginal seat. As a cabinet minister he was also part of an abortive and ludicrous New Labour plot to oust Gordon Brown, which failed and which ultimately, led to him leaving front-line politics.

Due to his social and political connections, it is unlikely that Purnell will ever need to use a Jobcentre. Since resigning as an MP in 2010, Purnell, has worked for the independent think tank, Demos, as its director of the Open Left project. He is currently the Chairman of the Institute for Public Policy Research and earlier this year, he joined the Board of ACEVO, the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, which pays him 'a nominal sum for his advice'. More recently, he applied to become chief executive of the charity 'Save The Children' but failed to get the job which ironically, was given to Gordon Brown`s former director of strategic communications (spin doctor) Justin Forsyth.

There has been some speculation that Purnell, may return to front-line politics. Last month, the 'Boston Consulting Group' revealed that they had hired him as a 'special adviser'. Whether Purnell (a childless bachelor) would have been suitably qualified to head a children`s charity, is debatable. But a former shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Tory MP Chris Grayling, once told the Commons that Purnell now aged 42, had formerly been a babysitter for Tony and Cherie Blair. Blair, a personal friend, also gave Purnell his first job in politics.


Socrates said...

Can you recommend a good anti-emetic? Or just hand me a noose.

Socrates said...


Jellaby Postlethwaite said...

'Emerged from the shadows'? Don`t you mean he crawled out from under some stone? No wonder donations to charities are down with people like Purnell, involved in the charitable sector. Personally, I stopped donating to charity when I discovered that the former Tory MP (sleazeball), Derek Conway, had been drawing £80,000 as C.E.O. for the Cats Protection League. Just goes to show where your money goes. Some little old lady thinks that she`s giving a few bob out of her pension to help some distressed poor moggey, when in reality its going into the pockets of failed politicians, who are too fucking lazy to do an honest days work.

Anonymous said...

Kicking the shit out of the poor and disadvantaged has become a national pastime for these low-life politicians like Purnell and Freud. It also goes to show how mainsteam political parties in Britain are now socially and politically indistinguishable and are basically vying for the votes of the middle-classes in marginal constituencies. Taking a hard-line and humiliating benefit claimants is a vote winner for the Sun and Daily Mail types who they rely on to win elections. Purnell says that what people put into the system should determine what they get out of it. But who can trust the state to keep its word and honour the social contract? Not so very long ago, contributions based unemployment benefit lasted for 12 months but the government at a stroke, cut it to 6 months, effectively robbing people who paid into the system, of 6 months unemployment benefit. They also scrapped the earnings related element of unemployment benefit and in 1980, stopped uprating benefits in line with average earnings. Moreover, not only is the unemployment regime in this country one of the most punitive in the EEC it also pays out one of the lowest rates of unemployment benefit of any country in in the EEC.

Mosaic laws required the poor to be cared for by the rich and both Purnell and Freud (a Jew), should read 'Maimonides Law of the Hebrews'. A 12th century rabbi, Maimonides book, opens with this warning citation from Job:

"Woe? therefore unto him, whoever he may be, who treateth the poor with ignominy. Woe! unto him I say! Rather be unto the poor as a Father, both in pity and consolation, for it is written, 'I was a Father to the poor'!"