Sad to say that as much as I struggle with our political parties at the moment (and let's be honest, who wouldn't) I not only find that there is little to separate the ConDem coalition from it's ComThem opposition (the party formally know as 'Labour') I do wish people would portray them properly.
The latest example of this is that poor man's champion (not) being the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith (IDS), who is a firm supporter of the changes that are occurring within, and to, our welfare system.
That the man thinks that many of these changes are fair is something that will be responded to when the hustings come a knocking but the reporting of IDS' engagement with David Bennett (thanks to the BBC's 'Today' programme leave a little to be desired. The issue surrounds Mr. Bennett's question, 'Could you survive on £53 a week?'
The reply was, 'If I had to I would.' It was not, 'I can live on £53'
The 'having to' and 'can' are two very different kettles of caviar; people might be able to exist on £53 a week but they certainly cannot live on it. I have to say that I doubt whether IDS would be able to match his current lifestyle on £53 a day but should he, like so many I work with, find himself out of work and having to live on benefits he'd have no choice but to to make it work, for like those upon whom he is legislating by means of the changes, he would have to!
I am worried that we will let this gross misreporting fuel a backlash that vilifies the man and draws attention away from the realities, which (in case you have forgotten) are:
The bedroom tax which hits those of a working age who receive housing benefit (including those whose partners have cancer, who are parents of handicapped kids and many more besides).
The reduction of legal aid (an essential for those who have not to be represented and afforded the same rights as those who have!)
The changes from council tax benefit to a locally run council tax support
The below inflation cap on tax credits and working-age benefits
The new independence payment which replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
The overall benefit cap for those who are of working-age people
The Universal Credit system
People on benefits who have a history of struggling to manage money will soon find themselves faced with them receiving benefits which they will need to pass on, and for some who have addiction problems (drink, drugs, gambling) this may well see them in arrears with their rent and heading towards being homeless.
Let's stop jumping on the crass reporting of the newspapers; diverting our fire at shadows created by the press and let's start making a focussed and structured stand for those who HAVE to live on £53 a week.