The Left has a problem. If one more "socialist" appears on TV complaining about the plight of people on benefits, I might do something silly.
Now before I get torn to pieces and denounced as a "reformist, revisionist, anti worker, naive, patronising, never been there, doesn't understand the problem class traitor" let me explain.
It is hard, very hard, surviving on our pitiful welfare state. The Daily Mail dross about claimants with twenty "disabled" immigrant kids living in million pound mansions is nothing more than propaganda. But the response of much of the Left to the recent budget has been to focus solely on the "poor people living on £65 a week who not only are seeing benefits frozen or reduced, but will also be hit hardest by a VAT rise". Now I'm not saying this isn't true, but this strategy does nothing to solve the problem.
Firstly, all the media has to do his throw out spurious examples of people cheating the system, and for those who aren't, well they just have to get a job. Get a job! If only it was that easy.
More importantly the current dialogue does nothing to win over the rest of the population. It is all too easy for a private sector worker, especially those on low pay, to side with the demonisation of those on benefits, or the slur on those in the public sector. (Although I'm still unsure how a bin man's pension is "gold plated")
Until the working population of this country sees tax as a civil duty rather than state theft, until they see the state as part of their collective power, rather than a welfare system for those who can't look after themselves, nothing will change.
The tactics of the Left are merely compounding the agenda of the Right. The more we campaign for the unemployed, the easier it is for us to be knocked back with the "get a job argument".
The Left must not fall into the trap of only defending people on benefits. And although it pains me to say it, the Trade Unions must not only campaign for the protection of their members' jobs.
The next step in the current agenda will be the privatisation of Royal Mail. The government will simply say "we're selling it because we can't afford it" and the middle class will love them for it.
So what does all of this mean? What exactly am I trying to say?
Until the Left becomes a movement of WORKERS, no matter what their pay;
Until the Left shows that there is an alternative way to run an economy;
Until the Left shows the benefits of state ownership for everyone;
Until the Left reaches out to the whole population;
Well, until then, the left seems destined to become a campaign group for the unemployed and for public sector pensions.