We know it is autumn when those who enjoy blasting birds from the sky for fun take to the field, or indeed when Tesco and others fill their aisles with Christmas biscuits and chocolates, and start to use posters and adverts in red & gold & green.
The middle of September is also the starting gun for the Political Conference season, and with that the BBC Political bruisers start their seasonal pugilistic questioning of the Government and its Policies in the annual Open Season. .
The Andrew Marr Programme this weekend, from about 30 minutes in, was no exception with Damian Green, the Minister for Work and Pensions, being asked directly about whether he would continue with the policies of Ian Duncan Smith. It is not easy listening to what appears to be a muffled continuous load of Ministerial babble that essentially says “no change” albeit in a softer and more sympathetic tone. Equally, to be fair, he said there would be no further cuts -presumably other than what is already ongoing?
Marr is tenacious and kept asking about the plight of many disabled who are to lose £30 per week, amongst other questions like assessment, people dying, and so on.
It must be my hearing nowadays, because Gree ’s voice sounded like repetitive ideological chant from the Book of IDS, a bit like droning Uillean pipes, spouting words that meant little, only occasionally interpreted and clarified by Marr as ”no change then”.
A full transcript of the interview can be found here.
Some quotes from that interview:
Damian Green: “Well, our whole system of welfare reform is precisely designed to help people get into work and the balance you have to strike between benefits and help is always a sensitive one, clearly. But absolutely what we’re about is helping people who are struggling and I think one of the things I most want to achieve is helping people who are struggling and I think one of the things I most want to achieve is have a modernised welfare state where we try and help people get a job, get some work, not just because it’s the best route out of poverty but it’s the best route to personal dignity, greater self-esteem and so on that leaving people on benefits are not helping them. It’s an old fashioned way that doesn’t help them”
Andrew Marr: “But you’re taking away a lot of money from these people”.
Damian Green: “Specially designed for the first time to make sure that work always pays. Now there are various other benefits of course that specifically are for disabled people, but the central thrust of making work always pay absolutely is what we must need to have in a successful welfare state. “