Understanding the right wing mind -5

This from Jeremy Hunt, the new Chairman of the Health Select Committee, who never realised the harm he was doing!

Words fail me, though ‘brain cells’ and ‘few’ and ‘inactive’ come to mind. What’s he been on in order to revive them ten years too late?

Joking apart, it seems that few right wingers think too deeply. They are only too happy to receive and accept conventional wisdom without question.

The next exhibit is Iain Duncan Smith, who is ostensibly more of a thinker and of course instituter of Universal credit which even Labour has supported – though not in its current form.

He is of the opinion according to this piece in the ‘Independent’ that a universal basic income [UBI] during the coronavirus pandemic…..would be a “disincentive to work”. !!!

Really? He leaves aside that there is undoubtedly a much reduced ability to work when social distancing is one of the few preventative measures that we know works. So working, when usually a social activity is likely, in effect, to be bad for you. That’s one hell of a disincentive!

But Mr Duncan Smith, said his think-tank the Centre for Social Justice had “ran the numbers” and found that the cost would amount to an “astronomic amount of money” – with a basic payment costing the Treasury around £260 billion a year….

… “Let me say now, it’s unaffordable, impractical, produces massive disincentives for people to work and most importantly won’t make any difference to poverty in this country. 
“And even if that weren’t enough, this would not be the moment for such a massive upheaval of our welfare system.”

If now is not the moment then I don’t know when is…

Half a trillion of Quantitative Easing is fine for the banks but apparently half that is no good for we plebs. Moreover it doesn’t of course take any account of what would come back as tax. VAT is 20% though I cannot imagine either he or the Centre for Social Justice could possibly notice that in their bills. Or perhaps they think that UBI would all disappear into tax havens or be hidden under the bed?

It is as if we have to conclude (I’m afraid I do) that however bad Labour are they cannot possibly be as bad as even Iain Duncan Smith, who I have always thought, means well – as, indeed his recent intervention might suggest:

“You could change the benefit rates allowing the greater expanse of money to flow. This could be done today,” Duncan Smith …told Treasury minister John Glen.

But I much regret I think the power of personal money which both Hunt and Duncan-Smith have in quantity such that it gives their ideas more attention than they realistically merit, particularly when you examine their lack of proper and incisive thinking.


  1. David Howdle -

    And Hunt is still off beam. 7 years of initial training for a doctor produces a rookie doctor. Ditto 3 years for a nurse. Better than not having them of course, but what price years of experience lost by failing to train them timeously in the first place.

  2. Peter May -

    Quite – mind you a failure to train sufficient doctors and nurses has been a consistent failure of pretty much every post-war government. We’ve got too used to importing them….

  3. Bill Hughes -

    Understanding the right-wing mind is a very painful exercise. When their whole raison d’etre is to promote their own wealth and the financial interests of the tiny minority at the top of the soccial and economic ladder. To be fair to Ian Duncan Smith he did attempt at some sort of understanding of the lower and deprived orders. He was influenced originally when planning the Universal Credit scheme by a vicar in Glasgow (the name escapes me at the moment) who worked in a community centre and wrote very good letters to the Guardian about poverty, unemployment etc. However this spark of compassionate thinking regarding the social securty “safety net” was soon watered down when the rest of IDS’s right-wing Tory colleagues got their teeth into this inhumane scheme.
    Regarding Jeremy Hunt, I too was gob smacked by his self criticism when saying that not enough nurses and doctors have been trained. Whether he is genuine about this or just trying to regain credibiilty is a moot point.

Comments are closed.