Daniel Hannan MEP wants to fight poverty by making everyone poorer


1:27 pm - April 3rd 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


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The Tory MEP Daniel Hannan, sometimes referred to as a ‘rising star’, yesterday illustrated what it’s like to be a member of the Stupid Party.

He wrote in the Daily Mail yesterday, ‘The alleviation of poverty is altogether too important to be left to the Left’.

It’s great that the Right is also interested in alleviating poverty!

It would help if Hannan wasn’t so misleading though.

One Guardian comment piece called the welfare reforms ‘savage’, ‘cruel’ and — worst of all — ‘imported from the U.S.’ Another declared matter-of-factly that ‘the bedroom tax’ was ‘evidence that this government is either careless or actively cruel’.

Cruel, eh? By how much, then, do you suppose the welfare budget is being cut? Twenty per cent? Thirty? In fact, it is being slightly increased.

This is because the vast majority of the welfare budget goes on pensions for older people (who are a bigger share of the population every year) and to in-work benefits. But the cuts have been focused almost exclusively on disabled people and the unemployed. This is a bit like cutting the NHS budget to zero and then saying the NHS is fine because government spending in other areas has gone up.

Anyway, Hannan also wrote: “We don’t hate poor people, comrades. We want to turn them into rich people.”

How so? I asked Hannan what the Coalition was doing to tackle poverty.

He told me the Coalition had already cut poverty and pointed me to this blog-post.

That article also shows that poverty is ‘falling’ as an official measure only because the median wage has fallen due to a worsening economy. Hannan didn’t otherwise elaborate on what the government was doing to reduce poverty (especially since the economy isn’t creating any well-paid jobs).

So to summarise, Daniel Hannan wants to reduce poverty by making people richer, but when asked for evidence he shows an example of how relative poverty is falling because people are poorer.

As Jasmine May pointed it out…

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. DumbToryNarrative

Worthless Fox News Tory is Fox News.

2. Man on Clapham Omnibus

Ok we get it – he’s an idiot but so what?
Rather than filling these pages with empty rants and gestures I would sugest someone somewhere gets a coherent oposition together. Where is the oposition coming from and what will it consist of ideologically. It surely wont come from the working class.

Easy to criticise Sunny, but I still remember Labour’s magic trick of both increasing the Welfare budget by 60% whilst presiding over a significant increase in the gap between rich and poor.

The left need to stop wasting time poking at the likes of Hannan and start proposing some fresh ideas.

“We don’t hate poor people, comrades. We want to turn them into rich people.”

It’s possible for all people to be rich now, is it? This is news to me. I was under the impression that money is a finite resource, and that if one person has tons of it, that must mean a lot of people don’t have any. Or has the nature of money suddenly changed without me knowing?

The left need to stop wasting time poking at the likes of Hannan and start proposing some fresh ideas.

“Look over there, we hate it when our idols are exposed as incomprehensible dolts!

J.C. Piech – indeed.
In fact, when we call for measures to make poorer working people richer by raising their wages, Hannan et al will claim that it reduces competitiveness.

6. the a&e charge nurse

[3] ‘The left need to stop wasting time poking at the likes of Hannan and start proposing some fresh ideas’ – while I strongly agree I still think that before doing so the left need to organise themselves as a meaningful political group in the first place.

The labour party has been hijacked by PPE graduates and their ilk, it seems like there is no room for working class MPs?
‘Research by the Smith Institute shows that of the 2010 intake 24% came through this political adviser route, up from just 3% in 1979′.
http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2012/03/26/where-have-the-working-class-mps-gone/

@3

The welfare budget did not increase by 60%. FullFact tried investigating it but neither the DWP or Conservative Party would pony up the source.

The Benefit Expenditure Tables and AME tables don’t show this either, even though that latter dataset includes all ‘social protection’ not just benefits.

60% is a figure you can’t even get close to without pension age benefits and ignoring inflation.

8. Richard Carey

@ 4

“This is news to me. I was under the impression that money is a finite resource, and that if one person has tons of it, that must mean a lot of people don’t have any. Or has the nature of money suddenly changed without me knowing?”

Yes it has changed. The Gold Standard has been abandoned. In the case of the Pound Sterling this happened in 1931. Sorry to be the one to break it to you. This is not a good thing, but it does mean that money is not a finite resource, and everyone can now be a billionaire, like in Zimbabwe.

9. mike cobley

Follow the money is always a good adage, and dont forget that a fat juicy gusher of it goes into the accounts of private sector providers. So that Hannan or any other Tory sado-puppet can gurgle on about budgets rising when actually its the parasites’ bellies that are swelling.

It’s been very funny watching you get up in such a fuss about this one Sunny. He is trolling you and you have swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

For years he (and many others) have been saying that YOUR measure of poverty, less than 60% of median wage, is flawed because it would present a reduction the median wage as a good thing in the fight against poverty, but you wouldn’t have it. Now that is exactly what’s happened and you still haven’t, unless I’ve missed it, accepted that your preferred measure of relative poverty is flawed – although you are getting close to that because as far as I can tell your current position is “poverty is on the increase, regardless of what the measure says”.

What would be great, and I mean the seriously, would be if you would just accept that the number of people below 60% median salary is a crappy measure for poverty and then agree one, or many, measures that have cross-party support to actually show whether we are making progress reducing poverty.

Gordon Brown’s precision bombing of benefits may have got people over the line, but it did next to nothing to actually reduce poverty. George Osborne’s stuttering economy is even more effective at getting people over the poverty line by lowering the line. At the end of the day, these are people’s lives.


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