We hardly know where to start on Johann Lamont’s grand act of madness yesterday, and we have SO many real-life crises to deal with this morning that we have to go out for a couple of hours now to address some of the most pressing of them. So here’s just a quickie to get the ball rolling. See if you can spot which of these three statements doesn’t belong with the others. (Our emphasis in all cases.)
“Ed Miliband said yesterday that even millionaires should get child benefit as he attacked the Government’s welfare cuts. The new Labour leader said his party would defend the principle of universal benefits – even for the best off.
Asked if he thinks that ‘if you’re a millionaire, you keep it’, Mr Miliband said: ‘I’m in favour of that, yes, and I’m in favour of it because it’s a cornerstone of our system to have universal benefits. Frankly, there aren’t that many millionaires in this country. Families on £45,000 need child benefit and it’s a way that society recognises the costs of having kids.’”
(Ed Miliband, Labour Party leader, 11 October 2010)
That’s the UK/England (we’re not sure which) spoken for. How about Wales?
“Free prescriptions and free school breakfasts will be protected from spending cuts, vows First Minister Carwyn Jones – who marks his 100th day in the job today. Mr Jones said ministers were going through departmental spending “line by line” to prepare for next year’s budget, due to be published in the autumn. Asked about free prescriptions, introduced in 2007, the Welsh Labour leader said yesterday:
“We are not going to touch free prescriptions. If you look at what people have found most beneficial to them they will talk about free bus passes, they will talk about free school breakfasts, they will talk about free prescriptions. Those are the areas that I think members of the public will expect us to protect.”“
(Carwyn Jones, Welsh Labour leader & First Minister of Wales, 19 March 2010)
Wales seems pretty clear too. How about Scotland?
“What is progressive about a chief executive on more than 100,000 a year not paying for his prescriptions, while a pensioner needing care has their care help cut? What is progressive about judges and lawyers earning more than 100,000 a year, not paying tuition fees for their child to follow in their footsteps at university, while one in four unemployed young people can’t get a job or a place at college?”
“I believe our resources must go to those in greatest need. But if the devil’s greatest trick was to convince the world he didn’t exist, [Alex] Salmond’s most cynical trick was to make people believe that more was free, when the poorest are paying for the tax breaks for the rich.”
(Johann Lamont, Scottish Labour leader, yesterday)
We must admit, we’re not aware of a TV reality show called Britain’s Toriest Labour Parties. Perhaps that’s because until yesterday, even the craziest TV executives wouldn’t have dared to imagine a reality as insane as this.
More to come.