So it must be true. Nick Clegg appears to be a 'Cameron lite'. The Liberal Democrat members will have all received an email from Clegg today regarding our new unemployement proposals. My concerns are not about the proposals themselves (whilst I do have some resevervations), they are more about his choice of words. I have included the letter again below, highlighting the phrase that made me think, are you serious?
We cannot afford to let millions of young people get trapped on the dole. That's why today I've launched a new plan to tackle youth unemployment.
Did you know that nearly a fifth of 18 to 24-year-olds are currently unemployed? Without action now, more than 1.2 million young people could be unemployed by the end of 2011.
The Conservatives failed a whole generation in the wake of the last recession. A whole generation became trapped in a culture of dependency. Labour look set to repeat the same mistakes now. We can't let that happen.
Today I'm launching new policy that would take almost 900,000 unemployed young people off the streets.
Under our plans more than 800,000 young people will be given a leg-up into industry via paid internships. An extra 60,000 places will be funding in universities and colleges, opening up further and higher education.
We will slash the time Labour forces young people to wait for support, fully fund apprenticeships to put British industry back on track and give more youngsters places on essential back-to-work schemes.
Our proposals would cost £1.1 billion and would be paid for by scrapping the VAT cut immediately.
For more details see my website: NickClegg.com/LostGeneration
Only the Liberal Democrats will nurture the talent of young people and ensure no one is left behind.
As you can see from the highlighting, the phrase that really caught my attention was 'culture of dependency'. For how long has it been the party line to support this flawed and illogical right wing concept? That is a Tory concept, which I have consistently argued against in previous blog posts. What it does is make out it is only the individuals fault for their problems. It takes the attention away from the structural reasons people rely on benefits, stigmatising them for their supposed depraved values. I never thought I would hear this type of rubbish from a Lib Dem, especially our own Leader!
It is even more depressing to read this when we look at our policy framework, that has a good balance between taking into account the structure and the individual causes of social problems, such as poverty. What this does, is distort reality. I only hope that this does not become an usual sound bite and part of the party's rhetoric, as an attempt to encapsulate some of the Tory voters.
I wholly disagree with the phrase 'culture of dependency'. It is unfair, stigmatising, shown to be empirically incorrect and actually makes the social problems worse as it leads people to miss the route causes. I hope Clegg realises that this was a mistake, and that our party should not be drawn into using flawed concepts the Tory's pride themselves on.
Woolwich Murder: Spectacle and Message
15 hours ago