Media savvy

Who’s been saying what..?

Some people will always need ‘welfare’. What is now commonly imagined, though, is that those who most need help should be punished for needing it. This is real emotional austerity. Cold, hard, crossing over the other side of the street stuff to avoid the poor.

Suzanne Moore, Guardian, 2 April  

It’s hard to imagine a more repulsive creature than Mick Philpott, the lowlife benefits scrounger convicted of killing six of his children in a fire. And who paid for his disgusting lifestyle? We did. Philpott may be the dregs of humanity. But the welfare system helped him every step of the way.

Sun editorial, 3 April 

His house, his booze, his drugs, his women and his 17 children were paid for by a benefits system meant to be a safety net for the truly needy… Indeed, Philpott never even attempted to find a job. The children owed their existence to his desire to milk the welfare system.

A N Wilson, Mail, 2 April 

The roll out of the government’s latest benefit cuts binge has begun in four London boroughs, ushering in a policy marked by that special form of stupidity so prized by the Thatcherite right. Economic honesty, long-term social cost and any attempt by the politicians responsible to imagine what life might be like for people different from themselves have all been sacrificed in deference to the cheap politics of ignorance, resentment and spite.

Dave Hill, Guardian, 17 April

 Shipbuilding, steel and coal were sacrificed on the altar of Thatcherism. The 1984-85 pit strike for jobs ended in victory for her. And a terrible defeat for villages and towns now plagued by despair, joblessness and drugs. Never forget, never forgive.

Kevin Maguire, Mirror, 8 April

 Certainly, arresting cannabis users involves more paperwork than it should. But isn’t the main reason why drug abuse wrecks so many lives that the police won’t even attempt to tackle it?

Mail editorial, 1 April 

 Until we have the guts, as a country, to recognise the catastrophe of our drugs policy, and challenge the hysteria and immaturity that consigns millions of people to needless misery, innovations like [consumption rooms] in Brighton will be welcome but small distractions, a bunch of needles in a giant, international haystack of our own making.

Amol Rajan, Independent, 18 April 

 Brighton, already reeling from its drug problem, would instantly become a magnet for drug users and dealers alike. Shooting galleries are also public health hazards, with increased rates of HIV and hepatitis.

Melanie Phillips, Mail, 18 April

 It will not be long before your home town has special places where drug abusers can poke or snort poison into their bodies. These will be legal and paid for by you and me. It is a stupid idea, of course. People who take such drugs are selfish parasites in need of deterrence, not patients in need of treatment. The nicer we are to them, the more of them there will be, as we have proved conclusively over the past four decades.

Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday, 21 April