Has Michael Portillo (or the Times) been regarding Hannan's recent headline notoriety with envious eyes? Hard-wired Labour advocates will have an aneurism over certain snippets in his well-argued assessment of the inherent failings in our benefits system.
Idle young should be entitled to nothing
Yep, you read that right. Nothing.
At best, the unrealisable hope of winning the lottery or appearing on Big Brother has supplanted the traditional appetite for qualifications and careers.
He forgot to include X Factor or Britain's Got Talent, but you get the idea.
But perhaps, at least, we ought to assume that fit young people are not entitled to anything. If a few young men from sink estates are now heroes in Afghanistan, why should we presume that all the others are capable of nothing useful at all?
Wow! If Hannan had said this, LabourList would be snapping in fury already.
The Times have given this quite a prominent place on their home page - they have no doubt jealously observed the attention gained by the Telegraph from Hannan's musings in the past month or so.
Unfortunately, Portillo doesn't believe such radical reform is possible. In fact, he argues that future administrations won't be gutsy enough to halt the current system of rewarding the feckless and indolent. Looking at Cameron's Tories, one has to agree.
To achieve any dent in the comfort zone of those who happily pitch up and take from the state without ever feeling the need to do anything for it, a seismic shift in the mould of 1979 would be required. It would be messy, it would be confrontational, it would cow the sensibilities of all but the thickest-skinned of politicians ... which is why Cameron's lot won't bother.
Portillo quite rightly highlights the main attitudes that need to be changed. The long lost stigma of having to go cap in hand to the DSS needs to be reinvented, for a start. Labour have shown that it is possible to stigmatise whole tranches of society based on what they eat, drink and smoke, yet still treat those who habitually dodge work, as victims. If the approach for the former works on the sheep, why not the same for a much more worthy cause?
Society today is very different. Stigma has been abolished. To live on benefits has become a lifestyle choice. In many families there is no memory of anyone working. Ours is a culture of entitlement, a word coined to minimise shame and maximise claiming.
We're all nodding, Michael. It's clear to everyone where the problem lies. It's just that there are so many fucking morons who, for some reason or another, have a vested interest in perpetuating a failed system which is ripping the guts out of our country.
Last week the Conservatives raised a hue and cry against the government for its welfare failures. But it is unclear how brave a Tory government could be. While I served in Margaret Thatcher’s governments, we made no progress in reducing dependency while lobby groups howled that we were destroying the benefits system.
And there you have it.
If the Tories are serious about ending this idle reliance on the state, the very first part of the current set-up they should be tackling is the web-like plethora of quangoes, government-funded charities, and salaried bleeding hearts who object like stink to every reform which is proposed by those who pay their wages.
After that, some serious money to bolster the police would be needed because, sure as buggery, we'd need a police force not bogged down with targets, surveys and PC to react, once the feckless realise their easy ride is over.
Still. This is all hypothetical anyway. Cameron et al can bluster as much as they like about reducing the benefits bill, but unless they are holding meetings now planning policy for years into the future, it's quite simply not possible. And I can't see it myself, can you? This isn't Thatcher and Joseph we are talking about here.
Interesting thoughts from Portillo, though. I wonder if Prescott will be having an apoplectic rant about this, too.