Having carried irrationality to new limits, one has grown so accustomed to hearing local councillors, and their camp followers saying such stupid things, that the sudden emergence of intelligent, common sensible points of view, revealed in an article by a local councillor who is more renowned for his left Labour bias and Tory bashing predictability, is indeed cause for astonishment and gratitude.
Last week, in an emollient article allegedly penned by Cllr John Taylor, I was so struck by the contrasting ideology, that one had to double check the source of its authorship.
The first part of his letter consisted of the usual politically predictable bluster, but eventually, the article found its way to logic and reason, as the author recognised the blatantly obvious; that the tackling of deep routed problems endemic within the current housing benefit system, should go much deeper than how many bedrooms are, or are not being used, and went on to admit that the planned changes to other parts of the welfare system, like ‘universal benefits’ do, in fact, have some merit!
Now, to give him the benefit of the doubt, it could well be that on that particular day he’d got out of bed on the wrong side, or boiled his breakfast-egg a minute too long; but whatever his reason, on reading his words, I couldn’t help thinking that councillor Taylor had newly discovered the merits of the original Beverage Report and by doing so, suggested that the Coalition Government give us a reformed benefit system similar to what was originally intended; - a welfare system that was a safety net, not a career choice!
Now I don’t know whether the councillor has somehow turned Liberal, and joined Andrew Bingham's fan club, but, if his words are to be believed, he must now know that it is politically impossible for changes of this magnitude to be made in isolation. And also, if he thinks a little deeper, they can only be made as part of a wider package of reforms, which includes the simplification of the tax system.
Now it’s not often I find myself agreeing with anything councillor Taylor says, but in this instance, he’s right. The basic problem these days is that the more people demand from society, the less they demand of themselves. It is therefore in this context that the decision to press ahead with reform and simplification of welfare benefits - notably the idea of the universal credit - is welcome and significant.
Unfortunately, he might find it difficult to explain his new found conclusions to our local MPs and his party leader, who, to date, has opposed all manner of suggested aspects of welfare reform!
Now at my age, I am not so gullible to believe that one Swallow makes a summer, or that John Taylor has finally seen the light. Therefore I will continue voice my thoughts and demonstrate my despair at the demise of democracy, both nationally and locally and to continue my constant criticism of the policies of this Council; cynical realism, I have discovered, is the intelligent man's best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation.