The Tories have overseen a large number of fairly odious policies designed, so they say, to encourage the workshy back into work. (Some of us might say that when you are lying dying in intensive care, possibly “workshy” is a tad on the harsh side, even coming from a Tory. Indeed, some of us might be tempted to believe that what the Tories were REALLY trying to do was to dismantle the Welfare State that they never much cared for.)
A new rash of cuts in benefits was introduced at the start of the new financial year 2017, among which was a particularly controversial policy which means that to benefit from child tax credits for a third or subsequent child, women must prove that the child was conceived as a result of rape. Not so easy to do if like many cases, for obvious reasons, the violation was not reported to the police. In any case utterly humiliating to have to relive such a vile experience.
Politicians, campaigners and people in the street have condemned the measure as, at best, heartless, at worst downright inhuman.
As Nicola Sturgeon said when talking about it on her recent visit to the USA, the policy is bad and bad enough, but for it to have been introduced by a government led by a woman is nothing short of astounding.
I’m not going to even try to get into what a rape victim must feel like. Relatively few men are raped, and it’s impossible for me, as a guy, to imagine the horrors and the humiliation. Suffice to say, for what must be a very small amount of saving when compared with, say, the refurbishments to the Palace of Westminster, it would have been a good idea just not to go there.
OK, so in Scotland, the leaders of the main parties across the board, have condemned out of hand the Westminster policy. All except Ruth Davidson.
Uncharacteristically quiet this week, when normally she would be taking every opportunity to get her face on tv and in the papers in the run-up to the council elections, Ruth eventually issued a statement, via a spokesperson, saying that she supported the UK government’s policy, and that she would write directly to constituents who had contacted her on the subject.
Cop out, we thought. You’re a party leader, we thought. You need to tell us ALL what your take on this policy is, we thought.
So, today, a new line has been taken both by Ruth and by her deputy, Jackson Carlaw. Obviously, they have had one of these “how the hell do we get out of this mess?” meetings and this was the answer they came up with.
Wait for it…
Yep, it seems that in time-honoured SNP BAAAAAAD fashion, it is all the SNP’s fault. Nicola, they both think, is a hypocrite to blame the Tories for a Tory policy that the Tories introduced (what with the Tories being in Government in London).
Yes, you read that right.
Ruth and Jackson point out that the Scottish government now has the power to mitigate some of the social security policies of the Tory government without permission (and indeed they have done so). If the SNP feel so strongly about not humiliating women who have been raped, they should use these powers.
So, there you are. Problem solved, thanks to the super brains that are Davidson and Carlaw.
I wonder what Ruth thinks the government should cut in order to fund this… or perhaps it would be better if we put the tax up on high earners. There are few funding options open to Scotland. Any Tories reading, how do you feel about this policy? Should Scotland mitigate it and if so, with what?