With the season of good cheer almost upon us, there's a wonderful example of exactly the opposite in a story which has just popped up on the news feeds from the Express. The MP Alec Shelbrooke (Tory, Elmet and Rothwell) tells us that "Benefits claimants should be banned from spending their state handouts on cigarettes and booze". Later in the piece he says, "Introducing a welfare cash card on which benefits will be paid, claimants will only be able to make priority payments such as food, clothing, energy, travel and housing. The purchase of luxury goods such as cigarettes, alcohol, Sky television and gambling will be prohibited."
It's not new but it's exceptionally stupid. And note something else important - the Express's determination to talk about "state handouts" rather than benefits. It's all part of the ugly propaganda campaign jointly being waged by the far-right media and their MP chums. All the buzz words are there: "something for nothing culture", "striving low-paid workers", "idleness of the shirkers", "hard-working families". It's so tedious and so offensive.
If you want to let Mr Shelbrooke know your opinion, he has his own website.