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Drink and the unemployed: How stupid do these people think we are?

by Sean Gabb

Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke has introduced a Bill to prevent welfare claimants from buying alcohol and cigarettes, among much else. Speaking today in London, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, comments on this proposal: I won’t ask if Mr. Shelbrooke is stupid. What matters more is how stupid he thinks we are. His proposal is insultingly worthless to achieve his stated end. Make his proposal law, and, if I’m on the jobseekers, and I want a drink or a smoke, all I’ll have to do is buy half a dozen chicken legs for a friend, who will then buy me a bottle of own brand gin or a packet of twenty. Also, how are shopkeepers to know who’s on benefits unless we’re all kitted out with ID cards that will let anyone and everyone know our employment status? Or, if the unemployed are to be paid by giving them some kind of charge card, it will simply be another step towards the abolition of cash transactions. Another point worth making is that being out of work or generally poor and on benefits is no fun. It’s plain sadism to try blocking those on benefits from drowning their sorrows. By all means, cut down on systematic fraud by largely foreign gangs and by those working inside the welfare system. Also, make it easier for people to get off welfare – by cutting taxes on low pay and cutting regulations on micro-businesses. But leave the genuinely helpless to enjoy the few pleasures that are still not illegal. Note: in the financial year 2011-12, Alec Shelbrooke collected from the taxpayers a total of £135,726.42 in salary and expenses. In return for this, he supported a government that has done nothing to reduce the deficit, or cut taxes, or roll back the Thatcher-Major-Blair-Brown police state, and that continues to launch and fight unwinnable wars that, even otherwise, would not be in the national interest, and that spends about £50 billion of the taxpayers’ money on the European Union and foreign aid and the global warming scam. He also has the right to benefit from subsidised round the clock drinking in the Palace of Westminster.   Dr. Sean Gabb is a writer, broadcaster, lecturer, and general publicist for the libertarian movement in England. He is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance. Dr. Gabb can be reached at sean@libertarian.co.uk.

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