Why we must make work pay

SOME people have never done an honest day’s work in their life.
It’s a phrase that trips off the tongue all too easily.
But for nearly four million people, it’s a stark reality.
One in nine work-age people have no idea what it is like to start a job – never mind get the sack.
While many who are disabled, carers or genuinely can’t find work, there is an increasing stubborn hardcore who are content to live a life on benefits.
We used to be famous for the Great British worker. Now we are seeing the rise of the Great British shirker.
Statistics released by the Office for National statistics this week will incense those who work long hours and struggle to make ends meet.
At least 200,000 over-65s admit they dodged doing any paid work right up to retirement.
More alarmingly, a third of the four million who have been economically inactive all their “working” lives are aged 18 to 24.
Studies show that those who don’t work by their mid-20s are unlikely ever to get a job.
David Cameron said only this week that too many kids want to be footballers or singing stars.
But why should those who can be bothered to get up in the morning be forced to pay for pop idles?
We need doctors, nurses, teachers, car mechanics and road gritters, too. Most of all we need to rediscover the work ethic.
That’s why Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith must press ahead with his reform of our cushy benefits system. More is needed to make it worth people’s while to work, too.
It may be too late for a lost generation of couch potatoes happy to live on state handouts and channel surf reality shows.
But our kids are the future – and they need hope.
The government can help with proper apprenticeships, paid internships and by driving up school standards.
And by ensuring that work always pays.

Chris Huhne quits as he admits “smears” were true


FEW things are ever clear-cut when trying to get to the truth in politics. We encounter spin, twisting the facts and downright lies.

Then there’s Chris Huhne.

The former Cabinet minister who oozes self-belief has been lying through his teeth for nearly two years.  He swore blind the he would prove the newspapers wrong after they exposed how he made his wife take his speeding points so he wouldn’t get a driving ban.

The deception dates back to March 12, 2003 when Mr Huhne’s car was caught by a speed camera on the M11 near Stansted Airport.


Chris Huhne: Waving goodbye to politics?

But now he faces a possible jail sentence after today admitting perverting the court of justice. Mr Huhne also announced he will resign as MP for Eastleigh in Hampshire.

The 58-year-old Lib Dem had vehemently denied the claims when he was first charged last February, and repeated the denials in court as recently as last week.

He was represented by John Kelsey-Fry QC, one of the country’s most sought after barristers during the proceedings at Southwark Crown Court.

It is always sad to see anybody’s career ruined. This tragedy was so needless when it was over a driving ban which would have been a one-day wonder in the papers at the time.

But let’s not forget that he was a contender for his party’s leadership when he stood against Nick Clegg in 2007.

It’s another shining example of how “lies” in the media so often turn out to be the truth.

And why we must not allow politicians like Mr Huhne to shackle the Press any more than it already is.

Playing Qat and mouse

HATE preacher Abu Qatada must be the only man in Britain who isn’t feeling the pinch.
While our schools, police, and brave armed forces face swingeing cuts, spending on the terror suspect just seems to go up and up.
It’s bad enough that he is using human rights laws to stay in a country he despises.
But hard-working families struggling to make ends meet will be sickened to learn that last month this unwanted guest was costing them £5,058 A DAY.
The bill for legal aid, security, housing and benefits is expected to top £6 million this year alone.
That’s enough to pay for an extra 283 nurses, 347 rookie soldiers or 263 teachers.
Qatada (pictured above),  a Bin Laden stooge and inspiration for the 9/11 hijackers, is using every trick in the legal handbook to dodge deportation.
To make matters worse, soft-touch European judges seem determined to let him.
Home Secretary Theresa May must be tearing her hair out in despair at how to get rid of him.
Even that is costing us, as government lawyers run up a £600,000 bill in their hopeless quest to find common sense in the barmy human rights laws that allow him to stay.
He’s been playing Qat and mouse with the the authorities for 12 years.
Let’s hope 2013 is the year we finally get rid of him.
Then we can end this costly madness once and for all.