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Welfare Riots

10:46 AM, Aug 12, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Douglas Murray, writing in the Wall Street Journal

This week's chaos might signal an even more important moment for Britain than many people realize: Either the radical left's lies about the country—namely its economic and welfare system—will finally be exposed, or they will be reinforced by politicians eager to rewrite history. The leaders who helped bring us to this pass seem intent not merely to repeat their mistakes, but to deepen them.

Within hours of the riots starting on Saturday, the left-wing former mayor of London Ken Livingstone claimed the unrest was "the fault of the government," citing a 9% cut in central government grants to Tottenham, where these crime sprees began. Labour's Shadow Health Minister Diane Abbott made sure to garnish her condemnation of the violence with the reminder that in her constituency, "Haringey Council has lost £41 million from its budget and has cut youth services by 75%." Whether her constituents ever raised this issue as they looted luxury-goods shops, Ms. Abbott did not say.

Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman behaved worst of all. Claiming on Tuesday that Labour leader Ed Miliband had been "well-received in Peckham," she compared this reception to the hostility that has greeted Britain's Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and London's Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson this week. She claimed that the difference was due to the Labour Party's opposition to tuition-fee rises. Stuck in an even less functional radical-left tape-loop, Labour Parliamentarian John McDonnell blames bankers.

So the Labour Party has decided to draw political conclusions from the hooliganism. They have decided that these supposed breadline-rioters—who seem utterly uninterested in bread—are the product of political decisions the Tories have made in the last 15 months. Fine.

But these aren't the only political conclusions we can draw from this week. One is also tempted to point out that during Labour's 13 years in power it raised public spending to record levels to fund a massive increase in the welfare state. By the time the current government came to power last year, it had no fiscally sane choice but to reduce these unsustainable spending levels. Hence, the "cuts" (which still entail nominal spending increases) that Labourites are now blaming for all that ails Britain. 

Whole thing here.

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