David Cameron's housing cuts will alienate the young
Opinion Digest: welfare cuts, Egypt's presidential election and the morality of taxation
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DO TORIES WANT YOUNG PEOPLE TO HATE THEM?
OWEN JONES ON CAMERON'S WELFARE CRACKDOWN
The large majority of housing benefit claimants simply cannot afford extortionate rents, and to attack them as the Conservatives have seems designed to generate animosity, writes Owen Jones in The Independent. If you are young and "not cushioned by a trust fund" you have every right to feel victimised by David Cameron's government. Rocketing tuition fees, cuts to youth services, the abandonment of schemes like Aim-Higher promoting access to universities, and rising youth unemployment: it's as if the Tories are "trying to raise a generation to hate them". The proposed scrapping of housing benefit for the under-25s is just the latest kick in the teeth for the young. Cameron is trying to tap into resentment of the working for those on benefit, but this is simply wrong: the "large majority of housing benefit claimants are in work", they simply cannot afford high rents. Why not phase in rent caps instead?
BENEFIT CUT SHOWS CAMERON'S TRUE COLOURS
JACKIE ASHLEY ON THE WELFARE CRACKDOWN
In calling for under-25s to lose housing benefit, the Tory leader is shoring up his right-wing credentials to appease his party faithful, writes Jackie Ashley in The Guardian. While the Conservatives would like us to think they are thinking about the failing economy and rising unemployment figures, all they are really doing is "fighting like cats in a sack about the future direction of the party". A typical example of this is the proposed cut to housing benefit to anyone under the age of 25. This is "preposterous at best, and cruel". Will young parents be turfed out of their homes? What about those who have been thrown out of their homes by their own parents? Presumably the Prime Minister does not really want to see thousands of young people homeless, so we can only assume this is an attempt by Cameron to woo those in the party already looking to Michael Gove as a potential leader.
IS ARAB SPRING TURNING INTO ARAB WINTER?
MICHAEL BURLEIGH ON EGYPT'S ELECTION
The announcement of the victory of Mohammed Morsi in the Egyptian election will send shock waves throughout the Middle East, writes Michael Burleigh in the Daily Mail. Islamic radicals will be emboldened by the Muslim Brotherhood's triumph – the Arab world's first elected Islamist head of state. Egyptian liberals and secularists will be bitterly disappointed, "especially as it was they, rather than the Muslim Brotherhood, who toppled Hosni Mubarak". Optimists see Egypt evolving along the same lines as Turkey, but the reality will probably be protracted strife between a still-powerful military and a strong Islamist movement "that will make it more like strife-torn Pakistan". Relations with Israel are already worsening and world can only watch and wait to see "how this uneasy partnership between the generals and the Brotherhood plays out. Many will be fearful, however, if in time the Islamists gain the upper hand".
TAX IS NOT MORAL, SO WHY PAY IT?
PETER HITCHENS ON TAX AVOIDANCE
There is nothing moral about paying tax, writes Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday. A greedy state forces you to pay about half of your income every year, and threatens to send you to prison if you don't. Then "it shovels that money down a huge hole". People who can afford to are right to avoid the "wretched" services the state provides: schools that teach "sexual licence but not times tables"; police who "are never there when you want them"; a welfare system that "punishes thrift and encourages sloth". Meanwhile roads are broken, our armed forces are decimated and crime is rampant. Anyone who could get way with paying less tax, should do so. But, Jimmy Carr has been "noisily against tax avoidance", so for him there is an "obligation to pay lots of tax" simply because he supports the modern liberal welfare state.