Rod Liddle

The moronic inferno strikes again

The moronic inferno strikes again
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A remarkable lack of nerve shown by the Conservative Party over the cuts to Child Benefit, don’t you think? It occurred to me, when the announcement was made, that this would be an almost uniformly popular measure. Those on the left like would it because it smacks of progressiveness, those on the right wouldn’t mind it because it is a trimming of our benefits system which is de facto a good thing. And, from an admittedly limited sample space, this seemed to be borne out by your replies to my blog on the issue. And yet somehow Conservative Central office seemed gripped by panic, not least as a consequence of squalls of protest emanating from something called Mumsnet.

When will the politicians – and the newspapers – begin to realise that the people who use these forums are not remotely representative of public opinion? Time and time again we are told that a policy should be dropped because of some head of steam building up on the internet, or a comedian should be sacked or prosecuted because 10,000 people have started a Facebook campaign demanding as much, and so on and so on. And indeed, as if proof of this self evident point were needed - in the case of the Child Benefits announcement, a Sun Yougov poll this morning puts public support for the cuts at a remarkable 83 per cent. It is hard, off hand, to think of any policy announcement that could score higher than this. Former central office insider Tim Montgomerie seems to have doubts that this poll is accurate. Well, maybe it ain’t. But it’s likely to be a lot more representative of public opinion than the jabbering on Mumsnet or the wishful thinking of newspapers trying to whip up a good headline.